Australia's legendary PM Bob Hawke was a class 'nuisance' who was nearly kicked ...

Australia's legendary prime minister Bob Hawke was nearly kicked out of high school for poor grades and was sent home after being hit in the head with a cricket bat.

His five years at the prestigious Perth Modern School were filled with a string of behavioural reprimands and concerns about his lack of focus.

Daily Mail Australia can reveal for the first time Hawke's 1942-46 school attendance record and report card - years before he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.

The handwritten notes include scathing assessments of his academic performance and frustration by teachers at his unwillingness to apply himself.

Australia's legendary prime minister Bob Hawke was nearly kicked out of high school for poor grades and was sent home after being hit in the head with a cricket bat. Years later he applied himself and became a Rhodes Scholar in 1952 (pictured)

Australia's legendary prime minister Bob Hawke was nearly kicked out of high school for poor grades and was sent home after being hit in the head with a cricket bat. Years later he applied himself and became a Rhodes Scholar in 1952 (pictured)

Hawke later in life admitted he didn't take his education seriously until a near-fatal motorbike accident in 1947 inspired him to turn his life around.

After university he became a prominent union official and was elected as ACTU president in 1969, parliament in 1980, and PM at the 1983 election.

He held office until 1991, becoming Australia's third longest-serving leader, and was a beloved elder statesman until his death on May 16, 2019.

Hawke attended the highly selective Perth Modern as a compromise between his 'snobbish' mother Edith, who wanted him to go to a private school, and Hawke and his father's desire for a public education.

Mrs Hawke pushed him to work harder at West Leederville Primary School to win a scholarship at the public but elite institution.

However, once he got in, the future PM stopped trying and and was more interested in sport and playing the class clown.

'After I won the scholarship, I didn't study. I treated school as a sleigh-ride. I had fun,' he later recalled.

Hawke's 1942-46 school attendance record (left column) and report card (right column) include scathing assessments of his behaviour and academic performance

Hawke's 1942-46 school attendance record (left column) and report card (right column) include scathing assessments of his behaviour and academic performance

Hawke's report, which noted that he planned to study medicine at university, started with high expectations after his strong primary results.

'[He] Is expected to do v. well when he settles down to regular concentration,' the first note from April 1942 reads.

Disappointment set in by August when he earned a pass but his results were deemed 'patchy and below average' for the school's boys and 'not steady enough'.

By April 1943 the record showed Perth Modern was running out of patience and Hawke was dangerously close to being kicked out.

'Results unsatisfactory - seems irresponsible re his progress and inclined to be a nuisance in class - cannot be tolerated - jeopordising his school,' it reads.

In December he had passed, but was noted to have 'had a number of warnings concerning his conduct this term'.

Hawke had 29 days off due to illness or injury in his first two years, including four bouts of the flu and two weeks at home sick with German measles.

Hawke went on to be Australia's third longest-serving leader, and was a beloved elder statesman until his death on May 16, 2019

 Hawke went on to be Australia's third longest-serving leader, and was a beloved elder statesman until his death on May 16, 2019

Hawke is a young child living in South Australia before his family moved to Perth and enrolled him at West Leederville Primary School then Perth Modern

Hawke is a young child living in South Australia before his family moved to Perth and enrolled him at West Leederville Primary School then Perth Modern

Hawke credits a near-fatal motorbike accident in 1947, the year after he graduated high school, with turning his life around and making him the man Australia knows. He is pictured with his first wife Hazel on a different motorbike in 1951

Hawke credits a near-fatal motorbike accident in 1947, the year after he graduated high school, with turning his life around and making him the man Australia knows. He is pictured with his first wife Hazel on a different motorbike in 1951

He also cut his leg twice, once on a fence, needing a total of six days off to recover.

'I was sickly in the first year at Mod. In my second year I seemed to be sick all the time,' Hawke recalled of this time.

His biographer and later second wife Blanche d'Alpuget noted in her 2010 book Bob Hawke: The Early Years that this made the young teen a target for bullies. 

'There was a lot of physical fighting at the school and Hawke, smaller and weaker than other boys, got the worst of it,' she wrote.

'A fellow pupil remembered him as "very thin, with a pinched look. He was sharp featured and had a hatchet face for a small boy."'

Hawke's parents in desperation took him to a naturopath who suggested high-fibre diet with few dairy products, eggs, or meat. 

Hawke called it a total transformation: 'I became very strong. My body seemed to develop enormously quickly. 

'I took great pride in my physical development - I could mix it with the other kids. I remember feeling joy in growing strong, of having a great feeling of confidence that no one physically worried me any more.'

His improved health showed up on the attendance report as he had far fewer days off sick.

Hawke (circled) played on the Perth Modern cricket team in 1946 and said his most disappointing schoolboy failure was getting out on 93 in a match - seven runs short of the century needed to win a prize bat

Hawke went on to study art and law at the University of Western Australia, and in 1952 earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University (pictured at Oxford in 1952)

Hawke went on to study art and law at the University of Western Australia, and in 1952 earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University (pictured at Oxford in 1952)

Hawke in 1944 had two strange injuries where he was sent home after being hit in the head with a cricket bat, and months later suffered a 'poisoned arm'.

The keen sportsman developed a back issue in 1945, starting with a sprain that October and needed four days off weeks before his final exams after injuring his shoulder.

However, his disciplinary record got worse. On June 12, 1944, he was sent out of a Mr Piper's class for having 'moustache on face, put on by somebody'.

Months later he was sent to the headmaster's office on August 17 for not wearing the correct sport uniform and on July 13, 1945, threw an orange peel during recess.

The worst incident, recounted in his biography, was when he was nearly expelled for a prank in chemistry class in 1944, until his politician father Clem intervened. 

This curiously does not appear on the handwritten record.

Hawke decades later revealed he would frequently sneak down to Fremantle go fishing with his father.

'The fish usually kept away from my hook but I caught the odd one,' he recalled. 

Fellow pupil Robert Morrison recalled in The Early Years that Hawke was often involved in 'punch-ups' on school grounds.

'He seemed more interested in sport and being tough than in chasing girls. He would abuse kids for asking silly questions and wasting the class time. He was a real tough-guy,' he said.

Hawke admitted in his second wife Blanche d'Alpuget's 2010 book Bob Hawke: The Early Years that he didn't take high school seriously (Hawke and Ms d'Alpuget pictured at the opening night of 'The Secret River' at the Sydney Theatre Company on January 12, 2013)

Hawke admitted in his second wife Blanche d'Alpuget's 2010 book Bob Hawke: The Early Years that he didn't take high school seriously (Hawke and Ms d'Alpuget pictured at the opening night of 'The Secret River' at the Sydney Theatre Company on January 12, 2013)

One of the last photos of Hawke, taken days before his death in May 2019, was with his successor as prime minister Paul Keating (right) to whom he was both friend and rival

 One of the last photos of Hawke, taken days before his death in May 2019, was with his successor as prime minister Paul Keating (right) to whom he was both friend and rival

Mr Morrison also recalled Hawke would often tell classmates he was going to be prime minister - a well-known anecdote foretelling his eventual rise to power.

This infuriated another pupil named Max Newton, who used to mock Hawke for it, often walking into class announcing 'the Prime Minister is coming'.

Hawke's grades began to improve with his health from his third year, but still not to the standards his teachers expected of him.

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