Joh Bjelke-Petersen achieved fame as Premier of the state of Queensland, Australia during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
He was born Johannes Bjelke-Petersen in New Zealand in 1911, son of a Danish-born Lutheran pastor.
In 1913, the family moved to the Kingaroy area in Queensland and established a property named Bethany.
They struggled through the depression but later things improved, and Joh designed and constructed a peanut thresher which proved very successful. He also pioneered the use of crawlers and scrub chain clearing.
In 1947 he became the Country Party member for the electorate of Nanango (now Barambah).
He married Florence Gilmour (later a senator) in 1952 and became Premier of Queensland in 1968.
Joh's administration, which ruled Queensland for 19 years, was notorious for its unrestrained commercial development and its forceful opposition to the Aboriginal, trade union, environmental and women's rights movements, among many others. Such opposition took the form of 50-year land-leases for Aborigines who made claim to land, and laws that made any assembly of more than three citizens illegal.
Other notable incidents of Joh's reign included his various attempts to legislate proposals that would allow the mining of the Great Barrier Reef and other places of ecological significance, as well as the shifting of the electoral boundaries in order to increase his chances of re-election. He also argued against World Heritage listings and for the demolition of the historic Bellevue Hotel in Brisbane.
He was knighted in the early 1980s and lost the premiership in 1987 after the Fitzgerald inquiry into widespread police and political corruption in Queensland.
He was tried for perjury after the inquiry, but the Crown chose not to proceed after the jury failed to reach a verdict in controversial circumstances. It was later revealed that the lone dissenting jury member had been a member of "Friends of Joh", a lobby group designed to shore up support for the former Premier.