The division was proclaimed in 1900 and was one of the original 65 divisions contested at the first federal election. The division is named after William Charles Wentworth (1790–1872), an Australian explorer and statesman. In 1813 he accompanied Blaxland and Lawson on their crossing of the Blue Mountains.
Historically considered a safe seat for the Liberal Party of Australia, Wentworth is one of only two original federation divisions in New South Wales, along with the Division of North Sydney, which have never been held by the Australian Labor Party, though Labor candidate Jessie Street came within 1.6 percent of winning Wentworth at the 1943 election landslide. The electorate is the nation's wealthiest, contains the nation's largest Jewish population and contains the nation's fifth-largest number of same-sex couples.
Its most prominent members have included Eric Harrison, the inaugural Deputy of the Liberal Party; John Hewson and Malcolm Turnbull - both of whom served as Opposition Leaders whilst in their second terms as the MP for Wentworth. Turnbull would go on to become Prime Minister of Australia from September 2015 until August 2018.
In August 2018, a challenge by Peter Dutton led to two Liberal leadership spills. Following the second spill on 24 August 2018, Treasurer Scott Morrison defeated Dutton in a leadership ballot. Turnbull did not nominate as a candidate, and immediately resigned as Prime Minister. On 31 August 2018 Turnbull resigned from Parliament, triggering the 2018 Wentworth by-election on 20 October 2018, which was won by independent candidate Kerryn Phelps. Phelps lost her seat to Dave Sharma in a rematch on 18 May 2019.
Wentworth is the second-smallest geographical electoral division in the Parliament with an area of just 38 square kilometres (15 sq mi), covering Woolloomooloo along the southern shore of Sydney Harbour to Watsons Bay and down the coast to Clovelly—an area largely coextensive with Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. The western boundary runs along Oxford Street, Flinders Street and South Dowling Street, then eastward along Alison Road to Randwick Racecourse and Clovelly Beach. It includes the suburbs of Bellevue Hill, Ben Buckler, Bondi, Bondi Beach, Bondi Junction, Bronte, Centennial Park, Darling Point, Double Bay, Dover Heights, Edgecliff, Moore Park, North Bondi, Paddington, Point Piper, Queens Park, Rose Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Tamarama, Vaucluse, Watsons Bay, Waverley, and Woollahra; as well as parts of Clovelly, Darlinghurst, East Sydney, Elizabeth Bay, Kings Cross, Potts Point, and Randwick.
|Sir William McMillan
|Free Trade||29 March 1901 –
23 November 1903
|Previously held the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Burwood. Retired|
|Free Trade||16 December 1903 –
|Served as minister under Cook. Retired|
26 May 1909
|Commonwealth Liberal||26 May 1909 –|
17 February 1917
|Nationalist||17 February 1917 –|
3 November 1919
|Nationalist||13 December 1919 –
|Independent Nationalist||September 1929 –|
2 December 1929
|Australian||2 December 1929 –|
|Independent||September 1930 –|
7 May 1931
|United Australia||7 May 1931 –|
19 December 1931
|(Sir) Eric Harrison
|United Australia||19 December 1931 –
21 February 1945
|First Deputy Liberal leader 1944-56. Served as minister under Lyons, Page, Menzies and Fadden. Resigned in order to become the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom|
|Liberal||21 February 1945 –|
17 October 1956
|Liberal||8 December 1956 –
11 April 1974
|Served as minister under Menzies, Holt, McEwen, Gorton and McMahon. Lost preselection and retired|
|Liberal||18 May 1974 –
17 February 1981
|Served as minister under Fraser. Resigned in order to become a judge on the Federal Court|
|Liberal||11 April 1981 –
5 June 1987
|Previously held the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Fuller and was State Opposition Leader. Retired|
|Liberal||11 July 1987 –
28 February 1995
|Served as Opposition Leader from 1990 to 1994. Resigned in order to retire from politics|
|Liberal||8 April 1995 –
8 October 2001
|Served as minister under Howard. Lost preselection and retired|
|Liberal||10 November 2001 –
|Lost preselection and then lost seat|
9 October 2004
|Liberal||9 October 2004 –
31 August 2018
|Served as minister under Howard and Abbott. Served as Opposition Leader from 2008 to 2009. Served as Prime Minister from 2015 to 2018. Resigned in order to retire from politics|
|Independent||20 October 2018 –
18 May 2019
|Liberal||18 May 2019 –
|Greens||Dominic Wy Kanak||6,759||7.53||−7.33|
|United Australia||Michael Bloomfield||625||0.70||+0.70|
|Christian Democrats||Paul Treacy||346||0.39||−0.68|
|Total formal votes||89,754||97.01||+2.14|
|Liberal gain from Independent||Swing||N/A|
- William Bowe. "2018 Wentworth by-election". The Poll Bludger. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
- Hutchens, Gareth (27 August 2018). "Malcolm Turnbull to trigger byelection by quitting parliament on Friday". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
- 2018 Wentworth by-election guide: Antony Green ABC
- Commentary, 2018 Wentworth by-election: Antony Green ABC
- Wentworth, NSW, Tally Room 2019, Australian Electoral Commission.