About Edmund Barton
- Born: 18 January 1849
- Died: 7 January 1920
- Partner: Jane Mason (Jeanie) Barton
- Political party: Protectionist Party
- Image: NAA: A1200, L13582B
Federation was Edmund Barton's 'one great thing'. One of the key architects of Australia's Constitution, Barton became the new nation's first Prime Minister at a grand ceremony in Centennial Park, Sydney, on 1 January 1901. He retained this role after the first federal election in March 1901, where he was elected the member for Hunter.
Admired for his intellect and calm temper, Barton's glowing eyes revealed a keen sense of humour, while his ample girth was evidence of a love of good food, fine wine and stimulating conversation. With a rich and engrossing voice, he commanded authority wherever he spoke.
In 1903, Barton resigned to become one of the 3 founding Justices of the High Court of Australia.
Did you know?
- was Australia's first prime minister
- spoke more than any other member in the first House of Representatives (it's on the Hansard record)
- was the second Australian to receive the Knight Grand Cross, Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) – the highest knighthood available in the British Empire (Sir Henry Parkes was the first)
- was one of 3 Australian prime ministers to receive Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, First Class (the others were Robert Menzies and John McEwen)
- was nicknamed 'Toby Tosspot' by the Bulletin