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Edmund Barton



Sir Edmund Barton was Australia's first Prime Minister. He was elected in peace time instead of winning his position from war like in most countries. 

He was born in Sydney in 1849 and was a lawyer by trade - being among the early graduates of the University of Sydney. In 1871 he was called to Bar, and entered the Legislative Assembly in 1879. He became Speaker in NSW Parliament  in 1883.

During the economic depression of the early 1890s he committed himself to the idea of a national government which could apply Australia-wide solutions to problems such as defence. He became the leader of the movement for Federation in NSW and was its most ardent advocate -  touring NSW promoting support for Federation.

In 1891 he was one of four members to draft the abortive constitution  which resulted from the 1891 Federal Conference.

During 1897-98 he was the Leader of Federal Convention in Adelaide which drafted a new constitution. A delegation was formed to submit the draft constitution to the Imperial Government in 1899-1900. Royal Assent was received in July 1900 and Edmund Barton was appointed as the first Australian Prime Minister.

In 1902 he was knighted and became SIR Edmund Barton. In 1903 he retired from politics and became Senior Judge of the High Court of Australia. He held this position until his death in 1920.



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