Biographical Note

Sir Edmund Barton (1849-1920) was the first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, having previously been a leading advocate of Federation and one of the draftsmen of the Australian Constitution. He served as Prime Minister from 1 January 1901 until 23 September 1903, and then resigned to become the senior puisne judge of the newly-established High Court of Australia.

Edmund Barton was the fourth and youngest son of William Barton (1795-1881) and Mary Louisa, née Whydah, who had emigrated from England to New South Wales in 1827. An elder brother was the barrister, journalist and author George B. Barton (1836-1901). On 28 December 1877 Edmund Barton married Jane (Jean) Mason Ross (1851-1938). Their children were Edmund Alfred (b. 1879), Wilfrid Alexander (b. 1880), Jean Alice (b. 1882), Arnold Hubert (b. 1884), Oswald (b. 1888) and Leila Stephanie (b. 1892).

DateEvent
1849Born in Glebe, Sydney, 18 January
1859-64Attended Sydney Grammar School
1865-67Attended University of Sydney
1870Graduated as a Master of Arts
1871Called to Bar in Sydney
1879-82Member of Legislative Assembly (University of Sydney seat)
1882-87Member of Legislative Assembly (seat of East Sydney)
1883-87Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
1887-91Member of the Legislative Council
1887Attorney-General in the Dibbs Protectionist Ministry
1891New South Wales delegate at the Federal Convention in Sydney
1891-94Member of the Legislative Assembly (East Sydney)
1891-92Attorney-General in the Dibbs Protectionist Ministry
1894Defeated in the general election (seat of Randwick)
1894-97Led the Federation movement in New South Wales
1897-98New South Wales delegate at the Australasian Federal Convention and chairman of the drafting and constitutional committees
1897-981897-98 Member of the Legislative Council
1898Defeated by George Reid in the general election (seat of Sydney (King Division))
1898-1900Member of the Legislative Assembly (seat of Hastings and Macleay)
1899Leader of the Australian delegation to London
1900Appointed first Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for External Affairs, 31 December
1901Appointed a Privy Councillor, 24 January
1901-3Member of the House of Representatives (seat of Hunter)
1902Attended Colonial Conference and Coronation of King Edward VII
1902Knighted (GCMG)
1903Resigned as Prime Minister, 23 September
1903-20Senior puisne justice of the High Court of Australia
1915Visited England
1920Died at Medlow Bath, Blue Mountains, 7 January