Alfred Deakin

Spooner, John, Alfred Deakin, 1989, nla.obj-148848482

Alfred Deakin, second Prime Minister of Australia, 1903-1904. He held the office 3 times, including in 1905-1908 and 1909-1910.

The Papers of Alfred Deakin comprise one of the finest personal archives held by the Library.  The collection is partially available online.  A finding aid and collection description are also available to assist access.


Manuscripts are the unpublished papers of people and organisations.

Our Using the Manuscripts Collection page provides information about about accessing them at the Library.


The Australia's Prime Ministers website from the National Archives of Australia provides information on prime ministerial archives in Australia and overseas. Click through to the page for each prime minister and select "Records" for more information.

The National Library of Australia has been actively collecting Federation material since 1903. As a result it holds many unique manuscript collections relating to Federation, including the letters, diaries and scrapbooks of politicians and organisations. Material in our Manuscript collection is complemented by material in our other collections, including Pictures, Oral History and the printed collections.

Catalogue search tips

Use the name of a person or an occupation to find manuscript collections in our catalogue. Examples of keywords are:

  • Sir Edmund Barton
  • Federation Australia

Then in the results list, under Limit your search, limit the Format to Manuscripts.

Relevant documents may also appear in other manuscript collections. These are found with a Finding Aid search. The results list for a new Catalogue search will also include a panel headed Finding Aids.

Finding aids are descriptive lists for manuscript collections. If a collection contains material related to Federation, it will be listed in the search results. For example, see:

Medallion commemorating the federation of Australia, 1901 in the papers of Sir Robert Menzies.

The Finding aid will show which collection contains the item, the box number, and a link to request it through the catalogue record.

In our Reference collection

National Library collections

[Portrait of Edmund Barton as a mature man, 1]

 Swiss Studios, [Portrait of Edmund Barton as a mature man, 1], [190-?], nla.obj-224452800 

Edmund Barton, first Prime Minister of Australia, 1901-1903. 

The Papers of Sir Edmund Barton comprise his correspondence, personal papers, press cuttings, photographs and papers relating to the Federation campaign and the first Parliament of the Commonwealth.   The collection is now available online.  

Badge of the Australia Federation League of New South Wales ca. 1900

Badge of the Australia Federation League of New South Wales, ca. 1900, between 1898 and 1901, nla.obj-143365932

As well as the papers of key individuals, the Library also holds the Records of the Australasian Federation League of New South Wales.

Not sure where to start?