Australia's Magna Carta, Canberra, A.C.T. : Dept. of the Senate, 2010
The Magna Carta is seen as the foundation document of English constitutional law. The sealing of Magna Carta in 1215 began the development of both Houses of Parliament during the Middle Ages.
Learn about the importance of the Magna Carta at the UK Parliament website.
The Library has two copies of the facsimile and translation of the 1215 Magna Carta, at MS 1483.
A copy of the Inspeximus (reissue) 1297 charter is in Australian possession. This original document is one of the two surviving issues of the Inspeximus Magna Carta and one of the fourteen surviving issues of the charters signed between 1215 and 1297. The seal is that of Henry III, used in the reign of his son, Edward I. The document is the copy intended for the County of Surrey. The script is a late 13th century cursive court hand.
Read about the Australian Magna Carta at Parliament House, Canberra.
In 1952, the Inspeximus was acquired by Harold White, the National Librarian, at cost of £12,500. It was on permanent display at Old Parliament House until 1988, and is now at New Parliament House. Parliament House was given full ownership and responsibility for the Inspeximus Magna Carta in 2005.
The story of the acquisition and preservation of the 1297 Inspeximus is told in detail in the booklet Australia's Magna Carta.