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Edmund Barton

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.

Crowds greet the new Prime Minister Edmund Barton

Crowds greet the new Prime Minister Edmund Barton (third from left) and Governor-General Lord Hopetoun (third from right), as they leave the rotunda in Sydney's Centennial Park, where the Commonwealth of Australia was born on 1 January 1901.

Keenan, JJ, Inaugural Celebrations of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1904

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 three judges who founded Australia's High Court.

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