Edmund Barton – Australia’s First Prime Minister

Day 256 of Colourisation Project – January 18

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

When you stop to think that Australia’s First Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, died less than 100 years ago in 1920, you realise just how young a nation we really are. 

Born in Glebe, New South Wales, this day 18 January in 1849, Barton was one of the key architects of Australia’s Constitution and at 52 years of age became the new nation’s first Prime Minister at a grand ceremony in Centennial Park, Sydney, on 1 January 1901.

Photo: Talma Studios – Edmund Barton c 1903 – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

Barton first became an MP in 1879, and over 20 years in the Parliament of New South Wales, served terms as Speaker of its Legislative Assembly, Attorney-General and Leader of the Opposition. Throughout the 1890s, he was a driving force in the federation movement.

Barton resigned as Prime Minister on 24 September 1903 to become a founding justice of the newly established High Court of Australia, where he served for over 16 years up until his death.

Barton refused knighthoods in 1887, 1891 and 1899, however he agreed to be made a Knight Grand Cross of St Michael and St George in 1902, making him the only prime minister to be knighted during his term of office until Robert Menzies in 1963.

Barton died suddenly of heart failure at Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains on 7 January 1920 just shy of his 71st birthday.


 “Creating a nation requires the will of the people.”  – Edmund Barton

This entry was posted in Australia, Australian Politics, Colorization, Colourisation, History, Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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