The First Eight: Australia’s first Prime Ministers

The First Eight Project, launched in March 2018, is a joint undertaking between the Parliamentary Library, the National Museum of Australia, the National Archives of Australia, the Victorian Parliamentary Library and the Australian National University’s Australian Studies Institute.

The project incorporates a series of events, lectures, exhibitions, and a monograph series on the first eight Prime Ministers of Australia—covering the Melbourne period of the Parliament—Barton, Deakin, Watson, Reid, Fisher, Cook, Hughes and Bruce.

We hope that this collaboration will enliven interest in this formative period of the nation’s history, focusing on the private, public and political lives of its political leaders, and something of the essence of the world they inhabited and which shaped them. As part of this collaboration, the Parliamentary Library will be publishing a series of essays and lectures about Australia’s first eight prime ministers.  Lectures and monographs will be published progressively.

Senator the Hon Scott Ryan (left) and the Hon Tony Smith MP (right) with David Headon at the Alfred Deakin book launch.

The President of the Senate, Senator the Hon Scott Ryan, Dr David Headon, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith MP, at the launch of the First Eight Project. In the background is artwork by Canberra artist, Alison Alder.