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Sir Edmund Barton: Australia’s first Prime Minister

Painted portrait of Sir Edmund Barton

About the exhibition

The life and times of Australia’s first Prime Minister: a retrospective.

A century after his death, a new exhibition at Australian Parliament House celebrates the life and work of Sir Edmund ‘Toby’ Barton. Bringing together key themes from his career, public persona and personal life, this exhibition provides an engaging glimpse into Australia at the turn of the Twentieth Century. 

Key themes include Barton’s political progress as seen through the lens of Bulletin cartoonists, his championing of Federation and the Australian Constitution, his government’s legislative achievements, and his position as a Judge of the High Court. 

Of particular interest to history buffs, the exhibition also includes a photographic portrait of each individual member of the first Commonwealth Parliament. This large work is rarely on display and provides a fascinating glimpse of the individual MPs who created Australia’s first pieces of legislation. This work accompanies other key items associated with Sir Edmund Barton that have been loaned to Australian Parliament House from a range of institutions, helping to weave together his extraordinary story.

Image: Norman Carter (1875-1963) The Rt Hon. Sir Edmund Barton GCMG KC (detail), 1913. Oil on Canvas. Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House Art Collection.

Previously exhibited
Friday 27 November to Sunday 16 May 2021

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