Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Member Details

Sir Edmund BARTON, GCMG (1849 - 1920)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 18/01/1849
Place of Birth: Glebe, New South Wales, Australia
Date of Death: 07/01/1920
Place of Death: Medlow Bath, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 26 Aug 1879 26 Jan 1887 7 yrs 5 mths 1 day
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 08 Mar 1887 12 Jun 1891 4 yrs 3 mths 5 days Life Appointment under the Constitution Act: Date of Writ of Summons 2 February 1887. Granted retention of title of "Honourable" for life.
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 17 Jun 1891 25 Jun 1894 3 yrs 9 days
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 12 May 1897 18 Jul 1898 1 yr 2 mths 7 days Life Appointment under the Constitution Act. Date of Writ of Summons 8 May 1897
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 28 Sep 1898 07 Feb 1900 1 yr 4 mths 11 days
Member for University of Sydney 26 Aug 1879 09 Nov 1880 1 yr 2 mths 15 days
Member for Wellington 22 Nov 1880 23 Nov 1882 2 yrs 2 days
Member for East Sydney 30 Nov 1882 07 Oct 1885 2 yrs 10 mths 8 days
Member for East Sydney 16 Oct 1885 26 Jan 1887 1 yr 3 mths 11 days
Member for East Sydney 17 Jun 1891 26 Oct 1891 4 mths 10 days
Member for East Sydney 07 Nov 1891 25 Jun 1894 2 yrs 7 mths 19 days
Member for Hastings and Macleay 28 Sep 1898 07 Feb 1900 1 yr 4 mths 11 days
Attorney General 17 Jan 1889 07 Mar 1889 1 mth 19 days
Attorney General 23 Oct 1891 14 Dec 1893 2 yrs 1 mth 22 days
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly 03 Jan 1883 31 Jan 1887 4 yrs 29 days
Attorney General and Representative of Government 17 Jan 1889 07 Mar 1889 1 mth 19 days
Dismissal of Mr Daniels, Railway Trial Surveyor Committee No.21 16 Apr 1880 13 Jul 1880 2 mths 28 days
Church of England Trust Property Incorporation Bill Committee No.11 28 Jan 1881 22 Feb 1881 26 days
Bates’s Estate Bill Committee No.19 23 Mar 1881 29 Mar 1881 7 days Chairman
Library Committee No.2 17 Dec 1880 06 Apr 1881 3 mths 21 days
Osborne’s Leasing Bill Committee No.18 22 Mar 1881 06 Apr 1881 16 days
Osborne’s Leasing Bill Committee No.10 15 Jul 1881 05 Aug 1881 22 days
Library Committee No.3 06 Jul 1881 20 Dec 1881 5 mths 15 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.5 25 Aug 1882 28 Sep 1882 1 mth 4 days
Library Committee No.2 30 Aug 1882 21 Nov 1882 2 mths 23 days
Library Committee No.2 18 Jan 1883 02 May 1883 3 mths 15 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 18 Jan 1883 02 May 1883 3 mths 15 days
Library Committee No.2 10 Oct 1883 01 Nov 1884 1 yr 23 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 10 Oct 1883 01 Nov 1884 1 yr 23 days
Library Committee No.3 19 Nov 1884 27 Nov 1884 9 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 19 Nov 1884 27 Nov 1884 9 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 17 Mar 1885 27 Mar 1885 11 days
Library Committee No.3 17 Mar 1885 27 Mar 1885 11 days
Standing Orders Committee No.5 24 Sep 1885 02 Oct 1885 9 days
Library Committee No.6 24 Sep 1885 02 Oct 1885 9 days
Library Committee No.4 03 Dec 1885 25 Oct 1886 10 mths 23 days
Willoughby and Gordon Tramway Act Amending Bill Committee No.13 25 Aug 1891 15 Sep 1891 22 days
Simpson’s Railway Bill Committee No.19 08 Sep 1891 24 Nov 1891 2 mths 17 days
Watkins Wallis Trust Estate Bill Committee No.26 15 Dec 1891 22 Dec 1891 8 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 28 Jul 1891 01 Apr 1892 8 mths 5 days
Refreshment Committee No.7 05 Oct 1892 18 Oct 1892 14 days
Standing Orders Committee No.5 05 Oct 1892 18 Oct 1892 14 days
Library Committee No.6 05 Oct 1892 18 Oct 1892 14 days
Vice Suppression Bill Committee No.11 25 Oct 1892 18 Oct 1892 11 mths 24 days
Lee and Brady Settlement Bill Committee No.19 14 Feb 1893 01 Mar 1893 16 days
Case of John Deniff Committee No.27 07 Jun 1893 13 Jun 1893 7 days
Vice Suppression Bill Committee No.6 27 Sep 1893 08 Dec 1893 2 mths 12 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 27 Sep 1893 08 Dec 1893 2 mths 12 days
Bankruptcy Act Amendment Bill Committee No.13 01 Dec 1893 08 Dec 1893 8 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 27 Sep 1893 08 Dec 1893 2 mths 12 days
Bankruptcy Act Amendment Bill Committee No.7 25 Jan 1894 05 Jun 1894 4 mths 12 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 23 Jan 1894 05 Jun 1894 4 mths 14 days
Refreshment Committee No.5 23 Jan 1894 11 Jun 1894 4 mths 20 days
Library Committee No.3 13 Apr 1899 21 Apr 1899 9 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 13 Apr 1899 21 Apr 1899 9 days
Library Committee No.5 02 Aug 1899 10 Oct 1899 2 mths 9 days
Library Committee No.5 02 Aug 1899 10 Oct 1899 2 mths 9 days
Library Committee No.5 02 Aug 1899 10 Oct 1899 2 mths 9 days
Standing Orders Committee No.4 08 Aug 1899 23 Dec 1899 4 mths 16 days
Political Party Activity
Community Activity
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Lawyer (Solicitor and Barrister). Educated at Fort Street Model School and Sydney Grammar School. University of Sydney (B.A ) (1868) and M.A (1870) Admitted to the Bar on 21 December 1871, becoming a Queens Counsel (QC) in 1889. Senior Puisne Judge of High Court of Australia 1903 - 1920. Privy Councillor in 1901.
Military Service
Honours Received
Knight Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) in 1902, after refusing knighthoods in 1887, 1891 and 1899
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. Member of the House of Representatives for Hunter 1901 - 1903. First Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for External Affairs 1901 - 1903
Local Government Activity
Personal
Son of William Barton, financial agent and sharebroker, and his wife Mary Louisa Whydale. Married Jane Mason Ross on 28 December 1877 and had issue, 2 daughters and 4 sons.
Additional Information
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7 G. C. Bolton, 'Edmund Barton', 2000 National Archives of Australia Fact Sheet 210: 'Edmund Barton Prime Minister of Australia 1901-03' http://www.naa.gov.au/fsheets/fs210.html National Archives of Australia, 'Australia's Prime Ministers' Website http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/ Personal papers in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: 1. Edmund Barton - papers, 1832-1919 (MLMSS 249) 2. Sir Edmund Barton - letters received, July 1894- March 1916, with annotated printed pages of preamble to the Federal Convention of 1898. (MLMSS 1901) 3. Sir Edmund Barton - T.L.S to J.L Weingarth, 1898, being copy. (MLDOC 2371) 4. Sir Edmund Barton - letters and papers, 1885- (Ab 145) 5. Sir Edmund Barton - letter received from Henry Parkes, 1893 (MLDOC 477). 6. Sir Edmund Barton - letter received from Nat Barnett, 1900 (MLDOC 511a). Sir David Maughan - papers, 1923-1942, together with Barton family papers, 1825-1902 (MLMSS 378). 8. Sir Edmund Barton - papers concerning Australian Federation, 1881-1898 (MLMSS 7208) ; photographs in the PICMAN Database. Text from the book: 'The Presiding Officers of the Parliament of New South Wales', Sydney, 1995 Edmund Barton was born on 18 January 1849 at Glebe in Sydney. He married Jane (Jean) Mason Ross in 1877 and they had four sons and two daughters. He was admitted to the Bar in 1871, becoming a Queen's Counsel in 1889. After defeats in 1876 and 1877 Barton entered the Legislative Assembly as the Member for the University of Sydney in 1879. When the University was disfranchised the following year he successfully contested the seat of Wellington, and remained the Member until the general elections in 1882 when he became the Member for East Sydney. Elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on 3 January 1883 he occupied the Chair for four years until he lost his seat in the lower house. As Speaker he displayed a sound knowledge of procedure. In 1884 he had to introduce new Standing Orders to control a number of unruly members, such as David Buchanan, whose behaviour brought upon the Assembly its reputation as the `bearpit of Macquarie Street'. He was nominated to the Legislative Council in 1889 and joined the Dibbs Cabinet as Attorney General but that Ministry lasted only a few weeks. That same year Barton was one of the New South Wales representatives at the Federal Convention and he became an important member of the Constitution Committee that framed the first draft of a bill to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia. When Barton again entered the Legislative Assembly in 1891 as the Member for East Sydney he joined the Dibbs Ministry but the government was defeated upon a motion of censure in 1893. From August until September of 1892 Barton was the acting Premier of New South Wales. Entering Federal politics at Federation, Barton became the Member of the House of Representatives for Hunter. In 1901 Edmund Barton became Australia's first Prime Minister, holding this position until 23 September 1903 when he resigned from office; a few days later he was appointed to the High Court of Australia, acting as Chief Justice in 1911. He died suddenly in January 1920 at Medlow Bath in New South Wales.