Alfred Deakin

Alfred Deakin (3 August 1856 – 7 October 1919) was an Australian politician who served as the second Prime Minister of Australia, in office for three separate terms – 1903 to 1904, 1905 to 1908, and 1909 to 1910. Before entering office, he was a leader of the movement for Australian federation.[1]

Deakin was born in Melbourne, and attended the University of Melbourne before training as a barrister. He was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1879, aged 22, and became a government minister in 1883. Deakin was a major contributor to the establishment of liberal reforms in the colony, including pro-worker industrial reforms. He also played a major part in developing irrigation in Australia.

Throughout the 1890s Deakin was a participant in conferences of representatives of the Australian colonies that were established to draft a constitution for the proposed federation. He played an important role in ensuring that the draft was liberal and democratic and in achieving compromises to enable its eventual success. Between conferences, he worked to popularise the concept of federation and campaigned for its acceptance in colonial referenda. He then fought hard to ensure acceptance of the proposed constitution by the Government of the United Kingdom. After Federation, Deakin was Attorney-General in the Barton Government from 1901 to 1903. He was one of the chief architects of the White Australia policy, overseeing the drafting of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901.

As Prime Minister, Deakin completed a significant legislative program that makes him, with Labor's Andrew Fisher, the founder of an effective Commonwealth government. He expanded the High Court, provided major funding for the purchase of ships, leading to the establishment of the Royal Australian Navy as a significant force under the Fisher government, and established Australian control of Papua. Confronted by the rising Australian Labor Party in 1909, he merged his Protectionist Party with Joseph Cook's Anti-Socialist Party to create the Commonwealth Liberal Party (known commonly as the Fusion), the main ancestor of the modern Liberal Party of Australia. The Deakin-led Liberal Party government lost to Fisher Labor at the 1910 election, which saw the first time a federal political party had been elected with a majority in either house in Federal Parliament. Deakin resigned from Parliament prior to the 1913 election, with Joseph Cook winning the Liberal Party leadership ballot.

Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin crop
2nd Prime Minister of Australia
In office
2 June 1909 – 29 April 1910
MonarchEdward VII
Governor-GeneralLord Dudley
Preceded byAndrew Fisher
Succeeded byAndrew Fisher
In office
5 July 1905 – 13 November 1908
MonarchEdward VII
Governor-GeneralLord Northcote
Lord Dudley
Preceded byGeorge Reid
Succeeded byAndrew Fisher
In office
24 September 1903 – 27 April 1904
MonarchEdward VII
Governor-GeneralLord Tennyson
Lord Northcote
Preceded byEdmund Barton
Succeeded byChris Watson
Leader of the Opposition
In office
1 July 1910 – 20 January 1913
Prime MinisterAndrew Fisher
Preceded byAndrew Fisher
Succeeded byJoseph Cook
In office
26 May 1909 – 2 June 1909
Prime MinisterAndrew Fisher
Preceded byJoseph Cook
Succeeded byAndrew Fisher
Party leadership positions
Leader of the Commonwealth Liberal Party
In office
26 May 1909 – 20 January 1913
Preceded byParty created
Succeeded byJoseph Cook
Leader of the Protectionist Party
In office
24 September 1903 – 26 May 1909
Preceded byEdmund Barton
Succeeded byParty dissolved
Cabinet posts
Minister for External Affairs
In office
5 July 1905 – 13 November 1908
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byGeorge Reid
Succeeded byLee Batchelor
In office
24 September 1903 – 27 April 1904
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byEdmund Barton
Succeeded byBilly Hughes
Attorney-General of Australia
In office
1 January 1901 – 24 September 1903
Prime MinisterEdmund Barton
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byJames Drake
Member of the Australian Parliament for Ballaarat
In office
30 March 1901 – 23 April 1913
Preceded bySeat created
Succeeded byCharles McGrath
Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly
In office
April 1889 – October 1900
Preceded bySeat created
Succeeded byEdward Warde
ConstituencyEssendon and Flemington
In office
July 1880 – March 1889
Preceded byRobert Harper
Succeeded bySeat abolished
In office
July 1879 – August 1879
Preceded byJohn Smith
Succeeded byRobert Harper
Personal details
Born3 August 1856
Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Died7 October 1919 (aged 63)
South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Resting placeSt Kilda Cemetery
Political partyIndependent (until 1901)
Protectionist (1901–1909)
Liberal (after 1909)
Pattie Browne
(m. 1882)
Children3, including Ivy Brookes
RelativesWilfred Brookes (grandson)
Alfred Brookes (grandson) Rohan Deakin Rivett (grandson)
EducationMelbourne Grammar School
University of Melbourne (no degree)

Early life

Birth and family background

Deakin was born on 3 August 1856 in his parents' cottage at 90 George Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria.[2] He was of English and Welsh descent, the younger of two children born to Sarah (née Bill) and William Deakin. His paternal grandfather John Deakin was born in Staffordshire, and worked in the leather industry as a currier before later becoming an excise officer. He married the daughter of Buckinghamshire farmer, and their son – Deakin's father – was born in Towcester, Northamptonshire. Deakin's mother was born in Llanarth, Monmouthshire, the daughter and granddaughter of farmers; her ancestors were from the border counties of Monmouthshire, Brecknockshire, and Shropshire. William Deakin left school at the age of 14 and became a travelling salesman. He met his future wife while travelling through Abergavenny, and they married at Grosmont in 1849.[3] Britain was experiencing an economic depression associated with the Panic of 1847, and they decided to immigrate to Australia.[4] The Deakins arrived in Adelaide, South Australia, in March 1850.[5] Their first child Catherine (known as Kate) was born in July 1850, at which point her father was working as a storekeeper and clerk. The family moved to Melbourne as a result of the Victorian gold rush, which began the following year.[6] William Deakin initially struggled to find steady employment, but later became involved with the carrying and coaching trade, transporting people and goods; he was listed as a carrier at the time of his son's birth in 1856. By the early 1870s, he was working with Cobb & Co. as a manager, inspector, and accountant, earning a salary that allowed he and his family to maintain a comfortable middle-class lifestyle.[7]

Childhood and education
Deakin as a young man

Deakin spent his early years in Fitzroy, then lived briefly in Emerald Hill (now South Melbourne) before his family settled in South Yarra in about 1863. Rather than build an entirely new house, his father transported a wooden cottage from Fitzroy to South Yarra and then had it brick-nogged. His parents and sister would live there for the rest of their lives.[8] At the age of four, Deakin was sent to join his ten-year-old sister in Kyneton, a small country town where she was attending a girls' boarding school run by the Thompson sisters. He was the only male pupil at the school.[9] It was unusual for children to be sent away at such a young age, and his biographer Judith Brett has speculated that their mother may have been suffering from a bout of depression or recovering from a stillbirth.[10] The Thompson sisters eventually moved their school to Melbourne, which Deakin continued to attend until the age of seven. In early 1864, he was enrolled at Melbourne Grammar School as a day-boy.[9] He attended Melbourne Grammar for eight years, where he was a good student without excelling academically. He later recalled that he had been "an incessantly restless, random and at times studiously mischievous pupil", and regretted that he had not been made to work harder.[11]

In 1871, aged 15, Deakin passed the matriculation exam for the University of Melbourne.[12] He formed an ambition to become a barrister, and began attending evening classes the following year. He could not afford to study full-time, working during the day as a schoolteacher and private tutor. At the time, the Victorian Bar did not require a complete university degree for admission, only passing grades in relevant legal subjects. Deakin was consequently admitted to the bar in September 1877, aged 21, without ever graduating from university.[13] According to his biographer John La Nauze, his legal studies were "the least important part of his education" during his time at university.[14] He was a frequent speaker in the Melbourne University Debating Society, where he was mentored by Charles Henry Pearson,[15] and was also involved in the Eclectic Society. He spent much of his spare time reading, "from Chaucer to the great writers of his own time".[16] For some time Deakin was "more interested in dreams of being a dramatist, a poet or a philosopher" rather than a lawyer. He wrote numerous works of blank verse and narrative poetry, and in 1875 published Quentin Massys, a drama in five acts.[17]

Deakin initially had difficulty in obtaining briefs as a barrister. In May 1878, he met David Syme, the owner of the Melbourne daily The Age, who paid him to contribute reviews, leaders and articles on politics and literature. In 1880, he became editor of The Leader, The Age's weekly. During this period Syme converted him from supporting free trade to protectionism.[18][19] He became active in the Australian Natives' Association and began to practise vegetarianism.[20] He became a lifelong spiritualist, holding the office of President of the Victorian Spiritualists' Union.[18][19][21]

Victorian politics

Deakin stood for the largely rural seat of West Bourke in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in February 1879, as a supporter of Legislative Council reform, protection to encourage manufacturing and the introduction of a land tax to break up the big agricultural estates, and won by 79 votes. Due to a number of voters being disenfranchised by a shortage of voting papers, he used his maiden speech to announce his resignation; he lost the subsequent by-election by 15 votes, narrowly lost the seat in the February 1880 general election, but won it in yet another early general election in July 1880.[22] The radical Premier, Graham Berry, offered him the position of Attorney-General in August, but Deakin turned him down.[18][19]

In 1882, Deakin married Elizabeth Martha Anne ("Pattie") Browne, daughter of a well-known spiritualist. They lived with Deakin's parents until 1887, when they moved to "Llanarth", in Walsh Street, South Yarra. They had three daughters, Ivy, Stella and Vera by 1891.[23]

In 1883 Deakin became Commissioner for Public Works and Water Supply, and in 1884 he became Solicitor-General and Minister of Public Works.[24] In 1885 Deakin secured the passage of the colony's pioneering Factories and Shops Act, enforcing regulation of employment conditions and hours of work.[23] In December 1884 he went to the United States to investigate irrigation, and presented a report in June 1885, Irrigation in Western America. Percival Serle described this report as "a remarkable piece of accurate observation, and was immediately reprinted by the United States government".[18] In June 1886, he introduced legislation to nationalise water rights and provide state-aid for irrigation works that helped establish irrigation in Australia.[19]

In 1885, Deakin became Chief Secretary and Commissioner for Water Supply and from 1890 Minister for Health and, briefly, Solicitor-General.[25] In 1887 he led Victoria's delegation to the Imperial Conference in London, where he argued forcibly for reduced colonial payments for the defence provided by the British Navy and for improved consultation in relation to the New Hebrides. In 1889, he became the member for the Melbourne seat of Essendon and Flemington.[18][22][23]

In 1890 the government was brought down over its use of the militia to protect non-union labour during the maritime strike. In addition, Deakin lost his fortune and his father's fortune in the property crash of 1893, and had to return to the bar to restore his finances. In 1892, he unsuccessfully defended the mass murderer Frederick Bailey Deeming and assisted the defence in the 1893–94 libel trial of David Syme.[18][19]

Road to Federation

Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin in 1898

After 1890, Deakin refused all offers of cabinet posts and devoted his attention to the movement for federation. He was Victoria's delegate to the Australasian Federal Conference, convened by Sir Henry Parkes in Melbourne in 1890, which agreed to hold an intercolonial convention to draft a federal constitution. He was a leading negotiator at the Federal Conventions of 1891, which produced a draft constitution that contained much of the Constitution of Australia, as finally enacted in 1900. Deakin was also a delegate to the second Australasian Federal Convention, which opened in Adelaide in March 1897 and concluded in Melbourne in January 1898. He opposed conservative plans for the indirect election of senators, attempted to weaken the powers of the Senate, in particular seeking to prevent it from being able to defeat money bills, and supported wide taxation powers for the federal government.[19][23] Deakin often had to reconcile differences and find ways out of apparently impossible difficulties. Between and after these meetings, he travelled through the country addressing public meetings and he was partly responsible for the large majority in Victoria at each referendum.[18]

In 1900 Deakin travelled to London with Edmund Barton and Charles Kingston to oversee the passage of the federation bill through the Imperial Parliament, and took part in the negotiations with Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary, who insisted on the right of appeal from the High Court to the Privy Council. Eventually a compromise was reached, under which constitutional (inter se) matters could be finalised in the High Court, but other matters could be appealed to the Privy Council.[19]

Deakin defined himself as an "independent Australian Briton," favouring a self-governing Australia but loyal to the British Empire. He certainly did not see federation as marking Australia's independence from Britain. On the contrary, Deakin was a supporter of closer empire unity, serving as president of the Victorian branch of the Imperial Federation League, a cause he believed to be a stepping stone to a more spiritual world unity.

Federal politics

Photo in 1898 of the future 1st Prime Minister of Australia Edmund Barton and 2nd Prime Minister of Australia Alfred Deakin
The first and second Prime Ministers of Australia, Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin, amongst the 1901 cabinet

In 1901 Deakin was elected to the first federal Parliament as MP for Ballaarat, and became Attorney-General in the ministry headed by Edmund Barton. He was active, especially in drafting bills for the Public Service, arbitration and the High Court. His second reading speech on the Immigration Restriction Bill to implement the White Australia policy was notable for its blatant racism,[26] including arguing that it was necessary to exclude the Japanese because of their good qualities, which would place them at an advantage over European Australians. His March 1902 speech in favour of the bill establishing the High Court of Australia helped overcome significant opposition to its establishment.[19]

First government 1903–1904

Deakin campaigned vehemently for the White Australia policy and made it a key issue in his 1903 Election speech[27] he proclaimed that the policy was not only for the preservation of the 'complexion' of Australia but it was for the establishment of 'social justice'.

When Barton retired to become one of the founding justices of the High Court, Deakin succeeded him as Prime Minister on 24 September 1903. His Protectionist Party did not have a majority in either House, and he held office only by courtesy of the Labor Party, which insisted on legislation more radical than Deakin was willing to accept. Deakin was the first PM to call an early election, within two months of becoming the leader, to catch his opponents off guard and take advantage of a large number of urban educated female voters who could cast a ballot for the first time.[28] In April 1904, he resigned without passing any legislation. The Labor leader Chris Watson and the Free Trade leader George Reid succeeded him, but neither could form a stable ministry.[19]

Second government 1905–1908

Alfred Deakin in 1905

Deakin resumed office in mid-1905, and retained it for three years. During this, the longest and most successful of his terms as Prime Minister, his government was responsible for much policy and legislation giving shape to the Commonwealth during its first decade, including bills to create an Australian currency. The Copyright Act was passed in 1905, the Bureau of Census and Statistics was established in 1906, Bureau of Meteorology was established in 1908 and the Quarantine Act was passed in 1908.[29]

In 1906 Deakin's government amended the Judiciary Act to increase the size of the High Court to five judges, as envisaged in the constitution, and appointed Isaac Isaacs and H. B. Higgins to fill the two additional seats. The first protective Federal tariff, the Australian Industries Protection Act was passed. This "New Protection" measure attempted to force companies to pay fair wages by setting conditions for tariff protection, although the Commonwealth had no powers over wages and prices.[19][29]

The Papua Act of 1905 established an Australian administration for the former British New Guinea and Deakin appointed Hubert Murray as Lieutenant-Governor of Papua in 1908, who ruled it for a 32-year period as a benevolent paternalist. His government passed a bill for the transfer of control of the Northern Territory from South Australia to the Commonwealth, which became effective in 1911.[19][29]

In December 1907, he introduced the first bill to establish compulsory military service, which was also strongly supported by Labor's Watson and Billy Hughes. He had long opposed the naval agreements to fund Royal Navy protection of Australia although Barton had agreed in 1902 that the Commonwealth would take over such funding from the colonies. In 1906 he announced that Australia would purchase destroyers, and in 1907 travelled to an Imperial Conference in London to discuss the issue, without success. In 1908 he invited Theodore Roosevelt's Great White Fleet to visit Australia, in a symbolic act of independence from Britain. The Surplus Revenue Act of 1908 provided £250,000 for naval expenditure, although these funds were first applied by the Andrew Fisher Labor government, creating the first independent navy in the British empire.[19][29]

Third government 1909–1910

In 1908, Deakin was again forced from office by Labor. He then formed a coalition, the "Fusion", with his old conservative opponent George Reid, and returned to power in May 1909 at the head of Australia's first majority government. The Fusion was seen by many as a betrayal of Deakin's liberal principles, and he was called a "Judas" by Sir William Lyne. He ordered the dreadnought battle cruiser, Australia and established the financial agreement of 1909, which gave the States annual grants of 25 shillings ($2.50) per person, which was the basis of Commonwealth-state financial arrangements until 1927. In the April 1910 election his party was soundly defeated by Labor under Andrew Fisher.[19]

Retirement from politics

Alfred Deakin, 1914 (Frederick McCubbin)
Parliament House portrait of Deakin by Frederick McCubbin, 1914

Deakin retired from Parliament in April 1913. He chaired the 1914 Royal Commission on Food Supplies and on Trade and Industry.[30] He was president of the Australian Commission for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915 to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, but found his duties difficult because of severe progressive memory loss (due to dementia).[31] He was the only Australian Prime Minister to reject the title of 'Right Honourable'.[32]

He became an invalid and died in 1919 of meningoencephalitis at age 63.[19][33] He is buried in the St Kilda Cemetery, alongside his wife, Pattie Deakin (b.1863, m.1882, d.1934).[34][35]


In his youth, Deakin published Quentin Massys, a drama in five acts.[36] Deakin attempted to burn the prints [37] Fortunately some survived and the play was reprinted 1940, as an example of Australian Verse [38]

Deakin continued to write prolifically throughout his career. He was a member of the Eclectic Association, fellow members included authors Theodore Fink, Arthur Topp, Arthur Patchett Martin and David Mickle.[39] Deakin wrote anonymous political commentaries for the London Morning Post even while he was Prime Minister. His account of the federation movement appeared as The Federal Story in 1944 and is a vital primary source for this history. His account of his career in Victorian politics in the 1880s was published as The Crisis in Victorian Politics in 1957. His collected journalism was published as Federated Australia in 1968.[19]


Deakin NLA 02
Alfred Deakin and wife Pattie in 1907

He was active in the Theosophical Society until 1896, when he resigned on joining the Australian Church led by Charles Strong.[40]

Though Deakin always took pains to obscure the spiritual dimensions of his character from public gaze, he felt a strong sense of providence and destiny working in his career.[41] Like Dag Hammarskjöld much later, Deakin's sincere longing for spiritual fulfillment led him to express a sense of unworthiness in his private diaries, which mingled with his literary aspirations as a poet.[42]

His private prayer diaries, like those of Samuel Johnson, express a profound contemplative (though more ecumenical) Christian view of the importance of humility in seeking divine assistance with his career.[43] "A life, the life of Christ," Deakin wrote, "that is the one thing needful—the only revelation required is there.... We have but to live it."[44] In 1888, as an example relevant to his work for Federation, Deakin prayed: "Oh God, grant me that judgment & forsight which will enable me to serve my country—guide me and strengthen me, so that I may follow & persuade others to follow the path which shall lead to the elevation of national life & thought & permanence of well earned prosperity—give me light & truth & influence for the highest & the highest only."[45] As Walter Murdoch pointed out, "[Deakin] believed himself to be inspired, and to have a divine message and mission."[46]

Historian Manning Clark, whose History of Australia cites extensively from his studies of Deakin's private diaries in the National Library of Australia, wrote: "By reading the world's scriptures and mystics a deep peace had settled far inside [Deakin]: now he felt a 'serenity at the core of my heart.' He wanted to know whether participation in the world's affairs would disturb that serenity... he was tormented by the thought that the emptiness of the man within corresponded with the emptiness of society at large where Mammon had found a new demesne to infest."[47]

Deakin processed a deep spiritual conviction and read widely on the subject. His daughter Vera Deakin (Lady White)said in a 1960 ABC radio interview "He had tremendously deep religious views, I'm sure of that. He read to us on Sundays from the Bible, from great preachers, and he was deeply, always deeply conscious of being, as he put it, 'a tool for providence to work through'. Any powers he had he felt he owed to the divine one and it was not his doing." [48]


Deakin was almost universally liked, admired and respected by his contemporaries, who called him "Affable Alfred." He made his only real enemies at the time of the Fusion, when not only Labor but also some liberals such as Sir William Lyne reviled him as a traitor.[19] He is regarded as a founding father by the modern Liberal Party.


Deakin generally rejected honours during his lifetime. He was first offered a knighthood at the 1887 Colonial Conference, aged 30, but declined to accept. On three separate occasions – in 1900, 1907, and 1913 – he refused appointment to the Privy Council, which would have entitled him to be styled "The Right Honourable". His refusal was "singular, indeed unique, among Australian politicians of comparable prominence". Except for Chris Watson, who was never offered the appointment, Deakin was the only Australian prime minister not to be a privy counsellor until Gough Whitlam in the 1970s.[49] He also refused to accept any honorary degrees as prime minister, believing they should only be awarded based on academic prowess. He rejected honorary Doctor of Civil Law degrees from the University of Oxford in 1900 and 1907, and a honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Cambridge in 1912. Deakin generally only accepted honours when he believed it would advance Australian interests, or if rejection could be taken as an insult. While visiting England as prime minister in 1907, he was made an honorary freeman of the cities of London and Edinburgh and an honorary bencher of Gray's Inn.[50] The one honorary degree he did accept was from the University of California in 1915, when he was representing Australia at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition.[51]

Alfred Deakin Ballarat
Bust of Alfred Deakin by sculptor Wallace Anderson located in the Prime Ministers Avenue in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Since Deakin's death, a number of places have been named in his honour. Educational institutions that bear his name include Canberra's Alfred Deakin High School, Deakin House at Melbourne Grammar School, Deakin Hall at Monash University, and Melbourne's Deakin University. He is one of only two prime ministers to have a university named in his honour, along with John Curtin (Curtin University). Other places named after Deakin include the Canberra suburb of Deakin and the Division of Deakin in the House of Representatives, located in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. In 1969, Australia Post honoured him on a postage stamp bearing his portrait.[52]

Personal life

Deakin had a long and happy marriage and was survived by his wife and their three daughters:

See also


  1. ^ "Deakin, Alfred (1856–1919)". Senators and Members. Parliament of Australia. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 7.
  3. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 4.
  4. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 5.
  5. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 3.
  6. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 6.
  7. ^ La Nauze 1965a, pp. 7–9.
  8. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 8.
  9. ^ a b La Nauze 1965a, p. 16.
  10. ^ Brett, Judith (2012). "Alfred Deakin's Childhood: Books, a Boy and his Mother". Australian Historical Studies. 43 (1): 69–70. doi:10.1080/1031461X.2011.585653.
  11. ^ La Nauze 1965a, pp. 18–19.
  12. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 19.
  13. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 23.
  14. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 24.
  15. ^ La Nauze 1965a, p. 22.
  16. ^ La Nauze 1965a, pp. 24–25.
  17. ^ La Nauze 1965a, pp. 26–28.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Serle, Percival. "Deakin, Alfred (1856–1919)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Norris, R. (1981). "Deakin, Alfred (1856–1919)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University.
  20. ^ "Cheap Livers and Death Dodgers: Vegetarianism in the National Library" (PDF). NLA News. XIV (3). December 2003. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  21. ^ "Alfred Deakin" (PDF). Prime Facts. Australian Prime Ministers Centre. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  22. ^ a b "Alfred Deakin". re-member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  23. ^ a b c d "Alfred Deakin, before". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  24. ^ "Appointment Solicitor-General Alfred Deakin MLA". Victorian Government Gazette. 12 March 1883. p. 1883:2569.
  25. ^ "Appointment Solicitor-General Alfred Deakin MLA". Victorian Government Gazette. 1 September 1890. p. 1890:3537.
  26. ^ "Commonwealth Parliamentary Debate – The case for national racial unity" (PDF). Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates House of Representatives, 12 September 1901, Vol. 4. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  27. ^ Alfred Deakins 1903 Election Speech,
  28. ^ Julian Fitzgerald On Message: Political Communications of Australian Prime Ministers 1901–2014 Clareville Press 2014 p 39
  29. ^ a b c d "Alfred Deakin, in office". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  30. ^ National Archives of Australia: Alfted Deakin, Fact Sheet 211
  31. ^ ABC Australia: Federation – Episode 3
  32. ^ "National Archives of Australia Fast Facts of Australian PMs". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  33. ^ "Alfred Deakin, afterwards". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  34. ^ "The Visionary: Alfred Deakin (1856-1919)". St Kilda Biographies. Friends of St Kilda Cemetery. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  35. ^ "DEATH OF ALFRED DEAKIN-FUNERAL OF GENERAL BOTHA". Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912–1938). NSW: National Library of Australia. 15 October 1919. p. 8. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  36. ^ Quentin Massys : A drama in five acts. Melbourne : Printed by J. P. Donaldson. 1875.
  37. ^ "Advocate Magazine". Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 - 1954). 1953-07-02. p. 9.
  38. ^ "Australian Literature". Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954). 1940-11-16. p. 7.
  39. ^ Eastwood, Jill. "Topp, Arthur Manning (1844–1916)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University.
  40. ^ "Deakin, Alfred (1856–1919)". Alfred Deakin. Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  41. ^ Al Gaby. The Mystic Life of Alfred Deakin. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1992. p 2.
  42. ^ Al Gaby. The Mystic Life of Alfred Deakin. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1992. p 37.
  43. ^ Samuel Johnson. Doctor Johnson's Prayers Elton Trueblood (ed) SCM Press. London 1947.
  44. ^ JA La Nauze. Alfred Deakin. A Biography. Angus and Robertson. Melbourne. p 79.
  45. ^ Al Gaby. The Mystic Life of Alfred Deakin. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1992. p 76 citing Deakin's Boke of Praer and Prase Prayer XLVII 12 August 1888
  46. ^ Walter Murdoch. Alfred Deakin: A sketch. Constable &Co Ltd. London 1923 p 137.
  47. ^ CMH Clark. A History Of Australia. Volume V. The People Make Laws 1888–1915. Melbourne University Press. Melbourne. 1981. pp302 and 275
  48. ^ "Alfreddeakin | Alfred's daughter Vera".
  49. ^ La Nauze (1965a), p. 202.
  50. ^ La Nauze (1965a), p. 203.
  51. ^ La Nauze (1965a), p. 204.
  52. ^ "Stamp". Australian Stamp and Coin Company. Retrieved 8 February 2010.


  • 1875 – Deakin, Alfred "Quentin Massys: A Drama in Five Acts" J.P. Donaldson, Melbourne, 1875.
  • 1877 – Deakin, Alfred "A New Pilgrim's Progress" Terry, Melbourne, 1877.
  • 1885 – Deakin, Alfred "Irrigation in Western America, so Far as it has Relation to the Circumstances of Victoria" Government Printer, Melbourne, 1885.
  • 1893 – Deakin, Alfred "Irrigated India: An Australian View of India and Ceylon, Their Irrigation and Agriculture" W. Thacker & Co., London, 1893.
  • 1893 – Deakin, Alfred "Temple and Tomb in India" Melville, Mullen and Slade, Melbourne, 1893.
  • 1923 – Deakin, Alfred / Walter Murdoch (ed)"Alfred Deakin – A Sketch" Bookman Press Pty Ltd ( First published 1923 later 1999 out of print) ISBN 1 86395 385 X
  • 1944 – Deakin, Alfred / Brookes, Herbert (ed) "The Federal Story: The Inner History of the Federal Cause" Robertson & Mullens, Melbourne, 1944 (later editions edited by J.A. La Nauze [1963] and Stuart Macintyre [1995]).
  • 1957 – Deakin, Alfred / La Nauze, J A and Crawford, R M (eds) "The Crisis in Victorian Politics, 1879–1881" Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1957.
  • 1968 – Deakin, Alfred / La Nauze, J A (ed) "Federated Australia: Selections from Letters to the Morning Post 1900–1910" Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1968.
  • 1974 – Deakin, Alfred and Murdoch, Walter / La Nauze, J A and Nurser, Elizabeth (eds) "Walter Murdoch and Alfred Deakin on 'Books and Men': Letters and Comments, 1900–1918" Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1974. ISBN 0-522-84056-6
  • 2017 – Brett, Judith "The Enigmatic Mr Deakin" The Text Publishing Company,Melbourne, 2017. ISBN 9781925498660

Further reading

  • Birrell, Robert (1995), A Nation of Our Own, Longman Australia, Melbourne. ISBN 0-582-87549-8
  • Gabay, Al (1992), The Mystic Life of Alfred Deakin, Cambridge University Press.
  • Hughes, Colin A (1976), Mr Prime Minister. Australian Prime Ministers 1901–1972, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, Ch.22. ISBN 0-19-550471-2
  • La Nauze, John (1965a). Alfred Deakin: A Biography / Volume 1. Melbourne University Press.
  • La Nauze, John (1965b). Alfred Deakin: A Biography / Volume 2. Melbourne University Press.
  • Mennell, Philip (1892). "Wikisource link to Deakin, Hon. Alfred". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource
  • Deakin, Alfred (1944). The Federal Story: The Inner History of the Federal Cause. Robertson and Mullins.

External links

Parliament of Victoria
Preceded by
John Smith
Member for West Bourke
Succeeded by
Robert Harper
Preceded by
Robert Harper
Member for West Bourke
District abolished
New district Member for Essendon and Flemington
Succeeded by
Edward Warde
Parliament of Australia
New division Member for Ballaarat
Succeeded by
Charles McGrath
Political offices
New title Attorney General of Australia
Succeeded by
James Drake
Preceded by
Edmund Barton
Prime Minister of Australia
Succeeded by
Chris Watson
Minister for External Affairs
Succeeded by
Billy Hughes
Preceded by
George Reid
Prime Minister of Australia
Succeeded by
Andrew Fisher
Minister for External Affairs
Succeeded by
Lee Batchelor
Preceded by
Joseph Cook
Leader of the Opposition of Australia
Succeeded by
Andrew Fisher
Preceded by
Andrew Fisher
Prime Minister of Australia
Preceded by
Andrew Fisher
Leader of the Opposition of Australia
Succeeded by
Joseph Cook
Party political offices
Preceded by
Edmund Barton
Leader of the Protectionist Party
Party disbanded
New political party Leader of the Commonwealth Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Joseph Cook
1901 Australian federal election

Federal elections for the inaugural Parliament of Australia were held in Australia on Friday 29 March and Saturday 30 March 1901. The elections followed Federation and the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. All 75 seats in the Australian House of Representatives, six of which were uncontested, as well as all 36 seats in the Australian Senate, were up for election.

After the initial confusion of the Hopetoun Blunder, the first Prime Minister of Australia, Edmund Barton, went into the inaugural 1901 federal election as the appointed head of a Protectionist Party caretaker government. While the Protectionists came first on votes and seats, they fell short of a majority. The incumbent government remained in office with the parliamentary support of the Labour Party, who held the balance of power, while the Free Trade Party formed the opposition. A few months prior to the 1903 election, Barton resigned to become a founding member of the High Court of Australia, and was replaced by Alfred Deakin.

Then Prime Minister Edmund Barton entered parliament at this election, as did six future Prime Ministers - Alfred Deakin, Chris Watson, George Reid, Joseph Cook, Andrew Fisher, and Billy Hughes - and future opposition leader Frank Tudor.

1903 Australian federal election

Federal elections were held in Australia on 16 December 1903. All 75 seats in the House of Representatives, and 19 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Protectionist Party minority government led by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin retained the most House of Representatives seats of the three parties and retained government with the parliamentary support of the Labour Party led by Chris Watson. The Free Trade Party led by George Reid remained in opposition.

The election outcome saw a finely balanced House of Representatives, with the three parties each holding around a third of seats − the Protectionists on 26 (−5), the Free Traders on 24 (−4) and Labour on 22 (+7). This term of parliament saw no changes in any party leadership but did see very significant and prolonged debates on contentious issues − the Protectionist minority government fell in April 1904 to Labour, while the Labour minority government fell in August 1904 to the Free Traders, while the Free Trader minority government fell in July 1905 back to the Protectionists, which continued until the 1906 election and beyond. The Free Traders remained in opposition throughout this eventful period with the exception of Labour forming the opposition for the first time during the period of the Free Trader minority government. Additionally, the Watson government was the world's first Labour Party government at a national level.

Despite a break in prime ministerships in 1904-05 and 1908-09, this is the first of three consecutive elections in which Deakin was the sitting prime minister.

1906 Australian federal election

Federal elections were held in Australia on 12 December 1906. All 75 seats in the House of Representatives, and 18 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Protectionist Party minority government led by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin retained government, despite winning the fewest House of Representatives votes and seats of the three parties. Parliamentary support was provided by the Labour Party led by Chris Watson, while the Anti-Socialist Party (renamed from the Free Trade Party), led by George Reid, remained in opposition.

Watson resigned as Labour leader in October 1907 and was replaced by Andrew Fisher. The Protectionist minority government fell in November 1908 to Labour, a few days before Reid resigned as Anti-Socialist leader, who was replaced by Joseph Cook. The Labour minority government fell in June 1909 to the newly formed Commonwealth Liberal Party led by Deakin. The party was formed on a shared anti-Labour platform as a merger between Deakin, leader of the Protectionists, and Cook, leader of the Anti-Socialists, in order to counter Labour's growing popularity. The merger didn't sit well with several of the more progressive Protectionists, who defected to Labour or sat as independents.

The merger would allow the Deakin Commonwealth Liberals to construct a mid-term parliamentary majority, however less than a year later at the 1910 election, Labour won both majority government and a Senate majority, representing a number of firsts: it was Australia's first elected federal majority government, Australia's first elected Senate majority, the world's first Labour Party majority government at a national level, and after the 1904 Watson minority government the world's second Labour Party government at a national level. The 113 acts passed in the second Fisher government (1910–13) exceeded even the output of the second Deakin government over a similar period. At the time, it represented the culmination of Labour's involvement in politics. It was a period of reform unmatched in the Commonwealth until the 1940s under John Curtin and Ben Chifley.

Alfred Deakin Brookes

Alfred Deakin Brookes (11 April 1920 – 19 June 2005) was the first head of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the intelligence agency of the Australian government that collects foreign intelligence. He was appointed in 1952 by Robert Menzies the prime minister at that time.

Alfred Deakin High School

Alfred Deakin High School is a government secondary school in Deakin, Australian Capital Territory, covering years 7 to 10 in the Territory's education system. It is named after the third Australian Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin.

Commonwealth Liberal Party

The Commonwealth Liberal Party (CLP, also known as the Deakin–Cook Party, The Fusion, or the Deakinite Liberal Party) was a political movement active in Australia from 1909 to 1917, shortly after Federation. The CLP came about as a result of a merger between the two non-Labor parties, the Protectionist Party and the Anti-Socialist Party (formerly Free Trade Party) which most of their MPs accepted. The CLP is the earliest direct ancestor of the current Liberal Party of Australia.

Deakin Government (1903–1904)

The first Deakin Government was the second federal executive government of the Commonwealth of Australia. It was led by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, from 24 September 1903 until 27 April 1904. Deakin was the second Prime Minister of Australia, but served as Prime Minister again from 1905–1908 and 1909–1910 – see Second Deakin Government and Third Deakin Government.

Deakin Government (1905–1908)

The Deakin Government (1905-1908) refers to the period of federal executive government of Australia led by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. It lasted from 5 July 1905 to 13 November 1908. Deakin was the second Prime Minister of Australia having previously led the Deakin Government (1903-1904), and held the office again in 1909–1910.

Deakin University

Deakin University is a public university in Victoria, Australia. Established in 1974 with the passage of the Deakin University Act 1974, the university was named after the second Prime Minister of Australia, Alfred Deakin.

Its main campuses are in Melbourne's Burwood suburb, Geelong Waurn Ponds, Geelong Waterfront and Warrnambool, as well as the online Cloud Campus. Deakin also has learning centres in Dandenong, Craigieburn and Werribee, all in the state of Victoria.

Deakin is one of Australia's fastest growing research universities. 89% of Deakin's research is rated at or above world class. Its combined research funding increased from A$4.5 million in 1997 to A$47.2 million in 2015.

Division of Deakin

The Division of Deakin is an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria. It is named for Alfred Deakin, three times Prime Minister of Australia.

Electoral district of Essendon and Flemington

Essendon and Flemington was an electoral district of the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1889 to 1904. It was held for most of its existence by future Prime Minister Alfred Deakin before his switch to federal politics in 1901. It was abolished in 1904 and replaced with separate Essendon and Flemington electorates.

First Deakin Ministry

The First Deakin Ministry (Protectionist) was the 2nd ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 2nd Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin. The First Deakin Ministry succeeded the Barton Ministry, which dissolved on 24 September 1903 following Sir Edmund Barton's retirement from Parliament to enter the inaugural High Court. The ministry was replaced by the Watson Ministry on 27 April 1904 after the Labour Party withdrew their support over the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.

First Fisher Ministry

The First Fisher Ministry (Labour) was the 7th ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 5th Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher. The First Fisher Ministry succeeded the Third Deakin Ministry, which dissolved on 13 November 1908 after Labour withdrew their support and Alfred Deakin was forced to resign. The ministry was replaced by the Fourth Deakin Ministry on 2 June 1909 after the Protectionist Party and the Anti-Socialist Party merged into the Commonwealth Liberal Party "fusion" and withdrew their support in order to form what became the first majority government in federal Australian history.

Fourth Deakin Ministry

The Fourth Deakin Ministry (Commonwealth Liberal) was the 8th ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 2nd Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin. The Fourth Deakin Ministry succeeded the First Fisher Ministry, which dissolved on 2 June 1909 after the Protectionist Party and the Anti-Socialist Party merged into the Commonwealth Liberal Party "fusion" and withdrew their support in order to form what became the first majority government in federal Australian history. The ministry was replaced by the Second Fisher Ministry on 29 April 1910 following the federal election that took place on 13 April which saw the Labour Party defeat the Commonwealth Liberals.

Protectionist Party

The Protectionist Party was an Australian political party, formally organised from 1887 until 1909, with policies centred on protectionism. It advocated protective tariffs, arguing it would allow Australian industry to grow and provide employment. It had its greatest strength in Victoria and in the rural areas of New South Wales. Its most prominent leaders were Sir Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin, who were the first and second prime ministers of Australia.

Second Deakin Ministry

The Second Deakin Ministry (Protectionist) was the 5th ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 2nd Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin. The First Deakin Ministry succeeded the Reid Ministry, which dissolved on 5 July 1905 following the resignation of George Reid after the Protectionists withdrew their support and gained support from the Labour Party. The ministry was replaced by the Third Deakin Ministry on 24 January 1907 following the 1906 federal election.

Third Deakin Ministry

The Third Deakin Ministry (Protectionist) was the 6th ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 2nd Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin. The Third Deakin Ministry succeeded the Second Deakin Ministry, which dissolved on 24 January 1907 following the federal election that took place in December 1906. The ministry was replaced by the First Fisher Ministry on 13 November 1908 after the Labour Party withdrew their support and formed their own minority government.

Watson Ministry

The Watson Ministry (Labour) was the 3rd ministry of the Government of Australia, and the first national Labour government formed in the world. It was led by the country's 3rd Prime Minister, Chris Watson. The Watson Ministry succeeded the First Deakin Ministry, which dissolved on 27 April 1904 after Labour withdrew their support and Alfred Deakin was forced to resign. The ministry was replaced by the Reid Ministry on 17 August 1904 after the Protectionist Party withdrew their support over the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.

William Lyne

Sir William John Lyne KCMG (6 April 1844 – 3 August 1913) was an Australian politician who served as Premier of New South Wales from 1899 to 1901, and later as a federal cabinet minister under Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin. He is best known as the subject of the "Hopetoun Blunder", unexpectedly being asked to serve as the first Prime Minister of Australia but failing to form a government.

Lyne was born in Van Diemen's Land, the son of a pastoral farmer. When he was 20, he and cousin took up a sheep station in North West Queensland. However, he moved back home after a few years and found work in local government. Lyne moved to New South Wales in 1875, buying a station near Albury and becoming prominent in community affairs. He was elected to the colonial Legislative Assembly in 1880, and first entered cabinet in 1885 under George Dibbs. He was a member of the Protectionist Party, and a major opponent of free-traders Henry Parkes and George Reid.

Lyne was elected leader of the Protectionists in 1895, and became Leader of the Opposition in New South Wales. He stood aside in 1898, but returned as leader the following year and became premier at the head of a coalition with the Labor Party. Lyne led an energetic and progressive government, instituting a number of major social reforms. He supported federation in principle, serving as a delegate to multiple constitutional conventions. However, he considered the draft constitution to be too unfavourable to his home colony and supported the "no" vote at the 1898 and 1899 referendums.

In 1900, Lyne was asked by Lord Hopetoun (the incoming governor-general) to lead Australia's first national government. Hopetoun was relying on the precedent established at Canadian Confederation, where the premier of the largest colony became the prime minister of the new federation. However, Lyne had no support from leading federationists and was forced to relinquish the honour to Edmund Barton. Lyne became Minister for Home Affairs in Barton's government, and was later Minister for Trade and Customs and Treasurer under Alfred Deakin. Lyne opposed the formation of the new Commonwealth Liberal Party in 1909 and spent the rest of his career as a crossbencher, supporting Andrew Fisher's Labor government. He lost his seat at the 1913 election and died a few months later.

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