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Sir Edmund Barton was Australia’s First Prime Minister, from 1901 to 1903. He rose to prominence in NSW politics before strongly supporting the push for Federation of Australia’s states. As Prime Minister he played an important part in establishing the workable machinery of government and cementing the Federation. After politics, Barton became a judge of the new High Court of Australia.

Glebe connections

Edmund Barton, image from State Library of NSW
Edmund Barton, image from State Library of NSW

Edmund Barton was born on 18 January 1849 at Glebe. He was educated at Fort Street Model School, Sydney Grammar and Sydney University.

In his work for Federation, Barton was assisted by the pro-Federation Garran family who lived at Strathmore in Glebe Point Road. Strathmore has been demolished but Strathmore Lane and Garran Lane survive and run off Sheehy Street. Two generations of the Garran family supported Barton : father Dr Andrew Garran, deputy Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and his son, who became Sir Robert Garran, who worked closely with Barton on the drafting committees for the Australian Constitution.

For many years, The Glebe Society noted that there was no street or park in Glebe which acknowledged and commemorated Barton’s birthplace. In March 2009, the Lord Mayor unveiled a bronze plaque that commemorates the birth in Glebe of Edmund Barton. The plaque is installed on one of the pillars adjacent to the footbridge (which crosses Parramatta Road) in Arundel Street. The placement of the plaque symbolizes Barton’s connection to Glebe and to the University of Sydney where he studied Classics and was a Fellow of the Senate for many years.

More information

Australian Dictionary of Biography

Obituaries Australia  

Glebe Walks, Sydney University Footbridge

Bolton, Geoffrey, Edmund Barton: The one man for the job, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, 2000

MacDonnell, Freda, The Glebe: Portraits and Places, Ure Smith, Sydney, 1975

Reynolds, John, Edmund Barton, Bookman, Melbourne, 1999

Posted on April 6, 2013 by Peter

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