The first Prime Minister of Australia was Sir Edmund Barton, who held office from January 1, 1901 to September 24, 1903. He was a member of the Protectionist Party, which was one of the two major political parties in Australia at the time, along with the Free Trade Party.
Barton was born in Sydney, New South Wales on January 18, 1849, and was educated at Fort Street High School and the University of Sydney. He then worked as a solicitor before entering politics in 1879. He was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1879, and later served as Attorney-General of New South Wales from 1883 to 1887.
In 1890, Barton was elected to the Australian House of Representatives as the member for East Sydney. He served as the leader of the Protectionist Party from 1891 to 1901, and played a key role in the drafting of the Australian Constitution, which was adopted in 1901.
On January 1, 1901, Barton was appointed as the first Prime Minister of Australia, following the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, which established the new nation. As Prime Minister, he oversaw the establishment of the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, the Commonwealth Public Service, and the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration.
Barton also focused on foreign affairs, and played a key role in establishing the new nation’s relations with other countries, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States. He attended the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, and also visited New Zealand, Canada, and the United States during his time in office.
However, Barton’s government was plagued by internal divisions, and he resigned as Prime Minister in September 1903, after losing the support of his own party. He was succeeded by Alfred Deakin, who served as Prime Minister for the next three years.
Barton continued to serve in politics as a member of the Australian House of Representatives and later as a judge of the High Court of Australia, and was honored with a knighthood in 1902. He died on January 7, 1920 at the age of 70.
In conclusion, Sir Edmund Barton was the first Prime Minister of Australia, and held office from January 1, 1901 to September 24, 1903. He played a key role in the drafting of the Australian Constitution and established the nation’s relations with other countries. He was also the leader of Protectionist Party and the member for East Sydney. He resigned as Prime Minister in September 1903 and was succeeded by Alfred Deakin.