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Edmund Barton is Born

Today in Masonic History Edmund Barton is born in 1849.

Edmund Barton was an Australian politician.

Barton was born in Glebe, New South Wale, the ninth child in the family. He would graduate from the University of Sydney before becoming a barrister in 1871.

In 1876 Barton ran for the first time for public office. Running for a seat in the Legislative Assembly (lower house of New South Wales Parliament). He would be defeated in that attempt and again twice more before being elected to the Assembly. He would be elected to represent various communities over the next 10 years. During that time he would be elected as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. At the age of 33 he would be the youngest elected into that position for any legislative body in Australia.

In 1887 he would be appointed to the Legislative Council (upper house of New South Wales Parliament). Two years later he would accept an appointment as Attorney General.

In 1891 the National Australian Convention was held. Barton had long been an advocate of federation, the idea that all of the states of Australia should retain their autonomy and form a national government for issues that affected all states. During the Convention, Barton took part in producing a draft constitution, which would closely resemble the Australian Constitution enacted in 1900.

It took 8 years from the 1891 Convention and two referendums to ratify the Constitution. In 1900 Barton would resign from Parliament to travel to London and explain the new Constitution to the British Government.

In 1901 Barton would become the first Prime Minister of Australia. The main effort of his ministry was to setup the National elections just three months away.

In the two years Barton was Prime Minister his government produced the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 which would be part of the White Australia Policy. The policy was meant to limit immigration from non-European areas, favoring particularly British immigrants.

In 1903 Barton would resign as Prime Minister to become one of the founding justices on High Court of Australia. He would serve on the court until 1920 when he passed away.

Barton was initiated into Australian Lodge of Harmony No. 556, Sydney, Australia in 1878.