MS 51 comprises correspondence, personal papers, press cuttings, photographs and papers relating to the Federation campaign and the first Parliament of the Commonwealth. The correspondence dating from 1827-1896 relates mainly to the business and family affairs of William Barton, and to Edmund Barton's early legal and political work. The correspondence of 1898-1905 concerns the Federation campaign, the London conference 1900 and Barton's prime ministership, 1901-1903. Correspondence, 1906-1920, relates mainly to Barton's family and to his work in the High Court.
Correspondents include Alfred Deakin, Lord Forrest, Lord Hopetoun, Joseph Chamberlain, Sir Samuel Griffith, Sir William Lyne, Sir Henry Parkes, Lord Tennyson, Lord Jersey, George W.E. Russell and Sir George Reid. There are also press cuttings relating to the Hastings-Macleay election, 1898, and to the activities of the Federation delegates in London, 1900; Commonwealth Constitution material, 1885-1901, some of it annotated in Barton's hand; family documents; and commissions and honours.
Sir Edmund Barton was the first prime minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, having previously been a leading advocate of Federation and one of the draftsmen of the Australian Constitution. He served as prime minister from 1 January 1901 until 23 September 1903, and then resigned to become the senior puisne judge of the newly-established High Court of Australia.
||Exhibited: "Treasures Gallery", National Library of Australia, 3 December 2012 - 3 May 2013. Selected items exhibited in: "Treasures Gallery", National Library of Australia, 12 June 2012 - 23 September 2012. Exhibited: "Treasures Gallery", National Library of Australia, 7 October 2011 - 15 December 2012.