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Agnew, Sir James Willson (1815–1901), medical practitioner and politician in Tasmania, born at Ballyclare, co. Antrim, Ireland, on 2 October 1815, was the son of James William Agnew, a physician, and Ellen Stewart, of Larne, co. Antrim. Educated for the medical profession at ...

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Sir Edmund Barton (1849–1920) by unknown photographer, 1903 by permission of the National Library of Australia

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Barton, Sir Edmund (1849–1920), prime minister of Australia, was born at Glebe, Sydney, New South Wales, on 18 January 1849, youngest son of William Barton, Australia's first stockbroker, and his wife, Mary Louisa (née Whydah), a schoolteacher. Known familiarly as Toby, he was educated at ...

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Sir Thomas Bent (1838–1909) by John Lockwood, c. 1907 La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria

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Bent, Sir Thomas (1838–1909), premier of Victoria, Australia, born at Penrith in New South Wales on 7 December 1838, was the eldest child of five sons and three daughters of James and Maria (née Toomey) Bent. His father had been transported for housebreaking; his mother was a free immigrant from ...

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Sir Graham Berry (1822–1904) by Barraud, pubd 1891 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Berry, Sir Graham (1822–1904), politician in Australia, was born at Twickenham, England, on 28 August 1822 to Benjamin Berry, a retired shopkeeper, and his wife, Clara, née Graham. After basic schooling, he was apprenticed to a draper; in 1846 he married the Scottish ...

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Bland, William (1789–1868), medical practitioner and politician in Australia, was born in London on 5 November 1789, the second son of Dr Robert Bland (1740–1816). William was said to have attended the Merchant Taylors' School, but this has not been confirmed. Certainly, he was drawn to medicine and on 6 January 1809 qualified as a surgeon's mate in the ...

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Blyth, Sir Arthur (1823–1891), politician in Australia, was born at Birmingham on 19 March 1823, the third of the four sons of William Blyth (1788–1855), a wholesale merchant of Birmingham, and his wife, Sarah (c.1797–1861), the daughter of the Revd William Wilkins...

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Braddon, Sir Edward Nicholas Coventry (1829–1904), politician in Australia, born at Skisdone Lodge, St Kew, Cornwall, on 11 June 1829, was the third and only surviving son of Henry Braddon, solicitor, of an old Cornish family, and his wife, Fanny, daughter of Patrick White...

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Stanley Melbourne Bruce, Viscount Bruce of Melbourne (1883–1967) by Howard Coster, 1939 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bruce, Stanley Melbourne, Viscount Bruce of Melbourne (1883–1967), prime minister of Australia, was born on 15 April 1883 at Grey Street, St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia, the youngest of five children of John Munro Bruce (1840–1901) and his wife, Mary Ann Henderson (1848–1908), both Irish-born of Scottish descent. His father, a partner in ...

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Butler, Edward (1823–1879), barrister and politician in Australia, was born in co. Kilkenny, Ireland, the son of Michael Butler, tenant farmer, and his wife, Mary, née Joyce. He was educated at St Kieran's College, Kilkenny, where he was encouraged to prepare for the Catholic priesthood. ...

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E. I. Carlyle

revised by A. G. L. Shaw

Byrnes, Thomas Joseph (1860–1898), politician in Australia, born in Brisbane, Queensland, on 11 November 1860, was the son of Irish Roman Catholic immigrants, Patrick Byrnes (d. 1867), a farmer, and his wife, Anna, née Tighe. He was educated at the Bowen primary school...

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Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey, Baron Casey (1890–1976) by Walter Stoneman, 1943 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Casey, Richard Gavin Gardiner, Baron Casey (1890–1976), politician in Australia and diplomatist, was born on 29 August 1890 in George Street, Brisbane, Queensland, the elder son (there were no daughters) of Richard Gardiner Casey (1846–1919), a pastoralist with mining interests, of Brisbane, and his wife, ...

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Joseph Benedict Chifley (1885–1951) by unknown photographer © reserved; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Chifley, Joseph Benedict [Ben] (1885–1951), prime minister of Australia, was born at Bathurst, New South Wales, on 22 September 1885, the eldest of three sons of Irish-Australian and Irish immigrant parents, Patrick Chifley (1862–1921), a blacksmith, and his wife, Mary Anne Corrigan (1856?–1929)...

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Chewton Atchley

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Colton, Sir John (1823–1902), businessman and politician in Australia, one of the five sons of William Colton (1795–1858), a Devon farmer, and his wife, Elizabeth, was born at Harbertonford, Devon, on 23 September 1823. When he was sixteen his family obtained free passage to ...

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Cook, Sir Joseph (1860–1947), prime minister of Australia, was born on 7 December 1860 at Silverdale, near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, the eldest son of William Cooke, coalminer, and his wife, Margaret Fletcher. His childhood was spent in poverty and hard work. He first worked as a pit boy at the age of nine, and after his father died in 1873, he became the principal wage-earner of the family. Devoted to self-improvement, he studied during his lunch breaks and at night, developing the discipline, self-confidence, and endurance that were to last throughout his life. He became a lay preacher in the ...