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A showcase of revealing records of prime ministers’ lives.

First ladies

The Prime Minister’s wife is not Australia’s ‘first lady’.

This was demonstrated at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. The order of precedence in the procession and in the official seating for Lady Hopetoun, Lady Darley, and Jane Barton mirrored that of their husbands, the first Governor-General, the Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales, and the first Prime Minister.

Six of the arches of the octagonal pavilion built as the birthplace of the nation bore the names of the States. The Tasmanian and West Australian arches held the official seating for women.

Among the other ‘first ladies’ of the nation standing within the white fenced enclosure at the ceremony in Centennial Park, Sydney were Flora Reid, Maybanke Anderson and Emily Dobson.

The Federation Kiosk, Centennial Park, Sydney at the Proclamation of Federation, 1 January 1901.

The Federation Kiosk, Centennial Park, Sydney at the Proclamation of Federation, 1 January 1901.


NAA: A1200, L83907

The Federation Kiosk, Centennial Park, Sydney at the Proclamation of Federation, 1 January 1901.

The Federation Kiosk, Centennial Park, Sydney at the Proclamation of Federation, 1 January 1901.


NAA: A1200, L83908


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Did you know ...

Fifty of the 111 members of the first federal parliament were born in Britain, and sixteen of these were Scots. Of the seven members of the first parliament who became Prime Ministers, two were born in Australia (Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin), two in England (Joseph Cook and WM Hughes) and two in Scotland (George Reid and Andrew Fisher).

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