Puzzles of a Prime Minister: Alfred Deakin Revealed

Puzzles of a Prime Minister: Alfred Deakin Revealed
Artwork: Alfred Deakin, by Alison Alder; Photograph: Dr David Headon

About the Lecture:

When summing up the career of Australia’s second Prime Minister, Australian novelist and social commentator, Vance Palmer, concluded that Alfred Deakin was ‘the ideal Australian statesman’.

It was a description at odds with the hostile labels used by some of Deakin’s more prominent political opponents. Yet neither opinion does him justice. Deakin was different. He lived an extraordinary life that often transcended politics, the machinations of political colleagues and, on occasion, even his family.

He nurtured matters of the spirit and he always wanted to be a writer, a lone creative writer. In the midst of his ground-breaking (second) stint as Prime Minister (1905-8), he considered leaving politics altogether. With Deakin, widely regarded today as one of Australia’s most significant Prime Ministers, intriguing contradictions abound.

About the Speaker:

Dr David Headon is a cultural consultant and historian. Formerly Director of the Centre for Australian Cultural Studies, Cultural Adviser to the National Capital Authority and History and Heritage Adviser for the Centenary of Canberra, he is now a Foundation Fellow at the Australian Studies Institute (ANU), a Parliamentary Library Associate and the Canberra Raiders club historian.

The First Eight Project is a collaborative project between the Australian Parliamentary Library, Australian Studies Institute (ANU), National Archives of Australia, National
Museum of Australia, and Victorian Parliamentary Library.

Bookings are not required for this event.

Date & time

Mon 14 Oct 2019, 12pm


Main Committee Room, Parliament House


Dr David Headon, Foundation Fellow, Australian Studies Institute


Australian Parliamentary Library


Updated:  17 October 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications