Alfred Deakin (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: After serving a ten-year apprenticeship in Victoria’s legislative assembly from 1880, Deakin spent the next decade working toward the federation of the Australian colonies. One of the primary founders of the Commonwealth of Australia, he served three times as prime minister, dominating the government during its first, formative decade.
Alfred Deakin was born on August 3, 1856, at Melbourne in the colony of Victoria. His Welsh-born mother, née Sarah Bill, and his father, William Deakin, an English salesclerk, arrived in South Australia from England in December, 1849. After following the gold rush to Victoria (1851), they eventually settled in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood, where their second child, Alfred, was born.
Educated primarily at the Melbourne Church of England Grammar School, as a young adult Alfred Deakin attended lectures in law at the University of Melbourne at night. His father’s income as accountant with a big coaching company being modest, Deakin supported himself, partly by teaching, while qualifying for the bar and pursuing a deep and continuing interest in mysticism, religion, and psychic phenomena (in 1878 serving as president of the Victorian Association of Spiritualists) and a love of literature and writing. These interests introduced him to his true vocation and to his future wife.
Through David Syme, the powerful proprietor of the...
(The entire section is 2065 words.)
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