The 10 First Australian Prime Ministers

January 26: Australia Day.

Today is a day to be proud of our country and the people that put in a lot of work and effort for our rights and benefits that we enjoy. Although Australia was born as a nation on 1st January 1901, we celebrate it on January 26, being the commemoration of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 and the unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove.

Australia Day Education – Our Prime Ministers

As I have noticed, surprisingly, that Aussies are not taught a great deal of history in School (compared to other nations), I thought I’d refresh our memories on who Australia’s first Prime Ministers were. Today is a suitable day to honor those people who represented our first days as a nation.

The First 10 Aussie PM’s – 6 Men

Sir Edmund Barton1 – Sir Edmund Barton

Sir Edmund Barton was the first prime minister of Australia

1 January 1901 – 24 September 1903

Sir Edmund Barton became Australia’s first Prime Minister on New Year’s Day 1901 at a huge public ceremony in Centennial Park in Sydney. Barton had worked on Federation for 10 years, and became Australia’s first Prime Minister because the supporters of Federation trusted him.

Alfred Deakin2 – Alfred Deakin (+ 5 & 7)

Alfred Deakin was Australia’s 2nd, 5th & 7th prime minister on these dates:

24 September 1903 – 27 April 1904
5 July 1905 – 13 November 1908
2 June 1909 – 29 April 1910

Deakin was a lawyer who liked dabbling in politics. In the late nineteenth century, Deakin spent 20 years in colonial politics. With Edmund Barton, he spent ten years before Federation trying to convince the separate colonies to become one nation.

John Christian Watson3 – John Christian Watson

John Christian Watson was Australia’s 3rd prime minister on these dates:

27 April 1904 – 17 August 1904

Although he only served as Prime Minister for a little more than three months, Chris Watson played an important part in our history – he was the first leader of the Labor Party and the first Labor Prime Minister.

Sir George Houston Reid4 – Sir George Houston Reid

Sir George Houston Reid was Australia’s 4th prime minister:

18 August 1904 – 5 July 1905

George Reid was Prime Minister for ten months and 17 days. He was our first federal Leader of the Opposition and the federal government’s first High Commissioner to the UK.

Andrew Fisher6 – Andrew Fisher (+ 8 & 10)

Andrew Fisher was Australia’s 6th, 8th & 10th prime minister on these dates:

13 November 1908 – 2 June 1909
29 April 1910 – 24 June 1913
17 September 1914 – 27 October 1915

Andrew Fisher was the most successful of our early Labor Prime Ministers because he became Prime Minister three times! His government started the Commonwealth Bank and introduced invalid pensions.

Sir Joseph Cook9 – Sir Joseph Cook

Sir Joseph Cook was Australia’s 9th prime minister

24 June 1913 – 17 September 1914

When Joseph Cook was first involved in politics in the 1890s, he was a member of the Labor Party. However, during his career as a politician he was a member of several different political parties. When he became Australia’s ninth Prime Minister in 1913, he was the first Prime Minister to lead a Liberal party government.

Whatever country you are from: Have fun, be proud, remember your heritage and honor your family on this great day. Enjoy Australia Day!

Bless you all.

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator © 2004 – 2009

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a passionate blogger and has been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When he's not with his family, or dog Buddy, Sean is usually blogging or doing something related to the internet.


  1. Great blog Sean & thanks for the refresh 🙂

    Yes your right about us Aussie’s not been taught about history like others. I realised how little I had been taught when I decided to put a post on my blog about Australia Day History. All morning I did research & taught myself a few new things.

    Of course any Aussie that’s been through school would remember James Cook but I don’t remember about Captain Arthur Philip. Now since he was the first Governor of New South Wales & the establishment of a settlement at Sydney Cove on this great national day back in 1788, one would think that he was also taught in the classroom.

    What great day to do a little bit of history refreshing, Happy Australia Day! 🙂


    Annes last blog post..A Little History of Australia Day!

  2. Hi Anne
    Sometimes i think it’s deliberate that the Schools don’t teach us more about our own history. It’s bizarre that we are not taught things that are so basic and that everyone should know. They can teach what happened 5000 years a go from the Bible in a foreign land but not enough about 100 years ago in our own.

    • Hi Sean,

      I was just reading your post, and I was thinking that because of the diversity of cultures that are within Australia these days, might it not be another case of political correctness madness?

      I would think that, if anything, they would like to reinforce the new Australians choice to move to a new country and a new way of life by letting them know where the country came from. Of course, I would hope that they would include the bad as well as the good (and throw in a bit of ugly as well! *wink*). I was fortunate that during my secondary schooling, we DID study Australian History (Catholic school, not public school system), and then when I had to change schools to a public High School, found that American History was on the books.

      Just a thought!


      .-= Pete´s last blog ..peteboyr: @bullhunter Thanks, Sean. Just reviewing the webinar, and will get to your blogs after that. Big night ahead, pizza on the way! =-.

  3. Thanks for the info on Aussie Prime Ministers.

    I definately agree that more Australian history should be taught in schools. When I went to the same schools as John Howard had been to, I was only taught the basics about James Cook, Arthur Phillip, the convicts and some of the explorers like Burke and Wills, Mawson and some others like Sturt, Hume, Oxley, Lawson and Flinders.

    That was only in Primary School and we got all but nothging on Australia in High School. I think it’s changed a bit now, but I think it might have been a throwback to colonialism where we were meant to have more connection to England than our own beautiful country Australia.
    I’m a decsendant of free settlers that arrived in 1858, when I was at school people thought that Aussies only had convict backgrounds and were very suprised to hear that not all of us have that heritage.

    Anyway… Advance Australia Fair.

  4. HArry Lynn says:

    G’day Sean,
    Thankyou for posting our early Prime Ministers history. I think it really stinks that we don’t learn this at school, unlike our American neighbours who seem to be very aware of their constitution and history.
    I’m going to send this on to some of my Aussie mates
    Thanks again

  5. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    Thank-you for this post. I love history and I really enjoyed reading about our Prime Ministers. I’d like to know more about the men who lead the way in building our country.

    Do you know the Australian equivalent of some of the great American industrialists and bankers? I’d really like to learn more about the men and women who were our pioneers. Looks like I need a trip to the library.

  6. Thanks for the brush up on Australian history. I just read that D.Trump and R.Kiyosaki have a keen interest in history to learn from it.

    Do I have to write down now all the German chancellors? Oh bugger, I will have to google them first I think 🙂
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Overcoming Procrastination =-.

  7. “Land Down Under” by Men At Work. The Aussie Backpacker Anthem. This song binds Aussie backpackers in any pub, hostel, party, or place in the world. Love it. Something about hearing it overseas. We’re usually drunk for some reason too…
    .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..Richard Branson Business School: A day visit =-.

    • Drunk backpackers? I find that hard to believe!

    • Definitely something about the mix of dodgy transport, random acquaintences, and dubious activities which strikes a chord in many an Aussie backpacker. I must admit I appreciated this song even more when I did my share of backpacking overseas – a little reminder of home. Cool film clip too. Thanks for sharing, Sean.

      Whenever I hear Great Southern Land, I can’t help but be reminded of Young Einstein. I wonder whatever happened ot Yahoo Serious.
      .-= Tom McEwin´s last blog ..Getting Targeted Internet Traffic and a Hungry Crowd =-.

  8. I must admit I didn’t know all these men. We tend to only hear about recent ones. The one I remember the most is Gough Whitlam due to the Kerr thingy. Not bad for a kiwi.

    We don’t get a lot of history but we get a little. The labour government that brought in social welfare was the most notable.

    We also cellabrate notable achievements such as the 1st country to allow womens voting rights
    .-= Gee´s last blog ..Why You Should Just Ignore Fad Diets (Part 2) =-.

  9. Hello Sean,

    I am really interested in History. I love to see and hear how Australians lived before us but its such a shame that history is not taught to our children as schools. I asked a teacher why and her answer was amazing “They don’t like us to teach history anymore because its not political correct” !!! I am curious, why were they prime ministers for such a short period of time? Last year I was in Canberra and my brother and I went to the Paliarment House. There we got to see all of the photos/dates/times/names of the Prime Ministers. Both of us were shocked when we learnt how little they were a Prime Minister. It got us to thinking WHY? but we never did find out the answer.

    I saw some where recently about “Men At Work – Down Under”. I think I read that they are being sued for taking the tune from another great Australian Song 🙂
    .-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Our Kids Today =-.

  10. Here in Adelaide we have remnants of colonial defenses. Military Road stretches along much of Adelaide’s beaches the other side of the sand dunes out of sight of any French warships that may approach. Half way along the road is Fort Largs with its cannon aimed out to sea to blast those French vessels. As separate colonies, we were vulnerable to be picked off one by one. Federation was timely. It enabled Australia to form an identity prior to WW1 which could otherwise have left an ununified Australia vulnerable to attack from German allies.
    .-= Wal Heinrich´s last blog ..Think And Grow Rich Mindset Mastery =-.

  11. Hi Sean,
    Australia has so much wonderful history. In 1788 when the first settlers arrived there wasn’t even a toilet here. In just 200 years, by the 1970’s we had built this country up to be the richest nation bar none. We did this by working together as a community and enduring many, many sacrifices as individuals for the betterment of the community as a whole.

    Australia also has produced many world class bands, artists, poets, authors, sportsmen and women. We have so much history in such a short period of time and it should be told.

    Thank-you Sean for this wonderful tribute to Australia Day.
    .-= Jill Brown´s last blog ..Common Law Marriage – What is Common Law Marriage? =-.

  12. Enjoyed this Sean. These first 10 Australian Prime Ministers could be a million dollar questions sometime later so be alert all you Aussies!!..Well done Sean. Something to refresh our minds from Affiliate marketing. Love the videos too!!
    .-= Rose Kawe´s last blog ..Getting Started With No Outlay =-.

  13. Hi Sean

    I enjoyed this post, and knew nothing about the past Prime Ministers.

    I particularly liked Jill’s comments and agree that Australia is a bunch of amazing people. The media tend to look at the negatives too often and not the great accomplishments that so many wonderful individuals have made as well as all of us as a nation.

    Thankyou and many blessings
    .-= Elly´s last blog .. =-.

    • Hi Elly,

      The media are not the only ones who look at the negatives and ignore the good things. I think people generally see negative things far more easily. I think it’s because it takes no effort to think negatively.

      You really have to work at maintaining a positive attitude and when you are assaulted with so many negative thoughts inside your own mind; it takes discipline to overcome them.
      .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Sean Rasmussen – Aussie Internet Marketer Making a Difference =-.

  14. Charles McCowie says:

    I enjoyed your potted history of Australia’s early Prime Ministers. A small point of correction. Australia does not count discontinuous terms in office as separate Prime Ministerships. Thus, Alfred Deakin is regarded as our second PM who enjoyed three separate terms in office, and Andrew Fisher is our fifth PM, also with three separate terms. The only other PM with discontinuous terms was Robert Menzies ( 12th PM, 1939-41 and 1949-66). Thus Julia Gillard is our 27th PM, not our 32nd. Contrast this with the US practice, where the only President to serve discontinuous terms, Grover Cleveland ( 1885 -89, 1893-97), is regarded as both the 22nd and 24th President.

  15. Ahhhh, back when Prime Ministers knew how to grew a ministerial moustache! Except for Barton but he was new so that’s ok.

  16. Anthony Lucchetti says:

    @Elly u look like u could take a dick.. 😉

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