Centenary Lecture: Sir George Reid

Pic: Australia House, London

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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 the Victorian Parliamentary Library. This event was hosted by the Australian High Commission, UK in partnership with the Australian Studies Institute (ANU).

About the Lecture

To celebrate Reid’s achievements, Dr David Headon, historian and Foundation Fellow at the Australian Studies Institute, Australian National University, will deliver a lecture on this important Australian politician of the Federation era. The lecture is part of a larger project, ‘The First Eight Prime Ministers’, a collaboration between the Australian Parliamentary Library, the Australian Studies Institute (ANU), the National Museum of Australia, the National Archives of Australia and the Victorian Parliamentary Library.

A bronze medallion of Sir George Reid, generously donated by
Mrs Victoria Merrick, the great granddaughter of Sir George Reid, will be unveiled on the evening and remain on permanent display at Australia House.

The Right Honourable Sir George Reid GCB, GCMG, KC MP (1845-1918) was the first High Commissioner of Australia to the United Kingdom (1910-1916), the Premier of New South Wales (1894-1899) and the Prime Minister of Australia (1904-1905). He was also the first Australian politician to introduce a raft of progressive social welfare legislation, the first colonial Premier to become Prime Minister, and the first and only member of the Australian House of Representatives and the British House of Commons. It was his initiative that led to the securing of the land for, and the construction of the Australian High Commission on the Strand. A number of key Australian historians regard Reid as the most significant of Australia’s Federation Founders.

This celebratory lecture and reception is hosted by the Australian High Commission to the United Kingdom. It is a part of a series of events to mark the centenary of Australia House in London. Australia House was opened by King George V on 3 August 1918, marking our nation’s first diplomatic mission abroad.

About the Speaker

David Headon is a cultural consultant and historian. Formerly Director of the Centre for Australian Cultural Studies (1994-2004), Cultural Adviser to the National Capital Authority (2000-2007), History and Heritage Adviser for the Centenary of Canberra (2008-13) and an Adviser to Senator Kate Lundy (2008-15), he is now a Foundation Fellow in the Australian Studies Institute (ANU), a Parliamentary Library Associate, an Associate of the National Museum of Australia and the Canberra Raiders RL Club historian.

Dr Headon is a regular commentator on cultural, political and social issues on ABC radio (regional and national). From 2008 to 2015, he presented a series of segments for ABC TV’s 7.30 Report on Canberra’s rich vein of Centenary/Federation history. Dr Headon was Vice-President of Manning Clark House from its inception in the late 1990s to 2011, and he is the Co-Chair of the ACT Place Names Committee. His publications include: North of the Ten Commandments--a Collection of Northern Territory Literature (1991), The Oxford Book of Australian Sporting Anecdotes (1993), Crown or Country—the Traditions of Australian Republicanism (1994), The Abundant Culture--Meaning and Significance in Everyday Australia (1995), League of a Nation (1996), Canberra--the Guide (1997), Our First Republicans (1998), Makers of Miracles--the Cast of the Federation Story (2000), The Best Ever Australian Sports Writing--a 200-Year Collection (2001), The Symbolic Role of the National Capital (2003), Canberra Red--stories from the bush capital (2013), Eureka—Australia’s Greatest Story (2015) and Alfred Deakin—The Lives, the Legacy (2018). Dr Headon has curated four major exhibitions, 2010-17, two for Parliament House (Canberra), one for the Canberra Museum and Gallery and one for Kings College, London. He was the project co-ordinator, editor and co-writer of the national award-winning The Griffin Legacy (2004). In 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal.

Updated:  28 May 2019/Responsible Officer:  Institute Manager/Page Contact:  Institute Manager