You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Today's birthday, August 3

AAP logoAAP 2/08/2016

Today's birthday, August 3: Former Australian prime minister Alfred Deakin (1856-1919).

Known as "Affable Alfred", Alfred Deakin was a barrister, journalist and the second prime minister of Australia.

Alfred Deakin was born on August 3, 1856, in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood.

He was the second child of English immigrants who migrated to Australia in 1850.

Deakin began his education at the age of four in boarding school, before moving to Melbourne Church of England Grammar School in 1864.

After completing school, he began evening law classes at the University of Melbourne, and began practising as a barrister from 1877.

The next year he met the owner of the Melbourne daily newspaper The Age, David Syme, who paid him to contribute articles on politics and literature.

Deakin developed a strong interest in politics through journalism and became the Liberal candidate for West Bourke, which he narrowly won in February 1879.

From 1883 to 1890, Deakin held office in coalition governments, proving himself an able administrator.

In 1882, he married Elizabeth Martha Anne "Pattie" Browne, and they moved into a home in South Yarra where they had three daughters.

In 1901 Deakin was elected to Australia's first federal parliament as MP for Ballarat, and became attorney-general in Edmund Barton's minister.

When Barton retired in September 1903, Deakin succeeded him as prime minister, but he resigned the following April without passing any legislation.

The change of government came after Labor members withdrew their support for Deakin over the controversial Conciliation and Arbitration Act.

The bill passed in December 1904 with an amendment that it would cover state government employees, something Deakin believed unconstitutional.

Deakin resumed office in mid-1905 for a more successful three-year term during which he introduced bills to create an Australian currency.

In 1908, Deakin was again forced from office by Labor, but formed a coalition and returned to power in May 1909.

Deakin retired from parliament in April 1913 and died in 1919 of meningoencephalitis aged only 63.

He is buried in the St Kilda Cemetery, alongside his wife.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon