Prayers of a Prime Minister

By Alan Currie

P5

Deakin later enrolls in a law degree at Melbourne University with romantic ideals of helping the underprivileged and defending the rights of the weak. He studied in the evening while school teaching and tutoring during the day to provide a much-needed income. He soon realizes that a law degree was an endless study of legislation, contracts, statutes, case precedence and torts, which was a world away from poetry and inspired literature he was used to devouring.

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The huge volume of book reading would not have challenged Deakin’s ability, but the content probably caused him to ponder if this was his calling, but to his credit he was able to pass and be accepted on to the Bar in 1877. The fact that he even passed the bar exam having so little interest in the subject is a testimony to his extraordinary gift of quick comprehension and inexhaustible memory acuity.

 

We will return to Deakin’s extraordinary gifts during this book, but it is clear that Deakin believed that his abilities had been divinely imparted.

 

His daughter Vera confirmed this when she said many years later “Any powers he had he felt he owed to the divine one and it was not his doing.” Source: ABC radio interview in 1960

Vera-Deakin Red Cross First World War 21

Alfred Daughter Vera

Melbourne Uni 1870's

The Booming Years of the Gold Rush

 

Deakin was born into the gold rush era where people first coined the phrase the Australian Digger, an era later it described the Australian soldier because in the trenches of the 1st World War many heroic young men where to dig their own graves.  New gold discoveries in the colonies brought the hope of freedom, deliverance from the old British ways of subservience to the wealthy elite. A digger was a person who had a free spirit; he had no master and could travel and work where he pleased.    He was akin to the Australian bushman who was uncomplicated, tough, independent, resourceful and masculine heroic figure immortalised in Banjo Paterson poems of Waltzing Matilda and The Man from Snowy River.

 

The 1850’s to the 1880’s was a time of tremendous growth in immigration that caused significant land speculation in the colonies. It all came unravelled in early 1890’s and Alfred was implicated because of his company directorship. This was a difficult time for Deakin’s family finances. 

"Financial disaster was overtaking Marvellous Melbourne, as a speculative land and building boom crashed, along with most of the colony’s financial institutions. Deakin was implicated in some of this, he had not engaged in fraud to keep insolvent companies afloat, although unlike some of his fellow parliamentarians. Nevertheless, his and the government’s optimism and its big spending schemes were shown to have been delusionary." Source: www.aph.gov.au Author Professor Judith Brett

It is worth taking note that Banjo Paterson the famous Australian Poet served along side the Australian Troops in WW1 see Diduno.com 

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Australian Army Diggers.jpeg
Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson.jpeg
Check back soon for more chapters of Prayers of a Prime Minister.