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Quotes about Deakin

Alfred Deakin's daughter Vera, Lady White, remembers her father in this 1960s ABC broadcast

"He was tall and dark, graceful in his movements, quick in his movements, and with a compelling eye that held you, and of course with a lovely voice. Most unaffected voice, but he spoke pure English."

Judith Hartley, daughter of Vera White, Deakins grand daughter - Alfred Deakin Lecture

“ Alfred wrote to his wife every day they were apart...Alfred swam, cycled, skipped and played hockey with his daughters”

The Age Friday 25 September 1903 – Day after his Election to Prime Minister

King O’Malley- MP Minister for Home Affairs in Fishers Labor Government

"Deakin was one of the kindest man that ever walked the earth”.

“There is no more popular or esteemed figure in the House than Mr. Deakin”

The Age Monday  9th November 1903

“Alfred Deakin is the Commonwealths brightest hope”

Professor Stuart Macintyre - Senate Lecture, Parliament House on 14 February 1997

“For Deakin the realisation of the Commonwealth was a providential event, one for which he worked and prayed”

The Adelaide Advertiser Saturday Edition - 29th July 1939.  page 22

“It was plain that he was a born orator, that he had the mysterious secret of swaying vast audiences”

The Adelaide Register Wed 8th Oct 1919

“Mr Deakin’s politics, aspirations and labours embodied the highest Australian ideals”

The Daily Telegraph Tasmania- Tuesday 12th Feb 1907

“He can throw a halo of attraction around the orifice of Hades” is the phrase one of his contemporaries has expressed Mr Deakin's superlative powers as an orator, and to these powers of speech he joins a literary ability, a spirit of idealism, and a readiness for self-effacement which make him a unique figure amongst present day politicians of the Commonwealth”

Hon A W Meeks: Sydney Morning Herald 15th Jan 1909

“It is extraordinary how Mr. Deakin has affected the English people. He was the only one I heard so strongly mentioned. But of him I heard not from one side in polities, but from both, and from men in very high positions in politics. There is no doubt the visits of such men do an immense amount of good”

The Daily Mail Brisbane - 9th Oct 1919

“It is perhaps quite safe to say that no great leader in Australia public life has been gifted with the attractive personality, instinctive courtesy and innate gentlemanliness that characterised Alfred Deakin ….None amongst us could be named more worthy of respect”


He harmoniously combined all that goes into the making of a fine man. He held and sustained the highest ideals with high standards and worthy practice in all the relations of life”

Alfred Deakin: A Sketch. Biography by Walter Murdoch 1923.

"He was a man for whom life came to mean nothing if not an opportunity for service. ... He combined intense earnestness of purpose with unconquerable buoyancy of spirit. He was austere with himself, a hard taskmaster, driving himself like a slave. If life was to him a solemn opportunity of service, it was also a great , and gallant adventure, to be dashingly carried through; and he addressed himself to his high task, not stoically like a man accepting  a painful duty, but gaily, like a  man heading a cavalry charge."

The Age Newspaper Saturday 3rd Dec 1927.

"Nowhere will any critic be able to find a stain upon his personal honour. He fought for clean government and he kept his own hands absolutely unsullied. In all his dealings with friend and foe he was the soul of honour. Surely it will make no small difference to the public life of Australia in the future that in those critical early years, the years when the national traditions were in the making, the most prominent Australian politician was a man who brought into the dust and grime of politics such a clear-shilling ideal of knightly conduct."

The Adelaide Advertiser Saturday Edition - 29th July 1939.  page 22

“Despite his abundant practice in speech-making, he was often nervous before beginning, and did not feel easy till he warmed to his subject. At his best he spoke with fiery energy, em-phasising the swift flow of language with gestures, and using all the tones of his voice to give color to the phrases.


Deakin was one of the friendliest of men, kindly, humourous, the liveliest companion in any company, as well as being uncommonly sagacious in council. His oldest friends have never tired of instancing his readiness to aid. One of them recalls that, changing his residence he had to remove a library. Deakin insisted on giving him a hand. So, early one Sunday morning, they packed the books upon a truck and the pair pushed it from one Melbourne suburb to another, arguing as they went like Milton's rebel angels about fixed fate, free will, fore knowledge absolute,

and whatever other subject cropped up”

The Australian Newspaper - 22 November 1907.  page 14

“Deakin's superlative powers as an orator and to these powers of speech he joins a literary ability, a spirit of idealism and a readiness for self-effacement which make him a unique figure among present day politicians of the Commonwealth.


That he should have so long maintained his high position among'st Australian statesmen, ' observes the writer in conclusion, "is an equal testimony to his own personality and worth, and to the saving common sense of his countrymen. He is the one Australian statesman who is alike indispensable to the Commonwealth and to the Empire."”

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