Sir Robert Randolph Garran

Sir Robert Garran
National Library of Australia



Born in Sydney on 10 February 1867. Lawyer and public servant.

Garran was educated at Sydney Grammar School and the University of Sydney. He was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1891 and soon afterwards became an active supporter of Edmund Barton and the Federation movement.

Throughout the 1890's he worked tirelessly for the cause of Federation. He published The Coming Commonwealth and the Australian Handbook of Federal Government, became secretary of the Adelaide drafting committee and was on the press committee for the 1898 and 1899 Federation referendums.

Garran became the first Australian public servant when, on 1 January 1901 he was appointed Secretary to the Attorney-General's Department.

During World War I he was Solicitor-General (1916) and a member of the Australian delegation at the Paris Peace Conference (1919). He was knighted in 1917 and appointed KCMG in 1920. He retired from the Public Service in 1932.

Upon his retirement Garran resumed his legal practice. Until his death on 11 January 1957 he remained active in political and legal circles. He did much to help establish the Australian National University.

Books of interest

National Library of Australia. Manuscript Section. Andrew Garran and Sir Robert Garran; A Guide to their Papers in the National Library of Australia. Canberra, 1971.

Dawkins, John. 1947-The 1984 Garran oration Reforms in the Canberra System of Public Administration. [Perth, W.A.: RAIPA Conference, 1984?]

Garran, Robert, Sir. (1958)Prosper the Commonwealth. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.

Garran, Robert, Sir. The Making and Working of the Constitution. [Sydney.:Australian Quarterly?, 1932](Sydney: New Century Press)

Garran, Robert, Sir. [1924?]The Development of the Australian Constitution. Melbourne: Ruskin Press.

National Library holdings include an 1898 version of the Federation Bill and personal and political papers at MS 471, 2102 and 3666.


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