Speakers Corner: A Man for All Seasons and book launch of Capital Designs

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 Victorian Parliamentary Library. This event is presented by the National Archives of Australia in partnership with the Australian Studies Institute (ANU).

About the Lecture

Australia's fourth Prime Minister, George Reid (1845-1918), was an individual of substance and immense talent. His long and productive political life in the NSW Legislative Assembly and the Commonwealth Parliament was only one part of his contribution to the cultural life of his colony and his country. The best platform speaker of his generation and Australia's first High Commissioner to London in testing times, he also made a major contribution to Australia's early cricket history. Yet today Reid is all but forgotten. We should know far more about his life and significant, often surprising legacy.

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.

About Capital Designs: Australia House and Visions of an Imperial London

As the first High Commissioner from Australia to London, Sir George Reid had an integral role in the development of Australia House. This book relates the untold story of how Australia's first diplomatic mission was conceived, designed and built. Commenced in 1913, Australia House was opened in 1918 while the Great War still raged. Being London's first purpose-built Dominion embassy building, it defined London as an Imperial capital. It is a story of ambitions and achievements -- global, imperial, local and personal.

About the Author

Dr Eileen Chanin
is a Research Associate at the Australian Studies Institute (ANU). She has recently been Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Menzies Institute for Australian Studies, King's College London (2016-2017), where she was also Menzies Foundation Fellow (2015) and Rydon Fellow (2014). Eileen reads history broadly and writes about Art, Cultural, and Urban History; Turning-points in Art and Society; and Visualising Modernities.

Books that Eileen has written include:

Capital Designs: Australia House and Visions of an Imperial London (2018)
Awakening, Four Lives in Art (2015)
Limbang Rebellion: 7 Days in December 1962 (2013)
Book Life, The Life and Times of David Scott Mitchell (2012)
Degenerates and Perverts, The 1939 Melbourne Herald Exhibition of French and British Contemporary Art (2005)