Robert Garran Biography

    Biography

    Sir Robert Randolph Garran GCMG KC (10 February 1867 – 11 January 1957) was an Australian lawyer and the first Australian public servant, an early leading expert in Australian constitutional law, the first employee of the Government of Australia and the first Solicitor-General of Australia. Garran spent thirty-one years as permanent head of the Attorney-General's Department, providing advice to ten different Prime Ministers (from Barton to Lyons). He played a significant behind-the-scenes role in the Australian federation movement, as adviser to Edmund Barton and chair of the Drafting Committee at the 1897–1898 Constitutional Convention. In addition to his professional work, Garran was also an important figure in the development of the city of Canberra during its early years. He founded several important cultural associations, organised the creation of the Canberra University College, and later contributed to the establishment of the Australian National University. Garran published at least eight books and many journal articles throughout his lifetime, covering such topics as constitutional law, the history of federalism in Australia, and German language poetry.