Tuesday, 8 January 2013

8 January 1913–Alfred Deakin & a Huge Hotel

8 jan
This photo was taken on 8 January, 1913 from the Elerfeld-Barmen Road,Germany, showing a view of the city and a cable-car type system over the river.


In Australia on this day in 1913, Alfred Deakin resigned as Leader of the Opposition.  Deakin (3 August 1856 – 7 October 1919) was a leader of the movement for Australian federation which occurred in 1901, something he became interested in after studying law at Melbourne University and then writing about politics for the Age Newspaper.   He was the Attorney-General in the ministry headed by the first prime minister, Edmund Barton, and in 1903 became Australia’s second Prime Minister. He served three separate terms in that office. 

Deakin was a first generation Australian, born in Collingwood Melbourne, his parents having arrived in Australia in 1850 from the UK.  Despite this, he  active in drafting bills such as the Immigration Restriction Bill, which helped implement the White Australia Policy.  In his speech, he managed to avoid blatant racism against the Japanese by arguing that it was necessary to exclude them. 
In December 1907, he introduced the first bill to establish compulsory military service, and helped to create the first independent navy in the British empire by joining the navy’s of all the colonies of Australia.  In his third and last time as prime minister from  June 1909 Deakin's ‘Fusion government’  was remarkably active, including ordering the Australia, the nation's own dreadnought battle cruiser and pride of the fleet unit and inviting Lord Kitchener to visit Australia to advise on military defence.

Alfred Deakin greets United States Admiral Sperry and the ‘Great White Fleet’ in 1908, in the midst of his challenge to Britain over the establishment of an Australian naval force.

Deakin's best work, in my opinion, was his contribution to the establishment of liberal reforms in Victoria, including pro-worker industrial reforms such as the Factories and Shops Act of 1885, which provided regulations for inspection of factories, enforced sanitary regulations, limited the hours of work of females and youths, and compensated workers for injury. As the wife of a personal injury lawyer, and ex-Victorian, this is very important!

deakin and pattie
Alfred and Pattie Deakin c. 1907 source

Deakin was almost universally liked, admired and respected by his contemporaries, who called him "Affable Alfred," and he had a long and happy marriage. He had married 19-year-old Elizabeth Martha Anne ('Pattie'), daughter of a wealthy spiritualist on 3 April 1882, but her parents did not approve. Although he tried to keep his spiritual side separate from his public life, Deakin was a reader of world spiritualists and mystics and often sought divine inspiration in his work.
Wilfred Deakin Brookes (first grandchild) with Pattie and Alfred Deakin on the front steps of Ballara c.1908 source
After four months in retirement, Deakin emerged in May 1913 to campaign against Labor's re-submitted referenda proposals and then in August 1914 he became chairman of the royal commission to investigate wartime food supplies and prices. In December 1915 he was president of an Australian commission for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a world's fair held in San Francisco, to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, but found his duties difficult.   His health deteriorated and he visited specialists in London and New York in 1916-17. After 1916 Deakin lived as a recluse, his memory decayed, and Dementia set in.  He died of meningo-encephalitis on 7 October 1919, aged 63, survived by his wife and three daughters.  He is remembered in Victoria with Deakin University, established in 1974.

Fore a more detail biography on Alfred Deakin, you can go here, and see tumblr for more photos of the Deakin family.


In America on this day in 1913, the Hotel McAlpin opened in New York at the corner of Broadway and 34th street– the largest yet with rooms for 2,500 guests and boasting a staff of 1,500.  The 25-story hotel designed by architect Frank Mills Andrews had one floor reserved exclusively for men, another for women, and the "sleepy sixteenth" floor was to be kept "quiet as a tomb" during the daytime for night workers and the top floor had a Turkish bath. It also hosted a travel agency.  Sounds ideal! 
Built by tobacco manufacturer and civil-war General Edwin Augustus McAlpin (June 9, 1848 - April 12, 1917) at a  cost of $13.5 million (nearly 300 million today) the hotel was expanded half a decade later with an additional 200 rooms, four more elevators, and a large ballroom.  Today the Hotel McAlpin is an apartment complex, the Herald Towers.
Hotel McAlpin c. 1913 source

Also in New York, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City was the funeral of Whitelaw Reid, American Ambassador to Great Britain.

Deb xx

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