On this day in 1900, John Hope, the 7th Earl of Hopetoun commissioned Sir William Lyne, Premier of New South Wales to serve as the first Prime Minister of Australia on an interim basis, until the first parliamentary elections had been held. Unfortunately, Hope didn’t realize that Lyne was very unpopular with the other major politicians, and was unable to persuade any of them to form a government with him. This is remembered as the Hopetoun Blunder. Lyne was forced to return his commission, after which point Hope appointed Edmund Barton, a way more popular guy who then became the first Prime Minister of Australia.
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