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A journalist of his time described Quick as 'compact and rigid as a clothed statue in action'.

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John Quick

National Library of Australia

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John Quick (1852–1932)

A founder of Federation

Quick was a poor boy in Bendigo who started to work in the mines when he was ten. He became a reporter on the local paper and with a scholarship went to university and became a lawyer. When he was 28, he became member for Bendigo in parliament.

He was born in England and had come with his parents to Australia in the gold rush when he was two. The Australian Natives Association (ANA), which was made up of young men born in Australia, bent its rules and allowed him to be a member. This association was a great campaigner for Federation.

In 1893 Quick was an ANA delegate at the Corowa Conference on Federation. He played a key part in developing the conference plan that the people rather than the parliaments should elect a new federal convention and vote on the constitution it drew up. Quick worked hard to get the plan adopted.

He served in the Commonwealth Parliament from 1901, but was disappointed that he was never made a minister. He was a persistent man who did one great thing for his country.