Department of External Affairs (1901–16)

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Department of External Affairs
Department overview
Formed 1 January 1901[1]
Dissolved 14 November 1916[1]
Superseding agency Department of Home and Territories
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Department executive Atlee Hunt, Secretary

The Department of External Affairs was an Australian government department that existed between January 1901 and November 1916. It was one of seven Departments of State to be established at federation.


The first Administrative Arrangements Order, issued 1901, outlined the functions of the Department:[2]

  • Fisheries - extra-territorial
  • Naturalization and aliens
  • Immigration and emigration
  • Influx of criminals
  • External affairs
  • Pacific Islands
  • High Commissioner
  • Communications with States
  • Governor-General and Executive Council offices
  • Officers of Parliament


The Department was an Commonwealth Public Service department, staffed by officials who were responsible to the Minister for External Affairs.[1] The Prime Minister's Office was attached to the Department of External Affairs until 1909.[3]

The Secretary of the Department was Atlee Hunt.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b c d CA 7: Department of External Affairs [I], Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 9 December 2013 
  2. ^ Administrative Arrangements c.1901, National Archives of Australia, archived from the original on 11 April 2013 
  3. ^ a b Davies, Helen M., Hunt, Atlee Arthur (1864–1935), Australian Dictionary of Biography, archived from the original on 6 November 2013