The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Smith, launched the latest departmental historical publication in London on 18 February 2010.
The High Commissioners: Australia's Representatives in the United Kingdom, 1910 2010 marks the centenary of the posting of the first Australian High Commissioner in London, so beginning what is today Australia's oldest diplomatic mission.
In 1910, when Sir George Reid was appointed its first High Commissioner in London, Australia was a self-governing but not yet sovereign state and the Australian Governor-General remained the most important channel of communication between the Australian and United Kingdom governments until the late 1920s.
The book traces the history of the office and in doing so illuminates the larger story of Australian-United Kingdom relations in the twentieth century, the evolution of Australia from British colony to sovereign state and the gradual transition of the United Kingdom from head of an empire to member of the European Union.
As well as dealing with this important theme the book is a study of remarkable individuals, former prime ministers, Sir George Reid, Andrew Fisher, Sir Joseph Cook and Stanley Melbourne Bruce, powerful ministers from both sides of politics, such as J.A. Beasley, Eric Harrison and Sir Alexander Downer and distinguished public servants such as Sir James Plimsoll and Sir John Bunting.