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Junior School: Federation

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

FEDERATION

Australia became an independent nation on 1 January 1901, when the British Parliament passed legislation enabling the six Australian colonies to collectively govern in their own right as the Commonwealth of Australia. It was a remarkable political accomplishment that had taken many years and several referenda to achieve.

"Defining Moments - Federation." National Museum of Australia. 2018.

FEDERATION TIMELINE

The colonies of Australia joined to become a federation, the Commonwealth of Australia, on 01 January 1901. The day itself waa celebrated in great style, with official banquets, parties and speeches and parties held by families and friends.

FEDERATION KEY WORDS

federation federate colony
colonisation democracy Commonwealth of Australia
parliament election nation
states government convention
referendum territories

constitution

federal council colonial conference intercolonial conference
Tenterfield Oration 1890s Depression Federation Leagues
vote Corowa Conference Enabling Acts
Governor-general federal elections Australian flag

KEY DATES

KEY DATES

Cartoon drawing from print version of factsheet

1891
First Constitutional Convention to draft a federal constitution

1893
First "people's convention" at Corowa

1897
Delegates elected to a representative Constitutional Convention

1898–1900
Referendums on the Constitution held in all colonies

1901
1 January – inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia
29–30 March – first federal election
9 May – opening of Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne

1902
Commonwealth Franchise and Commonwealth Electoral Acts

1903
First federal election in accordance with Commonwealth law

INAUGURATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH (1901)

Invitation to the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia •  Photograph • State Library of South Australia

WHAT LED TO FEDERATION

HENRY PARKES

On 24 October 1889 Henry Parkes delivered a speech at the Tenterfield School of Arts on the need for the Australian colonies to federate into one nation.

EDMUND BARTON

 

Edmund Barton became Australia’s first Prime Minister on New Year’s Day 1901, at a huge public ceremony in Centennial Park in Sydney.