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Federation of Australia

An explanation of why Federation occured

Dale Mills

on 18 July 2011

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Transcript of Federation of Australia

Australian Federation January 1st, 1901 On January 1st, 1901 the Commonwealth of Australia was officially formed. Before this point in time, each of the Australian states was a seperate colony (and country). There were many different reasons why people longed for Federation. Firstly, each state had its own rules and laws. Someone travelling from New South Wales would need to follow different rules when visiting Victoria. It did not just happen overnight however.
Talk about Federation had been happening for many years, and planning taking place since 1890. Reasons for Federation Every state had its own army and navy which made it hard to protect such a big country. The navies were very small as each colony had limited money, and people were worried about invasion or attack from countries such as Russia, Germany and France. On the border between each state, residents would have to pay 'customs duties' for importing and exporting goods. If you lived in the border towns of Echuca and Moama, you might have to pay a tax to take your weekly shopping home. Wool and gold from Victoria would be taxed when taken to South Australia. HMVS Cerberus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Victorian_Navy_%28AWM_300032%29.jpg At the time, people living in the Australian colonies were largely of British descent. Some colonies allowed immigration of people of Chinese and Islander descent while others were fearful that this would be a bad thing. They wanted to have a common immigration law. Federal Conventions http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?c=2216 Our New Nation This could be very confusing! If the colonies united, the would be able to better share their resources and protect the vast empty areas of Australia together. The first steps were taken towards Federation in 1890 when representatives from the six colonies and New Zealand met Melbourne for the Australasian Federation Conference. They persuaded their colonies to send delegates to a new federal convention. Sir Henry Parkes was the convener or the convention and is considered by many to be the 'Father of Federation'. He is remembered on the $5 note. Conventions were held in 1891, 1893, 1896 and 1897 These discussed and wrote proposals for a constitution for our new country. A constitution is a set of rules by which a country is governed. It says how the country works and what laws can be made or not made. After the 1898 convention a referendum was held in each of the colonies to see whether they supported Federation. NSW, Queensland and NZ failed to get enough votes to pass the constitution. The Premiers of each colony met again to adjust the bill, then passed it in a new vote in 1899, except NZ who pulled out and Western Australia who didn't pass the bill until 1900. Once the referendums were held and passed, it was sent to England to be passed by the British Parliament and signed by Queen Victoria. On June 5, 1900, the Queen gave her Royal Assent to the Act, to come in to force on January 1, 1901. On January 1, 1901 big celebrations were held all around the country to celebrate. Lord Hopetoun, our first Governor General, officially proclaimed the Commonwealth of Australia. Parades and celebrations were held around the country and towns set up displays such as this Arch in Melbourne to commemorate the occasion. On May 9, 1901, the Duke of York opened the first Federal Parliament in the nation's capital, Melbourne. Melbourne was chosen because Victoria and NSW argued over which city should be the capital, as they had the two biggest cities in Australia. They agreed in the end that Melbourne could be the capital until a new one was chosen, which would be in NSW but no closer than 100 miles from Sydney. Melbourne stayed the capital until 1927. The first Prime Minister was Edmund Barton. He stayed Prime Minister until 1903. Bibliography Federation Story Timeline (ACMI): http://www.federationstory.com/timeline.html
Federation Story (ABC): http://www.abc.net.au/federation/fedstory/home.htm
Federation of Australia (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_of_Australia
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