By Paul


Australia became a nation on January 1901. Australia consisted of six British colonies that had their own government and laws.They had their own railway systems,postage stamps and tariffs during the 1890's.Each colony sent representatives to special meetings called conventions. The delegates agreed on the rules for a federation system and a draft constitution.The people of the colonies voted for the new Australian Constitution.It was then passed in the British Parliament in 1890, and called the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution.

In the 1880's there was a generation of gold rush migrants grow up,get married and start their own families.Most non-indigenous owned there own spot of land that they could build a house on or farm crops.There were unexpected consequences due to the land boom that led to thousands of workers and investors profit wages became higher and higher.Migrants came to the colonies in hope of making a fortune whether for mining gold or from new businesses.People went to the cities in hope of work creating an available labor source.New manufactures industries blossomed.The society that came in this era was open to new possibilities that were happening such as women's suffrage,the trade union and an electoral party for the workers.

Before 1901 Australia was not like the nation we know today.Australia was made up of colonies NSW,QLD,WA,SA,VIC and TAS.The reasons for federation was that every thing was inefficient, free trade and a united defense force.Sir Henry Parkes a politician and a journalist was the person that thought of the idea.He was born on 27 may 1815 in Warwickshire,England the youngest of 7 children and was the Premier of NSW.He was voted in and out of parliament 5 times trying to unite the colonies.On the first of January 1901 sadly Henry wasn't there to see it happen.The first Prime minister of the combined nation was Edmund Barton.

Key Figures

Andrew Inglis Clack was the key author of an original draft of the Australian Constitution presented to the 1891 federal convention

Alfred Deakin the second Prime minister

Sir Edmund Barton the first Prime Minister

Sir Henry Parkes he promoted the Federation cause while he was Premier of NSW

Sir Samuel Griffith was prepared the first draft of the Constitution in 1891

Federation Celebrations

Celebration of the new Commonwealth of Australia took place on 1 January 1901. On this day the Australian Constitution came into force.

To celebrate Federation an arch was built in Melbourne to celebrate federation.It was visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York.



My place for teachers

National Museum of Australia