Federation Of Australia

By Blake N

What life was like in the 1880's

Life in the 1880's was very different from today. Life and working conditions were very hard, dangerous and dirty compared to today. The 1880's was a time in Australian history when many white Australians were able to own their own farms and land.

During this time lots of migrants came to the colonies hoping to make money. Some of them hoped to make money through gold or by starting a business. Lots of people came to the cities to work. This was also the time of the "Stolen Generation" which is the name given to aboriginal children taken from their families against their will.


On January 1, 1901 the Australian Colonies joined together and became a nation. One of the main reasons for federation was to create a united defence force which would be better to protect Australia from foreign attack. People were also concerned about being invaded by non-white immigrants and wanted to unite to keep non-whites out of Australia. At the time people thought that these foreign workers took jobs away from them.

Towards the end of the 19th century, people started to become proud of their country and this helped Federation to occur. An example of this national pride was the Australian National Anthem which was first performed in 1878.

henry parkes

Henry Parkes is well known for his role in helping Febderation to happen. In 1889, in a speech he asked for the colonies to "unite and create a national government for all Australia". Henry Parkes was the Premier of NSW fives times but after a life hoping for Federation he died in 1896 before the Federation of Australia occured.

establishing the australian consitution

The Australian constitution is a set of rules that determines how our country is run. In the 1890's leaders from the six colonies of Australia came together at a meeting called the "Consitutional Convention". During these meetings they drafted a constitution that would unite the colonies as one nation and to create a national government.

Each Australian Colony sent people to provide information at these meetings. In 1898 they had agreed on a draft constitution to take back to their colonies for approval. They held a referendum which let people vote for the Constitution but before it could be passed as law it had to be approved by the British Government. The Bristish parliament approved it and it was signed by Queen Victoria in July 1900.

federation celebrations

On January 1, 1901 a ceremony was held in Centennial Park in Sydney to swear in the first Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun. He was also the first Prime Minister of Australia. People celebrated becoming a nation with parades and processions, sporting events and school pageants.