The Federation of Australia

Bramwell Stewart 5/6D

Life in the 1880's

It was about 30 years since Edward Hargraves found gold in Summer Hill Creek, Bathurst, New South Wales. Imigrants had settled down, gotten jobs and started buisnesses. Australia was still divided into 6 seperate British colonies that each had their own seperate laws. The idea for a Federation (where colonies or states come together to form a nation) was starting to ignite in peoples' minds. Children of the gold rush miners were starting a new generation of Australians starting families, getting married and inovating for a better furture. Bushrangers were scowering the bushlands and school was made compulsory. As more people were moving in further into Australia, the Aboriginal people were being killed, sold as slaved, tortured and mistreated. Although there was the policy of Protection were indigenous people were getting education, food and blankets people still took it as a joke.

Reasons for Federation

Different colonies were pretty much different countries themselves. They had different laws, tax collecting methods even different train track sizes. It was much harder then it was now to travel from state to state then it is now. Something legal in Queensland might've been illegal in New South Wales. If you where travelling between states, you would've had to paid for extra train tickets due to the difference in train track sizes. Each colony had its own defence force so if a mass attack happened on Australia, there would be no collective force to fight off the invaders. The Boer War (1900) united the Australians that fought their and they too, along with many others were pushing for Australia to become a nation. As well as there being different tax collections, there was also no free trade between borders which made it hard to transport supplies across the country. Imagine if your street was in the border of two states. You may live in one side and go to school or work on the other. There would be some laws on one side of your street and some laws on the other. It was basically like each colony was a country itself.
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Key Figures

Establishing the Australian Constitution

A constitution is a formal written document on which the country's laws are based on. Other countries that have a constitution include India and The United States Of America. Countries like New Zealand and Israel however have non-formal constitution where it isn't written down. A series of direct votes took place (referendums) to establish the constitution which was based on a draft constitution that Henry Parkes helped create. The constitution states that there must be a federal election each 3 years where every single Australian citizen over the age of 18 must take part in. The draft was approved by yet another referendum and why it was decided it had to be taken to London to approved by the British because Australia is part of the commonwealth. It was approved and then the big vote began. The ballot was simple. It said 'are you in favour of the proposed Federal Constitutional Bill?'. All that you can answer with was Yes or No. The majority chose yes so the constitution was in place and Australian could now become a federation.
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Federation Celebrations

On the first of January 1901 the Federation was officially established. People from all over the nation flocked into Centennial Park, Sydeny. We became the Commonwealth of Australia. A constitutional monarchy. People who weren't in the Centennial Park were holding parties all across Australia. Every single state got the majority vote if Yes except Queensland. Sydney University students, soldiers, firefighters, police officers, bands and other people did an 8 kilometre march to Cenntenial Park as part of the celebration. All through the planned march track people were cheering and waving flags. Overall there were eight days of celebration. There were bike races in the SCG, choirs of over 1'000 people singing, banquets, photos and school children. 60'000 people were in Centennial Park on the Tuesday (1st of January) to see Australia become its own nation.
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