Federation of Australia

Kent

Federation of Australia

During the 1890's, each colony sent representatives to special meetings. Australia was not a nation at the time. The continent consisted of six British colonies which were partly self-government but subject to the law-making power of the British Parliament. Each colony has its on government and laws, including its own railway system, postage stamps and taxes. This caused a lot of problems and people began to think about the benefits of uniting as one nation, under a federal system of governance.
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What life was like in the 1880's

In the 1880s the carelessness of this system, a growing agreement among colonial and a belief that a government was needed to deal with issues such as trade, defence and immigration saw popular support for federation grow. Sir Robert Garran, who was active in the federation movement, later stated that the colonies were united by a set of fear, national opinions and self-interests.
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Federation celebration

The Commonwealth of Australia came into being on Tuesday 1 January 1901. The Federation Pavilion in Sydney's Centennial Park, which had been designed by Walter Vernon, New South Wales Government Architect, was the focus on the opening ceremonies. At 10.30am starting at the Domain a course comprising military bands, troops, police, firefighters, stockmen, heads of church and chapel, representatives of the University of Sydney,
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Key figures and their role to lead up to federation



Henry Parkes (1815–1896) is often called the 'Father of Federation' for his role as a long-time troublemaker for the cause.

Parkes was five times the Premier of NSW and one of the most outstanding men in colonial politics. In October 1889, in what became known as the 'Tenterfield Address' he called for the colonies to 'unite and create a great national government for all Australia'. His speech had an enormous effect on the movement toward Federation.

After a life at the forefront of the Federation movement Henry Parkes died in 1896 without ever seeing his dream realised.