Federation of Australia

By Olivia P

Life in the 1880's

Life in the 1880's was a lot different compared to today. First of all they used different technology, travelled differently and their clothing was different. The early colonies:

  • Queensland
  • New South Wales
  • Victoria
  • South Australia
  • Western Australia
  • Tasmania
They had 6 colonies while now the have 7 including Northern Territory


In the 1880's people used typewriters, record players and modern telephones.


At this time people travelled in trains and carriages pulled by horses.


Clothing in the 1880's was very modern for this time. The clothing was made of cloth and leather.

Sir Henry Parkes

The father of federation,

Henry Parkes was born on May 27 1815 and died on April 27 1896 of the age 80. Henry Parkes had 17 children, 8 boys and 9 girls. Henry Parkes started working at the age of 8. He arrived at Sydney in 1839, he worked as a farmhand before coming involved in business. Henry Parkes was premier of NSW for 5 periods of time between 1871 and 1891.Henry Parkes had the idea of federation, he made speeches about 'Tenterfield Oration' were very influential during the movement towards federation. The Tenterfield Oration was a speech given by Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of the Colony of NSW on the 24 October 1889. In the Oration Parkes called for the Federation of the six Australian colonies, which were at the time self-governed but under the distant central authority of the British Colonial. It is significant because it is considered to be the start of the federation movement in Australia, that lead to the foundation of the Commonwealth of Australia 12 years later.

Sir Edmund (Tony) Barton

The very first Prime Minister,

He was born on the 18th of January 1849 and died on the 7th of January 1920 at the age 70. He was married to Jane Mason Ross and had 6 children 3 boys and 3 girls, Oswald Barton, Edmund Alfred Barton, Arnold Hubert Barton, Leila Stephanie Barton, Wilfrid Alexander Barton and Jean Alice Barton. Edmund Barton gave many speeches in support of Henry Parkes idea towards federation. He likes the idea of federation being something that many Australian people would be a part of it. Edmund Barton was the Prime Minister from 1901 to 1903, then he became a founding justice of the High Court of Australia.

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Sir Alfred Deakin

Second Prime Minister,

He was born on the 3rd of August 1856 and died on the 7th of October 1919 of the age 63. Alfred Deakin had 3 children and their names were Ivy Deakin, Stella Deakin and Vera Deakin. Alfred Deakin had the Australian Natives Association, which was a group for white Australian born men. This group gave federation a really powerful beginning. Alfred Deakin was prime Minister for 5 year.

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Sir George Reid

Australia's 4th Prime Minister,

was born on the 25th of February 1845 and died on the 12th of September 1918 at the age of 73. he had 3 children 1 girl and 2 boys, their names are Thelma Reid, Douglas Reid and Clive Reid. George Reid did not support federation at first but he had an active role in shaping Australia's constitution

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Reasons for Federation

  • most white people spoke English
  • school systems were teaching patriotism
  • many people moved between colonies for work
  • custom duties wandered trade between colonies
  • criminals could not escape to other colonies
  • sporting teams had begun to represent Australia
  • each country only had small armed forces
  • other countries could pose a threat

Reasons Against Federation

  • New South Wales and Victoria were powerful
  • each colony had its own individual qualities that may be lost
  • all the colonies had Parliaments of their own
  • Federation was expensive
  • The colonies had different policies about trade, immigration and other matters
  • customs duties protected smaller factories in smaller colonies

Federation Celebrations

1901 federation celebrations surrounding the opening of the new Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January in Sydney and at the opening of its first Federal Parliament on 9 May in Melbourne overshadowed Anniversary Day in 1901.
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