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HIS 9 - Making a Nation: Federation

The Debate

Federation Debate

Federation Fast Facts 


Records of the Australasian Federal Conventions of the 1890s - The Parliament of Australia website provides access to documents in the debates 



Immigration act of 1901

Federation timeline

1856 Responsible government achieved in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
1857 Responsible government achieved in South Australia.
1860 Responsible government achieved in Queensland.
1863 Northern Territory comes under South Australian administration from New South Wales.
1887 Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
1889 Henry Parkes campaigns for Federation in his Tenterfield Oration.
Colony Premiers agree to a Federation conference.
1890 The Australasian Federation Conference held in Melbourne in February.
Responsible government achieved in Western Australia.
1891 Australasian Convention held in Sydney where a Constitution is drafted (March–April).
1893 Corowa Conference passes the Corowa Plan to implement a new constitutional process.
1894 South Australian women gain the right to vote.
1895 A modified Corowa Plan adopted at the Premiers’ Conference in Hobart.
1896 Bathurst People’s Federal Convention held.
1897 First session of the Australasian Federal Convention held in Adelaide (March–April) 
1898 The draft Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth.
Unsuccessful referendum on the Constitution Bill in New South Wales.
Successful referendums in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
1899 Premiers’ ‘secret’ conference, Melbourne, agrees to amend the Constitution Bill.
Successful referendum in South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland.
Western Australian women gain the right to vote.
1900 The British Parliament passes the Constitution Bill and the Bill receives royal assent.
Successful referendum held in Western Australia (31 July).
Royal Proclamation of the Commonwealth (17 September).
1901 Inauguration of the Commonwealth in Sydney (1 January).
Edmund Barton becomes Australia’s first Prime Minister.
First elections for the Commonwealth Parliament (29–30 March).
The first Federal Parliament officially opened in Melbourne (9 May)
1902 Commonwealth Parliament passes the Commonwealth Franchise Act to give the vote to men and women (June).
Women win the right to vote for the New South Wales Parliament.
1903 Women win the right to vote for the Tasmanian Parliament.
1905 Women win the right to vote for the Queensland Parliament.
1908 Women win the right to vote for the Victorian Parliament.
Australian Coat of Arms proclaimed.
1909 Australian currency introduced.
1911 Australian Capital Territory established (January).
1913 Canberra is chosen as the site of the future national capital.
1921 Edith Cowan elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly and becomes the first woman elected to an Australian Parliament.
1924 Introduction of compulsory voting for Commonwealth elections.
1927 Canberra becomes the national capital.
Commonwealth Parliament begins sitting in Canberra in the Provisional Parliament House.

Making of Federation

Making of the Australian Nation

Lead up to Federation

The Federation Years

Making of a nation