Federation of Australia Federation of Australia

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					                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           [9] Barriers between brothers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               [5] The first Federal Council
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 [8] Customs station, Wahgunyah (Vic)

                                                                   [2] The only way

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               [7] Sir Henry Parkes

                                                                        [3] Fort at                                                                                             [4] Queensland annexes New Guinea                          [6] Victorian flag (1870)
[1] Union is strength                                                       Queenscliff (Vic)

                                                                                                                                                       fortifications were erected, such as the fort at                        no money, no executive power, and limited legislative

F        ROM 1788 New South Wales, Tasmania,
         Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia
         and Queensland were founded as separate
British settlements. At different times during the
                                                                           Australian sportsmen, especially the cricketers and
                                                                           scullers. As early as 1860 a cartoonist could see a
                                                                           combined future for the Australian colonies: Union is
                                                                           strength. [1]
                                                                                                                                                       Queenscliff in Victoria. [3]
                                                                                                                                                       Australians were also uneasy about the possibility of
                                                                                                                                                       European nations establishing colonies close to their
                                                                                                                                                       shores. Queensland was particularly concerned about
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               power. It also had no way of ensuring that all colonies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               would abide by its decisions. This was hardly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               surprising, for NSW never joined the Council and SA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               was only a member during 1889–90.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          independence, symbolised by their separate flags. The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Victorian flag (1870) looks familiar to us today. [6]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As part of this separate status, each colony
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Immigration and defence were not the only issues
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      bothering the Australian colonies. Since the 1850s,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      trade and movement between the colonies was
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      restricted by the existence of tariff barriers. The train
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          maintained its own militia force. In 1889 a report

                                                                                   Union is strength
nineteenth century they each acquired separate                             Many Australians agreed with NSW Premier, Sir Henry                         German designs on New Guinea.                                           The Federal Council of Australasia was, in a politician’s                  recommended the establishment of a combined                                 trip between Sydney and Melbourne, for example,
systems of government.                                                     Parkes, who said in 1890 that the crimson thread of                                                                                                 words, a contemptible phantom. [5] Curiously, Fiji was                     Australian defence force.                                                   was held up by the need for passengers’ luggage to
                                                                                                                                                       On 4 April 1883 Queensland annexed eastern New
                                                                           kinship runs through us all.                                                                                                                        a member of the Federal Council, though it attended                                                                                                    be checked by customs officers at Albury. [8]
It was soon clear that what became known as the                                                                                                        Guinea [4], but this was disallowed by the British                                                                                                 On 24 October 1889, during a visit to Tenterfield
‘Australian’ colonies had much in common: the same                         Australian Federation was thus partly to do with                            Government. When Germany annexed a portion of                           only the first meeting.                                                                                                                                According to American writer, Mark Twain, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (NSW), Premier Sir Henry Parkes referred to this report
language, the same God, the same sovereign. As early                           1883
                                                                           emotion, but there was also a practical side. During                        New Guinea in December 1884 this highlighted                            The first simultaneous Australian census, conducted                        when he made a ringing call for a great national                            colonies’ tariff system was the most baffling and
as 1817 Governor Lachlan Macquarie used the term                           the 1880s serious problems associated with the                              Australia’s lack of independence.                                       on 3 April 1881, was a successful example of how                           Government for all Australia. The Tenterfield Oration,                      unaccountable marvel that Australasia can show.
Australia in official documents.                                           separate status of the colonies became clear. One of                                                                                                Australians could work together. The white population                      as it became known, was said to have set the ball                           In 1890 Victorian Premier, James Service, warned
                                                                                                                                                       In 1885 the Federal Council of Australasia was
                                                                           the major Australian concerns was the increase in                                                                                                   numbered 2 250 194; Aboriginal Australians were not                        rolling towards Australian Federation.                                      that this problem was the lion in the way of final
By the middle of the century an emerging Australian                                                                                                    established by UK legislation to deal with various
                                                                           Chinese immigration which to many people posed a                                                                                                    included in the count.                                                                                                                                 Federation. [9]
nationalism was soon obvious. People spoke of being                                                                                                    matters including maritime defence and relations with                                                                                              Many people were important in the Federation story,
                                                                           threat to Australian society. [2]
Australian; newspapers wrote of Australia’s interests;                                                                                                 the Pacific islands.                                                    Despite a gradual movement towards some type of                            but it was Parkes who is often referred to as The
ordinary people took pride in the successes of                             Australian governments also became worried about                                                                                                    national union, the colonies all maintained a jealous                      Father of Federation, even though he did not actually
                                                                                                                                                       However, between its first meeting in 1886 and its
                                                                           their vulnerability to outside attack. Various Australian                                                                                                                                                                      live to see its achievement, dying in 1896. [7]
                                                                                                                                                       last in 1899, the Federal Council achieved little. It had

                                                                                                                                                                                                       [15] ss Lucinda

[10] 1890 Federation
     Conference, Melbourne

                                                                                                                                                                                        [16] Federation league advertisement
                                                                    [12] 1891 Federation Convention, Sydney
                                                                                                                                   [13] Andrew                   [14] Sir Samuel
                                                                                                                                        Inglis Clark                  Griffith
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               [18] 1895 Premiers’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Conference, Hobart

                                                                                 [11] His trump card

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      [19] 1896 People’s Federal Convention, Bathurst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   [20] The Bulletin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                [17] Dr John Quick
   1890                                                                       1891
By 1890, there was enough interest in Federation for                       The 1891                                                                    Convention’s efforts. The final draft was marked by                                                                                                This popular activity put pressure on the politicians.
the Premiers of NSW and Victoria to call an
intercolonial meeting to discuss the issue.
Delegates from all colonies, plus New Zealand, met in
Melbourne to attend the Australasian Federation
                                                                           Convention met in
                                                                           Sydney to write a
                                                                           constitution. There
                                                                                                                                                       Griffith’s terse, clear style and force of expression.
                                                                                                                                                       The Drafting Committee worked on revisions to the
                                                                                                                                                       draft during an Easter weekend trip by some delegates
                                                                                                                                                       on the Hawkesbury River, aboard the Queensland
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                T           HROUGHOUT the nineties, the Australian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Natives’ Association, a friendly society
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            formed in 1871, was important in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Victoria in publicising the Federation cause. Many
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In 1895 the NSW Premier, George Reid, called a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Premiers’ Conference at Hobart in an attempt to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          renew the movement to Federation. [18] The Premiers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          agreed with the main lines of the ‘Corowa Plan’,
                                                                           were delegates from                                                                                                                                                                                                            namely that a popularly-elected convention should                           • criticised the inadequacy of the Federal Council of
Conference. The Conference agreed that the time was                                                                                                    Government steamship, Lucinda. [15]                                     ‘federation leagues’ were formed for a similar
                                                                           each colony plus                                                                                                                                                                                                               be convened to write a new draft, which would then                            Australasia
right for Federation, and it called for the creation of a                                                                                                                                                                      purpose. [16] The first leagues were formed along
                                                                                                                                                       The 1891 draft constitution was not implemented, due
national convention, which should be empowered to                          New Zealand, all                                                                                                                                    the NSW/Victoria border, where the tariff problem                          be ratified by referendum.                                                  • adopted the 1891 draft Constitution as the basis
                                                                                                                                                       largely to opposition in NSW. It later served as the
consider and report upon an adequate scheme for a                          chosen by their                                                                                                                                     was felt particularly keenly.                                              Consequently, legislation for colonial participation in                       for discussion
                                                                                                                                                       starting point for the Convention of 1897–98.
Federal Constitution. [10]                                                 parliaments. [12]                                                                                                                                                                                                              a Federation convention was passed in all colonies                          • supported popular election for a Senate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               In 1893 some border leagues organised a conference
                                                                                                                                                       The Federation push stalled after NSW’s refusal to deal
Federation was in the air. [11]                                            A draft constitution written by a Tasmanian delegate,                                                                                               at Corowa (NSW) to discuss Federation. The                                 except Queensland.                                                          At first the Sydney Bulletin saw Federationists as
                                                                                                                                                       with the draft constitution. Over the next few years
                                                                           Andrew Inglis Clark, [13] was a useful starting point.                                                                                              conference supported a motion by the Victorian, John                       Late in 1896 another unofficial Federation                                  ’principally jaw’ (endlessly talkative) [20], but during
                                                                                                                                                       activity by ordinary Australians began to emerge,
                                                                           After five weeks’ work a full constitution draft was                                                                                                Quick, [17] which called for a new convention to be                        conference was organised by the Bathurst Federation                         the ‘nineties it became one of the most important
                                                                                                                                                       seeking to push the politicians back into action.
                                                                           produced. The chair of the Drafting Committee,                                                                                                      held, with                                                                 League. Meeting at the Bathurst School of Arts, [19]                        media supporters of Federation. The Bulletin
                                                                           Sir Samuel Griffith (Qld), [14] had been central to the                                                                                             • direct election of delegates whose task would be                         the People’s Federation Convention,                                         advocated Federation as a means of protecting
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  to write a new constitution                                             • supported Federation                                                      Australia against non-white immigration and of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               • ratification of the constitution by referendum.                                                                                                      strengthening the Australian economy.

                                                 [23] Sir Philip Fysh                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       [33] Alfred Deakin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      [32] Australia For Ever
                                                                                                                                                               [27] 1897–98 Convention, Parliament House, Adelaide
                                                                                           [26] Queensland uncertainty

                                                   [25] Sir John Forrest

[21]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        [29] William Trenwith                [31] Sir Edward
Edmund                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Braddon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              [30] Sir George Reid
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 [34] ‘Yes-No’ Reid

         [22] Sir George Turner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      [35] Jack Want
                                                     [24] Charles Cameron
                                                                                                                                                                                       [28] 1897–98 Drafting                                                                                                                                                                     [36] Voting in the
                                                                                                                                                                                            Committee                                                                                                                                                                                 Hobart Town Hall
   1897                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1898
Four years after the Corowa Conference, elections for                                                                                                                                                                          The final session                                                                                                                                      within the cast iron clutch of this Constitution and you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              colonies. YES and NO campaigns were waged in
another Federation Convention were held in four                                                                                                                                                                                of the Convention                                                                                                                                      are sold body and soul to these other colonies...and New
                                                                           The first session of the 1897–98 Federation Convention                                                                                                                                                                             NSW, Victoria, SA and Tasmania. WA stood apart
colonies. The leading vote-winners in each were                                                                                                                                                                                was held in                                                                                                                                            South Wales is gone forever. [35]
                                                                           was held in Adelaide during March and April 1897. [27]                                                                                                                                                                             due to concerns about the possible harmful impact
Edmund Barton (NSW) [21], Sir George Turner (Vic) [22],                                                                                                                                                                        Melbourne from                                                                                                                                         Men could vote, but women could vote only in SA. [36]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              of Federation upon that colony.
Sir Philip Fysh (Tas) [23] and Charles Cameron Kingston                    Sir John Downer (SA), Edmund Barton (NSW) and                                                                                                       January to March                                                                                                                                       YES majorities were secured in all four colonies, but the
(SA) [24].                                                                 Richard O’Connor (NSW) formed the Drafting                                                                                                          1898. It was here that                                                          Many people used emotion to persuade voters to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      NSW total was below the required 80 000 votes, so the
                                                                           Committee. [28] They used the 1891 draft constitution                                                                                               the Tasmanian Premier                                                           accept or reject the Constitution. [32] The leading
Sir John Forrest led the delegation that was elected by                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               referendum failed.
                                                                           as the basis of their work. Most of the men involved in                     After the Sydney meeting of the Convention, the NSW                     inserted the infamous ‘Braddon                                                  Victorian Federationist, Alfred Deakin, made his
the WA Parliament [25]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1898 Referenda
                                                                           writing the constitution were from the main political                       Parliament increased from 50 000 to 80 000 the                          Blot’, designed to help the smaller colonies by limiting                   famous rallying cry at Bendigo: This cause dignifies
For Queensland it seemed that the price of joining a                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      every one of its servants and all efforts that are made                                                      Yes        —            No
                                                                           groupings of the time. Only one, William Trenwith (Vic),                    number of affirmative votes (out of an enrolled figure                  the amount of revenue from tariffs the Commonwealth
federation would be the loss of its black (i.e. South Sea                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 in its behalf. [33]                                                         3 June           NSW          71 595        —        66 228
                                                                           came from labour ranks. [29]                                                of about 300 000 voters) required in a referendum for                   could use for its own purposes. [31] Many people
Islander) labour system, so the colony refused to take                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 June            Vic        100 520        —        22 099
                                                                                                                                                       that colony to join a federation.                                       opposed this change.                                                       Most opposition was found in NSW where Premier Reid                         3 June            Tas         11 797        —         2 716
part in the 1897–98 Convention or the referendum of                        After the Adelaide meeting all colonial parliaments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Tariff concessions to WA were made to encourage that                       criticised the draft Constitution, but said he would still                  4 June             SA         35 800        —        17 320
1898. [26]                                                                 except Queensland’s considered the draft. In September                      Premier Reid came in for harsh criticism from
                                                                           the Convention met in Sydney to consider the                                federalists for his support for this change which                       reluctant colony to join the federation.                                   vote for it in the referendum. He quickly became known                      With this result it was pointless for the other colonies to
                                                                           amendments proposed by the parliaments.                                     seemed likely to defeat the constitution. [30]                                                                                                     as ‘Yes-No’ Reid. [34] Reid’s Attorney-General, Jack                        proceed, for Federation without the largest colony
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Convention eventually approved a Constitution Bill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Want, fought fiercely to defeat the Constitution: Get                       would fail.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               to be put to the people in referenda in the various

                                                                                                   [40] Earl of Hopetoun                                      [42] First Commonwealth Ministry

                                                                                                                                                       [41] Centennial Park, Sydney

                                                                                                                             [39] Vote YES

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       [44] Maypole dancing,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Melbourne                                                                                          The
[37] Lake George as the national capital
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              [45] A federation hangover
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               of Australia
   1899                 [38] Vote NO
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               [43] Sydney
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Town Hall
In January 1899 the final meeting of the Federal                           Queensland participated in the ’secret’ Premiers’                           In early 1900, an Australian delegation travelled to                    Albany, had earlier threatened to secede from WA if the                    The Commonwealth of
Council of Australasia was held.                                           Conference, but Premier Dickson announced that it                           London to oversee the Constitution Bill’s passage                       Government did not act. [39]                                               Australia was inaugurated on
In an effort to avoid another failure, a special Premiers’                 would not conduct a referendum if NSW rejected the                          through the UK Parliament. During that time, when                       Western Australians (including women) eventually voted,                    1 January 1901 in a ceremony in Centennial Park,
Conference was held at the same time to consider                           Constitution Bill a second time. Once the 1899 NSW                          there were British attempts to alter the Bill, the                      three weeks after the Constitution had become law in the                   Sydney, that included the singing of ‘Advance Australia
alterations to the Constitution Bill. Dubbed the ‘secret’                  results were known, Queensland moved to give its                            Australian delegates strongly defended the Bill in the                  UK. The majority came largely from votes cast on the                       Fair’ as well as ‘God Save the Queen’. [41]. Governor-

                                   One people, One destiny
Premier’s Conference due to its being closed to the                        people the chance to have their say.                                        form that it had been approved by the voters.                           goldfields, many of which were cast by ‘T’othersiders’ who                 General Hopetoun was sworn in, followed by the first
media and the public, the changes it made largely met                      Many Queensland voters actually wanted North                                The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act was                      had come from eastern Australia.                                           Commonwealth Ministry, led by Edmund Barton
the objections of opponents in NSW.                                        Queensland and Central Queensland to be given self-                         passed by the UK Parliament on 5 July and received                                                                                                 (NSW). [42]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               1900 Referendum
One change was the decision that the federal capital                       government (like the other colonies) before Federation                      Royal Assent on 9 July 1900.                                                                                                                       Many buildings were lit up to mark the occasion, [43]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes    —            No
would be within the borders of NSW, but no closer than                     was achieved. [38]                                                          Delays in WA, caused by its Government’s doubts,                                                                                                   and there were many public functions held to celebrate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               31 July           WA            44 800      —         19 691
100 miles (160.9 km) from Sydney. Many imaginative                         1899 Referenda                                                              meant that WA voters had not had a chance to vote in                                                                                               the new Commonwealth of Australia. [44]
ideas for the national capital were produced, including                                                      Yes         —         No                  a referendum on the Constitution Bill before it was                     The Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed by Queen                      Many toasts were drunk. [45]
this example of a city on the shores of Lake George                        29 April      SA               65 990         —     17 053                  sent to the UK.                                                         Victoria on 17 September 1900.                                             The first Commonwealth elections were held on
(NSW). [37]                                                                20 June     NSW               107 420         —     82 741
                                                                                                                                                       Various local WA bodies urged that a referendum be                      On 21 September the Earl of Hopetoun was appointed the                     29–30 March. On 9 May the Duke of York opened the
                                                                           27 July      Vic              152 653         —       9805
A second round of referenda was held in NSW, Victoria,                     27 July      Tas               13 437         —        791                  held. A ‘separation for federation’ movement, based in                  first Governor-General. He had earlier served a term as                    first Commonwealth Parliament in the Exhibition
SA and Tasmania. WA still refused to participate. YES                      2 September  Qld               38 488         —     30 996                                                                                          Governor of Victoria (1889–95). [40]                                       Building, Melbourne.
majorities were secured in all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Department of the Parliamentary Library