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04_V4 Toward Nationhood from Gemini on Vimeo.

A Nation for a Continent and a Continent for a Nation
Former Governor-General, Sir William Deane, reads the Queen of Australia's
Federation Message at Centennial Park, Sydney on 1 January 2001.

Timeline of Events to Federation

Below is the timeline of events leading up to the Federation on 1 January 1901:

1846 - Governor Fitzroy of New South Wales makes the first noted suggestion of the need for an inter-colonial authority.

1863 - First intercolonial conference held in Melbourne.

1883 - Henry Parkes' proposal for a Federal Council agreed to by intercolonial conference in Sydney.

1885 - British Parliament passes Federal Council of Australasia Act.

1889 - Parkes' Tenterfield speech calling for constitutional convention.

1891 - National Australasian Convention in Sydney drafts 'Bill to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia'.

1896 - People's Federal Convention at Bathurst (NSW) provides forum for ordinary citizens to discuss the Constitution Bill of 1891.

1897/8 - Second National Australasian Convention prepares revised draft constitution.

1898/9 - Referendums held in all colonies (except Western Australia).

  1. March - A delegation of Australians sent to London to negotiate enactment of the Bill.

  2. 05 July - British Parliament passes Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Bill.

  3. 09 July - Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act.

  4. 31 July - Western Australia votes to join the federation.

  5. 29 October - Queen Victoria issued Letters Patent constituting the Office of Governor-General and also presents the Letters Patent to Australia's first Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun.

  6. 17 September - Queen Victoria issued a Royal Proclamation which declared:

    On and after 1 January 1901, the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia shall be united in a Federal Commonwealth under the name of the Commonwealth of Australia.

  1. 01 January - an official ceremony inaugurates the Commonwealth of Australia.

  2. 20 March - the first federal elections are held.

  3. 09 May - the first Commonwealth Parliament meets at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

Click here to get further information about the
Federation of Australia from the Australian National Library Pandora Archives.