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What is Federation? Why did Australia’s colonies join together? Find out about the Federation of Australia in 1901.

Federating Australia 08:09


  • Choose a key person in the path to Federation (such as Sir Henry Parkes, Edmund Barton, George Reid) and present their contribution to Federation to your class in a creative way. You could do this with a poem, song, cartoon strip or a play.
  • Sir Henry Parkes is often called the 'Father of Federation'. Write a persuasive speech to convince your teacher why you agree or disagree with this description.

Australian Curriculum links

Year 6 History

Key figures, events and ideas that led to Australia’s Federation and Constitution (ACHASSK134)

Year 5 Civics and Citizenship

How people with shared beliefs and values work together to achieve a civic goal (ACHASSK118)

Year 6 Civics and Citizenship

The shared values of Australian citizenship and the formal rights and responsibilities of Australian citizens (ACHASSK147)

Related resources

Australian Federation 06:05

Australian federation as told by historian David Hunt.

Creating a Nation 22:01

Federation of the states and creation of the Commonwealth of Australia.

In our collection

Commemorative mug for the Federation of Australia in 1901Souvenir china mug printed with 'Rose and Waratah' pattern green decorations, designed by John Slater and John Shorter. "AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION 1901" is in a scroll below a vignette of Queen Victoria, flanked by an Australian infantryman, or a Light Horseman on foot, who is wearing a slouch hat, and a British infantryman who is w...
Australasian Federal Convention souvenir poster 1898Most Australian colonies received a form of self-government in the 1850s. Each colonial legislature was closely linked to the British parliament but there was no machinery for inter-colonial consultation or joint legislation on matters of common interest. When inter-colonial conferences were held in the 1870's and 1880s, with th...
Invitation to the opening of the First Commonwealth Parliament at Exhibition Building, Melbourne, 9 May 1901.An invitation to the opening of the First Commonwealth Parliament. The colour invitation is on board and has an illustration of a woman on horseback bowing to a man dressed in ancient Roman robes and headdress. There are two shields in the background, one featuring the Union Jack and the other the Southern Cross. A group of peop...
Bust of Prime Minister Edmund Barton by Nelson IllingworthThe artist Nelson Illingworth recognised Barton's commitment and leadership to the cause of Federation with the creation of this bust. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the artwork in 1898: 'BUST OF MR. BARTON.- A number of people visited Mr. Tom Roberts' studio yesterday to inspect a small bust of Mr. Edmund Barton, Q.C., ...
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