Australian Federation

Essay by aznforceJunior High, 9th grade February 2009

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

On the 1st January 1901 the six Australian colonies united as one to become a nation, the commonwealth of Australia. But this federation didn't come about overnight, it happened from over 50 year of discussions by everyone in Australia. But have anyone thought why this federation took so long to happen? Maybe it was because of the considerations of the benefits of federation, not just for the Australian people, but also for each and every colony. What each and every colony were to benefit from federation. Some obvious points are; sence of nationalism, united defence, free trade, immigration, united law and communication.

When Australia was first established by white people, Governor Phillip had various powers and was able to rule in an autocratic way to keep the population under control (70% of whom were convicts). The wealthy and privileged filled the early parliaments and courts, which was an unofficial aristocracy.

The citizens of the colonies were British citizens in a constitutional monarchy; a political system which is subject to the provisions of a constitution and in which a monarch has a right to be represented. Separate colonies developed into states that were united under a federal system of government after Federation in 1901.

A serious movement for federation of the colonies arose in the late 1880s,a time when there was increasing nationalism amongst Australians, the great majority of whom were native born. The idea of being "Australian" began to be celebrated in songs and poems. This was fostered by improvements in transport and communications, such as the establishment of a telegraph between the colonies in 1872. The Australian colonies were also influenced by other federations which had emerged around the world, notably the United States, Canada and Switzerland.

Sir Henry Parkes, then the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales, first...