Nationalism & Federation
From separate colonies to one nation, from ardent royalists with loyalty to the British throne to nationalists who see Australia as a nation able to stand by itself. In the space of one to two centuries, there has been significant change, though the concept, and the movement, began only a few decades after European settlement.
This page covers the leading figures in the Federation process and a first section on Federation covering Life at the time of Federation, the States and Federation, The Constitution, Other Documents and Timelines & Chronologies.
The Second Page covers a second section on Federation looking at The Centenary of Federation, Student Activities & Resources and multiple general information Links. It also has a section on Nationalism in Australia, including multimedia material.
These pages provide links to information and resources for units and topics covered in this subject at a range of Australian universities. It does not attempt to include all these. Be aware some units/topics have different titles in different universities, even though content may be the same or similar. Australian information is supplied where possible. They are at undergraduate level.
There are journals, search engines, databases, primary documents, reference material and other general information where seen as relevant.
- Leading Figures in the
‘Politicians from all six colonies helped make the Australian Commonwealth. Many were remarkable characters, some were powerful intellects. But if the Constitution was mostly the creation of bearded men, Federation was also the result of pressure from ordinary men and women who, on at least one occasion, revived the movement when the politicians appeared to have lost interest’. Fascinating list. Some individuals detailed below.
- Alfred Deakin
Victorian. Barrister, Federationist, one of the first Prime Ministers. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online. Also see the Guide to the Papers of Alfred Deakin, National Library of Australia.
- Andrew Inglis Clark
Tasmania. Barrister, Federationist, judge, law reformer, university vice-chancellor. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
- Catherine Helen Spence
South Australia. Charity worker, journalist, women’s activist, women’s suffragist. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
- Charles Cameron Kingston
South Australia. Radical politician, barrister, Premier. Credited with extending the franchise to women in South Australia. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
Australia’s first Prime Minister, a leading light in the federation movement.
- Edmund Barton
The man, his role, his life. National Museum of Australia.
- Edmund Barton 
National Library of Australia. Includes access to his papers.
- Sir Edmund Barton
New South Wales]. Barrister, Federationist, Premier, Prime Minister, High Court Judge. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
- King O’Malley
Tasmania. Federationist, insurance agent, politician, anti-conscriptionist. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
- Maybanke Susannah Anderson
New South Wales. Also known as Maybanke Susannah Wolstenhome [married name]. Historian, feminist, school owner, women’s suffragist. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
Copy of an original document listing all who attended the 1897 Australasian Federal Convention.
- Sir George Houstoun Reid
New South Wales. Barrister, Federationist, Prime Minister, public servant, High Commissioner. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
Sir Henry Parkes
‘Father of Federation’, politician, activist, died before Federation finally occurred.
- Henry Parkes
Emigration to Australia, self-government campaigner, premier, literary works, references, links. From Wikipedia.
Annotated links to resources from the Henry Parkes Foundation. Articles, commentary, more.
- Sir Henry Parkes
New South Wales. Political activist, Federationist, Premier, Free Trade Politician. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
- Sir John [Baron Forrest] Forrest
Western Australia. Explorer Federationist, Premier, Surveyor-General. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
- Sir John Quick
Victoria. Barrister, Federationist, industrial arbitrator, journalist, judge. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
- Sir Robert Randolph Garran
New South Wales. Barrister, Federationist, political writer, First Australian Public Servant. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
- Sir Samuel Walker Griffith
Queensland. Barrister, Federationist, High Court Judge, Chief Justice [he drafted the Judiciary Act which inaugurated the High Court], Premier. Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.
- 2000 Boyer
The Rule of Law and the Constitution : The Hon. Murray Gleeson, AC. ‘Chief Justice Gleeson offers his thoughts on our Constitution, the rich history of law, our rights, and the importance of the court’s independence’.
- Beginner’s Guide to the Australian Constitution
PDF copy, Free audio podcasts, Free video podcasts.
- Constitution of Australia
Historical information, various articles, amendments, role of the conventions, interpretation, criticism, notes, references, links. From Wikipedia.
- Research Paper
The Need for a New Preamble to the Australian Constitution and/or a Bill of Rights. Major issues, recent reform initiatives, the Preamble, a possible Australian Bill of Rights, links to charters and bills from around the world.
- The Australian Constitution
Full text, sections on Federalism, constitutional overview, constitutional reform, republic or monarchy, more. A full copy can also be gained from this Senate site.
- The Australian Federal Constitution
A Guide to Net Resources. Not updated for several years.
Original documents, editorials of the time, cartoons, images, other documentary-type resources.
- Australian Federation Full Text Database
Federation Debates and Participant’s Writings. Debates include Melbourne , Sydney , Corowa , Bathurst , Adelaide & Sydney  and Melbourne . Each available online or as a PDF, as are the accounts and associated writings, covering many topics. Photograph of the 1890 Federal Council membership.
- Commonwealth Documents
Documents relating to Federation and the birth of the nation. A second section lists documents as late as the 1980s.
- Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 [UK]
Significance, history, description, view all pages, download the transcript in PDF or RTF format.
- Constitution Documents
‘Australia was the first country in the world to be created as a result of a free vote of its people. Our constitutional documents chart the evolution of our nation, and demonstrate how legal documents can shape the lives of a people and the destiny of a continent’. Links to Documenting Democracy, UNESCO listing of these and follow up acts relating to national interests of the time.
‘January editions of Australian newspapers in 1901 prominently featured the Federation of the states. Editorial opinion reflected the variety of reactions to the creation of this new nation’. Editorials from a range of Victorian papers.
- Federation Gallery
‘A permanent exhibition that brings together seven key documents in Australia’s history’ National Archives.
- Parkes’ 1889 speech at Tenterfield
From the Great Rural Speeches Collection from the Australian ABC. For an excerpt, see Tenterfield Oration, from Wikipedia.
- Records About The Formation of
‘The National Archives holds a rich store of Federation material’. Multiple links access these. They include the Documenting a Democracy site and the following.
- Creating a Nation
From Drafting the Constitution to The coming of federation.
- Federation : The Guide to Records [also here for purchase], which is ‘a comprehensive Online guide to Federation records around Australia, including a selection of images and documents’.
- Records of the Australasian Federal Conventions of the 1890s
Melbourne 1890, Sydney 1891 and the three sessions of the 1897/8 conference [Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne]. All debates, some proceedings.
Life at The Time of Federation
Everyday life during the move to Federation.
- Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation
‘As a group you’re going to explore what it was like to be a Chinese person at the turn of the twentieth century’. A webquest suited to senior student and tertiary studies.
- Federation Ephemera
‘Australian Federation ephemera including photographs from the Alfred Lee family papers [electronic resource]’. State Library of NSW. Now at Pandora Archive.
- Life at the Time of
‘This unit of work encourages students to investigate what life was like in Australia at the time of Federation through an examination of a time capsule containing seven key objects. Students explore the meaning of these objects to reveal their role in our national identity and their importance in the Federation process’. Life at the time of Federation [PDF 5.3 MB].
- The Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation Project
‘Focuses on the private, community and public life of Australia’s Chinese communities before and after Federation in 1901’.
- Unfinished Business
‘Radio National’s social history series covering Federation. Full text of the episode concerning the actual day of Federation - A Nation in a Day. This is a long document. It runs to 27 printed pages’.
States & Federation, The
- Advance Australia : South Australia and
‘Provides a substantial point of reference to anyone interested in the development of our nation and South Australia’s role in it’. Introduction, general sources, SA sources, Federation images, links, search.
- Australia - Federation
Museum Victoria. Use the search term Federation to access more than 1 000 items including objects, documents, audiovisuals, images, numismatics, etc.. A similar search on Culture Victoria provides links for material at the National Gallery Victoria, Museum Victoria, State Library, Victoria heritage Database as well as Culture Victoria itself. Some 11 000 plus items can be found here.
- Federation of Australia - State Library of Victoria
Chronology, Themes, Key People, Quotes, Gallery, Editorials [see below], Bibliography, Links, more. Now archived.
- The Making of Queensland - Trails to Federation
‘250 part series on Federation’. The site is archived but you can play parts using RealAudio format.
- WA - Popular Referendum on Australian Federation
Statistical detail on this.
- Western Australia and Federation
Lead up to federation, possible secession in the 1930s, issues that existed in 2001.
Timelines & Chronologies
- Australia’s Constitutional Milestones
A listing with date, brief details of the event, source documents. Self-government to 1999, with a large section on the Federation era.
- A Timeline of Events at The Time of Federation
Starts in 1897 and goes to September 1901. Civics & Citizenship Education.
- The Making of
Article that provides details of the events during this period. Links to other periods around this as well. National Archives of Australia./li>