Australia becomes a nation

Draft Constitution with editing in red by Edmund Barton

Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sydney
NAA: A1200, L83908

The Constitution is one of the Commonwealth of Australia’s birth certificates. It was passed by the British Parliament on 9 July 1900 and enabled Australia to become a federated nation on 1 January 1901. With Federation six separate British colonies became one nation. The colonies had spent a decade developing the Constitution. It set out how the new federation would be established and provided guidelines for the way Australians would shape their nation.

Get thinking

  • Edmund Barton was working on a draft of the Constitution in 1891. Why do you think it was another 10 years before Federation?
  • Why did the British Parliament pass an Act to create the Commonwealth of Australia, and why did Queen Victoria give assent (approve) the Act?
  • What do you think the six colonies hoped to achieve from becoming one nation?

Get going

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