Getting it Together: from colonies to Federation is a Museum of Australian Democracy schools learning product where students use historical sources such as newspaper extracts, cartoons, speeches and biographies in a series of classroom activities.
At the end of the 1800s, Australia was divided into six separate colonies instead of being one nation. But people had been talking for years about whether Australia should be one nation, and in the 1890s a series of meetings (called conventions or conferences) was held to discuss federation of the colonies.
The National Library owes its existence to Federation and from the beginning it set out to document the Federation movement. In 1903 it announced that it was seeking complete records of Federation from every possible source. The first substantial manuscript collection acquired by the Library was the archives of the Australasian Federation League of New South Wales, purchased from Edward Dowling in 1912. The Federation papers of Sir Edmund Barton were donated by his family in 1928, while the papers of Alfred Deakin were presented by his daughter in 1965.
Robyn Harrison's insight:
Has links to lots of Primary Resources and original documents, manuscripts and records.
The Australian Constitution is the single most important document in Australia’s history. It created the federal government and the states and made Australia a nation.
The original Constitution and other key documents related to the birth of the Australian nation are held by the National Archives in Canberra and are available for viewing at special events and by booked groups.
It's hard to imagine in contemporary Australia, but prior to Federation each of the Australian colonies was more like its own country with customs houses, railway gauges and even their own military. It was neither natural nor inevitable that Australia would be federated, in fact it wasn't even a very popular idea. Only through the dedication and hard work of a small group of people did the colonies eventually come together to form a nation.
Colonial politicians like Alfred Deakin, Henry Parkes and Edmund Barton waged a long campaign to turn the six colonies of 3.7 million people into a country in its own right.
Politicians from all six colonies helped make the Australian Commonwealth. Many were remarkable characters, some were powerful intellects. Together they contributed energy, imagination, political astuteness, a determination to defend local interests and a commitment to the Federation ideal.
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