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Listed under:  Society  >  Citizenship  >  Law  >  Legislation

'Federation' dress and sash, 1901

This is a woman's 'Federation' dress and sash, made of painted silk and cotton, worn by Margaret Chisholm to a Federation Ball in 1901. It consists of a a bodice, skirt and sash. The bodice features a Union Jack pattern in silk and the cotton skirt is painted with an early version of the Australian coat of arms and the ...


Margaret Chisholm wearing a Federation dress, 1890-1901

This is a hand-tinted photograph mounted on heavy card showing Margaret Chisholm wearing her Federation dress. The photo was taken at some stage between 1890 and 1901. Her hair is ornamented with a small flag and she carries a riding whip in her right hand. She leans with her left hand against what appears to be a table ...


Map of New South Wales marked with proposed federal capital sites, 1902

This is a map of New South Wales entitled 'Map of New South Wales Shewing Proposed Federal Capital Sites'. Just visible in the lower right corner is a line saying that the map was lithographed and printed in 1902 by the Department of Lands, NSW. The map is made from silk and timber, and is 6.6 cm high and 78.5 cm wide.


Invitation to a reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, 1901

This a highly coloured invitation to a reception to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. The invitiation states: 'His Majesty's / MINISTERS OF STATE FOR AUSTRALIA / have the honor to invite / Mr and Mrs Anthony Clota / to an Evening Reception at the / Exhibition Building MELBOURNE, / on the 9th of May 1901, at ...


Prime ministers of Australia

This website contains biographies of Australia’s prime ministers up to John Howard. Each biography includes information about the prime minister and his terms in office and includes major events and milestones, activities beyond politics and pieces of legislation implemented.

Interactive resource

Discovering democracy: democracy timeline

Use a timeline to find information about significant events and ideas in the development and evolution of democracy in the world, focusing on Australia. Nominate specific years or scroll from the latest date back to 0 (where events dated BC are listed).


Australasian Federation Conference, 1890

This is a black-and-white group photograph showing the 13 colonial delegates to the Australasian Federation Conference and the Secretary to the Conference. The photograph was taken outside at Parliament House in Melbourne before or after one of the sessions of the Conference held between 6 and 14 February 1890, and shows ...


British colonial secretary queries the selection of Australia's first prime minister, 1900

This is the telegram sent by the British colonial secretary in London, Joseph Chamberlain, to Australia's governor-general-designate Lord Hopetoun, asking for an explanation of Hopetoun's decision to invite Sir William Lyne and not Edmund Barton to form a government as Australia's first prime minister. Hopetoun received ...


Barton's Oath of Allegiance, 1 January 1901

This is the oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria and 'Her Heirs and Successors according to law' signed by Edmund Barton as he was sworn in to the first government ministry of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. The governor-general, Lord Hopetoun, countersigned to witness that the oath had been 'sworn and ...


November Victory, 1955: 'A fair go for the working people'

This clip from a black-and-white narrated and dramatised 1955 documentary by the Waterside Workers' Federation (WWF) Film Unit, shows the WWF 1954 campaign to unite workers and the public behind their fight against the 1954 amendments to the 1949 Stevedoring Act. Waterside workers' wives support the cause by packing food ...


November Victory, 1955

This black-and-white narrated and dramatised clip from a 1955 documentary made by the Waterside Workers' Federation (WWF) Film Unit recounts the story of the waterside workers' victory in rendering the 1954 amendment to the Stevedoring Act of 1949 unworkable. Scenes show the Bill's signing, the WWF leader Jim Healy speaking, ...


Letters Patent constituting the office of governor-general of Australia, 1900

This document, signed by Queen Victoria on 29 October 1900, established the office of the governor-general of Australia. Known as the 'Letters Patent', it comprises two large pages of parchment measuring 60 cm x 58 cm with an elaborately decorated border that includes the royal coat of arms and figures representing justice, ...


After Mabo, 1997: Fiction of terra nullius

The clip shows Indigenous leaders Peter Yu and Noel Pearson discussing Indigenous rights to land and the native title legislation that was introduced by the Labor government under prime minister Paul Keating after the Mabo decision in 1992. It includes the government's rationale and a discussion of the effect on pastoral ...


After Mabo, 1997: A country's shame

The clip shows developments over the three-year period from the passage in December 1993 of the Native Title Act 1993 in the Australian Senate to the response to tabled amendments to the Act after John Howard became prime minister in 1996. It includes footage of the parliamentary debate and the main points in the legislation, ...


After Mabo, 1997: Law stick

The clip shows the Howard government's response to the Wik decision of 23 December 1996 and Indigenous responses to the government's signals that there would be further amendments to the Native Title Act 1993. It shows part of the Aboriginal Land Councils' Wik Summit in 1997. Wik Elder Jean George calls for justice and ...


Australian Constitution writers

This collection of 21 digital curriculum resources focuses on the men who wrote and debated the draft Australian Constitution. The collection is organised into seven categories - the development of the Constitution; the Australasian Federation Conference of 1890; the National Australasian Convention of 1891; the Australasian ...


Naming the nation's capital, 1913

This is an official government document concerning suggestions from members of the House of Representatives for a name for Australia's new federal capital. There are four columns headed 'No.', 'Name', 'Date' and 'Suggestion'. The document is titled 'SUGGESTED NAMES FOR FEDERAL CAPITAL CITY / FROM MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT'. ...


Plan for Canberra - view from the summit of Mount Ainslie, c1911-12

This is a hand-coloured perspective sketch on three silk panels depicting part of Walter Burley Griffin's plan for Canberra, viewed from the summit of Mount Ainslie. On the two outer panels is a rectangular block with text. The left panel has the words 'COMMONWEALTH / OF AUSTRALIA / FEDERAL CAPITAL / COMPETITION' and the ...


Edmund Barton's annotated copy of the 1891 draft of the Constitution, 1891-97

This is an excerpt from Edmund Barton's annotated copy of the 1891 draft of the Australian Constitution. Barton's handwritten notes in red ink record the decisions made by the Constitution Committee, which he chaired, at the beginning of the second Australasian Federal Convention. This document represents the first stage ...


Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia

This is a photograph of Australia's first Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun, taking his oath of office at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901 in the Federation Pavilion at Centennial Park, Sydney, New South Wales. Next to Lord Hopetoun are Sir Edmund Barton and the other members of Australia's ...