Image Touring possible sites for the federal capital, 1902

TLF ID R3005

This is a black-and-white photograph, measuring 18.8 cm x 24.0 cm, taken in 1902 during a tour of inspection by senators from the Federal Parliament of possible sites for the proposed federal capital. Having alighted from a horse-drawn stage coach, five members of the party en route to Tumut, New South Wales, are standing on the roadside watching a bullock team passing by.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset depicts some federal senators on a tour of regional towns in New South Wales arranged by the Minister for Home Affairs, William Lyne, in an effort to choose a site for the federal capital - the photograph was taken when the senators were on their way to Tumut by stage coach, although much of the tour was completed by train.
  • It shows some of the touring party during February and March of 1902 - the senators and accompanying journalists visited numerous potential sites in this period including Albury, Wagga, Tumut, Yass, Goulburn, Orange, Armidale, Lake George, Bombala, Dalgety, Eden and Bega; factors used to assess locations included clean permanent water sources, a pleasant outlook, an existing lake or the possibility of creating one, flat land suitable for building, and a large area where military manoeuvres could be staged; the site had to be inland to secure the city from possible attack from foreign invaders approaching from the sea.
  • It shows federal senators trying to fulfil the compromise agreement on the site of the new federal capital of Australia - after many years of wrangling between Melbourne and Sydney it was decided at a premiers' conference in 1899 to locate the capital in New South Wales, but that it would be more than 100 miles (161 kilometres) from Sydney; this decision provided a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne and satisfied all states in the new federation.
  • It includes a stage coach, built in the style of the American Concord coach, being pulled by four horses - it is possible that the coach depicted was hired from Cobb and Co; at its peak, Cobb and Co operated a network of routes larger than any other coach company in the world, with coaches travelling 44,800 kilometres every week with 6,000 from its stable of 30,000 horses being harnessed every day.
  • It features a bullock team of 12 animals wearing yokes made from a piece of wood with two metal hoops suspended from it - a yoke was worn across the shoulders of two bullocks and the metal hoop sat around their necks; the reins used to control the animals ran through a metal holder in the centre of each yoke, back to the 'bullocky' (bullock driver); this large bullock team would have been pulling a heavy load of possibly wool or grain.
  • It shows an unpaved rural road - without any surface hardening, such as the addition of gravel, roads in many areas of Australia became impassable following heavy rains when they would turn to mud.
Year level

1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: Edmund Thomas Luke
  • Description: Author
  • Contributor
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Description: Content provider
  • URL:
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: Edmund Thomas Luke
  • Description: Author
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
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Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements