Image 'Discussing the site at Tumut', 1902

TLF ID R3006

This is a black-and-white photograph, measuring 18.4 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. Senators and local dignitaries are posing in groups on a hillside, ostensibly discussing the merits of a site at Tumut in New South Wales.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset depicts some of the federal senators on a tour of regional locations 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 shows the senators apparently discussing a site at Tumut, which was in Lyne's electorate.
  • It shows some of the touring party during February and March of 1902 - the senators and accompanying journalists visited other locations, including Albury, Wagga, 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 for military manoeuvres; the site had to be inland to secure the city from possible attack from foreign invaders approaching from the sea.
  • It illustrates federal senators trying to fulfil the compromise agreement on the site of the new federal capital of Australia - after years of wrangling by 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 shows an example of the lobbying involved in choosing a site for the new federal capital, with the senators meeting local dignitaries in every town they visited - these people were keen to impress the decision-makers with the attributes of their local area, often taking the senators to the tops of hills to point out features of the landscape; over the years, a total of 35 locations were considered as possible sites.
  • It includes a saddled horse, suggesting that the senators may have had to ride to the site because the road was impassable for coaches at some point - the senators left Melbourne (where Federal Parliament was then based) by train and later travelled by stage coach to some of the more remote areas.
  • It illustrates men's clothing and fashion of the time - three-piece suits were worn with starched shirt collars and bow ties; accessories included hats, an umbrella and cane, and the chains of fob watches can be seen on the men's waistcoats; men also wore beards and moustaches that were popular at the time; long moustaches, such as that worn by the man on the right, were waxed to help hold them in place.
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
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements