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Raymond House Library: Year 6

Your guide to the Raymond House Library

Federation: The making of a nation

Important People of Federation

Sir Henry Parkes (1815 - 1896)

Click on the image to read his biography.

Alfred Deakin (1856 - 1919)

Click on the image to read his biography.

Sir John William Downer (1843 - 1915)

Click on the image to read his biography.

Sir Edmund Barton (1849 - 1920)

Click on the image to read his biography.

Catherine Helen Spence (1825 - 1910)

Click on the image to read her biography.

What is Federation?


Federation is the process by which 6 partly self-governing British colonies decided to form a new nation. Australia was created by peaceful means as an Act of the British Parliament—the result of much consideration and debate.

Parliamentary Education Office, 2019

The Duke of Cornwall and York opens the first federal Parliament, 9 May 1901.


This colour engraving shows the official opening of the of the first federal Parliament. The Duke of Cornwall and York, dressed in full military uniform, reads from a book. He and other dignitaries stand on a platform looking down on a great crowd. Judges, military personel, academics, women and lawyers can be seen in the crowd. Flags are drapped from the mezzanine level of the Exhibition Building.

State Library of Victoria | Parliamentary Education Office, 2019


More Resources

More Resources

Find primary sources here in the National Library of Australia - including finding newspaper articles, maps, photographs, manuscripts, etc. 

The Move to Federation Source Analysis (Year 6 History - Australia as a Nation) - State Library of NSW - activities to help you learn to analyse primary source material on the Federation. 

The Federation of Australia - Year 6 History (National Archives of Australia) - find lots of primary source material on the Federation. 

Australia's Federation (Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House) - a good place to find resources (primary & secondary), including teacher guides. 

Australian Federation Full Text Database (The University of Sydney) - a great place to find primary source material on Federation, especially documents. 

Federation and Federalism - from the WA government, gives a clear understanding of the levels of democracy.