Skip to main content

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware this website contains images, voices and names of people who have died.

4.1 Introduction

By 1914 when the First World War broke out Australia was acknowledged internationally as one of the leading democracies of the world. This meant that Australia was advanced in who had the vote, in the representative and responsible nature of parliaments, freedom of the press, in the rule of law, and in individual rights and freedoms.

How had this happened? Was it due to the actions of individuals? Was it because of popular protest? Was it because of economic wealth? Was it because of the rejection of class and the acceptance of ideas of egalitarianism?

Which groups were still fighting for their rights?

This investigation focuses on eight Defining Moments and a case study that will help you explore and better understand how Australian democracy developed over time, and why.

Investigation 4.2

1824 Free to criticise, free to praise: First free press

Investigation 4.3

1851 Breaking away from mother: Separation of the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria

Investigation 4.4

1854 Blood on the wattle: Eureka Stockade

Investigation 4.5

1856 A secret vote: Secret ballot introduced

Investigation 4.6

1872 Reading and writing at last: Free and compulsory education

Investigation 4.7

1894 South Australian women vote: Women’s suffrage

Investigation 4.8

1901 A nation at last: Federation

Investigation 4.9

1902 Australian women vote: Commonwealth Franchise Act

Investigation 4.10

Case study: Where did the Australian Constitution come from?

Investigation 4.11


Logo DMDC Logo NMA