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Federation begins

Extract from Cavalcade of Australia: 1901–1951 (1951)

Australia became a nation on 1 January 1901 after the British Parliament passed laws allowing the six Australian colonies to come together and form the Commonwealth of Australia. Federation created a new national Parliament and an Australian Constitution which divided law making powers between the old colonies (now called states) and the new parliament. It was a remarkable effort that had taken many years of discussion, debate and public votes to achieve.

Scenes from a documentary which uses archival film to highlight and illustrate the main events that occurred in the history of Australia in the fifty years following Federation. On the celebration of Australia's Jubilee as a Commonwealth, Australian film production organisations, both governmental and commercial, made archival material from their libraries available for this film.

Film Australia Collection NFSA: 1396113 Documentary courtesy National Film and Sound Archive


1. What does this short film clip show? Summarise what you see and hear.

2. Does the film appear to have a main purpose or message? If so, what do you think it is?

3. Who made the film clip and when was it made? Use this information to try to work out why the film was made. Does this change what you think about the purpose of the film?

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