Australasian Federation Conferences 1890-98

The records of the Australasian Federation Conference of 1890 and the Australasian Federal Conventions of 1891 and 1897/8 are among the most significant founding documents of the Australian nation. At the Australasian Federation Conference held in Melbourne from 6 to 14 February 1890, leading politicians from the six Australian colonies and New Zealand affirmed the desirability of ‘an early union under the crown’ and committed themselves to persuading their governments to send delegates to a convention which would ‘consider and report’ on a scheme for a federal constitution. 

The Proceedings of the Federation Conference, held in Melbourne in February, 1890, were carefully reported by the Official Shorthand Writers of the Victorian Parliamentary Staff, and this Volume contains a reprint of their admirable reports. 

Click to access proceedings-of-the-federation-conference-february-1890.pdf


Australasian Federal Convention, Sydney, 1891

Accordingly, the members of the National Australasian Convention of 1891 which met in Sydney from 2 March to 9 April did not debate whether the colonies should federate but how. They devoted themselves to finding a draft constitution to which they could agree and which they could take back to their legislatures for discussion and endorsement.

Click to access 1-1891-australasian-federation-conference-index-to-speeches.pdf

Click to access 2-1891-australasian-federation-conference-appendix.-commonwealth-of-australia-bill-1891.pdf

Click to access 3-1891-australasian-federation-conference-index-to-debates.pdf

Click to access 4-1891-australasian-federation-conference-delegations-from-colonies.pdf

Click to access 5-1891-australasian-federation-conference-contents.pdf

Click to access 6-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-2.pdf

Click to access 7-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-3.pdf

Click to access 8-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-4.pdf

Click to access 9-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-5.pdf

Click to access 10-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-6.pdf

Click to access 11-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-9.pdf

Click to access 12-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-10.pdf

Click to access 13-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-11.pdf

Click to access 14-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-12.pdf

Click to access 15-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-13.pdf

Click to access 16-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-16.pdf

Click to access 17-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-17.pdf

Click to access 18-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-18.pdf

Click to access 19-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-24.pdf

Click to access 20-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-march-31.pdf

Click to access 21-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-april-1.pdf

Click to access 22-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-april-2.pdf

Click to access 23-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-april-3.pdf

Click to access 24-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-april-6.pdf

Click to access 25-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-april-7.pdf

Click to access 26-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-april-8.pdf

Click to access 27-1891-australasian-federation-conference-debates-april-9.pdf

When the Australasian Federal Convention met, in three sessions, in Adelaide Sydney and Melbourne in 1897 and early 1898, the delegates modified the draft produced in 1891. The Australian Constitution was contained in the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Bill, which was endorsed by the voters of each Australian colony at referendums in 1898, 1899 and 1900, passed by the British Parliament, and given Royal Assent on 9 July 1900.

Debates of the Australasian Federal Convention of 1897/8 are in three sessions. These documents are yet to be added to this article, you can locate them in the following links: