Federation of Australia

Southern Dominions

Australasia 1901.0101

Federation of Australia

From the Federation of Australia and World War I in the South Pacific to the outbreak of World War II (1 January 1901)

Historical Map of Australia, New Zealand & the Southwest Pacific

The late nineteenth century saw an increasing call for federation among the Australian colonies. On 1 January 1901 they united to form the Commonwealth of Australia, with a new capital to be built midway between the main centres of Melbourne and Sydney.

Main Events

Australasia in the 2nd Boer War

The Australian colonies and New Zealand send their own contingents to serve in the Second Boer War, fought by the British Empire against the Orange Free State and the South African Republic. Ultimately some 20,000 Australians and 6,000 New Zealanders serve in the war.

Tripartite Convention

The United States of America, the German Empire, and the United Kingdom signed the Tripartite Convention, concluding the Second Samoan Civil War. The treaty formally partitioned the Samoan archipelago by the longitude 171 degrees west of Greenwich, with Germany given rights to Upolu, Savaii, and other islands west of that line, and the United States gaining Tutuila and smaller islands to the east. By surrendering their rights to Samoa, the British gained compensation from Germany elsewhere, most notably in Tonga and the Solomon Islands.

Anglo-Tongan Treaty of Friendship

The United Kingdom signs a Treaty of Friendship with the Kingdom of Tonga, making Tonga a British protected state. The treaty posts a British Consul on Tonga, but the Pacific Kingdom otherwise maintains its sovereignty.

Federation of Australia

The Constitution of Australia comes into force, uniting the British self-governing colonies of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia as states of the new Commonwealth of Australia. As a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne, Parliament is to sit in Melbourne until a federal capital is constructed at a site in southern New South Wales.

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