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Unit 2 - Creation of a Nation

Lesson plan
Activity - Born Identity


Unlike many nations, the Australian states united without a war. Eventually, a Bill passed through the British Parliament which established the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Royal Commission of Assent is one of a number of important documents that helped create Australian democracy - a type of birth certificate for the fledgling Australian nation. This document is as important in our constitutional history as the Magna Carta in Britain or the Declaration of Independence in the United States. It originated in England and acknowledges the creation of the six British colonies as the Commonwealth of Australia. On 9 July 1900, Queen Victoria signed this document giving her consent to Australia's independence, thus enacting the Australian Constitution and establishing the Australian Commonwealth. The original document is made from vellum, a specially treated animal skin, and is stored at the National Archives of Australia. A facsimile is on display in Parliament House, Canberra.


Students create a birth certificate for their school acknowledging school rules that reflect the basic principles of an Australian democratic society.


  • understand the role of the Royal Commission of Assent and its historical importance
  • understand the relevance the Commission of Assent document has in today's society
  • understand the term democracy and how it has shaped Australian society
  • acknowledge that the Commonwealth of Australia was created without a war
  • work effectively as a team to create a set of rules and regulations deemed suitable for their school environment
  • engage in debate and discussion with other students


Exhibit title - Birth Certificate of a Nation - Royal Commission of Assent
Location - Creation of a Nation, section 3

This activity relates to the wall displaying a large etched metal plate, which details a copy of the Royal Commission of Assent.


  • student activity sheet
  • pen or pencil
  • paper for taking notes
  • various craft material
  • thin cardboard


  1. Introduce the topic by setting the scene with the class.
  2. Divide students into groups and hand out the activity sheet.
  3. Ensure students work as a team and create and acknowledge a list of rules that enable fair group discussion. For example, everyone has the right to speak and to be listened to.
  4. As a group, students will come up with a list of ten rules that support the functions of their school.
  5. Encourage debate and discussion by asking the following questions:
    • What is considered fair treatment for all who attend or visit the school?
    • What type of working environment is fair for all?
    • What resources should be easily available?
    • What is a ‘bully free environment'?
    • Should there be special allowances for minority and disabled groups?
    • Are there any other issues or comments that have not been addressed?
  6. Once the activity has been completed, students present their democratic rules to the rest of the class and explain their reasons for choosing them.
  7. Each student can now create their own decorative ‘school birth certificate' using thin cardboard and craft materials. The birth certificate should include their list of rules for display in the classroom.