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Federation and the Formation of the National Capital
The Figures of Federation
Setting the scene
Federation was not a foregone conclusion. Debate raged for many years as practical considerations and political idealism proved difficult to reconcile. Finally, in January 1901, the Australian colonies united to become a nation. This was an obvious turning point in the history of Canberra, as it led to the pressure to create a national capital.
Below are just a few individuals who influenced the direction and ultimate outcomes of Australian Federation.
What to do
Select one of these people and submit a 1,000 word report detailing their achievements and contributions towards Federation.
Sir Henry Parkes (1815-1896)
Considered by some as the ‘Father of Federation', Parkes was a passionate advocate for the uniting of Australia's colonies. He died several years before Federation became a reality.
Charles Scrivener (1855-1923)
Charles Scrivener surveyed the site for the National Capital.
Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937)
In May 1912, Walter Burley Griffin's design was declared the winner of the international competition for Australia's National Capital.
Marion Mahony Griffin (1871-1961)
Wife of Walter Burley Griffin, Marion was an inspired artist, architect and draftsperson who rendered the winning design for the Griffins' plans of the National Capital.
King O'Malley (1858-1953)
King O'Malley was the outspoken and controversial Minister for Home Affairs who announced Walter Burley Griffin as the competition winner to design Australia's National Capital.
Sir Edmund Barton (1849-1920)
Sir Edmund Barton was the first Prime Minister of Australia and a stout supporter of Federation.
Key points within your report should cover the following questions:
- Was Federation important to the growth of Australian identity?
- How has this person shaped Australia's history?
- Did this person have a direct influence on Australia's National Capital?
- How would you personally describe the character of this person?
- Is this person adequately recognised in Australian society today through memorials or the naming of towns and Canberra suburbs? If not, should they be recognised for their achievements?