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Unit 1
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: