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Faces behind our Constitution


The images above are of some of those (mainly delegates) involved in the federation movement.


The Constitution was debated, negotiated and finally approved at two 'Conventions’ in 1891 and 1897-98.  The Conventions adopted and followed rules of debate similar to the standing orders of the Colonial Parliaments.  A Hansard style record of debates was kept at each Convention.


The 1891 Convention was held in the NSW Legislative Assembly Chamber in Sydney.  Forty five delegates attended.  These consisted of seven members of each of the Australian colonial Parliaments and three representatives from New Zealand.  After 1891, New Zealand took no further part in the federal movement beyond making some representations in the final stages.


The 1897-98 Convention met in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.  Unlike the 1891 Convention, the delegates were elected by popular vote, except in WA where the delegates were elected by the Parliament.  Queensland was not represented at the 1897-98 Convention.

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