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Reasons for Australian Federation

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  • Essay length: 904 words
  • Submitted: 14/10/2010
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AS and A Level Other Historical Periods

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Reasons for Australian Federation

In 1901, the six colonies of Australia federated as a nation. It was, however, a long process, as there were arguments against this idea including the self-interests of different colonies and the size of a new nation if it occurred. Several reasons for federation were considered, such as the need for a united defence force, the development of a uniform rail system, free trade between colonies and the growth of nationalism in each colony.

One of the key reasons for federation was to achieve a united defence force, which could protect Australia. In 1883, Sir Henry Parkes quoted, "If Australia could have spoken with one voice, New Guinea would have belonged to Australia" Around the 1880s, the Australian colonies had become increasingly concerned over the close proximity of foreign powers. A Russian presence in the Pacific, Germany occupying parts of New Guinea and France having colonised New Caledonia, left the colonies in fear that attempts may be made to invade Australia. At this time, each of the colonies had their own separate defence forces. Despite having employed the British Navy and each army having a military unit in nearly every town, a

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