Celebrations and Futures

Investigation 1

How was Federation celebrated in Adelaide?
Resource Sheet 1

Investigation 2

How did South Australians outside Adelaide celebrate Federation?
Resource Sheet 2

Investigation 3

How was the spirit of Federation captured in South Australia?
Resource Sheet 3

Investigation 4

How should South Australians commemorate Federation now and into the future?

What are you thinking now?

Additional activities and exercises to explore in the classroom.


On 1 January 1901, South Australians celebrated with other Australians as a new century and a new nation began. South Australia was no longer a colony, but a State of the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia. It would not be until 1 January 1911, a decade after Federation, that the Northern Territory would separate from South Australia and become a Territory under the control of the Commonwealth. As such, the people of the Northern Territory celebrated Federation with South Australia in 1901.

An English nobleman, Lord Tennyson, had been appointed the Governor of South Australia. He was a popular leader and believed it was very important for the new States to focus on their own celebrations. He decided to remain in Adelaide for the festivities, rather than travel to Sydney for the main ceremony. Among the general population there was much excitement on the day, both in Adelaide and in the country towns and regional centres.

Many people were looking forward to the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York later in the year, which promised to be an even bigger event. Their visit was very special to the Australians, some of whom still called Britain ‘home’. The Duke and Duchess would be coming to Australia to open the first Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne on 9 May 1901.