Resource Sheet 2

Reports on the celebrations in country South Australia


The new century was ushered in with guns firing, bells ringing and the band playing the ‘Song of Australia’. Watchnight services were held in the churches. The Oddfellows and the Rechabites combined this year in the annual sports, which were a great success… The members of the orders met at 10 o’clock, and were addressed by the Rev. E. H. Bleby. Afterwards, headed by the Yorketown Brass Band, they marched to the ground, where a programme of sports was gone through… At the time the Governor-General was being sworn in in Sydney the crowd joined in singing a thanksgiving hymn and ‘God save the Queen’. The band also played the National Anthem and the ‘Song of Australia’. Altogether the ceremony was an impressive one.

Adelaide Observer, 12 January 1901.


In connection with the celebrations we decided to have a pleasant and memorable time for the young units of the new nation, and arrange for free distribution prizes, abundance of provisions, games of all kinds, and the attraction of a cricket match, played on the local oval between married and single men… A procession with flags and banners marched through the town to the flagpole.

Adelaide Observer, 12 January 1901.


A large crowd assembled in front of the town hall this morning to celebrate the advent of the 20th century and the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Union Jack was hoisted to the top of the flag-staff, and saluted by members of the local company A.M.R, who fired two volleys. The national anthem was then sung, the mayor Mr. G.W. Halcombe addressed the assemblage, and called for three cheers for United Australia… The first verse of the ‘Song of Australia’ was sung after which cheers were given for the Queen, Australia and the mayor.

The Register, 2 January 1901.

Palmerston (Darwin)

Children could be seen coming from all directions, and all wending their way to the one centre – the Oval. At three o’clock quite a crowd of youngsters had assembled, and the sports were started with a midget handicap for boys under six years old. With foot races for youngsters of all ages and both sexes, tugs of war, jumping contests, skipping competitions, wheelbarrow and piggy-back races, walking competition and nut scramble, to say nothing of games of twos-and-threes, rounders, kiss-in-the-ring, etc., played by the elder children and adults, the afternoon passed only too quickly… at the conclusion of the fun, about six o’clock, the boys got together, and gave cheers for Federated Australia and the ladies… who took so much trouble to collect funds for the prizes.

In the evening the part of Smith street from Bennett street to the E. and A. Bank was gaily decorated with festoons of all shapes and colours. The Hotel Victoria and Club Hotel were also hung with lanterns, with very pleasing effect. A most brilliant display of fireworks also took place, and was certainly the best ever witnessed in Palmerston. These latter, and the lanterns hung in the street between Bennett street and the bank were provided and erected by the Japanese community, who wished to surprise the Europeans, and they succeeded.

Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 4 January 1901.