Investigation 2

How was Federation celebrated in Tasmania?

In Tasmania, official proceedings to welcome Federation on 1 January 1901 were small compared to those in Sydney and Melbourne. The Premier of Tasmania, Edward Braddon, had gone to Sydney to attend the official ceremonies. Tasmanians were also justifiably upset that Prime Minister Barton had not yet included a Tasmanian minister in his cabinet. After receiving complaints, he did eventually appoint Neil Elliot Lewis, and later, Philip Oakley Fysh.

Tasmanians finally demonstrated their full enthusiasm about being a new nation in the British Empire when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York visited the island on their tour of the new Commonwealth in May 1901.

But, whether celebrations were large or small on Commonwealth Day, they all showed that the significance of Federation was recognised far and wide.

Your Task

Discover where and how people living in Tasmania celebrated Federation.


  1. As a class, read the account of the official ceremony in Hobart to proclaim the new Commonwealth. Discuss or use a dictionary to find out meanings for any words you don’t know.
  2. Underline the words in the newspaper extract that express how people in Hobart felt about the official ceremonies on Commonwealth Day. Discuss the following questions.
    • Does the report indicate that the people were feeling negative or positive?
    • Why does the reporter say people were feeling that way?
    • When Acting Premier, Bird called the newly appointed Administrator, John Dodds ‘one of ourselves’, why did that make the small crowd of people cheer?
    • If you had been in Tasmania at that time, how would you have felt about Tasmania being left out of Barton’s ministry? What actions could you have taken to change the situation?
  3. Working in small groups, read the newspaper extracts about the ways people around Tasmania celebrated Federation. Make a list of the activities and events that took place in each town. Speculate on the reasons why some celebrations may have been more enjoyable and better attended than others. Compare and discuss with other groups.