Resource Sheet 2

The newly federated state of Tasmania

Proclaiming the Commonwealth and the swearing in of sir John Dodds as the administrator of the government for the newly federated state of Tasmania on the steps of the Supreme Court building, Hobart, 1 January 1901.

It was an eventful occasion, being the first official act performed in connection with the new Commonwealth; but the crowd was not a large one, neither was it very demonstrative. The best that may be said of it is that it was a representative gathering of the citizens: Numbers passed by on the trams, in vehicles, and on foot, to enjoy themselves after the usual New Year’s Day fashion, just before the ceremony commenced. Mr. Barton having ignored our strong claim to have a Tasmanian Minister included in his Cabinet, is being keenly felt by all classes, and this seemed to have completely damped the ardour of all who assembled…

There was no animation, and no enthusiasm about the occasion to speak of until Sir John Dodds had taken the oath, and then the demonstration was mainly of a personal character—in appreciation of His Excellency himself. There was only one really exulting moment during the entire proceedings, and that was when Mr. Bird alluded to His Excellency the Administrator as “one of ourselves,” which elicited hearty ringing cheers, some in the crowd… attempting to start “He’s a jolly good fellow”.

The Mercury, 2 January 1901.

Celebrations in country Tasmania, 1 January 1901


After the demonstrations last night and early this morning the city was comparatively quiet to-day. The weather in the morning was dull and threatening, but that did not deter crowds from joining the various excursion steamers on the river. Showers of rain fell during the forenoon, and beyond the firing of a Royal salute of 21 guns at noon in further celebration of the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia, there was no outward demonstration. The principal fixtures in the North were the Caledonian sports and Longford races, and they were both well attended.


The Commonwealth celebrations were started shortly after eight this evening, two guns manned by T. Goode’s artillery men firing salutes of 21 guns each, the Rifle Company following with a feu-de-joie, and bands playing the national anthem. A procession then fell in headed by the Queenstown Band and Rifle Company, and proved to be extremely large, volunteers and civilians coming in large numbers from Strahan and Zeehan. The streets and balconies are packed with thousands. The wonder is where did they come from. Numerous private residences and hotels are beautifully decorated and illuminated. The procession terminated at the post office, where Col.-Sergt Douglas, of the Rifle Company, addressed the crowd on the benefits accruing from the Commonwealth, and then called for three cheers for the Commonwealth of Australia, which were given most heartily.

Gould’s Country

The New Year was ushered in here by the usual bands of young men with music visiting from house to house. One settler, in distributing cake, said he was glad to meet them—First, because it was New Year; secondly, because it was the beginning of a new century, which none of them would see again; and thirdly because it was “our first birthday” as a nation. All available flags were flying. Everything quiet.

The Mercury, 2 January 1901.