Celebrations and Futures
How was the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament celebrated in Melbourne?
Resource Sheet 4
How should Victorians commemorate Federation now and into the future?
Additional activities and exercises to explore in the classroom.
On 1 January 1901, Victorians celebrated with other Australians as a new century and new nation began. Victoria was now a State of the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia.
Sydney was chosen to host the main celebrations of the new Australian Commonwealth. Australia’s first Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun declared the formation of the Commonwealth at a ceremony in Centennial Park on Federation Day, 1 January 1901. Victoria too, held celebrations to mark the birth of a new nation.
Victoria’s main celebrations occurred when the Commonwealth Parliament met for the first time in Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building on 9 May 1901. The Duke of Cornwall and York opened the Parliament as the representative of his father, King Edward VII. The Duke and Duchess arrived by boat and came ashore at St Kilda Pier, where they were welcomed by a great military display.
Country areas of Victoria celebrated on 14 May, the same day that the Duchess of Cornwall and York sent a telegraphic message to schools. When each school received the message, it raised the British flag (the Union Jack) and the children sang ‘God Save the King’. Afterwards, local communities held processions, picnics, sports afternoons, dances and banquets.
Victoria has seen many changes in the years since Federation in 1901. Will these changes influence the way Victorians celebrate Federation today and in the future?