Investigation 2

How did Victorians outside Melbourne celebrate Federation?

Victoria’s country towns and regional centres celebrated Federation in their own ways on 1 January 1901. Flags were flown, banners erected, bands played and choirs sang. Local dignitaries and church leaders addressed those who had gathered to celebrate the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia. Sporting events, such as races and cricket matches, were popular activities at the local celebrations. Federation, it seemed, was popular everywhere! Further celebrations would occur in country Victoria when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York visited Australia for the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament on 9 May 1901.

Your Task

Discover how Federation was celebrated throughout Victoria.


  1. In groups of five, read aloud the reports of celebrations in the towns around Victoria.
  2. For each report, make a list of the people and community groups involved in the Federation celebrations, and the kinds of activities they organised. Discuss the following questions.
    • Why do you think community leaders felt it was important to be part of the celebrations?
    • Why did so many of the activities organised involve children?
    • What were the most popular decorations?
  3. Speculate on the reasons why some celebrations may have been more enjoyable and better attended than others. Look for clues in the resources provided. Compare your findings to those of other groups.
  4. Using an atlas, find and write the names of the towns on the map of Victoria. With symbols and drawings, decorate the area around each town with the activities that took place, the people involved and the kinds of decorations that were used. Display your maps in the classroom.