These suggested activities and resources are to further support the teaching of Australia as a nation in the classroom. The Western Australia and Federation online resource is a useful starting point for understanding the Western Australian perspective during the process of the Federation of Australia and encouraging further inquiry.
- Complex deals were an integral part of the Australasian Constitutional Conventions. What is a convention and what occurs at one? Search The West Australian Archive Digital Editions (requires State Library membership) for examples of conventions, their purpose and how they are run.
- As a class, role play an Australasian Constitutional Convention to discuss some of the issues surrounding the Australian Constitution. What are some of the amendments Western Australia needed to negotiate? Why were these issues important to WA?
- Students work in pairs to film a face-to-face interview with one of the key Western Australians involved with the question of Federation for Western Australia. Students devise a script based on researched information on that person and their role in Federation. One student then takes on the role of the historical figure, the other plays the role of the interviewer.
- Students create their own timeline highlighting the key events in the path to Federation. This can be produced using a timeline app or created on card. Students can incorporate key points regarding each event.
- As a class, develop a list of arguments for and against Western Australia joining the Federation. In groups, students plan and execute a campaign based on one side of the argument. Students create advertisements, posters, a petition and other electoral materials for their campaign, culminating in a debate on the issue. Hold a class referendum and tally the results.
- Students write a response to the question: What would Western Australia be like today if it had not joined the Federation? Describe the economy and the social make-up of the state. Would the state participate in international events, what would that look like? Would the State have changed its name? What would it be?
- Students search Trove to find newspaper articles about the opening of the Federal Parliament. Using the key points from the articles, students write their own newspaper article that reports on one aspect of that day.
Brennan, N. (2014). Our stories: Australian Federation. Australia: Black Dog Books
Clark, S. and Masciullo, L. (2011). Our Australian girl: Meet Rose. Australia: Puffin
Farrer, V. (2011). My Australian story: Plagues and Federation. Australia: Scholastic
Thomas, J. (2013). Australia at the time of Federation. Australia: Trocadero Publishing
State Library of Western Australia
Museum of Australian Democracy - From Colonies to Federation
Museum of Australian Democracy - Western Australia people and places
Australian Dictionary of Biography
Constitutional centre of WA - A Nation at last
National Museum of Australia - Federation
National Film and Sound Archive - The West and Federation (video)
Paliamentary Education Office - Federal Parliament history timeline
Parliamentary Education Office - The federation of Australia
Australian Electoral Commission - Factsheet on Federation Referendums
National Trust of Australia (WA) - Education & Learning Resources
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Australia's trade through time
ABC Education - Federation of Australia (video)
University of Sydney Library - My Life's Adventure by John Kirwan (PDF)
Parliament of WA - Separation for federation : a study of Sir John Waters Kirwan, K.C.M.G by B. F. Gatti
Project Gutenberg Australia - Explorations in Australia by John Forrest
Relevant State Library collections
State Library of WA - Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Western Australia records
State Library of WA - John Forrest papers
State Library of WA - John Kirwan papers