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Federation Museum in Corowa is the Birthplace of Federation
Corowa's Federation Museum
Corowa and Federation
It was agitation in the border district and centred in Corowa, which, after the Depression of the 1880s rekindled interest in Federation.
In 1895, the Premiers' Conference acted upon proposals put at the Corowa Conference and on 1 January 1901 the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed and Corowa proudly claims the title of the "Birthplace of Federation".
Reasons for Federation
The idea of an Australian Federation is as old as Australia's division into separate colonies. by 1883, Australia was divided into 6 separate colonies, each governed by its parliament. Was not then, the time now right for the "Creation on this Australia continent, of an Australian Government?" asked Sir Henry Parkes in 1889.
There was need for a unified control of immigration. some colonies had restricted migration policies, others had open policies. It was not so much racial prejudice which caused feelings to run high, but the threat to the standard of Australian living. the free artisan had experienced the competition of convict labour. The infiltration of Chinese Coolies and Kanakas who would work for next to nothing, was a severe threat. thus, by the 1880s, many working men wanted Federation so that laws could be passed to keep cheap labour out of the whole country.
Defence was an important issue. In the early, 1880s France and Germany were looking for colonies in the Pacific area. In 1889 a British officer visited all the Australian colonies and recommended that a common system of defence be implemented..."this however is quite impossible without a Federation of the forces"...Federation of the forces required a Federation of the Governments.
Federation would assist Trade both internally and externally. It was in fact, interstate trade, at least the "Obnoxious Border duties" which created the greatest pressure for Federation. New South Wales believed in Free Trade, Victoria believed in Protection and placed a tariff on well over 100 different items entering their colony. The Customs gate at Wahgunyah thus became the centre of much heated argument. As trade with the outside world grew, there was need for internal agreement.
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