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Blog post from Saturday, 9 May, 2015

On this day, 9th May 1901, the first parliament for Australia opened in Melbourne. Australia became a nation in 1901, flollowing Federation, when the six separate colonies united.

On 9th May 1927, the Australian Parliament first convened in the new capital of Australia, Canberra. From 1901 to 1927 the Australian Parliament met in the Victorian Parliament House, although this was never intended to be the permanent home for the Parliament. Section 125 of the Constitution states the seat of federal government ‘… shall be in the State of New South Wales, and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney.’ In 1908 the Australian Parliament decided the new federal capital would be located at Canberra in southern New South Wales. Provisional (Old) Parliament House in Canberra was opened in 1927. Parliament met here until 1988, when it moved into its permanent building on Capital Hill. The openings of the first Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne 1901, the first Parliament House in Canberra 1927, and the second in 1988, have all taken place on 9 May.

These medals commemorating the opening in 1901, by the Duke and Duchess of York, are from the State Library of New South Wales collections.