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The great question which we have to consider is, whether...

The great question which we have to consider is, whether the time has not now arisen for the creation on this Australian continent of an Australian government and an Australian parliament

Henry Parkes : Tenterfield Oration

On this day, 24th October 1889, Sir Henry Parkes, the Premier of New South Wales at that time, made his famous speech, the ‘Tenterfield Oration’, in favour of Federation.

Before Federation in 1901, there were six Australian colonies, which were at the time self-governed, but under the distant central authority of the British Colonial Secretary.

This speech was given at the Tenterfield School of Arts, in northern NSW, to promote free trade across colonial borders and called for “a great national government for all Australia”.

Sir Henry Parkes has become known as the ‘Father of Federation’.

The State Library of New South Wales holds a large collection of manuscripts and pictures relating to Sir Henry Parkes.