Main content area

The move to Federation

The development of Australia as a nation, particularly after 1901. Students explore the factors that led to Federation and experiences of democracy and citizenship over time. Students understand the significance of Australia's British heritage, the Westminster system and other models that influenced the development of Australia's system of government. Students learn about the way of life of people who migrated to Australia and their contributions to Australia's economic and social development.
Key inquiry question #1: 
Why and how did Australia become a nation?

Content Summary

Key figures and events that led to Australia’s Federation, including British and American influences on Australia’s system of law and government. (ACHHK113)

The contribution of individuals and groups, including Aboriginal people and/or Torres Strait Islanders and migrants, to the development of Australian society, for example in areas such as the economy, education, science, the arts, sport. (ACHHK116)

Student Activities

Source Analysis

Students use images and written sources to ask historical questions about the lead up to Federation. 


Number of set tasks: 11


‘Sir Henry Parkes’, Australian Dictionary of Biography 

‘Sir George Houston Reid’, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Debates that shaped the nation: Timeline of events at the time of Federation, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. 

Debates that shaped the Nation – Federation Fast Facts

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum History K - 10

A student:

  • HT3-3 identifies change and continuity and describes the causes and effects of change on Australian society
  • HT3-5 applies a variety of skills of historical inquiry and communication


Comprehension: Chronology, terms and concepts

  • sequence historical people and events. (ACHHS098, ACHHS117)
  • use historical terms and concepts (ACHHS099, ACHHS118)

Use of sources

  • locate information related to inquiry questions in a range of sources. (ACHHS102, ACHHS121)
  • compare information from a range of sources. (ACHHS103, ACHHS122)

Perspectives and interpretations

  • identify points of view in the past and present (ACHHS104, ACHHS123)


  • identify questions to inform an historical inquiry (ACHHS100, ACHHS119)
  • identify and locate a range of relevant sources to support an historical inquiry (ACHHS101, ACHHS120)

Explanation and communication

  • develop texts, particularly narratives and descriptions, which incorporate source materials (ACHHS105, ACHHS124)
  • use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital technologies (ACHHS106, ACHHS125)

Continuity and change

  • aspects of both continuity and change in Australian society over time


  • different point of view in the past and present

Learning across the curriculum

  • Civics and citizenship
  • Literacy