An official programme for the celebration of Australian Federation.
This programme is a reminder of the importance accorded to the celebrations surrounding the declaration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. After decades of argument over the terms of Federation compromise was finally reached in 1899. On 9 July 1900 Queen Victoria signed the Australian Commonwealth (Constitution) Act and the same pen, inkstand and table were used at the ceremony in Sydney on 1 January 1901. The symbols of the colonies are grouped under a rising sun with the young Australia pointing to the new nation's glorious future against a background of the crossed British and Australian flags.
The official signing of the documents in Centennial Park followed a parade through the city streets from the Domain, along Macquarie Street and out through Pitt Street to Oxford Street. Firefighters, police, stockmen, trade unionists, representatives of foreign governments, British Empire troops and Australia's first governor general, Lord Hopetoun, marched through the lavishly decorated streets watched by a crowd of 250,000. Ten plaster arches spanned the roadway representing aspects of Asutralian life. A special pavilion, designed by NSW Government Architect Walter Vernon was erected in Centennial Park for the Declaration of the Commonwealth and the swearing in of Lord Hopetoun, the first Prime Minister Edmund Barton and his ministry. The Ceremony ended with a massed choir singing God save the Queen and the Hallelujah chorus followed by 10,000 school children singing Advance Australia fair and Rule Britannia.