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Edmund Barton 01 Jan 1901 1st Prime Minister and 1st Governor-General
Lord Hopetoun became the first Governor-General and Edmund Barton the first Prime Minister. Both were sworn in at the ceremony inaugurating the Commonwealth of Australia.
Edmund Barton 29 Mar 1901 1st federal elections
Voters elected 75 members to the House of Representatives. Voters in the six states elected 36 representatives to the first Senate. This was the only federal election to take place on two days, 29 and 30 March.
Edmund Barton 09 May 1901 Parliament House for a day
The grand opening of parliament in Melbourne's Exhibition Building in the morning, was followed by the first sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate in their borrowed home, Victoria's Parliament House.
Edmund Barton 10 May 1901 Parliament sits in Melbourne Parliament House
The first meeting of the Australian parliament took place in the Melbourne Exhibition Building on 9 May 1901. By the next day, parliament had moved to its new home for the next 26 years, the Melbourne Parliament House.
Edmund Barton 03 Sep 1901 An Australian flag chosen
A huge flag showing the winning design of Union Jack and Southern Cross on a blue background was unfurled over the Exhibition Building, Melbourne. The same design on a red background was used for merchant ships. It was many years before the blue flag officially replaced the British Union Jack for all other uses.
Edmund Barton 23 Dec 1901 Dictating a 'White Australia'
The enactment of the Immigration Restriction Act meant a dictation test became an effective way of excluding people from Australia. It enabled the government to create a predominantly European population. The 'White Australia' policy was finally dismantled in 1966 by the Holt government.
Edmund Barton 31 May 1902 Boer War ends
From 1899 when the war in South Africa broke out, troops from the Australian colonies had been sent to fight for Britain against the Afrikaners (former Dutch colonists). Despite the passionate arguments of Leader of the Opposition GH Reid, parliament agreed to send Commonwealth troops. They arrived shortly before the surrender of the Boer army.
Edmund Barton 09 Aug 1902 Coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra
When Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901, her son Edward acceded to the throne. Prime Minister Edmund Barton led the Australian representation at the coronation in Westminster Abbey the following year.
Edmund Barton 03 Nov 1902 The empire cable
Postmaster-General James Drake opened the submarine telegraph cable from Vancouver, Canada to Southport, Queensland. This completed an all-British link thirty years after a London to Darwin cable was connected to South Australia’s overland telegraph line. The telegraph cable circling the globe enabled information to be sent by Morse code in ‘dot-dash’ electrical signals.
Edmund Barton 09 Jan 1903 2nd Governor-General
Lord Tennyson, a former South Australian Governor, was confirmed as Australia’s second Governor-General. He had been acting since 17 July 1902 when Lord Hopetoun left Australia. Lord Tennyson remained in office until 21 January 1904.