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Federation

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As settlement continued in Australia and more immigrants continued to land on its shores, more colonies were settled throughout the country. Each of these colonies was separate with its own government, armies, customs, and railways.

Self-government of the colonies began in New South Wales in 1823. Tasmania soon followed with its own government. Althought they were still tied to Britain, they were more independent. The British Government's Australian Colonies Government Act of 1850 enabled the colonies to have their own legislatures and to frame their own constitutions. Victoria gained legislature in 1851 and New South Wales was the first to form a constitution in 1855. The other colonies (except Western Australia who delayed until 1890) became self-governing in 1859.

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A draft federal constitution was drawn up in 1891 and in 1898, it was submitted to the British Parliament for approval. The Commonwealth of Australia was born on the first of January 1901.

The first Australian Federal election took place in March 1901 and Edmund Barton was elected as the first Prime Minister. Australia Day is celebrated on January 26th, the day the first fleet arrived at Sydney Cove and raised the British flag.

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