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Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1901. 1 January 1901, the colonies collectively became states of the Commonwealth of Australia. The efforts to bring about federation in the mid-19th century were dogged by the lack of popular support for the movement. A number of conventions were held during the 1890s to develop a constitution for the Commonwealth.
The election returned Barton as prime minister, though without a majority. A serious movement for Federation of the colonies arose in the late 1880s, a time when there was increasing nationalism amongst Australians, the great majority of whom were native-born. The idea of being “Australian” began to be celebrated in songs and poems. Colonial Secretary of New South Wales, first proposed a Federal Council body in 1867. New South Wales and New Zealand did not join.