1900s

Federation and the dictation test

Cartoon by Oslo Davis Cartoon by Oslo Davis
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Federation is celebrated in 1901, with the six colonies becoming the Commonwealth of Australia.

The new Constitution gives the Commonwealth government power to legislate on matters relating to migration, naturalisation and aliens, but not Aborigines.

The Commonwealth Immigration Restriction Act introduces the Dictation Test, making it easy to exclude non-British immigrants.

In 1905 immigration recovers. State funds are allocated for advertising campaigns to attract British immigrants and schemes such as the Closer Settlement Scheme assist British immigration.

In 1903, the Commonwealth Naturalisation Act excludes all non-Europeans from the right to apply for naturalisation, or from bringing spouses and children into the country.

Canadian immigration restrictions encourage more people to choose Australia.

Aus Pop (1901): 3,773,248
Vic Pop (1901): 1,201,070 Figures taken from Colonial and Commonwealth censuses and exclude Aborigines until 1971.

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Related collection items

Explore items from our collection

  • Flag - Scottish Standard of the Caledonian Society, Minyip, 1906
  • Booklet - 'A Short Guide for Intending Emigrants to Victoria', Issued by Minister of Lands, Victoria, 1907
  • Book - E.W.Cole, 'The White Australia Question', 1903
  • Painting - 'The Opening, Commonwealth Parliament', Charles Nuttall, Oil, 1901-1902
  • Booklet - 'The Peril of Melbourne', Victorian Land Settlement Division, Immigration League of Australia, 1907
  • Collar - Ceremonial, Loyal Orange Institution, post 1903
 

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