From at least 1849 there was a movement towards uniting the Australian colonies. As more people started to worry about invasion by other countries, federationists formed into campaign groups to spread the message.
Politicians began to discuss federation. At a conference in 1890 it was decided that a Constitutional Convention would be held. Each colony, including New Zealand, appointed delegates to attend the 1891 Sydney Convention. The first draft of the Constitution was written. Shortly afterwards there was a financial crash and community support waned. The federationists continued to campaign and at the 1893 Corowa Conference it was decided that another Constitutional Convention should be held. However this time the delegates would be elected to gain better support from the people in the colonies. This was the Victorian John Quick’s plan.
The 10 delegates from five colonies met for three sessions at the 1897-98 Constitutional Conventions. They worked tirelessly. The ideas and reasons behind every single word in the Constitution were discussed as they were being written. There was a lot at stake.
There were huge debates, even arguments. But in the end there was compromise. The delegates voted on the accepted wording of each section of the Constitution. The people then endorsed it at referendums. It went through the British Parliament and Queen Victoria gave the Royal Assent. The new country was made.