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Federation Museum in Corowa is the Birthplace of Federation

Corowa's Federation Museum

Corowa's Federation Museum
  • Museum Displays
  • Federation Display
  • Reasons for Federation
  • Corowa's Involvement
  • Dr John Quick's Role
  • Local Aboriginal Artifacts including Tommy Mac Rae Sketches
  • Agricultural Implements manufactured locally
  • Horse Drawn Vehicles and Saddlery
  • 1900s Lifestyle Displays
  • Tom Roberts and "Shearing the Rams"
Telephone Phone (02) 6033 1164 or
(02) 6033 4041 or (02) 6033 4332
  or 0407 332 310
Federation Museum
Queen Street
(Opposite Presbyterian Church)
Corowa NSW 2646

Federation Museum

Corowa and Federation

Click here for full Australian Federation Story

It was agitation in the border district and centred in Corowa, which, after the Depression of the 1880s rekindled interest in Federation.
The intense dislike of the Customs Duties was the main motivating force in the organisation of the 1893 Corowa Federation Conference.
The Court House, Royal Hotel, Globe Hotel and Oddfellows Hall were all used during the Conference. The now famous motion of Doctor Quick was accepted in the Court House.

In 1895, the Premiers' Conference acted upon proposals put at the Corowa Conference and on 1 January 1901 the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed and Corowa proudly claims the title of the "Birthplace of Federation".

Reasons for Federation

FederationThe idea of an Australian Federation is as old as Australia's division into separate colonies. by 1883, Australia was divided into 6 separate colonies, each governed by its parliament. Was not then, the time now right for the "Creation on this Australia continent, of an Australian Government?" asked Sir Henry Parkes in 1889.


There was need for a unified control of immigration. some colonies had restricted migration policies, others had open policies. It was not so much racial prejudice which caused feelings to run high, but the threat to the standard of Australian living. the free artisan had experienced the competition of convict labour. The infiltration of Chinese Coolies and Kanakas who would work for next to nothing, was a severe threat. thus, by the 1880s, many working men wanted Federation so that laws could be passed to keep cheap labour out of the whole country.


Defence was an important issue. In the early, 1880s France and Germany were looking for colonies in the Pacific area. In 1889 a British officer visited all the Australian colonies and recommended that a common system of defence be implemented..."this however is quite impossible without a Federation of the forces"...Federation of the forces required a Federation of the Governments.


Federation would assist Trade both internally and externally. It was in fact, interstate trade, at least the "Obnoxious Border duties" which created the greatest pressure for Federation. New South Wales believed in Free Trade, Victoria believed in Protection and placed a tariff on well over 100 different items entering their colony. The Customs gate at Wahgunyah thus became the centre of much heated argument. As trade with the outside world grew, there was need for internal agreement.

Learn more about Australia's Federation | Visit Corowa, NSW

  Tom Roberts - Corowa Court House Former Corowa Railway Station  
  Shearing the Rams - Tom Roberts Corowa Court House Former Corowa Railway Station  



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