Are you teaching Australian Federation this year? If you haven’t taught the Year 6 curriculum before, you may need to update your personal knowledge about this topic before planning and teaching your unit. This blog post will focus on the reasons for and against federation and how these can be addressed in a way that students can understand. I’ve set this out similar to a lesson plan to make it easy to read and you can print it off as a reference. Because I just can’t help myself!
Topic: The reasons for and against Australia’s FederationAustralian Curriculum content descriptor/s: ACHASSK134 Objectives
- To understand the issues that motivated the move towards federation
- To understand the concerns raised by colonists regarding federation
- To provide teachers with information and resources to help teach this topic with maximum student engagement.
Here are the major issues that motivated the move to federation.Trade Key Points:
- Some colonies charged import/export tariffs and had immigration officers search luggage at train stations.
- Some people believed that allowing free trade between the colonies would strengthen the economy.
- Each colony had its own, poorly equipped militia made up of a small number of permanent members and volunteers.
- The colonies would have to rely on the British defence forces to protect them but they were so far away!
- While there was a desire to be one nation there was also a strong desire to keep the British legacy.
- There were concerns that cheap labor could create competition for colonists, as they were cheaper to employ.
- There was still some resentment of Chinese migrants following the Gold Rush.
- There were an increasing number of Australian born colonists who didn’t feel ‘British’ and saw themselves as uniquely Australian.
- Troops fought in the Boer War in South Africa as Australians, increasing the sense of national pride.
Arguments against federationWhile there was growing support for federation, there were also concerns within the colonies which created a lot of debate.
- As NSW and Victoria were the most populated and powerful colonies, there was concern that they would have more control.
- There were concerns that abolishing the customs duties between the colonies would disadvantage industry in the smaller colonies.
- Federation would be expensive and having a federal government would be expensive to run, meaning more taxes.
- The current system was working, so why change it?
- It would be too hard to get all the colonies to agree to uniform policies for trade, immigration etc.
- Each colony was unique and had its own identity. There was concern that federation would cause colonies to lose their individuality.
- Aussie Star Resources have created theHASS Australian History Reasons For and Against Federation activity. It’s a fun and engaging resource to help your students understand the reasons for and against federation. This simple activity allows students to read through a number of statements and decide if they are in support of federation or against it.
- I also show this BTN segment which is a great way to introduce the topic of Federation and aligns perfectly with this task.
- We also complete a W.O.T. analysis as a class after watching the video, discussing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of federation and recording them on the board and in the students’ workbooks.