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Western Australia - Concept

State of Western Australia (1901 - )


The State of Western Australia was established on 1 January 1901, at the time of Federation. Previously, it was the Colony of Western Australia.


The only former Premier of Western Australia, John Forrest, resigned from the State Parliament at the time of Federation. He decided to run for a Federal seat and became a cabinet minister in 1903. He believed that the future power would be held in the Commonwealth and not the State Parliament.

From the 1920's onwards Western Australian's have had several campaigns for secession from the rest of Australia. It became clear that when the referendum was held there was a large pro-federation Victorian population on the goldfields within Western Australia and this led to the 'yes' vote. However the general population of Western Australia was much more divided and post Federation changes in tariffs crippled local industries and made a range of goods more expensive due to the distance from suppliers in the eastern states. A referendum was held in 1933 and the people of Western Australian vote two to one to secede however they also voted out the pro-secession State government on the same day and nothing happened. Further campaigns happened in the 1970's and 1999.


 1829 - 1901 Colony of Western Australia
       1901 - State of Western Australia

Related Legislation


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Western Australia and Federation, The Library and Information Service of Western Australia, 2000,

Prepared by: Nicola Laurent