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Western Australia - Concept

Law in Western Australia (1829 - )


The way laws have been made and implemented in Western Australia has varied over time. A number of different administrations have made and amended laws in Western Australia since the Colony of Western Australia was established in 1829.


Colony of Western Australia (1829 - 1901)

The Colony of Western Australia was established in 1829 as a free colony with the Lieutenant Governor having sole power. Between 1849 and 1868 the colony became a penal colony accepting transported convicts from the UK. Self-government was achieved in 1890.

At the time of Federation many politicians of the Colony of Western Australia were not keen on the union as they were afraid they would lose their recent self-governance powers to the new Commonwealth government. However once a referendum was held in 1900 the public voted 'yes' to Federation.

State of Western Australia (1901 - )

The State of Western Australia was established with Federation on 1 January 1901. As a State of Australia, federal law made by the new Australian Government applied to Western Australia, and legislative powers were divided between the State of Western Australia and the new Commonwealth of Australia.

Related Legislation


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Western Australia and Federation, The Library and Information Service of Western Australia, 2000,; 'Parliaments - Western Australia', in Parliament @ Work, Commonwealth of Australia, 2009,; 'Western Australia documents', in Documenting a Democracy, Commonwealth of Australia, 2011,; 'Defining moments in Australian history - 1868: Convict transportation to Australia ends', in National Museum of Australia, National Museum of Australia, 2015,

Prepared by: Nicola Laurent