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History: Australia as a Nation



National Archives of Australia

Date range: 20th Century
Geographical focus: Australia
"The National Archives collection mainly documents Australian Government activities since Federation in 1901. Most of our records are files of documents, but our collection includes posters, plans, films, sound recordings, videotapes, digital records and many photographs."

Government and Law

Colonial Case Law Home

Date range: 18th-19th Centuries
Geographical focus: Australia, British colonies
Early Colonial Court cases. See in particular the links to New South Wales and Tasmania. though some cases are available for other colonies.

Museum of Australian Democracy

Date range: 18th-20th Centuries
Geographical focus: Australia
The Museum of Australian Democracy focuses on Australia's political past, and includes the Australian Prime Ministers Centre. Includes oral histories and images of objects from the museum's collection.

Documenting a Democracy

Date range: 18th-21st Centuries
Geographical focus: Australia
Founding documents in the creation of Australia. Can be browsed through 'themes', timelines or places. Produced by the Museum of Australian Democracy.


Women's Rights

  • Reason in revolt
    Date range: 20th Century
    Geographical focus: Australia
    "The Reason in Revolt project aims to bring together primary source documents of Australian radicalism as an accessible digitised resource"
  • The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth Century Australia
    Date range: 20th Century
    Geographical focus: Australia
    A reference source relating to women in leadership positions in Australia with profiles of women. Also links through to oral history and other online resources where they exist.
  • Jessie Street National Women's Library
    Date range: 20th Century
    Geographical focus: Australia
    The Jessie Street National Women's Library holds books, serials, posters and archival material. Primary source documents are not available online, but can be accessed in the library.


Early Australia

History Research Projects | School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne

Date range: Medieval-current
Geographical focus: Melbourne; Australia; Europe
Collects together all research projects in this area. Projects include" online access to Medieval and Renaissance texts, archives and women's archives, Soviet history, History of Emotions, Cultural History of Economies, US Marines in Melbourne in WWII and Children's games.

Early Experiences in Australasia: Primary Sources and Personal Narratives 1788-1901

Date range: 1788-1901
Geographical focus: Australasia
First person accounts of early life in Australia, including letters, diaries, narratives, Government documents, maps and pictures.

South Seas: Voyaging and Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Pacific 1760-1800

Date range: 18th Century
Geographical focus: Pacific
Accounts and maps of early European voyages in the South Pacific, including Cook's diaries.

Major Mitchell Expedition

Date range: 1836
Geographical focus: Australia
Includes images and journal entries from Major Mitchell's 1836 expeditions to explore Eastern Australia.


Life in Australia at the Turn of the Century 1900

Immigration Timeline

from We Came to Australia Looking for Peace by Christine Mulvany and Lucy Carroll (2003) Macmillan: South Yarra

Schoolchildren line up for free issue of soup and a slice of bread in the Depression, Belmore North Public School, Sydney, 2 August 1934

The Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme

Snowy! Power of a Nation

The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme (SMHES) is the largest engineering and construction project ever undertaken in Australia.

For Teachers

Discovering Democracy Unit: The People Make a Nation


What impacts has immigration had on Australia?

Shape of a Nation

Shape a Nation’

‘Shape a Nation’ is a unique design tool that links sculpture, architecture, urban design, mapping and politics to everyday life.

Recipients push out the shapes of Australia’s states and territories along with shapes idiomatic of Canberra such as hexagons, circles and triangles from a die cut board. By slotting the shapes together the concept of Walter and Marion Mahony Griffin's plan to connect the nation is given physical form with unlimited design outcomes.

‘Shape a Nation’ calls us to ‘dream through action’. To celebrate, the vision and spirit required in building a nation or a city.

A product of political intellect and constructive ingenuity, ‘Shape a Nation’ delivers public art to your kitchen table.


ANU eBook