Constitution documents

Detail from the border on the Letters Patent constituting the office of the Governor-General, 1900 NAA: A10873, 1

Australia was the first country in the world to be created as a result of a free vote of its people. Our constitutional documents chart the evolution of our nation, and demonstrate how legal documents can shape the lives of a people and the destiny of a continent.

Australia’s landmark constitutional documents have been listed on UNESCO's Australian Memory of the World register. They include historic documents of 1900:

  • Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK)
  • Royal Commission of Assent, 9 July 1900 (UK)
  • Royal Proclamation of Inauguration Day, 17 September 1900 (UK)
  • Letters Patent constituting the office of Governor-General, 29 October 1900 (UK)

And they include other documents that affected Australian law either directly or indirectly:

  • Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901 (Cth)
  • Immigration Restriction Act 1901 (Cth)
  • Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909 (Cth)
  • Yirrkala bark petitions 1963 (Cth)
  • Mabo v Queensland No. 2 1992 (Cth)

These priceless documents record the process and stand testament to the success of our grand democratic experiment.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019