Sir John Forrest 1891
Despite agreement on a draft Constitution, the federation movement ground to a halt in 1891. Local economics and politics were still more important.
Sir John Forrest (1847–1918) was famed as an explorer, leading expeditions in Western and South Australia before becoming Premier of Western Australia at the end of 1890. As a delegate to the three federal conventions between 1890 and 1898, Forrest expressed his concerns about the impact of federation upon his colony. In 1918, Forrest was made a life peer of the House of Lords but died en route to Britain.
Audio: Re-creation of speech by Sir John Forrest, ‘Official record of the proceedings and debates of the National Australasian Convention’, 10 March 1891, p. 106. Original printed document NAA: R216, 167
The colony I represent is in a very exceptional position…It has a large area, nearly one-third of the continent of Australia. It has, as you are all aware, a small population. It is just entering upon the management of its own affairs. It is like a young man just starting upon his career. Its people have not considered this great question of federation.
Sir John Forrest