Victoria by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen Defender of the Faith To Our right trusty and right well beloved The Lords Spiritual and Temporal and to Our trusty and well beloved The Knights Citizens and Burgesses of the House of Commons in this present Parliament assembled Greeting:
Whereas in Our said Parliament an Act the short title whereof is Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900, hath been agreed and accorded on by you Our loving Subjects the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and the Commons in this Our present Parliament assembled and endorsed by you as hath been accustomed And albeit the said Act by you Our said Subjects the Lords and Commons in this Our present Parliament assembled is fully agreed and consented unto yet nevertheless the same is not of force and effect in the law without Our Royal Assent given and put to the said Act And forasmuch as for divers causes and considerations We cannot conveniently at this time be present in Our Royal Person in the Higher House of Our said Parliament being the accustomed place for giving Our Royal Assent to such Acts as have been agreed upon by you Our said subjects the Lords and Commons We have therefore caused these Our Letters Patent to be made and have signed the same and by the same Do give and put Our Royal Assent to the said Act and to all articles clauses and provisions therein contained and have fully agreed and assented to the said Act Willing that the said Act and every article clause sentence and provision therein contained from henceforth shall be of the same strength force and effect as if We had been personally present in the said Higher House and had openly and publicly in the presence of you all assented to the same And We do by these presents declare and notify the same Our Royal Assent as well to you the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons aforesaid as to all others whom it may concern Commanding also by these presents Our most dear Cousin and Councillor Hardinge Stanley Earl of Halsbury Our Chancellor of that part of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland called Great Britain to seal these Our Letters Patent with Our Great Seal of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland And also commanding Our most dear and entirely beloved Sons and most faithful Councillors Albert Edward Prince of Wales, Arthur William Patrick Albert Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Our most dear Grandson and most faithful Councillor George Frederick Ernest Albert Duke of York, Our most dear Cousin and faithful Councillor George William Frederick Charles Duke of Cambridge, The Most Reverend Father in God and Our faithful Councillor Frederick Archbishop of Canterbury Primate of all England and Metropolitan, Our most dear Cousin and Councillor Hardinge Stanley Earl of Halsbury Chancellor of that part of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland called Great Britain, The Most Reverend Father in God and Our faithful Councillor William Dalrymple Archbishop of York primate of England and Metropolitan, Our most dear Cousins and Councillors Spencer Compton Duke of Devonshire President of Our Council, Richard Assheton Viscount Cross Keeper of Our Privy Seal, Sidney Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery Steward of Our Household, John Adrian Louis Earl of Hopetoun Chamberlain of Our Household, Algernon Hawkins Thomond Earl of Kintore and other Lords of Our Privy Council or any three or more of them to declare and notify this Our Royal Assent in Our absence in the said Higher House in the presence of you the said Lords and Commons of Our Parliament there to be assembled for that purpose and the Clerk of Our Parliaments to endorse the said Act with such terms and words in Our name as is requisite for the same and also to enrol these Our Letters Patent and the said Act in manner accustomed and these Our Letters Patent shall be to every of them a sufficient Warrant in that behalf And finally We do declare and will that after this Our Royal Assent given and passed by these presents and declared and notified as is aforesaid then and immediately the said Act shall be taken accepted and admitted a good sufficient and perfect Act of Parliament and Law to all intents constructions and purposes and to be put in due execution accordingly the continuance or dissolution of this Our Parliament or any other use custom thing or things to the contrary thereof notwithstanding In witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made patent Witness Our self at Westminster the ninth day of July in the sixty fourth year of Our reign.
By the Queen Herself
Signed with Her own Hand
Dated 9th July 1900
Royal Assent of Her Majesty the Queen to Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900
About this record
This document is the Royal Commission of Assent to the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act. It was signed by Queen Victoria on 9 July 1900 (her signature appears at the top left of the document, above her name). The Queen's assent enacted the Australian Constitution, founding the Commonwealth of Australia.
The royal assent
In this document, Queen Victoria gives her assent to the Australian Constitution Act passed by the British Parliament, which created the Commonwealth of Australia.
The Royal Commission of Assent is one of the Commonwealth of Australia’s 3 founding documents, along with:
- the Australian Constitution Act, which established the Australian Constitution
- the Letters Patent, which established the office of the Governor-General of Australia.
With the signing of the Royal Commission of Assent, the former British colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania formally agreed to become members of the Commonwealth of Australia. Special votes or referendums had been held in these colonies, with a majority of citizens in each agreeing to accept the new Constitution. The Constitution made provision for Western Australia to join after its constituents had also voted to join the new Commonwealth. It joined 3 weeks later.
Queen Victoria signed the commission of assent at her main residence, Windsor Castle, just outside London in England. As is usual in granting assent, the Queen signed two originals. One is kept in the National Archives of Australia. The other is kept in the House of Lords archives in Westminster, London.
Great care was taken to ensure the royal assent was made of high-quality materials, reflecting its importance. The document is made of vellum (animal skin). A round silver case is attached to it by a crimson and silver cord. The case contains the wax seal with the royal insignia, used to verify that the document came from the monarch.
You can learn more about the history of the Australian Constitution on a virtual tour of our exhibition Voices / Dhuniai: Federation, democracy and the Constitution.
Courtesy of the Parliament House Art Collection, Department of Parliamentary Services, Canberra ACT