Timeline: The World at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century

  • Colonised By The British

    Colonised By The British
    Australia is colonised by the British which now commands an empire upon which "the sun never set"
  • Federated Nation

    Federated Nation
    Germany becomes a federated nation after war against France unified the 25 different states. The Germans defeated the French and took the French province of Alsace-Lorraine.
  • Gas Heaters

    Gas Heaters
    Gas heaters are introduced.
  • Wilhelm II

    Wilhelm II
    Wilhelm II becomes Emperor (Kaiser) of Germany wishing to turn Germany into a great imperial power “with its own place in the sun”. Other great powers at the time, especially Britain and France, feared that Germany might dominate the world and take away their colonies.
  • Sir Henry Parkes

    Sir Henry Parkes
    Sir Henry Parkes renewed the issue of Federationin a speech at Tenterfield.
  • Meeting Of Representatives

    Meeting Of Representatives
    A meeting of representatives from the colonies met in Melbourne and agreed to call a constitutional convention.
  • National Australasian Convention

    The first National Australasian Convention (meeting of representatives of all six colonies and New Zealand) met in Sydney. The first draft of the Australian Constitution was drawn up.
  • Sir Henry Parkes

    Sir Henry Parkes passes away.
    First silent movie is shown in Sydney.
  • The second National Australasian Convention

    The second National Australasian Convention began.
  • The Convention

    The Convention adopted the draft constitution.
  • The first referendum of federation

    The first referendum of federation was held in NSW, Vic, SA and TAS. A "No" vote in NSW.
    Gramophone is first played in Australia.
  • The Second referendum

    The Second referendum in all colonies except WA. All voted "Yes".
    First successful wireless transmission is heard in Australia.
  • The Commonwealth of Australia

  • WA

    WA voted to join the federation.
  • The six Australian colonies

    The six Australian colonies federated to create the Commonwealth of Australia.
    Edmund Barton became the first Prime Minister.
  • Australia's population

    Australia's population reached 3 824 913. Aborigines were not included in the census (this will remain unchanged until 1967) or given the right to vote (this will remain unchanged until 1962).
  • The first federal parliament

    The first federal parliament was opened in Melbourne by the Duke of York, later King George V.
  • New Australian flag

    The winning design for the new Australian flag was announced.
  • The White Australia Policy

    The White Australia Policy came into being with the passing of the Immigration Restriction Act and the Pacific Islander Labourers Act.
  • Australian women

    Australian women are among the first in the world to be given the right to vote. British women do not get the same voting rights until 1928.
  • The Conciliation and Arbitration Court

    The Conciliation and Arbitration Court is set up to settle disputes between employers and employees.
    Electric street light is first introduced in Sydney.
  • A war

    A war almost breaks out over Morocco (Africa) between Britain and France against Germany. This happens again in 1911.
  • The Surf Lifesaving Club

    The Surf Lifesaving Club was founded at Bondi Beach in Sydney.
    A naval race between Britain and Germany begins with each country trying to match the other's naval technology. Britain remains the more dominant European power.
  • The Harvester Judgement

    The Harvester Judgement developed the concept of a basic wage which was the minimum a man could be paid. This had to be enough to support a man, his wife and 3 children. Women and non-white workers were not entitled to the basic wage and were therefore paid much less than white men. Sydney and Melbourne are connected by telephone.
  • The Australian coat of arms

    The Australian coat of arms was officially adopted.
    Federal old age and invalid pensions were introduced. A war almost breaks out over Bosnia-Herzegovina (Eastern Europe) between Germany and Austria on one side and Russia and Serbia on the other hand.
  • New National Capital

    The Site for the new national capital was selected.
  • First flight

    First flight in Australia.
  • A maternity allowance

    A maternity allowance (the baby bonus) was introduced. The government brought in car registration and driving licences since car ownership increased to 37 000 (cars were only affordable for the rich). The speed limit at the time was 19 km/hr.
  • The name ‘Canberra’

    The name ‘Canberra’ was proclaimed for the new national capital.
  • Mail

    Mail is delivered from Melbourne to Sydney for the first time by plane, taking 3 days and making 7 stops.
  • The heir

    The heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, is assassinated in Sarajevo (in Bosnia) by Gavrillo Princip who wants the Bosnians to be free of the control of the Austro-Hungarian empire. This sparks world war one.
  • The Outbreak of WWI

    The Outbreak of WWI. Australia becomes involved because it remains a member of the British empire.