Emily Fitzgerald, 2019. Photograph: Nabil Asakly

Emily Fitzgerald

‘”That Great Country to Which We Must Constantly Look”: Australia and the United States in the Development of Australian Federation’ (PhD in History, 2018).

This thesis examined Australian federation in the context of Australian-United States relations, particularly the influence of the US on the development of the Australian Constitution in the 1890s, and placed Australian federation in its transnational context. Drawing predominantly on the transcripts of the Australian Constitutional Conventions, the thesis explores why those creating the Australian Constitution chose to look towards the United States Constitution as model, together with the knowledge they had of the US Constitution and how it had been used and developed through US history. It argues that there was a strong level of interest in and awareness of the US when developing the Australian constitution, with federalists looking beyond the US constitution to consider American experience and history. The Australian federalists also looked to the American example on issues beyond the basic federal structure, including debates on rivers, railways, race and religion. In addition, the author was able to search through digitised US newspapers to develop an archive demonstrating a reciprocal interest in the development of Australian federation within the US. More than previously realised, Australian federation was discussed in the US, reflecting the active tripartite relationship between the Australian colonies the US and Britain.

Supervisors: Professor David Goodman, Professor Sean Scalmer