Introduction1890IsolationOne People, One Destiny?GoldConstitutional Conventions
The DebateSeparation for FederationThe DealThe VoteCommonwealth DayAftermath

The vote

Kalgoorlie, referendum day, 1900Western Australians went to the polls on 31 July 1900 to vote on whether the colony should federate with the five other Australian colonies. For the first time in the colony's history women over the age of twenty one were able to participate in the democratic process. As in many of the Australian colonies, Aborigines and non-Europeans were excluded from voting on the grounds of race. Chinese market gardeners, Japanese pearlers, tribal and urban Aborigines, and Afghan cameleers were all excluded from the referendum.

Bunbury polling boothWith 96,065 electors on the roll, a total of 44,800 voted in favour of Federation with just 19,691 opposed. Voting was not compulsory and nearly a third of the electorate did not cast a ballot, however the two to one margin represented a resounding victory for the 'Yes' campaign. The goldfields returned the strongest vote in favour of Federation of more than twenty to one. Only in the conservative, more established agricultural districts of the western coast did the 'No' vote narrowly prevail.Bulletin cartoon

LISWA home page site maphomebacknext

Please note: The content on this website is made available for archival purposes and may not meet the State Library of Western Australia's current standards for web accessibility, mobile device compatibility, historical accuracy and cultural sensitivity.