Guide to the Records of the Australasian Federation League of New South Wales


MS 47

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Australasian Federation League of New South Wales
Records of the Australasian Federation League of New South Wales
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 47
3.72 metres (12 boxes + 1 folio box + 21 security binders)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The collection largely comprises records, 1893-1909, of the Australasian Federation League of New South Wales, the United Federal Executive and Central Federation League of New South Wales, including minute books, letterbooks, lists of speakers, accounts, cuttings and correspondence. Correspondents include W. Astley, Edmund Barton, Thomas Bavin, Alexander Campbell Onslow, Alfred Deakin, T.T. Ewing, R.J. Fairbairn, Robert Garran, T.H. Hassall, Thomas Hughes, Atlee Hunt, A.H. Jaines, J. Kirkpatrick, Rev. James S. Laing, T.F.H. Mackenzie, W. Nichols, R.E. O'Connor, Albert B. and W.H.B. Piddington, John Quick, G.H. Reid, J.B. Reymond, A.J. Reynolds, F.B. Suttor, Dugald Thomson, J.H. Vickery, Edward Wilson, B.R. Wise and J.H. Young.

There are also papers of Edward Dowling in the collection, 1871-1908, including a minute book, 1888-1893, reports and letters of the Australian Natives' Association, letters relating to technical education in New South Wales, leaflets and other printed items, and material relating to the People's Federal Convention held in Bathurst in 1896.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Records of the Australasian Federation League of New South Wales, National Library of Australia, MS 47, [box number and class/series/file number]'.

Item Descriptions


Series 1. Correspondence

The correspondence was arranged in an A-Z series by the League, and within this series it has been arranged chronologically by the National Library; except where related correspondence has been glued together. Letters with an important correspondent were filed together within the alphabetical arrangement by the League. Some letters have accompanying memoranda and press cuttings.

Most of the correspondence covers the years 1898 to 1899. The majority of letters were received by the Organising Committee of the League from its branches, and are concerned with the general administration and organisation of the League; notices of meetings and apologies for non-attendance thereat; information exchanged between the Executive and the Branches; details of the federation campaign meetings, and the campaign in general; requests from individual members for printed propaganda; formation of Branches; elections and League support for candidates who support federation; the framing of the federal constitution; and the federal capital site. Correspondence relating to Maybanke Anderson (previously Wolsterholme) (1845-1927) and the Women's Federal League is filed in Folders 1, 29 and 30.

Correspondence, 1885-1910 (File 1-32)
Letter-books of the United Federal Executive, 28 April-18 May 1899 (Item 33)
Letter-books of the United Federal Executive, 18 May-31 May 1899 (Item 34)
Letter-books of the United Federal Executive, 31 May-10 June 1899 (Item 35)
Letter-books of the United Federal Executive, 12 June 1899-16 January 1900 (Item 36)
Letterbook of the Australasian Federation League of New South Wales, 1899 June 12-1900 January 16 [manuscript].
Telegram books, 9 May-30 May 1899 (Item 37)
Telegram books, 30 May-12 June 1899 (Item 38)
Telegram books, 10 June-19 June 1899 (Item 39)

Series 2. Minute books

Minute books: Executive Committee Minutes of meetings, 25 July 1893-18 May 1911 (Item 40)

Also included are minutes of occasional general meetings of the members of the League, notably the First General Meeting of Members, 17 July 1893, at which the Executive Committee was elected. Interfiled are press cuttings, printed reports, printed rules, notices of meetings, and printed reports of meetings.

Minute books: Executive Committee Minutes of meetings, 25 July 1893-5 January 1897 (Item 41)

This was the Secretary's book in which he listed the agenda and noted the decisions made concerning each item: the final version of the minutes are to be found in Book 1.

Minute books: Executive Committee Minutes of meetings, 2 February 1897-20 December 1909 (Item 42)

This was the Secretary's book, arranged as in Book 2.

Minute books- United Federal Executive Minutes of meetings, 24 April - 3 July 1899 (Item 43)
Minute books: Organising Committee Minutes of meetings, 26 April - 22 June 1899 (Item 44)
Minute books: Finance Committee Official minutes of meetings, 26 April - 31 July 1899 (Item 45)
Minute books: Rough minute book of meetings, 26 April 1899 - 29 January 1900 (Item 46)

This was the Secretary's book, in which the Secretary listed the agenda and noted the decisions made concerning each item: the final version of the minutes are to be found in Book 1.

Series 3. Financial Records

Note: the minute books of the Finance Committee are held in Series 2.

Correspondence concerning subscriptions, 1899 (File 47)
Australasian Federation League: petty cash book, 10 June 1893 - August 1973 (File 48)
United Federal Executive: petty cash books, 1899-1900 (File 48)

Including Book 1 - 28 Apr. - 5 June 1899; Book 2 - 5-17 June 1899; Book 3 - 17-27 June 1899; Book 4 - 28 June 1899 -1 Apr. 1900 (with loose bills and receipts inside front cover).

United Federal Executive: cash book, 1 May 1899 - January 1900 (File 49)
Expenditure, 1899 (File 50)

By Organising Committee (and in one case the Literary Committee), noted for approval by the Finance Committee.

Subscription receipt books: Notebook listing Australasian Federation League receipt books issued to officials for the recording of members' subscriptions, 21 August 1894 - July 1895 (File 51)
Subscription receipt books, 1894-1899 (File 52)

19 small receipt books; 3 blank books, 9 books for 1894, 2 books for 1897-8, and 5 books for 1899.

Subscription receipt books: 3 large receipt books, 1893-1894 (File 53)
Subscription Account book, 17 July 1893-29 April 1904 (File 54)

With one bill and one deposit slip interfiled.

Miscellaneous receipts (File 55)

Including a list of subscriptions for 1893-1899

Balance sheets and particulars and estimates of expenditures (File 56)

Includes rough calculations and draft balance sheets and rough memoranda of receipts and expenditure.

Cheque books (File 57)
Deposit slips for the United Federal Executive and for the Australasian Federation League (File 58)
Bank books: Australasian Federation League, 1893-1900 (File 59)
Bank books: United Federal Executive, 1899 (1 book) (File 59)
Estimates Correspondence and estimate forms, 1899 (File 60)

For printing of leaflets and the like for the League.

2 order books, 1899 (File 61)

For stationary supplied by William Brooks & Co. with two interfiled notes.

Miscellaneous financial records: Rough notes and calculations. (File 62)

Series 4. Reports

Report of the Australasian Federation League of NSW for 1903. (File 63)
MS draft copy in notebook with numerous alterations. (File 63)
3 typescript copies of final draft of report. (File 63)
Report of the Australasian Federation League of NSW, 1904 (File 64)

2 typescript copies.

Printed reports of NSW League, 1894-1900 (File 65)
Printed report of the Inaugural Meeting in South Australia, 1895 (File 65)

2 copies.

Series 5. Subject Files

NSW election, 1894 (File 66)

Printed forms despatched by the League, July 1894, to all candidates for election, requesting them to signify their approval of the League's Federal Constitution. The forms have been returned by the recipients with their comments and signatures, and occasional once a letter accompanying them setting out the recipient's views in more detail. Also included is one copy of the printed letter sent with each form explaining why the forms have been sent to candidates.

Vice-Regal, 1895-1900 (File 67)

Draft MS copy and press cuttings of League's address of welcome to new Governor of NSW, Lord Hampden, 1895, and his letter of reply from Lord Hopetoun, 1900, to League's address of welcome on his arrival in Australia as Governor-General.

Federal Convention, November 1896 (File 68)

Forms dated October - November 1896 notifying the Secretary of the Central Federation League, Sydney, of delegates appointed to the Convention.

Federal Convention, November 1896 (File 69)

MS draft Order of Convention Procedure, prepared in October 1896

Convention Bill, April 1898 (File 70)

Petitions from several NSW country towns re question Edmund Barton to address meetings on federation and in particular the Convention Bill

1898 NSW election (File 71)

Correspondence, minutes of meetings of Executive Committee, and memoranda of June 1898, with details of position in each electorate concerning candidates supported by the League; included are press cuttings of the 1895 NSW election concerning the candidates' speeches supporting or opposing federation.

Newspaper publicity, 1898 (File 72)

Correspondence, May - July, concerning special newspaper issues supporting federation.

Members of Parliament, 1898 and 1901 (File 73)

Typescript list of members of both Houses of the NSW Parliament, 1898, with MS markings; 2 printed lists of members of NSW Legislative Assembly, 1898, one list having MS markings; printed lists of Senators and members of the House of Representatives, 1901.

Referendum campaign, May - June 1899 (File 74)

MS notebook listing speakers who gave addresses for the federal cause throughout the NSW electorates. The book is arranged under the names of the speakers, and gives the times and places of the speeches.

Referendum campaign, May - June 1899 (File 75)

MS notebook listing the electoral sub-divisions of Sydney and noting the speakers in each area and the time of their speeches

Referendum campaign, May - June 1899 (File 76)

Diary (of the league secretary?) giving day by day details of the campaign, including expenditure, 29 April to 19 June

Photographing of League Officials, 1899-1900 (File 77)

Correspondence about the photographing of officers of the Central Federation League who participated in the Corowa Federal Conference of 1893.

Farewell to Edmund Barton, February 1900 (File 78)

Replies to invitations to the farewell.

Sale of League's records to Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, 1911 (File 79)

Letters from former executive members, May 1911, approving the sale

MS Membership Roll, with addresses (1890?) (File 80)
Printed application forms for enrolment as member of the League. (File 81)
Sydney's Literary and Debating Societies (File 82)

Two typescript copies of Society addresses and of their secretaries.

NSW Federal Association's General, Literary, and Finance Committees (File 83)

Typescript list of names and addresses of members; included is a draft typescript copy of the Finance Committee list with MS additions.

Typescript list of NSW Mayors who accepted a position on an unnamed committee, presumably the General Committee (File 84)
MS address book, arranged alphabetically, of League members or of correspondents (File 85)

Series 6. Printed Material

Bound volumes of League's printed reports; handbills; certificate; parliamentary papers; report of Premiers' Conference of 1899; and Bill to enact the Federal Constitution (File 86)

The material covers the years 1894-1899.

Handbills; miscellaneous, loose, undated (File 87)
Pamphlets; Rules and Constitutions, 1893-1899 (File 88)
Parliamentary papers of NSW and Queensland, 1894-95, concerned with federation (File 90)
Parliamentary papers of NSW, 1904-1905 (File 91)

Concerning the selection of a site for the federal capital: the papers include copies of correspondence, from 1899-1905.

Miscellaneous parliamentary papers, NSW, 1895-1905 (File 92)
NSW Electoral rolls, 1897-1898 (File 93-95)
Bound volume of leaflets, cuttings and pamphlets, presented by Sir Robert Garran, 1884-1899 (File 96)

Apart from general League propaganda for Federation, the volume includes an MS copy of the Minutes of the Federal Conference of the Australian Natives Association, held in January 1890; an article by Dowling on Federation, with his MS revisions; and printed drafts of the Australian Constitution.

Series 7. Miscellaneous Material

Rough MS notes of motions and press cuttings on NSW parliamentarians and federation (File 97)


Series 1. Correspondence, 1890-1904

Arranged chronologically. Subjects covered include general organisation and administration of the Association, federation, settlement of British migrants in Australia, coloured labour in Queensland; creation of new A.N.A. branches and of N.Z. Natives Association, and relations with Friendly societies.

Series 2. Minute Book, 1888-1893

Minutes of meetings, 23 July 1888 - April 1893, of A.N.A. No. 1 Sydney Branch:both executive and general meetings. With printed constitutions, rules, press cuttings and an MS letter interfiled.

Series 3. Subject Files

Arranged chronologically.

Formation of Camden Branch of A.N.A., 1889-1890 (File)

Correspondence MS application and MS Report of the Branch for 1890.

Annual Report of A.N.A., Sydney, 1891 (File)

MS draft

Financial, 1893-1902 (File)

Anniversary Day Concert, 26 January 1892; Account of tickets sold (noted in middle of notebook at beginning of which is a series of accounts headed 'Freight List'), A.N.A. receipt book, n.d.; Beulah Branch Contribution Book, 1898-1902.

Reports of the Victorian Board of Directors of the A.N.A., 1893-1900 (File)

Printed reports of quarterly and special meetings.

General Laws for the Government of the A.N.A., 1896-1898 (File)

Printed copy of 1896 Rules with alterations and two copies of 1898 Rules.

Series 4. Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous printed items, 1892-1900, including leaflets explaining function of A.N.A., notice of meetings, 1893 move to support federation, Trustees Report of 1898, syllabus of lectures, and branch reports. Also invitations, such as invites to luncheons, dinners banquets, concerts, musical evenings.


Series 1. Correspondence, 1871-1908

Arranged in chronological order. Subjects covered include general development of technical education, advice from England based on the English experience of technical education, reports on the work of students, Dowling's breakdown in 1887/88 through over-work, and Dowling's 1906 letter correcting misstatements concerning the early history of technical education in NSW

Series 2. Manuscript Material (General), 1856-1895

Arranged in chronological order. Miscellaneous material including draft of speech concerning the teaching of architecture; table of student enrolments from 1884 to 1889; table of attendance at meetings of Board of Technical Education from 1883-89; MS reports and extracts from reports and typescript article, 1895, describing Dowling's founding of and work for technical education in NSW

Series 3. Press Cuttings, 1883-1889

Arranged in chronological order. Presentation to Dowling, 1883, on his transfer from Accountantship of Government Printing Department to Secretaryship of Board of Technical Education; presentation of prizes, 1889; reports of meetings of the Board of Technical Education, 1889; cuttings concerning Dowling's retirement from the Board of Technical Education, 1889.

Series 4. Printed Material, 1874-1891

Arranged in chronological order. The file includes Bill to incorporate the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 1874; Reports and correspondence, 1883, concerning the transfer to the Government to the Technical College at the Sydney Mechanic's School of Arts; Civil Service Superannuation and Retiring Allowances Act, 1884; Copies of correspondence relating to appointment of Secretary of Sydney Technical College, 1883-1886; a Bill to incorporate the Board of Technical Education, 1886 (4 copies); Draft Memorandum submitted by the Board of Technical Education for the consideration of the Minister of Public Instruction, 1888 (5 copies); portion of printed extracts of commendatory statements, 1889- 1890, concerning Dowling's work (extra copies); handbill for Dowling's Lantern Lecture Entertainment, August 1891, entitled 'A Cheap Trip through the United States and Canada'.


Comprising MS notebook, with relevant press cuttings, entitled 'Political Points', with Dowling's comments on NSW politics, 1892.