Why is Australia a part of the commonwealth?

Hi Caylia, thanks for your interesting question! 

The Commonwealth of nations is a collection of countries and territories who are connected through shared values and often have historical ties to the British Empire.

While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have lived on these lands for at least 60 000 years, in the late 1700s James Cook claimed the continent as part of the British Empire. British colonies were established in 1788 and on 1 January 1901 these colonies united to become the nation of Australia. This event is known as Federation and resulted in the creation of Australia as a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as our Head of State.  

As Australia’s history is closely tied to Britain we have chosen to maintain our membership of the Commonwealth to the present-day.

A man on stage in a hat addressing a crowded hall of dignitaries.

Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by H.R.H. The Duke of Cornwall and York (Later King George V), May 9, 1901.

Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT and the Royal Collection Trust.

Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by H.R.H. The Duke of Cornwall and York (Later King George V), May 9, 1901.

A man on stage in a hat addressing a crowded hall of dignitaries.

Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT and the Royal Collection Trust.

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Opening of Parliament image