Earliest Australian Federation?

I know Earl Grey from 1847-1850 tried to federate the Australian colonies but the watered-down bill passed the House of Lords with only a figurehead Governor-General.

I also know Henry Parkes tried to propose federation in 1867 but got slapped down.

How *popular* were these attempts? I hear the 1850 actually had pretty popular support amongst Australians of all stripes and it was the British House of Lords that was the big reason it didn't work, but I do wonder if 1867 would have been possible had the Colonial Secretary not refused. Would Australia even have a big enough population or infrastructure base during these times to support being one complete nation?
 
I don't know about 1850 but 1867 was well into the Gold Rushes and our population boomed. We also did a lot of fortification at this time, so perhaps the gold, population growth and a war scare could trigger an earlier federation.
 
If you want my opinion, 1901 was about as early as it was going to get, as federation was always a shaky thing in the first place (it almost failed IOTL, remember Western Australia). Each of the colonies had their own interests, militaries, currencies and even the Railway Gauges were different at each of the borders.

I suppose it's possible to move federation back about 10 years, maybe if Western Australia and New Zealand (they were given the chance to join, but opted out) are more corporative?
 
If you want my opinion, 1901 was about as early as it was going to get, as federation was always a shaky thing in the first place (it almost failed IOTL, remember Western Australia). Each of the colonies had their own interests, militaries, currencies and even the Railway Gauges were different at each of the borders.

I suppose it's possible to move federation back about 10 years, maybe if Western Australia and New Zealand (they were given the chance to join, but opted out) are more corporative?

You'd have to give Western Australians incentives to vote for it.The main reason that Western Australians were against it was because we didn't want decisions being for WA being made in the Eastern States.

It's still an issue these days when you think of it.
 
I would suspect that if you could push serious federation attempts back to the 1870s-1880s you might be able to get NZ into a federation. We had a bad 30 years (economically) from the late 1860s to early 1890s, what with local issues combined with the Long Depression/Hungry 80s, plus the iconic NZ liberalism of the time developed as a result of those bad times. Further, it was only towards the end of that period that the locally born British started to outnumber British born. The provincial governments were only abolished in the late 1870s too, so the NZ identity as a centralised state was still pretty fragile.

So if a serious attempt at federation had occurred in the early-middle period I think it may have had a greater chance of getting local NZ acceptance
 
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