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Britain Decides

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"It would not be practicable for Her Majesty's Government to surrender to a Parliament representing a small population principally resident in the southern districts the control of all the vast territory now included in Western Australia."

Secretary of State, Sir Henry Holland, 1887.

The British Government initially suggested splitting Western Australia into two colonies at the 26th parallel near Shark Bay, because it was reluctant to give control of such a large territory to a relatively sparsely populated colony.

The House of Lords supported the Constitution Bill.  But some members in the House of Commons called for an inquiry.  They were worried that the Bill was too conservative because it restricted voting rights to men who owned or leased property.

A special deputation from Western Australia, led by Governor Broome and including Stephen Parker and Thomas Cockburn-Campbell, managed to overcome this opposition and persuaded members to support the Bill.

WA Bulletin


Authority to negotiate 

​WA Bulletin 7 February 1888
Britain was not eager to allow the colony too much independence.
​Authority to Negotiate
This document authorised the delegates to go to Britain and negotiate on WA's behalf





Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.