Sir Henry Parkes had already served more than fifty years in public life
when he embarked on the most ambitious political cause of his career. In
1889, Parkes dedicated himself to uniting the separate colonies of Australia
under one federal government. By 1890, Parkes' political skill had succeeded
in winning a Federation Conference in
Melbourne (attended by all Australian
and New Zealand colonies). The conference agreed a Federal Convention should
meet in Sydney the following year to draw up a constitution for a federated
Australia. In less than one year, Parkes had set the wheels in motion.
Throughout the meetings of the convention, Parkes was the figurehead and
maker of inspirational speeches.