The 1860s and 1870s were the heyday of the Australian bushrangers, from Captain Thunderbolt to Ned Kelly. They embodied a rambunctious anti-authoritarianism that would be expressed lawfully in the power of the labour unions during the prosperity of the Great Boom. Fed by exports of wool, wheat and minerals to the industrial powers of Europe, the boom turned to bust with the depression of the 1890s. The loose-knit territories struggled to produce a coordinated response, shaking Australian complacency regarding its constitutional arrangements. Accordingly, the Federation of Australia was established in 1901, with an overall prime minister, Senate and House of Representatives. Within the British Empire, the Commonwealth of Australia was appointed a Governor-General as the Queen’s representative. Canberra was established as the new capital (1927), avoiding an invidious choice between Sydney and Melbourne. In 1911, the Northern Territories was hived off from South Australia and placed under direct control by federal government.
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