The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia was brought into being on January 1, 1901, in the last few months of Queen Victoria's reign and in its words, was to consist of the Queen, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The first Commonwealth Parliament was opened by my grandfather, representing his father, King Edward VII, in Melbourne, on May 9, 1901.
On March 12, 1913, the new Commonwealth capital was inaugurated at Canberra and the first meeting of Parliament took place there on May 9, 1927, when my father opened Parliament House and addressed an assembly in the Senate Chamber.
Then this year, 1963, I came to Australia to take part in Canberra's 50th anniversary celebration. These are all vitally important milestones in Australia's history because they represent progressive steps.
The rivalry between the States, the intense local patriotism of cities and districts is a typical sign of a healthy and vigorous democratic people, but Australia's future and prospects turn on the whole Australian nation.
Of all the continents, Australia has the unique distinction and advantage of being one people under one Government.
The stress of two great wars has shown the underlying unity of Australians and every ex-Serviceman knows that when there is serious work to be done, Diggers stick together under a common loyalty.
We can all pray that the world will never again demand the sacrifice of so many brave men but let us also remember the lessons of unity they taught us.
That is the message and significance of a Canberra Day.
Even though Australia is now only about 24 hours travelling from London it seemed a pity to restrict my visit to the celebrations in Canberra.
We therefore decided to stay a bit longer and, in order to be perfectly fair, to pay a short visit to each of the State capitals.
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