The continued failure of enterprises in the northern sector of South Australia (now known as the Northern Territory) led to a push during the 1880’s, for this area to be returned to Britain.
However, the year of 1901 saw the Commonwealth of Australia established and with it, a radical change of attitude regarding Britain’s relationship with Australia. Popular opinion now swayed towards the belief that no part of Australia be returned to Britain.
The Referendum of 1898 regarding the Federation of Australia revealed that the inhabitants of the northern sector of South Australia favoured Federation at a ratio of ten-to-one, leading to the push to annexe the territory to the new Commonwealth of Australia.
The Premier of South Australia at the time, Mr Frederick William Holder, offered this northern sector of South Australia to the new Commonwealth Government in the April of 1901 – just a few months after Federation – on the proviso that it accept all liabilities together with the land.
It would take another six years before the Northern Territory was officially proclaimed as a Territory of Australia:
The Northern Territory Surrender Act 1907 (SA) was executed 21st December 1907.
The Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910 (Cth), accepting the Northern Territory as a Territory under the Authority of the Commonwealth, was signed on the 16th November 1910.
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