When Queen Victoria signed this document on 9 July 1900, the Bill providing for the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia became law, enacting the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act and the founding of the Commonwealth. The Commission of Assent, with the original Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act and the Letters Patent establishing the office of Governor-General, are thus the ‘birth certificates’ and the ‘key instruments’ of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The Commonwealth Constitution Bill was drafted at a series of Constitutional Conventions in the 1890s and taken to London in 1900 by a delegation led by Edmund Barton. The Bill to establish the Commonwealth of Australia successfully passed through the British Parliament. At the request of the delegation, Queen Victoria signed her Royal Assent in duplicate so that a copy could be brought back to the Australia. The Queen presented this document with the pen, inkstand and table used at the ceremony in Windsor Castle to Edmund Barton, spokesman for the delegates.