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New South Wales - Concept

Law in New South Wales

The way laws have been made and implemented in New South Wales has varied over time. A number of different administrations have made and amended laws in New South Wales since the Colony of New South Wales was established in 1788.


Colony of New South Wales (1788 - 1901)

The Colony of New South Wales was established in 1788 as a penal colony of Britain with the Governor having absolute power. A level of responsible governance was achived in 1823 with a council established to advise the Governor and self-government was achieved in 1855. New South Wales did not achieve the majority needed in its first referendum for Federation but in 1899 it voted 'yes'.

State of New South Wales (1901 - )

The State of New South Wales was established with Federation on 1 January 1901. As a State of Australia, federal law made by the new Australian Government applied to New South Wales, and legislative powers were divided between the State of New South Wales and the new Commonwealth of Australia.

Related Legislation


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: New South Wales documents, Documenting a Democracy, Commonwealth of Australia, 2011,; 'History of democracy in NSW', in Parliament of New South Wales, State of New South Wales, 27 October 2014,

Prepared by: Nicola Laurent