"Queen Victoria signed the Australian Constitution Act in July 1900. So why weren't we officially Australia then? What did the proclamation do? "

You are right! Queen Victoria did sign the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK) into law on 9 July 1900. However, covering clause 3 of the Australian Constitution says the date of when the Commonwealth of Australia would come into being (when the Act would commence) would be decided by Proclamation by the Queen. This Proclamation stated the Act would come into effect on 1 January 1901.

Sometimes, a law will create a big change, such as the creation of a new country! Preparations need to be made, new institutions set up and people told about the change. To ensure there is time to make all the changes, some laws have written into them a future start date. This date is either specified (the Commencement Date) or the date is decided later. The Governor-General still makes Proclamations about the commencement of some laws which have already received Royal Assent to.

diagram to help explain Queen Victoria signed the Australian Constitution Act in July 1900. So why weren't we officially Australia then? What did the proclamation do?