This imaginative and resonant book looks at the constitution as a cultural artifact. Irving looks beyond the well-known events, places and figures to locate federation and the constitution in the context of broader social, political and cultural changes. Despite its paradoxical construction, there is something uniquely Australian about the constitution, and it marked a utopian moment as the old century gave way to the new. Irving analyzes the background and outcomes of the recent Constitutional Convention and considers its significance for Australia's future. A new chapter covers the development of the constitution in the twentieth century.