Chronography of Australia & Antarctic
Page last modified 21 November 2023
Antarctica � See Appendix One
2 January 2020, In Australia, ongoing catastrophic fires burned over 40,000 square kilometres, destroyed 1,500 homes and killed at least 17 people, in a drought and temperatures reaching high into the 40s C.
7 December 2017, The Australian Parliament legalised same-sex marriage, a month after a referendum showed strong support for the move.
July 2016, The conservative Liberal-National coalition Prime Minister Turnbull defeated Labor by a vary narrow margin in early General Elections.
June 2015, Economic development plan for Northern Australia announced,
1 October 2014, Gough Whitlam, former Labour Prime Minister of Australia from 1972, died aged 98. He extricated Australian troops from Vietnam, ended conscription, set up commissions into equal pay, Indigenous land rights and school funding, set up State-funded healthcare, liberalised abortion laws, introduced votes at 18 and free university education. He also gave Papua New Guinea independence, and forged closer relations with China.
9/2013, The conservative Liberal-National coalition won elections by a� large majority.
4/9/2006, In Australia, Steve Irvin, famous on UK TV as Crocodile Dundee, died whilst being filmed snorkelling off Queensland from a stingray barb to his heart.
9 May 2006, Two Australian miners, Todd Russell and Brian Webb, were rescued after being trapped underground for 14 days at a goldmine at Beaconsfield, Australia.
January 2006, Australia siged a deal with Timor L�Este over oil and gas rights in the Timor Sea. Australia began to suffer from a� severe drought and farm output plummeted.
13 December 2005, Major race riots in Sydney, Australia, involving up to 5,000 youths.
11 January 2005, The �Black Friday� bushfires devastated the southern Eyre Peninsula, Australia, killing 9.
9 October 2004, In Australian elections, the ruling Liberal Parity-National Party coalition led by PM John Howard defeated the opposition Labour Party, led by Mark Latham. Howard began his 4th consecutive term in office.
2003, Australia deployed troops in the Gulf, rousing protests against Liberal Party Prime Minister, Howard.
12 October 2003, Jim Cairns, Australian Labor politician, died
20 August 2003, In Australia, Pauline Henson, leader of the Right-wing and anti-immigration One Nation Party, was sentenced to 3 years prison, along with the Party�s co-founder David Ettridge, for electoral fraud. However they were released on appeal in 11/2003 on the grounds that their jailing had been politically-motivated.
19 January 2003, Bushfires in the suburbs of Canberra, Australia killed 4 and forced the evacuation of 2,500 people.
16 January 2002, Asylum seekers at a camp in Woomera, South Australia, began a hunger strike. They were protesting at living conditions and at the suspension of processing their claims.
10 November 2001, John Howard, Liberal Democrat, began is third term as Australian Prime Minister,
2000, The Olympic Games were held in Sydney.
28 April 1996, Gunman Martin Bryant opened fire at Port Arthur, a tourist area in Tasmania Australia, killing 35 and wounding 37. He was sentenced to life without parole.
2 March 1996, In Australia the Labour Party finally lost an election, having won the previous five contests, in 1983, 1984, 1987, 1990 and 1993. John Howard, Liberal Party, became Prime Minister.
26 January 1994, In Australia, David Kang fired 2 blank shots at Prince Charles as he was handing out Australia Day awards in Sydney. He said he was highlighting the plight of the Cambodian boat people. Sentenced to 500 hours community service, Kang later became a barrister specialising in criminal and medical law.
13 March 1993, The Australian Labour Party won a record 5th election victory.
9 January 1993, Sir Paul Hasluck, Governor General of Australia died (born 1 April 1905).
1992, Paul Keating replaced Bob Hawke as Labour Prime Minister. He announced a �turning towards Asia� policy.
19 December 1991, Paul Keating challenged Australian Labour Party Prime Minister Bob Hawke for Party leadership. Keating subsequently won the contest.
10 December 1990, Australia�s oldest newspaper corporation, the Fairfax Group, went into receivership with debts of Australian $ 1,500 million.
1 February 1989, In Western Australia the towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder merged to form the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
9 May 1988, The new Australian Parliament building in Canberra was inaugurated.
30 April 1988, The World Expo 1988 opened in Brisbane, Australia.
26 January 1988, Australia celebrated its bicentennial.
2 March 1986, The Queen signed a formal proclamation giving Australia legal independence from Britain. Britain first shipped convicts to Australia in 1788; Australia had been self-governing since 1901.
8 March 1983, The Australian Dollar was devalued 10%.
5 March 1983. Labour politician Bob Hawke won elections in Australia and became Prime Minister. He succeeded Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who had been in office for seven years.
March 1971, William McMahon became Prime Minister.
15 October 1970, In Melbourne, Australia, the West Gate Bridge collapsed, killing 33.
10 January 1968, John Grey Gorton became 20th Prime Minister of Australia.
27 June 1949, In Australia a nationwide coal strike began. It lasted until August 1949, and the Government sent in troops to operate the mines.
1948, Australia began encouraging immigration from Europe. Many arrived from the UK, Italy Germany and Greece.
1944, The Australian Liberal Party was formed, from the old United Australia Party, after a Labor elerctoral landslide. However the voters rejected Labor in 1949 elections due to its widespread nationalisation plans, and the Liberal party held power 1949-72 and 1975-83.
18 June 1943, Australian PM John Curtin said the country was no longer in danger of a Japanese invasion.
1942, Fall of Singapore to Japan; Japanese invasion of Australia seemed imminent. Australia appealed to the US for assistance.
For Pacific events of World War Two see China, Japan, Korea
20 October 1939, In Australia, PM Robert Menzies introduced compulsory military training.
26 July 1939, John Howard, Australian Prime Minister, was born.
17 December 1937, Kerry Packer, Australian media and sports magnate, was born.
23 October 1937, In Australia, Labour lost in general elections to the United Australia and Country Parties.
2 January 1936, Sir Francis Newdegate, Governor of Tasmania, died aged 73.
8 April 1933, Western Australia, irritated by Federal taxation, voted to secede from the rest of Australia.
19 December 1931, In Australia, the unpopular Scullin Labour Government fell. Joseph A Lyon, United Australia Party, formed a new Government that remained until 1939. This administration provided some stability for the Australian economy during the depression. Although Australian unemployment reached 25%, the economy recovered quickly as global gold and wool prices rose.
21 May 1930, Malcolm Fraser, Australian Liberal Prime Minister, was born.
9 December 1929, Bob Hawke, Australian Labor Prime Minister 1983-91, was born.
1928, Australia�s Flying Doctor service began in Queensland, to provide medical services in the Outback.
1927, The ACTU, Australian Council of Trades Unions, was formed. It assisted in settling labour disputes, and representing trades unions before the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. By 1986, 162 Unions were affiliated to the ACTU, representing 2.6 million workers. In 1983 the ACTU and the Australian Labor Party sighed an accord on economic policy, which was implemented when the Labor Party gained power in elections.
9 May 1927. Parliament House, Canberra, opened. Canberra became the new capital of Australia, replacing Melbourne.
28 July 1923, In Australia, New South Wales Premier Sir George Fuller ceremonially turned the first sod in the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
12 March 1923, The foundation stone of the Australian Federal Parliament Building at Canberra was laid.
2 February 1923, In Australia, Prime Minister Hughes was forced to resign. Stanley Bruce formed a coalition Government from the Nationalist and Country Parties.
30 August 1922, Lionel Murphy, Australian Judge, was born.
31 March 1921, The Australian Air Force was established
30 October 1920, The Communist Party of Australia was founded in Sydney.
17 December 1918, The Darwin rebellion. Around 1,000 disaffected workers marched on the government house in Darwin, Australia, demanding the resignation of John A Gilruth, Administrator of the Northern Territory over a tax on alcohol. Gilruth refused and further unrest forced the Australian government to send a Royal Australian Navy ship to the city. Public pressure eventually forced Gilruth to leave the city in February.
7 December 1918, Frank Wilson, 9th Premier of Western Australia, died (born 1859)
14 June 1918, Francis Burt, 29th Governor of Western Australia, was born in Cottesloe, Western Australia (died 2004)
23 December 1917, In Australia, a referendum rejected the idea of conscription.
17 February 1917, The Nationalist Party of Australia was formed with the merger of the Commonwealth Liberal Party and the National Labor Party, with Billy Hughes as party leader. The new Party allowed Hughes to return to head the Australian Government after winning a huge victory during the federal election held in May.
28 October 1916, In Australia, a proposal to introduce compulsory military conscription was narrowly rejected in Parliament.
13 August 1916, George Turner, Australian politician, first Treasurer of Australia, died (born 1851)
1915, Opal mining began at Coober Pedy.
For events of World War One in Europe see France-Germany
1 December 1915, A mob of soldiers vandalized the German Club in Sydney, Australia throwing stones and breaking every facade window of the club. Police broke up the mob, arresting one soldier and charging him with malicious damage and riotous behaviour.
11 March 1914, John Mackay, Australian explorer and founder of the city of Mackay, Queensland in Australia, died.
12 March 1913. Canberra (founded 1911) became the federal capital of Australia.
See also Scandinavia 1912 for Amundsen, Oates, Scot and race to South Pole
13 January 1911, Sir John Bjelke Peterson, Australian politician, was born in New Zealand (died 23 April 2005)
29 April 1910, Andrew Fisher was sworn in as the 5th Prime Minister of Australia, succeeding Alfred Deakin.
11 April 1910, Labour won the Australian general elections.
20 August 1908, The USA�s Great White Fleet arrived to huge welcoming crowds in Sydney, Australia. A week later the Fleet sailed to Melbourne, and then on to Japan. 221 US sailors deserted to remain in Australia.
5 May 1908, The Australian Government was defeated in a no confidence motion and a Labor Government under Andrew Fisher took power.
23 February 1908, Sir William McMahon, Australian Liberal and 25th Prime Minister, was born.
8 November 1907, In Australia, the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration ruled that the Sunshine Harvester Works must pay �fair and reasonable� wages, i.e. a living wage. This �Harvester Judgement� was to establish wage levels for all Australian labourers.
12 July 1907, Sir Edward �Weary� Dunlop, surgeon who provided medical care to Allied PoWs in Japan during World War Two, was born in Australia.
18 December 1906, In Australian elections, the Protectionists lost seats, but Alfred Deakin remained as PM.
16 October 1906. British New Guinea became part of Australia.
5 July 1905, Alfred Deakin returned to power as Australian Prime Minister after George H Reid, Conservative Prime Minister since 17 August 1904, resigned on 30 June 1905.
26 April 1904, John C Watson became leader of Australia�s first Labour Government, when Alfred Deakin resigned. However Watson himself resigned in August 1904.
30 March 1904, By-election in Melbourne, Australia, caused by electoral irregularities in the 1903 General Election.
24 September 1903, Following the resignation of Edmund Barton to become a Justice of the High Court, Alfred Deakin became the second Prime Minister of Australia. Like Barton, Deakin was a liberal protectionist. He remained as Prime Minister over most of the next seven years.
17 July 1902, Lord Tennyson, son of the famous poet, was named as successor to Lord Hopetoun, first Governor-General of Australia
13 December 1901, British geologist J.W. Gregory began his expedition to the fossil beds of Lake Eyre in South Australia, Eyre would later write of his findings in his book The Dead Heart of Australia.
29 March 1900, John McEwen, 18th Prime Minister of Australia 1967-68, was born in Chiltern, Australia (died 1980)
9 October 1896, Ferdinand Muller, explorer of Australia, died (born 30 June 1825).
27 April 1896, Sir Henry Parkes, Australian statesman died in Sydney (born 27 May 1815 in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire)
20 December 1894, Robert Menzies, Australian Prime Minister, was born.
1891, The Australian Labor Party was founded, following the defeat of the trades unions in the 1890 maritime strike.
31 August 1884, Sir Robert Richard Torrens, British colonial administrator in Australia, died (born in Cork, Ireland, 1814)
23 May 1882, Robert Ramsay, Australian statesman, died (born in Hawick, Scotland, 1842)
8 August 1880, Earl Page, Australian Prime Minister, was born.
20 August 1877. Arthur Kennedy, the new governor of Queensland, gave assent to a Bill drastically cutting Chinese immigration into Queensland, after the previous governor refused to pass it.
8 May 1876. The last Tasmanian aborigine, Truganini, died. She was 4 foot 3 inches tall, in her sixties, and was known as the Queen of the Aborigines. She saw her mother stabbed to death by white men and at 16 was herself raped by white convicts. She took to hanging around work camps, selling herself for a handful of tea and sugar. Then she met a white man whom she helped to record tribal customs. The coffin lowered into her grave was empty; the authorities feared body snatchers and buried her elsewhere.
4 March 1876, Sir Richard Hanson, Chief Justice of South Australia, died (born 6 December 1805).
2 December 1875, Charles Latrobe, British colonial Governor of Australia, died
6 October 1873, Sir Paul Edmund Strzelecki, explorer of Australia, died.
21 July 1873, In Australia, English explorer William Gosse announced his discovery of the world�s largest monolith, which he named Ayers Rock, after South Australian Prime Minister William Ayers. In 1985 it was returned to the Mutitjulu Nation and regained the name Uluru.
6/9/1870. The last British troops serving in Australia were withdrawn.
16 June 1869, Charles Sturt, British explorer who ventured into the Australian interior to discover the Darling and Lower Murray Rivers, died aged 74 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
5 June, 1866, John M�Douall, explorer of South Australia, died (born 1818)
11 February 1861, Australian explorers Robert Burke and William Willis reached the Gulf of Carpentaria on the north coast. They tasted salt water at the mouth of the Flinders River, although dense mangrove forests perevented them actually reaching the sea.
7 December 1860, Joseph Cook, Prime Minister of Australia, was born.
23 April 1860, The explorer James Sturt reached the centre of Australia.
1859, Landowner Thomas Austin introduced English rabbits onto his Australian estate for shooting sport. However they multiplied rapidly and ate more grass than the sheep,becoming a major nuisance.
1859, The South Australia Government offered a prize for the first person to cross the unexplored continent from south to north. Robert O�Hara Burke and William Wills set out from Melbourne in 1860 and almost reached te north coast but turned back and died on the way home in 1861. In 1861 John McDonell Stuart set out from Adelaide and (after two previous attempts) reached Darwin in the north in 1862.
6 July 1859, Queensland, Australia, was formed into a separate colony.
1858, The UK passed the Australian Colonies Act, which gave the four Australian colonies (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria) virtual autonomy in self-government (see 9 July 1900).
26 November 1857, The Legislative Assembly in Victoria, Australia, proclaimed universal� male suffrage, the first in Australia.
22 April 1857, The Parliament in South Australia first opened.
27 August 1856, The first Australian parliamentary election held by secret ballot took place in Victoria, Australia.
7 February 1856, The Tasmanian Parliament became the first in the world to pass legislation� (Electoral Act 1856) providing for elections by a secret ballot.
1855, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania gained self government. Queensland gained self government in 1859 and Western Australia gained self government in 1860.
5 October 1855, Sir Thomas Mitchell, Scottish explorer of Australia, died (born 16 July 1792).
22 February 1855, 13 gold diggers were acquitted of rioting and manslaughter in Melbourne, Australia after fighting broke out at the Eureka gold mine. In 1854, at the Eureka Stockade, Ballarat, New South Wales, armed gold prosepctors fought with a combined military and police force; 30 gold miners and 5 policemen died. Miners objected to an expensive licence imposed by the Australian Government, Public opinion went behind the miners, and juries refused to convict them, causing the Government to back down over the issue. See 3 December 1854.
3 December 1854, The Eureka Stockade incident. 150 gold miners, or �diggers�, resisted the military behind a wooden stockade. See 22/ February 1855.
1853, Transportation from Britain to Tasmania ceased. However Transportation was used to provide labour in Western Australia, 1853-67.
12 February 1851, The Australian Gold Rush began, after Edward Hargreaves discovered gold at Summerhill Creek, 20 miles north of Bathurst, New South Wales.
7 July 1850, Scottish explorer, Edward Eyre arrived in Albany, Western Australia, having crossed the Nullarbor Plain, the first White man to do this.
18 January 1849, Sir Edmund Burton, the first Prime Minister of Australia in 1901, was born in Glebe, Sydney.
22 August 1847, Sir John Forrrest, explorer and surveyor of Australia in the 1870s, was born.
10 June 1838, The Myall Creek Massacre. 28 indigernous Australians were killed by European settlers.
26 December 1836, Colony of South Australia was founded.
27 July 1836, The city of Adelaide, Australia, was founded; it is named after the wife of King William IV of Britain.
29 August 1835. The city of Melbourne was named in Australia. Melbourne was founded by John Batman who wrote in his diary in 1834 �this will be the place for a village�, referring to a 270,000 hectare site on the Yarra River. The land was then purchased from the Doutgalla tribe for an annual supply of trade goods worth around �200. The site was named after Lord Melbourne, then British Prime Minister. The city, designed by Robert Russell, was laid out on a rectangular grid, with wide streets and many parks and gardens. It is known as the �Garden City�.
2 August 1834, The South Australian Association gained a Charter to found a colony.
30 November 1832, Sir James Dickson, Australian politician, was born (died 10 January 1901).
9 February 1830, The source of the River Murray, Australia, was discovered by the explorer Charles Sturt. See 16 November 1824.
1829, Colony of Western Australia was founded.
20 April 1827, Copper ore was discovered in Tasmania.
19 April 1827, George Higinbotham, Chief Justice of Victoria, Australia, was born (died 1893).
1825, Colony of Van Diemen�s Land (now Tasmania) was founded,
30 June 1825, Ferdinand Muller, explorer of Australia, was born (died 9 October 1896).
16 November 1824, The Murray River, Australia, was discovered by the explorer Hamilton Hume. See 9 February 1830.
5 August 1815, Edward John Eyre, English explorer, colonial administrator and Governor of Jamaica, who discovered lake Eyre, was born.
27 June 1815, Sir William Foster Stawell, English colonial administrator in Australia, was born (died 1889 in Naples)
24 May 1815, The Lachlan River in Australia was discovered by the explorer George William Evans.
19 July 1814, Matthew Flinders, the explorer who surveyed and mapped the coast of Australia, died aged 40.
16 March 1774, Matthew Flinders, English explorer who gave his name to the Flinders River and mountain range in Australia, was born.
1813, The Blue Mountains, formerly an unexplored barried dividing Sydney, Australia, from the interior, were crossed by surveyors Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth.
9 December 1813, The Macquirie River in Australia was discovered by the explorer George Evans.
27 May 1815, Sir Henry Parkes, Australian statesman, was born in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire (died 27 April 1896 in Sydney)
9 October 1804. Hobart, Tasmania, was founded.
5,000 BCE, Indigenous Australians began using boomerangs.
7,000 BCE, The New Guinea land bridge began to disappear.
10,000 BCE, The separation of Tasmania from Australia began as sea levels rose.
45,000 BCE, The first humans are believed to have reached Australia.
Appendix One � Antarctica
22 June 2005, Gwion Davies, explorer of the Antarctic, died (born 3/9/1917).
1998, A 50-year ban on mineral extraction in Antarctica was agreed.
18 January 1997, Boerge Ousland of Norway made the first solo unaided crossing of Antarctica.
7 January 1978, Emilio Palma was born in Antarctica; he was the first baby born on this continent.
14 June 1963, Carl Skottsberg, Swedish Antarctic explorer, died aged 82.
1962, The British Antarctic Territory was constituted. It comprises a number of isdlands, as far north as 60 degress South.
1 December 1959. Twelve countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Jaoan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, UK, USA, USSR) signed an agreement to preserve Antarctica for peaceful scientific research. All territorial claims were suspended. This agreement was renewed and extended in 1991.
14 December 1958, The Antarctic �pole of inaccessibility�, the point furthest from all coasts, was reached by a Soviet tractor traverse.
2 March 1958, The British Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by Dr Vivian Fuchs, completed the first surface crossing of Antarctica. The group of 12 travelled 2,158 miles from Shackleton Station on the Weddell Sea to Scott Station on the Ross Sea in 99 days.
3 January 1958. Sir Edmund Hillary, with a party from New Zealand, reached the South Pole � the first man to do so since Captain Scott.
17 April 1955, Dr Michael Stroud, Antarctic explorer, was born.
26 May 1933, Australia claimed a third of Antarctica.
7 February 1933, The Australian Antarctic Territory was created.
30 July 1923, The Ross Dependency in Antarctica was created, under New Zealand rule.
5 January 1922. The British explorer Ernest Shackleton died on the island of South Georgia. He was on an expedition to Enderby Land, Antarctica.
3 September 1917, Gwion Davies, explorer of the Antarctic, was born (died 22 June 2005)
7 May 1916, Eric Butler, Australian political activist, founder of the Australian League of Rights,was born in Benalla, Victoria, (died 2006)
10 May 1916, Shackleton reached South Georgia (see 9 April 1916).
9 April 1916, Shackleton and his crew left the ice floe in small boats. They reached Elephant Island on 12 April 1916 (see 10 May 1916).
13 June 1909, Shackleton arrived back in Dover after his Antarctic expedition.
16 January 1909. The magnetic south pole was found by Sir Ernest Shackleton, who was knighted later the same year.
5 May 1882, Douglas Mawson, British Antarctic explorer, was born.
15 February 1874, Sir Ernest Shackleton, British Antarctic explorer, was born in born in Kilkee, County Clare, Eire.
16 July 1872, Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer who was the first to reach the South Pole in 1911, was born in Borge.
6 June 1868, Robert Falcon Scott, British explorer of the Antarctic, was born near Devonport, Devon.
3 April 1862, James Ross, English explorer who gave his name to the Ross Barrier, Ross Island and Ross Sea, Antarctica, died.
27 January 1841, James Clark Ross discovered the active volcano Mount Erebus in Antarctica.
1 January 1841, James Ross first crossed the Antarctic Circle.
1840, France claimed a slice of Antarctica, called Adelie Land.
19 January 1840. American explorer Charles Wilkes discovered the coast of Antarctica.
27 February 1831, Captain John Briscoe discovered Antarctica. Captain Briscoe, in the ship Tula, commissioned by the London shipping company Enderby, sighted the mountains of what is now known as Enderby Land. The mission was partly exploratory, but also commercial, to find and harvest seals for their fur. Whales were also desired, and sea elephants for their oil.
18 March 1826, Joseph Bellot, Arctic explorer, was born in Rochefort (died 8/1853).
18 November 1820, Russian explorer, Thaddeus von Bellingshausen, became the first European to sight Antarctica. Captain of a US sealing ship, the Hero, he had sailed south in search of more hunting grounds.
15 April 1800, Sir James Clark Ross, Antarctic explorer, was born in England.
8 August 1799, Nathaniel B Palmer, US sea captain and explorer of Antarctica, was born in Stonington, Connecticut (died 1877).
30 January 1774, Captain Cook turned his ship back at 71 degrees south, 105 degrees west, due to heavy mist, having failed to sight any land of the �southern continent�. In fact he was just 75 miles off the coastline of Antarctica.
17 January 1773. Captain James Cook�s ship Resolution became the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle.