Chronography of Australia & Antarctic

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Melbourne, 1835 & 1935

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5.0 Restoration of Indigenous Australian Rights, 1932-2019

4.0 Australia flirts with the idea of becoming a Republic, 1993-99

3.0 Conservative Government iunder Malcolm Fraser 1975-83

2.0 Labour Government under Gough Whitlam, 1972-75

1.0 Harold Holt Prime Minister, 1966 - 67

0.0 Robert Menzies Prime Minister, 1949-1966


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 alarge majority.


5.0 Restoration of Indigenous Australian Rights, 1932-2019

26 October 2019, Tourists were no longer permitted to climb Uluru (Ayers Rock), a site sacred to the indigenous Australian Anangu nation.

13 February 2008, The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (born 1957) apologised to the indigeous Australians, especially the �stolen generation�, those children forcibly removed from their parents to be brought up with White parents in an attempt at assimilation.

29 June 2005, The Ngaanyatjarra Lands, 73,000 square miles, in Western Australia, were handed back to the indigen9ous people following a Federal Court ruling.

27 May 2000, Australian Prime Minister John Howard presented the �Declaration of Reconciliation� in an effort to heal the history of racism against indigenous Australians.

2 December 1994, The Australian Government agreed to pay compensation to indigenous Australians who were displaced during the nuclear tests at Maralinga in the 1950s and 60s.

22 December 1993, Indigenous Australian Rights were strengthened by the Mative Title legislation, passed this day with effect from 1 January 1994.

3 June 1992, Australia overturned its terra nullius policy, which had stated that the land was empty before European setlters arrived. This move opened the way to Indigenous land claims and compensation.

4 June 1988, Sir Douglas Nicholls, Governor of South Australia, the first indigenous Australian to hold this position and to receive a knighthood, died.

26 October 1985, The Australian Government gave the indigenous peoples the landmark of Ayers Rock, now known by its Indigenous-Aboriginal name, Uluru.

24 May 1971, Senator Neville Bonner became the first indigenous Australian Parliamentarian.

1967, Australia removed the clause in its Constitution that excluded Indigenous-Aboriginal Peoples from the national census. However their land ownership rights were still unresolved.

1932, William Cooper founded the Australian Aborigenes League, to campaign for equal rights for indigenous Australians.


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 asevere 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.


4.0 Australia flirts with the idea of becoming a Republic, 1993-99

6 November 1999, The Australians voted 55% to keep the British monarch as Head of State.

13 February 1998, In Australia, delegates at a Constitutional Convention in Canberra voted 89 to 52 to replace The Queen as Head of State by a President chosen by a bipartisan Parliamentary majority. They decided to have a Referendum in 1999 on this change.

7 June 1995, Australian prime Minister Paul Keating declared his aim that Australia should be a Republic by the year 2001.

1 April 1993. A survey showed a record 69% of Australians wanted their country to become a Republic.


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.


3.0 Conservative Government iunder Malcolm Fraser 1975-83

16 February 1983, Arson was suspected as forest fires raged in South Australia, making 8,500 homeless.

17 August 1980, Michael and Lindy Chamberlain were on acamping holiday near Uluru, Australia with their young children when a dingo took their 10-week old baby. Although a coroner found that this indeed had happened, the authorities still believed the Chamberlains had murdered their baby and on 29 October 1982 a jury sentenced her to life imprisonment. She was finally exonerated when the baby�s jacket was found in a dingo�s lair in 1986.

1977, Advance Australia Fair became the Australian national anthem.

10 December 1977, In Australia the Fraser Government won another large majority in Federal elections.

1975, Australia restricted unskilled immigration.

13 December 1975, General Election in Australia gave a large majority to the Malcolm Fraser Government.


2.0 Labour Government under Gough Whitlam, 1972-75

15 October 1975, Constitutional crisis in Australia. The Opposition, led by Malcolm Fraser, refused to pass the Labour Government�s Budget (led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam) pass through Senate. Australian Governmenment ground to a halt. The Governor--General of Australia (The Queen�s nominal representative in the country), Sir John Kerr, attempted to dismiss Whitlam, but Whitlam refused to accept this. Finally however Whitlam�s Government was dismissed, with Fraser heading a caretaker admninistration until the election, whoch was called for 13 December 1975. Whit;lam contemptuously referred to Fraser as �Kerr�s cur�, and the whole affair called into question the future role of the Governor-General, a debate still unresolved today.

1 July 1975, Australia broke up the Postmaster-General�s Department into Telecom Australia and Australia Post.

21 October 1973. The Sydney Opera House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II.It was designed by Danish architect Joern Utzon. Costs had soared from AU$ 7 million (UK� 3 million) to AU$ 100 million (UK� 43 million). The orchestra pit was criticised for being too small.

2 December 1972, The Australian Labour Party won a sweeping electoral victory; Gough Whitlam became Prime Minister.

11 July 1916, Gough Whitlam, Australian Prime Minister, was born.


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.


1.0 Harold Holt Prime Minister, 1966 - 67

17 December 1967, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared whilst swimming at Cheviot Beach, Victoria. His body was never found; most believed he had been carried off by strong currents but some speculated that he had faked his own death.

14 June 1967. Australian and New Zealand woolgrowers expressed concern over the effects of the mini skirt on wool prices, which were down 6d a pound on the last season.

1966, Australia adopted decimal currency.

1966, The blue asbestos mine at Wittenoom, Western Australia, was closed, due to falling profits. Mining had begun in 1938 and the company town of Wottenoom was built in 1947. Blue asbestos is the most toxic variety of the mineral, and the health disaster was only realised in the 1970s.. By the 1950s the mine was losing out to South African competition, with cheaper asbestos from there. In 2006 the town of Wittenoom, which had a population of 20,000 before the mine closed, was taken off the national electricity grid, and officially ceased to exist in 2007.

25 January 1966, Harold Holt became Prime Minister of Australia, succeeding Robert Menzies.

5 August 1908, Harold Holt, Australian Prime Minister 1966-7 who backed US intervention in Vietnam and sent Australian troops there, was born.


0.0 Robert Menzies Prime Minister, 1949-1966

14 May 1978, Sir Robert Menzies, 12th Prime Minister of Australia, died.

20 January 1966, Robert Menzies retired as Prime Minister of Australia. He had served since 1949.

29 April 1965, Australia began contributing troops to the US war effort in Vietnam.

10 February 1964, The aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne collided with the HMAS Voyager off the coast of New South Wales, Australia. The Voyager sank, killing 82.

3 March 1960, Raymond Gordon Hopper, Austraian politician, was born.

2 March 1959, A ceremony to mark the start of construction of the Sydney Opera House was held at Bennelong Point, Sydney

22 November 1958, A General Election in Australia gave an increased majority to a Liberal and Country Party coalition. It raised its majority to 30 seats and won control of the Senate.

1956, Olympic Games held in Melbourne.

23 November 1955, Britain handed over the Cocos Islands to Australia.

13 April 1954, Vladimir Petrov of the Soviet Embassy in Australia was granted asylum when he defected, in Canberra.

3 February 1954, Queen Elizabeth II made her first visit to Australia; large crowds turned out to greet her in Sydney.

28 January 1953, James Scullin, 13th Australian Prime Minister from 1929 to 1932, died.

1952, The large iron ore deposits at Hammersley Range were discovered by Lang Hancock.In the 1960s large quantities of this ore were exported to Japan, making that country an industrial giant.

1 August 1950, Australian Prime Minister Sir Robert Gordon Menzies promised to send troops to assist US forces fighting in Korea.

11 March 1950, Sir Ralph Freeman, designer of Sydney Harbour Bridge, died.

17 December 1949, In Australia, Robert Menzies became Prime Minister of a Liberal Party-Country Party coalition.

10 December 1949, Australian General Election. An anti-Communist anti-Socialist coalition of Liberal and Country Parties defeated the incumbent Labour Party. Robert Menzies became the next Prime Minister.


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.

24 April 1939, John Menzies became Prime Minister of Australia (United Australia Party). He promised Britain assistancein its fight against Nazi Germany.

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.


White dominance in Australia

6 July 1926, A White man was speared by an indigenous Australian,because the White man was beating the Australianwith a whip. This provoked a killing spree of some 100 indigenous Australians by Australian police.

8 April 1925. The Australian Government and the British Colonial Office offered low interest rate loans for Britons to emigrate to Australia; the aim was for 450,000 Britons a year to migrate to Australia over the next 10 years. In the first decade of the 20th century, an average 284,000 Britons emigrated annually, mostly to the USA or the Dominions.

23 December 1905, Australia passed the Aborigines Act. It provided for the removal of indigenous Australian children aged under 6, and their �integration� into White society through education and work placements � usually menial labour, in practice.

15 January 1903, The Australian Government started a bonus scheme to persuade sugar growers to employ White labour.

7 August 1901, Australian PM Prime Minister Edmund Barton introduced the Immigration Restriction Act 1901. This Act gave British migrants preference over everybody else during the first four decades of the 20th century. In the interests of maintaining a �White� Australia (see Race Equality), it imposed an English-language test on immigrants.


Commonwealt of Australia formed,

10 May 1901, The Flag of Australia was chosen from entries in a national competition.

9 May 1901. The first Federal Parliament met in Melbourne, Australia.

29 March 1901, First Federal elections in Australia. They were won by the interim Prime Minister, Edmund Barton.

1 January 1901. The Commonwealth of Australia was inaugurated, by federating the six states and two territories of the continent. Edmund Barton became the first Prime Minister of Australia.

17 September 1900, The Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed by the British Government, to take effect 1 January 1900.

31 July 1900, By a margin of 44,800 to 19,691 voters in the colony of Western Australia approved the Australian Constitution, clearing the way for their admission as a state in the Commonwealth of Australia.

14 July 1900, The first Governor General of Australia, Lord Hopetoun, was appointed.

9 July 1900, The UK Parliament passed the Australia Commonwealth Act, uniting the six Australian colonies into one federal government. Federation had been desired since 1891, in response to the colonial ambitions of France, Germany and the USA in the Pacific. However inter-colonial rivalry was so great that it was not until 1909 that the site for an Australian capital was agreed, at �neutral� Canberra.

2 February 1899, The Australian Premier�s Conference agreed to locate the Australian capital between Sydney and Melbourne.


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.


Ned Kelly captured, executed

11 November 1880. Ned Kelly, the infamous Australian outlaw whose gang terrorised the State of Victoria for 2 years, was hanged, aged 25, at Old Melbourne Gaol, Russell Street. His last words were �such is life�. He came from a convict family; his father had been transported from Ireland in 1842. He shot a policeman and then fled into the bush; he was captured on 28 June 1880.

28 June 1880, Ned Kelly, Australian outlaw, was captured at Glenrowan after a day-long siege. His accomplices were killed in the siege but he survived to be tried and hanged.


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 universalmale 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.



1840, Transportation of convicts from Britain to New South Wales ended.

1824, The city of Brisbane was founded, as a penal colony.

4 March 1804, The Castle Hill Rising; an Irish convict revolt in New South Wales, Australia was put down by armed troops, whilst the two sides were parleying under a flag of truce.

1803, A British penal colony was set up in Van Diemen�s Land (Tasmania).

28 February 1790,) John Irving became the first convict to be freed in Australia

1788, The city of Sydney was founded, as Port Jackson, a British penal colony. It was founded by the arrival of 11 ships with 700 convicts.

See Crime, Punishment 1788 for Transportation to Australia


Initial European exploration and colonisation

20 July 1797, Pawel Strzelecki, explorer of Australia, was born.

28 April 1795, Birth of Charles Sturt, English explorer of Australia.

16 July 1792, Sir Thomas Mitchell, Scottish explorer of Australia, was born (died 5 October 1855).

1789, Indegenous Australians of the New South Wales area ravaged by a smallpox epidemic.

28 April 1770. Captain Cook went ashore in Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia, and claimed the land for Britain. See 14 February 1779. A penal colony was established there in 1788 but later moved to near Sydney.

20 April 1770. Captain James Cook discovered Botany Bay, Australia. His ship, The Endeavour, had sailed from Plymouth, England, on 26 August 1768.They originally named the bay Stingray Bay, and found it to be rich in biodiversity.

25 August 1768, Captain Cook set sail from England on board The Endeavour on his first voyage to explore the Antipodes. His 368-ton ship was 98 feet long by 29 feet wide. His mission was first to visit Tahiti to observe a transit of Venus on 3 June 1769, then to discover the theoretical �southern continent� which was supposed to exist by the Classical Greeks �to counterbalance the northern continents�. Such a continent would provide useful colonial opportunities for Britain at a time when its North American colonies were becoming restive. After Tahiti, Cook sailed south and south west down to latitude 40 degrees south; finding no land he turned west and discovered New Zealand, whose coast he charted in six months. This exercise proved New Zealand was not the peninsula of the �southern continent�. By now it was March 1769 and the southern summer was ending; to return eastwards meant encountering bad weather in the Pacific. Cook therefore sailed west and encountered the east coast of Australia. Although the Dutch had visited Australia in the 17th century this part of the continent was devoid of European settlement; Cook therefore claimed the entire east coast of Australia for Britain as New South Wales. Cook then sailed along the northern coast of Australia, confirming it was a separate land from New Guinea, and returned to England in 1771.

9 December 1758, Matthew Flinders confirmed that a channel existed between Tasmania and Australia, making the former an island.

28 October 1728, The naval officer and explorer Captain James Cook was born at Marton, Cleveland, Yorkshire.He was the son of a farmer. His voyages in the ship Endeavour led to the exploration of Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.

1688, The first British explorer to visit Australia, William Dampier, landed on the north coast.

22 October 1659. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman died.

1644, Abel Tasman mapped the north and west coasts of Australia.

19 April 1645, Anthony Van Diemen, Dutch explorer of Australia, died in Batavia (born 1593).

24 November 1642. Tasmania was discovered by Abel Tasman, Dutch explorer.It was originally called Van Diemen�s Land, and renamed in 1853.

4 June 1629, The VOC (Dutch) ship Batavia ran aground west of Australia.

2/1606, Willem Janszoon, Dutch navigator, discovered Australia. He landed on the north coast.


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).


Race for the South Pole

10 February 1913. The remains of Captain Scott and two of his companions, who died returning from the South Pole in January 1912, were found dead, just 11 miles from a safe camp.

29 March 1912. Captain Robert Falcon Scott died in his tent in Antarctica, returning from his expedition to the South Pole.

17 March 1912, Lawrence Oates died heroically during the return journey from the South Pole. On his 32nd birthday he left the tent, saying, �I am just going outside, and I may be some time�.

14 December 1911. The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen beat the British team, led by Captain Scott, to the South Pole. The British relied on motorised transport and ponies, the Norwegians on dog sleds. Captain Scott arrived at the South Pole on 17 January 1912 to find the Norwegians had beaten him to it. Scott set out with 11 men from Cape Evans, Antarctica, on 24 October 1911; his motorised sledges soon broke down, and the ponies had to be shot due to the cold. Therefore the hardest part of Scott�s journey, the part from the final food dump (left for the return journey) to the South Pole, 240 kilometres, and back, had to be done on foot with barely a month�s provision for the five men attempting the journey. On the return journey blizzards slowed Scott�s team, reducing their daily rations.

24 October 1911, The advance team for Robert Scott's British Antarctic Expedition, Bernard Day, Tom Lashly, F.J. Hooper and Teddy Evans, set off with food and supplies from Cape Evans. Scott and his party set off on November 1

15 June 1910, Captain Scott set out on his ill-fated second expedition to the South Pole, on the ship Terra Nova.


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.


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