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Significant dates in Australian History from 1486-1945

NOTE: A Short History of Australia by Ernest Scott, from which this chronology was taken, was published before 1950. It contains no references to Aboriginal history and no references to the relationship between new settlers and the Aboriginal people. Since the preparation of this chronology there have been significant developments in the relationship between Aborigines and non-aboriginal people. A chronology published this century would acknowledge the fact that Aborigines have occupied Australia for over 40,000 years, as evidenced by the human remains found at Lake Mungo in south-western New South Wales.

1486 Diaz rounds Cape of Good Hope.
1497 Vasco da Gama sails to India via the Cape.
1512 Portuguese discover the Moluccas.
1520 Magellan enters the Pacific.
1567 Alvarez discovers the Solomon Islands.
1595 Cornelius Houtman pilots Dutch ships to the East Indies.
1598 Dutch established at Java.
1606 Quiros discovers the New Hebrides.
  Discovery of Torres Strait.
  The DUYFKEN in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
1611 Brouwer's new route to the East.
1616 Dirk Hartog on the Western Australian coast.
1622 English ship TRIAL wrecked off the west coast.
1627 Nuytsland discovered.
1636 Van Diemen Governor of Dutch East Indies.
1642 Tasman discovers Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand.
1644 Tasman in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
1688 Dampier in the CYGNET in Australian waters.
1699 Dampier in the ROEBUCK in Shark's Bay.
1768 Cook's ENDEAVOUR voyage.
1770 Cook's discovery of New South Wales.
1772 Cook's RESOLUTION voyage.
1779 Banks suggests founding a convict settlement at Botany Bay.
1782 End of the American War of Independence.
1783 Matra's plan of colonization in New South Wales.
1785 Sir George Young's plan.
1786 Determination to found a settlement at Botany Bay.
1788 Foundation of Sydney.
  Laperouse in Botany Bay.
1789 Establishment of New South Wales Corps.
  Settlement of Norfolk Island.
1792 End of Phillip's governorship.
1792-5 Administration of Grose and Paterson.
1795 Hunter Governor of New South Wales.
1795-6 Bass and Flinders make voyages in the TOM THUMB.
1797 John Macarthur buys merino sheep.
  Discovery of coal.
1798 Bass discovers Bass Strait and Westernport.
  Bass and Flinders circumnavigate Tasmania in the Norfolk.
1800 King Governor of New South Wales.
  Voyage of the LADY NELSON from England.
  Flinders's voyage in the INVESTIGATOR.
1802 Murray discovers Port Phillip.
  Flinders meets Baudin in Encounter Bay.
1803 Flinders circumnavigates Australia.
  Wreck of the PORPOISE.
  Flinders imprisoned in Mauritius.
  Collins's Port Phillip Settlement.
1804 Foundation of Hobart.
  Settlement at Port Dalrymple.
1806 Bligh Governor of New South Wales.
1807 Arrest of John Macarthur.
1808 Mutiny in New South Wales; deposition of Bligh.
1809 Macquarie Governor of New South Wales.
1810 Extinction of New South Wales Corps.
  Liberation of Flinders.
1813 BlaxIand discovers a way across the Blue Mountains.
  Evans discovers the Bathurst plains.
  Davey Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land.
1814 Death of Flinders.
  Establishment of Civil Court in New South Wales.
1816 Bank of New South Wales founded.
  1817 Oxley explores the Lachlan.
  1818 Oxley explores the Macquarie.
  1819 Commissioner Bigge in New South Wales.
  1821 Brisbane Governor of New South Wales.
  1823 New South Wales Judicature Act passed.
    Oxley in Moreton Bay.
  1824 Wentworth's AUSTRALIAN.
    Foundation of Brisbane.
  1824 Annexation of Bathurst and Melville Islands.
    Hume and Hovell's expedition to Port Phillip.
  1825 Alteration of western boundary of New South Wales.
    Lockyer explores the Brisbane River.
    Arthur Governor of Van Diemen's Land.
  1826 The ASTROLABE at Westernport.
    Settlement at Westernport.
    Darling Governor of New South Wales.
  1827 Lockyer's Settlement at King George's Sound.
    Darling's law to regulate the press.
    Alan Cunningham explores the Liverpool Range and the Darling Downs.
    Stirling examines the Swan River.
  1828 Enlargement of the Legislative Council of New South W ales.
    Westernport Settlement abandoned.
    Sturt discovers the Darling.
  1829 Annexation of the Swan River.
    Whole of Australia claimed as British territory.
    The PARMELIA conveys first immigrants to Swan River.
    Publication of Wakefield's LETTER FROM SYDNEY.
  1830 Accession of William IV.
    Act establishing trial by jury in New South Wales.
    Sturt explores the Murray to the sea.
    Perth founded.
    Governor Arthur's 'Black Drive.'
  1834 Act to establish Colony of South Australia.
    The Hentys settle at Portland.
    The Dorsetshire labourers transported.
  1835 John Batman in Port Phillip.
  1836 Mitchell explores Australia Felix.
    Adelaide founded.
    Lonsdale takes charge of the Port Phillip Settlement.
    Bourke's grazing licences policy.
  1837 Accession of Queen Victoria.
    Melbourne named.
    House of Commons Committee on Transportation.
  1837-40 George Grey's explorations in Western Australia.
  1838 Gawler Governor of South Australia.
    Military settlement at Port Essington.
  1839 Latrobe appointed superintendent of Port Phillip.
    Strzeleeki finds traces of gold.
  1839 Death of John Batman.
    Lord Durham's report on the state of Canada.
    McMillan's first expedition to Gippsland.
    Abandonment of Moreton Bay Settlement.
  1840 Order in Council discontinuing transportation to Australia.
    Eyre starts for the centre of the continent.
    Strzelecki's journey through Gippsland.
  1841 Grey appointed Governor of South Australia.
  1842 Robert Lowe in New South Wales.
    Act for the Government of N.S.W. and Van Diemen's Land passed.
  1843 Ridley invents the stripper.
  1844 Convicts shipped to Port Phillip.
    Sturt's journey to the interior.
    Leichhardt's first exploring expedition.
  1845 Grey appointed Governor of New Zealand.
    Burra copper mine discovered.
  1846 Fitzroy 'Governor-General' of Australia.
    Lieutenant Yule hoists British flag in New Guinea.
  1847 Gold found in Port Phillip.
    The Gladstone Colony at Port Curtis.
  1848 Melbourne elects Lord Grey to the Legislative Council.
    Leichhardt's last expedition.
  1849 The RANDOLPH in Hobson's Bay: resistance to convict immigration.
    Port Essington abandoned.
  1850 Western Australia becomes a penal colony.
    University of Sydney founded.
    Australian Colonies Government Act passed.
    Railway from Sydney to Goulburn built.
  1851 Separation of Victoria from New South Wales.
    Hargreaves digs for gold on Summerhill Creek.
    Gold found at Ballarat.
    The diggings commence.
  1852 University of Melbourne founded.
  1853 Tasmania named.
    Town of Gladstone founded.
    French annexation of New Caledonia.
  1854 The Eureka Stockade.
    Hobson's Bay railway built.
  1855 Transportation to Norfolk Island ceased
  1855 New constitutions come into effect in New South Wales, Victoria,
    South Australia, and Tasmania.
    Ballot Act passed in Victoria.
    First anti-Chinese legislation passed.
  1858 Torrens Real Property Act passed.
  1859 Colony of Queensland proclaimed.
    Kingsley's GEOFFREY HAMLYN published.
  1860 McDouall Stuart reaches the centre of the continent.
  1861 Burke and Wills expedition.
    Cowper's quarrel with the New South Wales Legislative Council.
  1862 McDouall Stuart crosses the continent to Port Darwin
    Duffy's Land Act.
  1863 South Australia undertakes to administer the Northern Territory.
    New Caledonia a convict colony.
  1865 McCuIloch proposes protection in Victoria.
  1867 End of transportation to Western Australia.
    Gold discovered at Gympie.
    The Darling grant controversy.
  1868 First Queensland Act to regulate Kanaka labour
  1869 John Forrest's journey in search of Leichhardt.
  1870 British troops withdrawn from Australia.
    Adam Lindsay Gordon died.
  1872 Overland telegraph line from Adelaide to Port Darwin constructed.
  1873 John Forrest explores the interior.
    Moresby's discoveries in New Guinea.
    Stephens's 'free, compulsory, and secular' Education Act.
  1874 University of Adelaide founded.
    John Forrest's journey from Perth to Adelaide.
    Fiji annexed by Great Britain.
    Clarke's FOR THE TERM OF HIS NATURAL LIFE published.
  1875 Ernest Giles's inland journey.
  1877 Dispute as to payment of members in Victoria.
    High Commissionership of the Pacific established.
    Brunton Stephens's poem, THE DOMINION OF AUSTRALIA, published.
  1878 Black Wednesday' (January 8).
  1879 First Australian Trade Union Congress.
  1880 Capture of the Kelly Gang.
  1880 Payment of members carried in Victoria.
  1881 Reform of the Victorian Legislative Council.
  1882 Discovery of Mount Morgan.
    The Kimberley gold rush.
    Henry Clarence Kendall died.
  1883 Silver discovered at Broken Hill.
    McIlwraith annexes New Guinea.
  1884 German annexation of Kaiser Wilhelm's Land, the Bismarck
    Archipelago, and Samoa.
  1885 Federal Council established.
    Soudan contingent from New South Wales.
  1887 Anglo-French Condominium in the New Hebrides.
    First Colonial Conference.
  1888 Intercolonial Conference on Chinese immigration.
    ROBBERY UNDER ARMS published.
  1890 Great maritime strike.
    University of Tasmania founded.
  1891 First Federal Convention.
  1892 Coolgardie gold-field discovered.
  1893 Corowa Conference on Federation.
  1894 Women's enfranchisement in South Australia.
  1895 Victorian Wages Board system established.
    Paterson's THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER published.
  1896 Henry Lawson's IN THE DAYS WHEN THE WORLD WAS WIDE published.
  1897 The second Colonial Conference.
  1897-8 The Federal Convention.
  1898 First Federal Referendum.
  1899 Second Federal Referendum.
    First Labour Government (Queensland).
    Australian contingents sent to South African War.
  1900 The Commonwealth Constitution before the Imperial Parliament.
  1901 (May 9) First Commonwealth Parliament opened.
  1902 Immigration Restriction Act passed.
    Third Colonial Conference.
  1903 First Deakin Government.
    Amended Naval Agreement.
  1904 The Watson Government.
    Reid-McLean Government.
    Dalgety selected as site for federal capital.
  1905 Second Deakin Government.
  1906 Amended Anglo-French agreement as to New Hebrides.
  1907 Act for construction of Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway passed.
    Imperial Conference.
  1908 First Fisher Government.
    Revocation of choice of Dalgety. Canberra finally selected as site of federal capital.
  1909 Third Deakin Government.
    Imperial Defence Conference.
    Compulsory military service instituted in Australia.
    Lord Kitchener's report.
  1910 University of Brisbane founded.
    Second Fisher Government.
  1911 Referendum for amendment of constitution.
    Admiral Henderson's naval report.
    Imperial Conference.
  1912 University of Perth founded.
  1913 Cook Government.
    Referendum for amendment of constitution.
    The AUSTRALIA completed.
  1914 Third Fisher Government.
    Great European War.
    Fight between the SYDNEY and EMDEN at Cocos (November).
  1915 Hughes Government.
  1916 First Conscription Referendum.
  1917 Second Conscription Referendum.
    Transcontinental Railway opened.
  1918 Great battle on the Somme (August 8); capture of Mont St. Quentin by Australian forces.
    Defeat and surrender of Germany.
  1919 Ross and Keith Smith fly from England to Australia by aeroplane.
  1920 Visit of the Prince of Wales to Australia.
  1923 End of Hughes Government.
    Stanley Bruce Prime Minister.
  1924 Visit of Special Service squadron of the Royal Navy to Australia.
  1927 Federal Parliament opened by Duke of York at the Commonwealth capital, Canberra.
  1928 Flight by Bert Hinkler from England to Australia, and by Kingsford
    Smith and Ulm from America to Australia and from Australia to New Zealand.
  1929 J. Scullin Prime Minister.
  1930 First Australian-born Governor-General appointed: Sir Isaac Isaacs.
  1931 Statute of Westminster.
  1932 Opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
    J. A. Lyons Prime Minister.
    Imperial Conference at Ottawa.
  1934 Victorian Centenary celebrations attended by the Duke of Gloucester.
  1935 Italy attacks Abyssinia.
    Jubilee of King George V.
  1936 Death of King George V
    accession and later abdication of King Edward VIII
    accession of the Duke of York as King George VI.
  1938 The 'Munich Crisis.'
  1939 Death of J. A. Lyons; R. G. Menzies becomes Prime Minister.
    Second World War begins.
  1940 Australian forces share in North African campaigns.
  1941 Tobruk.
    A. W. Fadden Prime Minister, August-October.
    John Curtin Prime Minister.
  1942 Darwin bombed and Rabaul captured by Japanese
    Battle of El Alamein.
  1943 Italy defeated and Mussolini overthrown.
  1944 Invasion of Europe and Battle of Normandy.
    Defeat of Referendum on increased powers for Commonwealth.
    General MacArthur lands in the Philippines.
  1945 Defeat of Germany (May).
    United Nations' Charter signed.


Updated 08 June 2008