Timeline Australia


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1770 – Explorer James Cook landed and explored Australia.

1788 – The first fleet arrived carrying 750 convicts arrived from England.

1804 – Hobart Town is established in Van Diemens Land which is now known as Tasmania.

1833 – The second penal colony developed was to the south in Tasmania. This colony was called Port Arthur.

1836 – South Australia established, with Adelaide as its capital.

1851 – The gold rush begins near Bathurst in New South Wales.

1853 – The last convicts are shipped to Tasmania.

1856 – Australia becomes the first country to introduce the secret ballot – or ‘Australian ballot’ – for elections.

1868 – The last convicts are transported to Australia.

1873 – Ayers Rock is first sighted by Europeans.

1876 – The last full blooded Tasmanian aboriginal, Truganini, dies.

1877 – Australia and England play the first-ever cricket Test match in Melbourne.

1901 – Australia (The Commonwealth of Australia) became it’s own nation. The six colonies were federated to form one nation. The Commonwealth of Australia comes into being on 1st January 1901. At the same time, the Immigration Restriction Act puts a stop on non-white immigration into Australia.

1911 – Canberra is founded and designated as the capital.

1914-1918 – Australian troops fight in World War 1.

1920 – QANTAS is formed as a local airline.

1923 – Vegemite is first produced.

1927 – The first Federal Parliament is held in Canberra.

1929 – The Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash hits Australia hard.

1932 – Sydney Harbour Bridge opens.

1933 – Western Australia produces a referendum for secession from England but it is rejected by Parliament.

1939 – Australia follows Britain’s lead and declares war on Nazi Germany.

1939-1945 – Australian troops fight in World War 2.

1948 – Australia begins a scheme for immigration from Europe. Over the next 30 years, more than two million people arrive, about one-third of them from Britain. The first all Australian car is produced-the Holden.

1950 – Australia commits troops to the UN forces in the Korean war.

1956 – Melbourne hosts the Olympics.

1965 – Australian troops sent to the Vietnam War.

1967 – National referendum on changes to constitution is passed. Section which excluded Aboriginal people from official census is removed.

1971 – Neville Bonner becomes the first Aboriginal to be a Member of Parliament.

1973 – The Sydney Opera House opens.

1975 – Australia introduces new immigration laws, restricting the number of unskilled workers allowed into the country.

1981 – Asian immigration increases.

1983 – Australia wins the America’s Cup.

1986 – The Australia Act makes Australian law fully independent of the British parliament and legal system. There is no longer any provision for Australian courts to mount final appeals to the Privy Council in London.

1988 – Bicentenary – The new Parliament House opens in Canberra.

1992 – The Citizenship Act is amended to remove swearing an oath of allegiance to the British Crown.

1999 – Australia leads intervention force in East Timor to counter pro-Indonesia militia violence after territory’s independence vote.

2000 – The Sydney Olympics held.

2001 – Australia turns away hundreds of boat people over several months, the most prominent group having been rescued from a sinking ferry.

2002 – Australia mourns as 88 of its citizens are killed in a night club bombing in Bali, Indonesia, which some call Australia’s “September Eleven”.

2003 – Australia deploys troops to the Gulf ahead of a possible war in Iraq. The move sparks public protests.

2004 – Government announces a multi-million dollar cruise missile programme, set to give Australia the region’s “most lethal” air combat capacity to protect the country.

2005 – Worst bush fires for more than 20 years kill nine people in South Australia.

2008 – Government of Australia apologises for past wrongs committed against the indigenous population.

2009 – Devastating bushfires in the south-eastern state of Victoria leave around 180 people dead.

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