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Australia History Timeline

BCs - 1700s
  • (40,000 BC) First Aborigines arrived from southeast Asia
  • (20,000 BC) Aborigines' settlements spread throughout the mainland and Tasmania
  • (1606) Capt. Willem Janszoon, in Duke of York's ship, the Duyfken, explored western coast of Cape York Peninsula - first European to land in Australia
  • (1606) Portuguese explorer, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, claimed Australia for Spain, named it "La Australia del Espiritu Santo" (the southern land of the Holy Spirit)
  • (1606) Louis Vaez de Torres sailed through Torres Strait
  • (1616) Dutch Captain Dirk Hartog made second landing by a European on western coast
  • (1642) Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, made journey to Australia, discovered there were four coasts
  • (1696) Flemish explorer, Willem de Vlamingh, charted southwestern coast of Australia; made landfall at present-day Perth
  • (1770) James Cook of England charted eastern coast, claimed it for British Crown
  • (1788) First Fleet from England arrived led by Arthur Phillip, established first penal colony at Sydney
  • (1788) English settlement founded at Norfolk Island
1800s
  • (1803) Matthew Flinders circumnavigated continent
  • (1804) Castle Hill Rebellion (Irish Rebellion) occurred, Irish convicts rebelled against British colonial authority, marshall law declared for over a week, dozens killed
  • (1808) During Rum Rebellion in New South Wales, military corps arrested; Capt. William Bligh, governor of convict colony was deposed
  • (1824) Penal colony founded at Moreton Bay (present-day Brisbane )
  • (1825) Tasmania seceded from New South Wales
  • (1829) Colony of Western Australia established at Perth by Capt. James Stirling
  • (1829) All of Australia claimed as British territory
  • (1836) South Australia established, Adelaide chosen as capital
  • (1842) Copper discovered in South Australia
  • (1845) Cataraqui, a ship carrying emigrants from England, wrecked in Bass Strait, 406 died
  • (1850) Western Australia became penal colony
  • (1851) Victoria seceded from New South Wales
  • (1851) Victorian gold rush began
  • (1851) Forest Creek Monster Meeting held by miners to demand political representation, reasonable taxation
  • (1853) Bendigo Petition circulated by miners to demand political representation, reasonable taxation, over 23,000 signatures gathered
  • (1856) Australia first country to introduce secret ballot for elections
  • (1859) Australian football rules finalized, Melbourne Football Club formed
  • (1859) Queensland separated from New South Wales
  • (1863) Northern Territory annexed by South Australia
  • (1867) Gold discovered in Queensland
  • (1875) SS Gothenburg struck Old Reef during storm, sunk, 102 died
1800s continued
  • (1877) Australia and England played inaugural cricket test match in Melbourne
  • (1879) First congress of trade unions held
  • (1883) Silver discovered at Broken Hill
  • (1887) Australian cricket team established
  • (1889) Railroad network linking Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney completed
  • (1891) National Australian Convention met, agreed to adopt name "The Commonwealth of Australia"
  • (1891) The Great Crash - a decade-long depression caused high unemployment, ruined businesses, drove down wages
  • (1898) Final constitution draft passed in Australia
1900s
  • (1900) Parliament of the United Kingdom passed Australian constitution
  • (1901) Australia became federation (States of: New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia)
  • (1901) First parliament met in Melbourne
  • (1901) Immigration Restriction Act put halt on non-white immigration
  • (1902) Franchise Act gave women right to vote in federal elections, excluded Aboriginal people
  • (1906) Australia took control of New Guinea
  • (1908) Canberra chosen for national capital
  • (1914 - 1918) World War I: Australia committed hundreds of thousands of troops to the British war effort
  • (1915) Gallipoli Campaign (Battle) in Turkey caused many Australian casualties
  • (1920) Qantas Airline founded
  • (1921) Edith Cowan first woman elected to parliament
  • (1932) Sydney Harbor Bridge opened
  • (1939 - 1945) World War II
  • (1939) Australia followed Britain in declaring war on Nazi Germany
  • (1939) Victoria devastated by bushfires, 4,942,000 acres burned, 71 people died, 3,700 buildings destroyed

About Australia

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Australia territories, states & their capitals

Region Capital Quick Reference
Australian Capital Territory Canberra Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales Sydney New South Wales
Northern Territory Darwin Northern Territory
Queensland Brisbane Queensland
South Australia Adelaide South Australia
Tasmania Hobart Tasmania
Victoria Melbourne Victoria
Western Australia Perth Western Australia

States & Territories of Australia

This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.