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Australia History Timeline

1900s continued

  • (1940) Howard Florey led team of scientists in development of penicillin
  • (1941) U.S. declared war on Japan, Australia allowed U.S. to base Pacific command on its territory
  • (1942 - 1943) Japanese planes bombed nearly 100 sites in Australia
  • (1942) Daylight savings introduced
  • (1944) Subsidized medicine provided to all Australians through introduction of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • (1945) Australia was founding member of United Nations
  • (1948 - 1975) Two million new immigrants arrived - most from continental Europe
  • (1950) Australia sent troops to Korean War
  • (1951) Australia signed ANZUS treaty with U.S., New Zealand
  • (1952) First nuclear test conducted off coast of Western Australia by United Kingdom
  • (1956) Melbourne hosted Summer Olympics
  • (1962) Indigenous Australians received right to vote in all states (except Queensland)
  • (1963) Full citizenship rights granted to Indigenous Australians
  • (1964) During maneuvers off Jervis Bay, HMAS Melbourne rammed HMAS Voyager, which sunk, 82 died
  • (1965) Australia entered Vietnam War
  • (1965) Indigenous Australians gained right to vote in Queensland
  • (1966) Australian currency changed to decimal system
  • (1967) Bushfires devastated Hobart and south-eastern Tasmania
  • (1967) Series of underworld killings took place in Sydney
  • (1970) Over 200,000 people participated in demonstrations against Vietnam War
  • (1971) Neville Bonner became first Aboriginal member of Australian Parliament
  • (1971) Springbok rugby team of South Africa toured Australia, anti-apartheid protests held all over country, state of emergency declared in Queensland
  • (1972) Commonwealth Arbitration Commission ruled women to receive equal pay for equal work
  • (1974) Cyclone Tracy struck Darwin, 71 killed, more than 70 percent of buildings destroyed
  • (1975) Australia introduced new immigration laws, restricted number of unskilled workers allowed in the country
  • (1975) Government plagued with resignations, Parliament blocked budget, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, dismissed the government
  • (1983) Australia won America's Cup
  • (1983) Ash Wednesday fires in Victoria and South Australia killed 75
  • (1986) Australia Act made Australian law independent of British parliament and legal system
  • (1986) Car bomb set off at police headquarters in Melbourne
  • (1988) Brisbane hosted World Expo
  • (1989) Newcastle earthquake killed 13
  • (1990) Royal Australian Navy deployed in preparation for first Gulf War
  • (1990) Carmen Lawrence elected Western Australia Premier, first female premier of an Australian state
1900s continued
  • (1991) Coode Island chemical storage facility exploded in Melbourne, toxic cloud hung over city
  • (1992) Citizenship Act amended, removed swearing oath of allegiance to British Crown
  • (1993) Native Title Act established process for granting of Aboriginal land rights
  • (1993) Prime Minister Paul Keating reelected
  • (1996) All Australian states, territories, passed uniform gun laws following Port Arthur massacre
  • (1996) Prime Minister Keating lost election to John Howard
  • (1997) Two lodges at Thredbo Alpine Village in Snowy Mountains of New South Wales collapsed, killed 18
  • (1998) Australian Stock Exchange was demutualized, floated as a public company, world's first stock exchange to be listed as exchange
  • (1999) Both houses of parliament passed motion regretting past treatment of indigenous Australians
  • (1999) Australian soldiers deployed to East Timor for peacekeeping
2000s
  • (2000) Summer Olympics held in Sydney
  • (2001) Churches rebuked Prime Minister John Howard for not acknowledging suffering of thousands of Aborigines under past assimilation policy
  • (2001) Hundreds of boat people were turned away over several months
  • (2001) Prime Minister Howard reelected
  • (2002) Air agencies, rights groups, UN criticized policy of holding asylum seekers in detention camps while awaiting visas
  • (2002) Desert camp in South Australia had riots, hunger strikes, escapes
  • (2002) Bombs in Bali nightclub killed 88 Australians
  • (2003) Australia sent troops to Iraq
  • (2003) Senate passed no-confidence vote against Prime Minister John Howard over handling of Iraq crisis, first no-confidence vote for a serving leader

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 updated on April 7, 2017.