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South Australia

South Australia History Timeline

BC - 1600s
  • (18,000 BC) Evidence of mining activity and rock art in the Koonalda Cave on the Nullarbor Plain
  • (1627) South Australian coast spotted by Europeans
1800s
  • (1802) Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin mapped South Australian coastline
  • (1831) Collet Barker explored the Adelaide Plains, climbed to Mount Lofty summit
  • (1836) South Australia established
  • (1837) Adelaide city center and city's grid layout designed
  • (1837) South Australia's first town, Gawler, founded north of Adelaide
  • (1839) Port Road opened, first road in South Australia
  • (1840) Royal Adelaide Show held for first time
  • (1842) Copper discovered at Kapunda
  • (1843) First Legislative Council building opened
  • (1845) Copper discovered at Burra
  • (1856) The first telegraph line and steam railway between Adelaide and Port Adelaide opened
  • (1858) Telegraph between Melbourne and Adelaide opened
  • (1859) SS Admella shipwrecked off Carpenter Rocks, 89 killed, (worst maritime disaster to this day)
  • (1861) Copper discovered at Moonta
  • (1867) Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, made first royal visit to Adelaide
  • (1870) Port Adelaide Football Club established
  • (1872) Adelaide became first Australian capital linked to London via Overland Telegraph
  • (1877) Adelaide Bridge across Torrens completed
  • (1877) Copper mines at Burra and Kapunda closed
  • (1880) Telephone introduced in South Australia
  • (1880) Fort Glanville opened
  • (1881) Torrens Lake created
  • (1881) Drought ruined thousands of fields in the Mid North, Goyder's Line was recognized as the limit to agricultural settlement
  • (1894) Women granted right to vote
1900s
  • (1901) Adelaide became state capital upon the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia
  • (1914) South Australian troops joined Australia in Europe during World War I
  • (1917) East to West continental railway completed
  • (1919) Adelaide awarded official city status
  • (1924) James Stobie invented Stobie pole
  • (1927) North to South railway extended
  • (1937) Outbreak of polio occurred
  • (1939) South Australia experienced worst heat wave ever recorded, Adelaide temperatures 117°F (47°C)
  • (1939-1945) World War II
  • (1940) Birkenhead Bridge opened
  • (1948) Severe storms destroyed Glenelg jetties and caused widespread damage
  • (1953) Liberal Party held onto government following state election
  • (1954) Earthquake rattled Adelaide, caused major property damage
  • (1954) Queen Elizabeth II made first sovereign visit to Adelaide
  • (1963) Operations began at Port Stanvac oil refinery
  • (1963) Gas discovered in Cooper Basin
  • (1965) Labor Party won government for first time in 33 years
  • (1966) Beaumont children went missing at Glenelg beach
  • (1983) Ash Wednesday fires claimed 28 lives
  • (1983) Wendy Chapman became first woman elected Lord Mayor of Adelaide
  • (1985) The Adelaide Casino opened
  • (1985) The first Australian Grand Prix held
  • (1991) The State Bank of South Australia collapsed
  • (1992) John Bannon resigned as Premier, replaced by Lynn Arnold
  • (1994) High-speed ferry service from Glenelg to Kangaroo Island opened
  • (1995) Australian Grand Prix held in Adelaide for the last time
  • (1997) Port Adelaide Football Club entered the AFL
  • (1999) Eight bodies found in Snowtown, further bodies later found, Australia's worst serial killings
2000s
  • (2003) Transcontinental railway from Adelaide to Darwin completed
  • (2003) Port Stanvac Oil Refinery closed
  • (2005) Eyre Peninsula bushfires killed nine people
  • (2006) Labour Party retained government
  • (2010) Northern Expressway opened

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States & Territories of Australia

This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.