1. Home
  2. Oceania
  3. Australia

Australia History Timeline

Australia's Information

Flag of Australia
Land Area 7,682,300 km2
Water Area 58,920 km2
Total Area 7,741,220 km2
Population 22,992,654
Population Density 2.97 / km2
Government Type Parliamentary Democracy (Federal Parliament) Under A Constitutional Monarchy; A Commonwealth Realm
GDP (PPP) $1,190.00 Billion
GDP Per Capita $48,800
Currency Dollar (AUD)
Largest Cities
  • Sydney (4,627,345)
  • Melbourne (4,246,375)
  • Brisbane (2,189,878)
  • Perth (1,896,548)
  • Adelaide (1,225,235)
  • Gold Coast (591,473)
  • Canberra (367,752)
  • Newcastle (308,308)
  • Wollongong (292,190)
  • Logan City (282,673)
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
  • (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
  • (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

    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
    • (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

    2000s continued

    • (2003) Bushfires raged through New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania; ravaged capital city of Canberra destroyed over 500 homes
    • (2003) Australia headed peacekeeping force in Solomon Islands in attempt to restore order
    • (2004) Bomb exploded outside Australia Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia killed nine
    • (2004) Death of Aboriginal teenager set off race riots in Sydney
    • (2004) Government announced a multi-million dollar cruise missile program
    • (2004) Prime Minister John Howard reelected to fourth term
    • (2005) Bushfires in South Australia killed nine
    • (2005) 150 special forces troops deployed to Afghanistan to counter rebel attacks
    • (2005) 16 people charged with planning terrorist attacks in Melbourne and Sydney
    • (2005) Race riots held in Cronulla, suburb of Sydney
    • (2006) Australian troops deployed to East Timor to help stabilize country
    • (2006) Australia, East Timor signed agreement to divide billions of dollars in expected revenues from oil, gas deposits in Timor Sea
    • (2006) Government slashed economic growth forecasts due to severe droughts which caused slump in farming production
    • (2007) Landslide victory for Opposition Labor Party, Kevin Rudd elected Prime Minister
    • (2007) Australian forces brought home from East Timor
    • (2007) Sydney hosted APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit meeting
    • (2008) Government apologized to indigenous population for past wrongs committed
    • (2008) Policy of holding asylum seekers in detention until visas cleared was abandoned
    • (2008) Quentin Bryce became Australia's first woman governor-general
    • (2009) Bushfires in Victoria killed more than 170 people
    • (2009) Plans to double submarine fleet and the purchase of 100 U.S. stealth fighters for a military modernization programs were announced
    • (2009) Rallies in protest against violent attacks against Indian students were held
    • (2010) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd resigned; Julia Gillard became prime minister
    • (2011) Queensland experienced severe flooding - most expensive natural disaster in Australia's history
    • (2011) Ash cloud from Chilean volcano grounded air traffic, stranded passengers
    • (2011) Construction and mining grew economy faster than expected in third quarter
    • (2012) Carbon tax penalizing large polluters went into effect
    • (2012) Rising numbers of asylum seekers prompted government to send first group for processing in Nauru; also signed agreement with Papau New Guinea for offshore processing on Manus Island
    • (2013) High winds and record hot temperatures fanned fires in southeast Australia
    2000s continued
    • (2013) Police arrested three men in largest-ever seizure of methamphetamine drug hidden in shipment from southern China
    • (2013) Prime Minister Gillard forced into making major cabinet reorganization, supporters of former Prime Minister Rudd were ousted
    • (2013) Adam Scott became first Australian to win Masters Golf Tournament

    Latest by WorldAtlas