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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

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.