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Victoria History Timeline

BC - 1700s
  • (50,000BC) Indigenous Australians settled in the area
  • (1770) James Cook sighted eastern coast of Victoria
  • (1788) Great Britain included Victoria in colony of New South Wales
  • (1802) European explorer John Murray discovered Port Phillip, claimed area for Britain
  • (1803) Captain Daniel Woodriff led expedition from England to Port Phillip, chose site for convict settlement at Sullivan Bay (present-day Sorrento)
  • (1826) Convict settlement briefly established in Western Port to protect approaches to the bay from French explorers
  • (1834) First permanent European settlement established at Portland Bay
  • (1834) At Convincing Group Massacre, dispute with whalers occurred when local Gunditjmara asserted rights to a beached whale as their food source; whalers killed 60 Gunditjmaras
  • (1835) Melbourne founded by John Bateman
  • (1836 - 1842) Aboriginal tribes were forced from their native land; government encouraged squatters to take whatever land they chose
  • (1842) Henry Condell elected first mayor of Melbourne
  • (1842 - 1843) Government demanded large rates of interest from banks on deposits, caused financial crisis
  • (1845) Less than 240 wealthy Europeans held all the pastoral licenses issued in Victoria
  • (1845 - 1872) During New Zealand's Maori Wars, Victoria sent troops and a warship
  • (1851) The colony of Victoria formally separated from New South Wales; Charles La Trobe appointed as Lieutenant-Governor
  • (1851) Victorian gold rush followed discovery at Clunes
  • (1854) The Eureka Rebellion was fought between gold miners and Colonial forces in the Ballarat region over mining taxes
  • (1854) Outbreak of typhoid at Buckland Valley killed over 1,000 miners
  • (1855) William Haines appointed first Premier of Victoria after the formation of the Parliament
  • (1857) Anti-Chinese race riot occurred in goldfields of the Buckland Valley
  • (1861) Inaugural run of the Melbourne Cup took place
  • (1883) Railway linking Sydney and Melbourne opened
  • (1893) Bank failures caused severe financial depression, unemployment was widespread, wages and prices dropped, bankruptcies followed
  • (1901) Victoria became a State of the Commonwealth of Australia; Melbourne named national capital
  • (1901 - 1927) Melbourne was capital of Australia while Canberra was being constructed
  • (1905) Melbourne's population growth stalled; Sydney became Australia's largest city
  • (1923) Victorian Police strike occurred when half of Melbourne's police force refused duty due to the continued use of spies by management
  • (1927) The capital city of Australia transferred from Melbourne to Canberra
  • (1929) Great Depression began, had disastrous economic effects on all of Australia due to its dependence on exports
  • (1939-1945) World War II
  • (1956) Melbourne hosted Summer Olympics
  • (1962) Indigenous Australians granted right to vote
  • (1966) Australian pounds, shillings and pence replaced by decimal currency
  • (1967) Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared at Cheviot Beach on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula
  • (1970) During construction, the West Gage Bridge in Melbourne collapsed, killed 35 workers
  • (1978) Newly reconstructed West Gate Bridge officially opened
  • (1984) First frozen embryo birth in the world occurred in Melbourne
  • (1986) Pablo Picasso's Weeping Woman stolen from National Gallery of Victoria by "cultural terrorists", demanded more funding for the arts as ransom; abandoned painting in railway locker a week later
  • (1990) State Bank of Victoria collapsed due to bad loans made in the 1980s
  • (1996) Australian Grand Prix moved to Melbourne
  • (1999) Bolt Bridge opened in Melbourne
  • (2000) Australia's first fully electronic tolled railway, CityLink, opened in Melbourne, linked three existing freeways
  • (2005) Police foiled major terrorist attack in raids and arrests of 16 people in Sydney and Melbourne
  • (2006) Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne
  • (2007) Premier Steve Bracks resigned
  • (2008) Melbourne became second city after Edinburgh, Scotland to be declared UNESCO City of Literature
  • (2009) Man charged with arson for lighting bushfire near Churchill, caused deaths of at least 21 people
  • (2009) In Black Saturday bushfires 173 died, 414 were injured, over 2,030 houses and more than 3,500 structures were destroyed
  • (2009) Police arrested four Australian nationals in Melbourne after uncovering plot to launch suicide mission
  • (2010) Heavy rain and flooding forced evacuations
  • (2010) Mary MacKillop, Melbourne native, declared St. Mary of the Cross by the Roman Catholic Church
  • (2010) Ted Baillieu became Premier
  • (2011) Flooding inundated homes, devastated thousands of acres of crops, killed 21
  • (2012) Officials investigated horse racing corruption including four top jockeys, punters and bookmakers
  • (2013) Premier Ted Baillieu resigned, succeeded by Denis Napthine
This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.