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Western Australia

Western Australia History Timeline

BC - 1700s
  • (38000 BC) Aborigines' ancestors arrived
  • (1616) Dirk Hartog arrived at Cape Inscription - first believed European landfall on Western Australia
  • (1786) King Gustav III of Sweden entered into contract with William Bolts to establish colony on Swan River

  • (1826) Military outpost established at Albany on behalf of New South Wales
  • (1829) Colony of Western Australia established at Perth by Captain James Stirling
  • (1829) Swan River Colony declared for Britain
  • (1830) Augusta settled
  • (1830) Exploration for suitable farming over the Darling Range began
  • (1831) Western Australia's first inland town, York, established
  • (1832) Captain Sir James Stirling elected first Governor and Commander-in-chief of Western Australia
  • (1833) Conflict between Europeans and Aborigines resulted in killing of Yagan, a senior Aborigine warrior
  • (1834) Battle of Pinjarra between Australian Aborigines and soldiers; most of the Aborigines were massacred
  • (1841) Explorer Edward John Eyre arrived in Albany after walking across the Nullarbor Plain from the eastern states
  • (1877) Telegraph from Albany to Perth completed
  • (1880s) Gold discovered in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie
  • (1885) Australian rules football became the dominant football code when several local rugby football clubs switched codes
  • (1887) A late-season cyclone struck the pearling fleet at Ninety Mile Beach, 140 killed
  • (1887) New constitution drafted, included the right of self-governance
  • (1889) The Great Southern Railway opened
  • (1890) Act granting self-government was passed by the House of Commons and assented to by Queen Victoria, giving complete autonomy
  • (1895) Kings Park officially opened
  • (1897) Fremantle Harbour officially opened

  • (1901) Western Australia, along with New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, formed the federation of the Commonwealth of Australia, of which they each became component states
  • (1911) University of Western Australia became Western Australia's first university

1900s - 2000s

  • (1912) Cyclone crossed the coast west of Balla Balla, near Port Hedland, claiming over 150 lives, became Australia's worst weather-related maritime disaster of the 20th century
  • (1917) Transcontinental railway completed
  • (1920) Edith Cowan elected to the Legislative Assembly, first women elected to any Australian parliament
  • (1939-1945) World War II
  • (1946) Over 800 Aboriginal workers took part in Pilbara strike for human rights recognition and payment of fair wages, working conditions
  • (1961) Bushfires ravaged Western Australia leaving 800 homeless
  • (1967) Aborigines recognized as Australian citizens, granted the right to vote
  • (1968) Magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck town of Meckering
  • (1980s) Political scandal known as WA Inc resulted in loss of public money estimated at $600 million, and insolvency of several large corporations
  • (2010) Severe storms caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages
  • (2011) Perth hosted Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting; Queen Elizabeth II visited
  • (2011) Bushfires raged out of control near Perth
  • (2011) Malcolm McCusker became 33rd Governor of Western Australia

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 April 7, 2017.