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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
This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.