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Australia - A Chronological History

History of Australia is captured in the following tables:

50 million years ago: Australia breaks free from the land mass that includes Antartica, and drifts north.
50,000 BC: The first Australians arrive overland from New Guinea.
12,000 BC: Tasmania and New Guinea are separated from mainland Australia as seas rises after the Ice Age.
8000 BC
: Returning boomerangs are perfected and used for hunting for the first time in South Australia.
AD150: Geographer Ptolemy decides there must be an unknown southern land (terra australis incognita)


19th. Century: Seafarers from China possibly reach Australia’s north coast.
1290s: Marco Polo’s journal refers to a land south of Java, rich in gold and shells.
1606: Dutchman Willem Jansz, sailing east from Java, lands on the western side of Cape York Peninsula-the first verifiable European landing.
1642: Abel Tasman sees the west coast of Tasmania, names it Van Diemen’s Land. Terra Australis Incognita becomes Hollandia Nova (New Holland) on maps


1770: Captain Cook lands at Botany Bay, then sails north, charting 4,000km (2,500 miles) of coast. He names it New South Wales and claims it for England.
1773: First picture of a kangaroo seen in England.
1788: First Fleet arrives in Sydney Cove, with a cargo of convicts. First white child is born in Australia.
1793: First free immigrants arrive in Australia.
1797: Merino sheep brought from Cape of Good Hope.
1803: Publication of Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Australia’s first newspaper.
1801-3: Matthew Flinders circumnavigates Australia, proving it is a single island.
1813: Australian currency established. First crossing of the Blue Mountains.
1817: The name Australia is adopted instead of New Holland. First bank established in Sydney.
1829: Settlers land at Fremantle, and founded Perth. Colony of Western Australia founded.
1830: All Aborigines in Tasmania are rounded up and herded into reserves.
1836: Colony of South Australia established. Adelaide founded the following year.
1837: A year-old village on the Yarra River is named Melbourne, which later becomes the city of Melbourne.
1838: Myall Creek Massacre. 20 Aborigines butchered by white farmers.


1901 (Jan 1): Federation of the six colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia (population 3,370,000).
1901 (May): The first Commonwealth Parliament sits in Melbourne.
1914-18: 330,000 Australians serve in World war 1; 60,000 are killed, 165,000 wounded.
1915: Australian troops take a major part in the Gallipoli siege, more than 8,000 killed.
1923: Chemist Cyril Callister creates “Vegemite”, Australia’s future “national” food.
1927: Parliament moves from Melbourne to Canberra.
1928: Royal Flying Doctor Service founded by Rev. John Flynn in Cloncurry, Queensland.
1930: The Great Depression; 25% of Australian workforce unemployed.
1932: Sydney Harbour Bridge opens.
1939: Australia declares war on Germany in World War 2.
1941: Australia declares war on Japan in World War 2.
1945: Australian population reaches 7 million.
1950: Immigration peaks at 150,000 new arrivals.
1956: Olympic Games held in Melbourne. Launch of television in Australia.
1959: Population of Australia reaches 10 million.
1967: Aborigines granted Australian citizenship and the right to vote.
1973: Sydney Opera House completed.
1974: Darwin flattened by cyclone Tracy.
1983: The yacht Australia II win the America’s Cup yacht race after being held for 150 years by the Americans.
1985: Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and the surrounding desert are returned to Aboriginal owners.
1986: Australian film “Crocodile Dundee” grosses $116 million in USA.
1988: Australia celebrates it’s Bicentennial (200) year. Queen Elizabeth II opens new parliament house in Canberra.
1990: Population of Australia reaches 17 million.
1995: Australians protest strongly over French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.
1996: Local gunman massacres 35 at Port Arthur, Tasmania.
1999: Failed vote to change Australia into a republic without links to the England monarchy.


 2000: Sydney hosts the hugely successful Olympic Games 2000, the first in the new millenium and considered the best ever.

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