History of Australia By mlabcs7381md Nov 18, 1606 European Exploration: Dutch First Europeans to sail to Australia were the Dutch (Netherlands) in 1606. Apr 1, 1770 European Exploration: British Captain James Cook sailed around Australia. Jan 26, 1788 Prisoners in Australia British prisoners settled in Australia. Mar 13, 1861 Boundaries for the Colonies Government officials created boundaries for the colonies that are still in place today. May 23, 1868 New South Wales British transported prisoners to Australia until 1868. Jan 1, 1901 Commonwealth of Australia The commonwealth of Australia was established. May 9, 1927 Canberra Canaberra was completed. May 27, 1967 Aborigines The federal government began to pass legislation to help the aborigines. Feb 7, 1986 Australia Act Australia Act - all legal ties with the British empire were severed. Aug 12, 1999 Australia Today 55% of voters rejected the idea of becoming an independant republic.