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Australia before 1901

  • Willem Jansz

    Willem Jansz
    Willem Jansz maps 300 km of the west coast of Cape York Peninsula
  • Van Diemen's Land

    Van Diemen's Land
    Abel Tasman discovers the west coast of a land he calls Van Diemen's Land, now Tasmania.
  • William Dampier

    William Dampier
    William Dampier spends three months on the Australian north west coast in the vicinity of King Sound.
  • East Coast Sighted

    Captain Cook and his crew first sight the east coast of what was called New Holland.
  • Proclamation

    Captain Cook takes possession of the whole eastern side of the continent, naming it NEW SOUTH WALES.
  • American Revolution

    American Revolution
    Although seemingly unimportant to the history of Australia, the American Revolution forced Britain to look for a new destination for its convicts.
  • Sir Joseph Banks

    Sir Joseph Banks
    Sir Joseph Banks was a botanist on The Endeavour and he suggests that convicts be sent to New South Wales.
  • Departure of the First Fleet

    A fleet of eleven ships depart from Portsmouth bound for New South Wales. On board were nearly 800 convicts and more than 600 crewmen, officers, marines and their families.
  • The First Govenor of NSW

    The First Govenor of NSW
    Admiral Arthur Phillip
  • Landing at Botany Bay

    Landing at Botany Bay
    Eight months and one week after its departure, the First Fleet arrives in New South Wales. Forty people - mostly convicts - had died during the voyage. Captain Arthur Phillip learns that the bay is too shallow and unsheltered making it unsuitable for settlement.
  • Sydney Cove Penal Settlement

    Sydney Cove Penal Settlement
    Arthur Phillip believed he had found the 'finest harbour in the world.' The marines and convicts pitched tents and began the task of building the new settlement which Phillip named Sydney after Lord Sydney, Secretary of State of the Home Department.
  • Bennelong

    Woollarawarre Bennelong was a senior man of the Eora, an Aboriginal Australian people of the Port Jackson area. Bennelong was brought to the settlement at Sydney Cove by order of the governor, Arthur Phillip, who was under instructions to establish relationships with the indigenous populations. Phillip resorted to kidnapping.
  • The Second Governor of NSW

    The Second Governor of NSW
    On 11 December 1792, Phillip left the colony to return to Britain to receive medical treatment for kidney stones. Lieutenant Francis Gose became the acting Governer and at this time, the European population of New South Wales was 4,221, of whom 3,099 were convicts. Vice Admiral John Hunter helped select the site of Port Jackson and became the second governor. 59 per cent of the population of New South Wales when Hunter took charge of the government were convicts.
  • The Bass Strait

    The Bass Strait
    George Bass and Matthew Flinders discover that Van Diemen's Land, now known as Tasmania, is not connected to the mainland. George Bass also named Bass Strait.
  • Third Governor of NSW

    Third Governor of NSW
    Captain Philip Gidley King
  • Circumnavigation

    After two and a half years, Matthew Flinders completes the circumnavigation of Terra Australis Incognita, the Unknown South Land. In his journals he referred to the continent as Australia, which became its official name later in 1824.
  • The Fourth Governor of NSW

    The Fourth Governor of NSW
    Vice-Admiral William Bligh
  • The Rum Rebellion

    The Rum Rebellion
    The Rum Rebellion was considered as one of the greatest rebellions of that time. It was fought between the English government and the convicts/free people. This rebellion was the future of Australia. 400 soldiers marched on Government House and arrested Bligh. He was kept in confinement in Sydney, then aboard a ship off Hobart, Van Diemen's Land, for the next two years. The military remained in control until the 1810.
  • The Fifth Governor of NSW

    The Fifth Governor of NSW
    Major General Lachlan Macquarie begins commission as Governor of New South Wales. He remained in this position for the next eleven years and had a leading role in the social, economic, and architectural development of the colony. He is considered by historians to have had a crucial influence on the transition of New South Wales from a penal colony to a free settlement and therefore to have played a major role in the shaping of Australian society in the early nineteenth century.
  • Land Exploration - The Blue Mountains

    Land Exploration - The Blue Mountains
    Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth set out to cross the barrier of the Blue Mountains and achieve this in 17 days.
  • Convict arrivals continue

    Convict arrivals continue
    Convicts were still arriving in Australia by the thousands so Lachlan Macquarie founds the penal settlement of PORT MACQUARIE, replacing Newcastle as the destination for convicts that had committed secondary crimes in New South Wales. This area had been explored by John Oxley.
  • The Sixth Governor of NSW

    The Sixth Governor of NSW
    Major General Sir Thomas Brisbane was a British Army officer, administrator, and astronomer. A keen astronomer, he built the colony's second observatory and encouraged scientific and agricultural training. Rivals besmirched his reputation and the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Bathurst, recalled Brisbane and his colonial secretary Frederick Goulburn. Brisbane, a new convict settlement, was named in his honour and is now among the largest cities in Australia.
  • Moreton Bay

    Moreton Bay
    Another penal settlement was established at Moreton Bay, further along the New South Wales coast. Now the site of Brisbane. The area had been previously surveyed in 1823 by NSW Surveyor-General, John Oxley.
  • The Seventh Governor of NSW

    The Seventh Governor of NSW
    General Sir Ralph Darling, was a British Army officer who served as Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831. He is popularly described as a tyrant, accused of torturing prisoners and banning theatrical entertainment. Local geographical features named after him include the Darling River and Darling Harbour in Sydney.
  • Western Australia is established

    Western Australia is established
    Frenchman Dumont D'Urville arrived at King George Sound. Later that year a military garrison arrived their under the command of Edmund Lockyer.
  • Australia is claimed as British Territory

    Australia is claimed as British Territory
    The whole of Australia was claimed as British territory as the settlement of Perth was founded. Swan river colony was declared by Charles Fremantle for Britain.
  • The Eighth Governor of NSW

    General Sir Richard Bourke was an Irish-born British Army officer who served as Governor of New South Wales from 1831 to 1837. As a lifelong Liberal, he encouraged the emancipation of convicts and helped bring forward the ending of penal transportation to Australia. He approved a new settlement on the Yarra River, and named it Melbourne, in honour of the incumbent British prime minister, Lord Melbourne.
  • First Democracy

    First Democracy
    A letter from London was sent to William Wentworth, and it said that New South Whales needed a parliament system. So from that day the Australian Patriotic Association was founded.
  • Another Free Settler Colony

    This was the only colony settled completely by non-convicts in South Australia by assisted migrants. It had been surveyed by General Colonel William Light. This new colony attracted many German migrants who built settlements around Adelaide and the Barossa Valley.
  • South Australia Proclaimed

    South Australia Proclaimed
    South Australia had it's proclamation day, with its western border being opened. The proclamation was made by captain John Hindmarsh.
  • Separation of Victoria

    Separation of Victoria
    On 5 August 1850 Royal Assent was given to the Imperial Statute An Act for better Government of Her Majesty's Australian Colonies which created the colony of Victoria. The Act was proclaimed on 13 January 1851 and came into effect on 1 July 1851. The first Legislative Council of Victoria was sworn in on 11 November 1851 following elections in September. Charles La Trobe was the first Lieutenant-Governor.
  • University

    Australia's 1st university, the university of Sydney was founded. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious universities and offers bachelors, masters and doctor degrees. The main campus spreads across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington.
  • GOLD!

    On February 12, 1851, a prospector discovered flecks of gold in a waterhole near Bathurst, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Soon, even more gold was discovered in what would become the neighbouring state of Victoria. This began the Australian Gold Rush, which had a profound impact on the country's national identity
  • Eureka Stockade

    Eureka Stockade
    The Eureka Stockade was a key event in the development of Australia's democracy. The rebellion started when goldfield workers opposed the government miners license. The license was a simple way for the government to tax the diggers.
  • Separation of Queensland

    Separation of Queensland
    The Separation of Queensland was an event in 1859 in which the land that forms the present-day State of Queensland in Australia was excised from the Colony of New South Wales and created as a separate Colony of Queensland.
  • The First Step towards Federation

    The first inter-colonial conference was held for all the colonies to discuss issues affecting the colonies.
  • Australia's last convicts

    The Hougoumont, the last ship to take convicts from the UK to Australia, docked in Fremantle, Western Australia, on January 9, 1868. It brought an end to a process which deposited about 168,000 convicted prisoners in Australia.
  • Ned Kelly's Rise

    Ned Kelly's Rise
    This was Ned's first confrontation with the law. He was only 14 and it was an armed robbery.
  • Ned Kelly's Confrontation

    Ned Kelly's Confrontation
    Ned Kelly and his gang, slowly trotted down to a pub in Glenrowan. Ned and his gang had 47 hostages that were released. Ned was shot down later that night, while screaming "I'm done, I'm done". He was hanged in Melbourne Goal on November 11, 1880 with his last words were "Ah well, i suppose it has come to this, such is life".
  • Linked up - Melbourne & Adelaide

    Melbourne and Adelaide are linked by train service.
  • Linked up - Sydney & Brisbane

    Sydney and Brisbane are linked by a train service.
  • Tenterfield Oration

    Henry Parkes delivers his Tenterfield Oration in Tenterfield, New South Wales. He calls for a federal, unified system of government.
  • Australasian Federal Conference

    Australasian Federal Conference
    Each colony was now able to elect their own government, but still the big decisions were made in Britain. People in the colonies were starting to talk about joining together to be one nation instead of a six little colonies. The Australasian Federal Conference in Melbourne was held for the Premiers from all colonies (and New Zealand) to meet and discuss Parkes’ Federation proposal.
  • Draft Constitution

    Draft Constitution
    Representatives from the six Australian colonies (and New Zealand) met at the National Australasian Federation Convention, Sydney, to write a draft Australian Constitution.
  • Corowa Conference

    Corowa Conference
    The Corowa Conference decides that people of the six colonies will vote in referendums to accept the new Constitution.
  • Women can vote in S.A.

    Women can vote in S.A.
    South Australia becomes one of the first places in the world to allow women to vote. Women in South Australia get to vote.
  • Referendum is unsuccessful

    A referendum is held to ratify the Constitution in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia but only a small minority of eligible voters participate in the referendum. New South Wales voted ‘no’ and Queensland and Western Australia did not take part.
  • Constitution changes

    A secret Premiers’ Conference is held, a private conference of only the Premiers of the six colonies. They agree on changes to the Constitution and discuss a new federal capital city
  • Referendum is won

    Referendums on Federation are held and won in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland.
  • Commonwealth of Australia

    The British Parliament and Queen Victoria give royal assent to the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act in July.
  • Western Australia joins

    The Western Australian referendum on Federation is held and won.
  • Federation

    On 1st January, the Commonwealth of Australia is proclaimed