Australian Timeline

  • European Exploration: Dutch

    First Europeans to sail to Australia were the Dutch (Netherlands) in 1606, but they didn’t settle there The Dutch made one landing, were attacked by Aborigines, and then abandoned further exploration
  • European Exploration : British

    1770: Captain James Cook sailed around Australia•Cook named the area New South Wales Ignored the Aborigines living there & claimed the land for England
  • British ships

    British ships called the “First Fleet” left England with convicts to establish a prison colony
  • Prisoners

    British prisoners settled in Australia
  • New South Wales

    1788 to 1832: New South Wales was officially a penal (prison) colony consisting mainly of convicts, marines (guards), and the marines’ families
  • Port Arthur, Tasmania

    From 1833, until the 1850s, it was the destination for the hardest of convicted British and Irish criminals, those who were secondary offenders having re-offended after their arrival in Australia. In addition, Port Arthur had some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system.
  • Commonwealth of Australia

    January 1, 1901: the Commonwealth of Australia was established. Melbourne served as the national capital until Canberra was completed in 1927
  • Aborigines

    1967: federal government began to pass legislation to help the Aborigines It was widely seen as affirmation of the Australian people’s wish to see its government take direct action to improve the living conditions of Aborigines In March, striking Aboriginal farmers changed political history by extending a demand for equal wages to a declaration of their rights of ownership of traditional lands. This became one of Australia’s first successful land claims by its indigenous people.
  • Australia Act

    Australia Act -- all legal ties with the British Empire were severed
  • Australia Today

    55% of voters rejected the idea of becoming an independent republic.