This list is a timeline of various events which are considered to be significant in Australian history and in the development of Australian culture. The deaths of various significant people are included; although their births, which were not significant at the time, are not listed — however, births of significant people are included in the Calendar of Australian history and culture. This list is not exhaustive; it is intended to expand the list as time goes on.
50,000 BC (estimated): Aborigines migrate to Australia (the estimated time period is subject to debate).
1606: Willem Janszoon, in the Duyfken (a Dutch East India Company ship), explores the western coast of Cape York Peninsula; some of the crew go ashore, becoming the first Europeans known to have landed on Australian soil.
1616 October 25: Dirk Hartog, in the Eendracht, sighted “various islands” in Shark Bay (WA). He landed at an island, now known as Dirk Hartog Island, and nailed a metal plate to a post with a note of his being there; he then sailed northwards, charting the western coast of Australia.
1629: The Batavia (a Dutch East India Company ship) is shipwrecked off the coast of Western Australia, which was followed by a murderous mutiny.
1642 November 24: Abel Tasman (a Dutch explorer) discovers Tasmania, naming it Anthoonij van Diemenslandt, after Antonio van Diemen (Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies).
1642 December 3: Abel Tasman claims Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) for the Netherlands.
1688: William Dampier lands on the west coast of Australia.
1770 April 20: James Cook discovers the east coast of Australia.
1770 April 29: James Cook and some of the crew from the Endeavour land on Kurnell Peninsula (Botany Bay, NSW), thus becoming the first Europeans to set foot on the east coast of the Australian continent (Isaac Smith, nephew of Captain Cook’s wife, was the first of the crew to step ashore).
1770 April-August: James Cook charts the east coast of Australia.
1770 August 22: James Cook, on Possession Island, claims the east coast of Australia for Britain.
1783: James Matra, a British loyalist from North America, draws up a proposal for the British to settle Australia.
1787 May 13: The First Fleet, under the command of Arthur Phillip, sails from Portsmouth, England, for Australia.
1788 January 18: The First Fleet arrives in Botany Bay, New South Wales (the ship Supply arrives on the 18th, whilst the rest of the fleet arrive on the 19th and 20th).
1788 January 25: The First Fleet arrives at Sydney Cove (Port Jackson), after Governor Phillip’s decision that Botany Bay was an unsuitable place for a settlement.
1788 January 26: The First Fleet lands at Sydney and establishes the first European settlement in Australia.
1788 February 2: The first Christian religious service in New South Wales; it is performed by the Rev. Richard Johnson.
1788 February 7: The colony of New South Wales is formally proclaimed.
1788 February 10: The first Christian marriage ceremonies are conducted in New South Wales.
1788 March 6: Philip Gidley King takes possession of Norfolk Island.
1789 June 12: Governor Arthur Philip discovers the Hawkesbury River.
1790 June 3: The first ship (Lady Juliana) of the Second Fleet arrives in New South Wales.
1790 September 7: Governor Arthur Philip is speared by an Aborigine; Philip orders that there should be no retaliation.
1791 February 22: The first land grant is made, to James Ruse (he is given 30 acres at Rose Hill).
1791 July 9: The Mary Ann, a ship operating independently of the Third Fleet, arrives in New South Wales.
1791 August 1: The first ship (Matilda) of the Third Fleet arrives in New South Wales.
1791 November 1: A group of convicts escape from Parramatta, with the intention of walking to China (being under the misapprehension that there was a continuous land link between Australia and China).
1792 December 10: Governor Arthur Philip leaves for England, leaving Major Francis Grose in charge.
1793 September 15: William Paterson discovers the Grose River.
1795 September 11: John Hunter becomes Governor of New South Wales.
1795 October 26: George Bass and Matthew Flinders explore Botany Bay and Georges River.
1796 February 18: Thomas Muir, one of the Scottish Martyrs, escapes in an American ship (he eventually ends up in France).
1797 July 3: Governor John Hunter sends soldiers to the Hawkesbury area, after the murder of several settlers by Aborigines.
1798 October 1: The first church in New South Wales is burnt down (allegedly a deliberate act of arson).
1798 December 9: George Bass and Matthew Flinders sail between the Australian mainland and Tasmania, proving that the two are separate.
1799 January 7: George Bass and Matthew Flinders complete their circumnavigation of Tasmania.
1799 February 11: The Sydney jail is deliberately burnt down.
1799 December 28: The Parramatta jail is deliberately burnt down.
1800 April 15: Philip Gidley King becomes Governor of New South Wales.
1802: A British colony is established in Van Diemen’s Land (later renamed as Tasmania).
1802 April 8: Matthew Flinders and his British exploration party encounter Nicolas Baudin and his French exploration party in Encounter Bay (South Australia).
1803 March 5: The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser begins publication (this was the first newspaper in Australia).
1803 June 9: Matthew Flinders arrives back in Port Jackson, after having sailed around Australia, thus achieving the first circumnavigation of the continent.
1803 December 27: The convict William Buckley escapes; he is eventually presumed dead, but reappears 32 years later, after living with some Aborigines in the Port Phillip (Victoria) area.
1804 March 4: Convicts revolt in the Castle Hill Rebellion.
1804 March 5: Governor Philip Gidley King declares martial law in the Castle Hill and Parramatta areas, because of the Castle Hill Rebellion.
1805 April 27: Governor Philip Gidley King sends soldiers to the Hawkesbury area, after the murder of several settlers by Aborigines.
1806 August 13: William Bligh becomes Governor of New South Wales.
1808 January 26: The Rum Rebellion occurs, with Governor William Bligh being deposed by the New South Wales Corps, led by Major George Johnston.
1809 January 1: William Paterson becomes Governor of New South Wales.
1810 January 1: Lachlan Macquarie becomes Governor of New South Wales.
1811 October 26: William Charles Wentworth appointed as acting Provost-Marshal.
1813 January 29: The first known celebration held to commemorate the establishment of the British colony in New South Wales, being a “Commemoration Dinner” (the commemorative date is later known as Australia Day).
1813 May 31: Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth find a way over the Blue Mountains, thus opening up further land for settlement.
1813 July 1: Governor Lachlan Macquarie authorises the “holey dollar” (authorised by proclamation on 1 July 1813, but not ready for circulation until January 1814). Due to a lack of coinage in New South Wales, Macquarie obtained £10,000 in Spanish dollars and had the middles punched out for use as separate coins, thus doubling the number of coins available. The two coins were the “holey dollar” (five shillings) and the “dump” (15 pence).
1813 December: George William Evans discovers the Macquarie River and the Bathurst Plains.
1814 January: The “holey dollar” and “dump” enter circulation.
1815 May 25: George William Evans discovers the Lachlan River.
1816 March 3: Four settlers murdered by Aborigines in the Nepean River area.
1816 April 10: Governor Lachlan Macquarie sends soldiers along the Grose River, Hawkesbury River, and Nepean River, as a punitive expedition against the Aborigines.
1817 April 8: The Bank of New South Wales, Australia’s first bank, is established in Sydney.
1818 August 26: John Oxley discovers the Liverpool Plains.
1818 October 21: The bushranger Michael Howe is killed.
1819 March 22: Governor Lachlan Macquarie sends a petition to England, signed by 1260 colonists, requesting legal changes for New South Wales, including the right to trial by jury.
1820 August 15: Governor Lachlan Macquarie orders that all traffic in New South Wales shall drive on the left side of the roads.
1821 December 1: Thomas Brisbane takes over as Governor of New South Wales.
1823 February 15: Gold discovered by James McBrien near Bathurst (the news is kept quiet for fear of chaotic consequences for society).
1823 July: William Charles Wentworth enters his poem “Australasia” for the Chancellor’s Medal at Cambridge University, winning second prize.
1823 July 19: The New South Wales Judicature Act enables some legal changes for New South Wales, including the trial by jury in some civil cases.
1824 August 14: Governor Thomas Brisbane declares martial law in the Bathurst area, because of attacks by Aborigines.
1824 August 25: The Legislative Council of New South Wales meets for the first time.
1824 October 17: Hume and Hovell set out on their journey of exploration. The Hume and Hovell expedition goes to Port Phillip Bay (Victoria), and discovers the Mitta Mitta, Murray, Ovens, and Goulburn rivers.
1824 November 2: A civil jury is empanelled for the first time in New South Wales.
1825 June 14: The colony of Van Diemen’s Land is established in its own right (later renamed as Tasmania).
1825 September: Major Edmund Lockyer explores the Brisbane River.
1825 December 19: Ralph Darling becomes Governor of New South Wales.
1827 January 21: Major Edmund Lockyer formally takes possession of the western part of the Australian continent (New Holland) for the British Empire.
1828 September 14: The Bank of Australia, in Sydney, is robbed by a gang who tunneled in.
1829 February 2: Charles Sturt discovers the Darling River.
1829 May 2: The Swan River Colony is established on the Swan River (Western Australia) by Captain James Stirling.
1830 January 14: Charles Sturt discovers the Murray River.
1830 September 1: The bushranger John (“Jack”) Donohoe is shot dead by a soldier at Bringelly, New South Wales.
1831 March: Quintus Servinton, the first novel published in Australia, is printed in Hobart (Tasmania) in three volumes; published anonymously, it was apparently based upon the life of the author, Henry Savery.
1834: An Historical and Statistical Account of New South Wales: Both as a Penal Settlement and as a British Colony, by the Reverend John Dunmore Lang, is published.
1835: A settlement at Port Phillip is established by John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner; it later becomes the city of Melbourne.
1835: The Australian Patriotic Association is formed in Sydney, to seek civil and political rights (including representative government) for both free colonists and for former convicts.
1836 April 20: A fleet of ships sails from Portsmouth (England) to establish a colony in South Australia.
1836 December 28: The colony of South Australia is proclaimed.
1840: Transportation of convicts to New South Wales ends; however, convicts continue to be sent to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and Western Australia.
1841: Caroline Chisholm founds the Female Immigrants Home to assist poor women.
1841 July 1: New Zealand separates from New South Wales, becoming a colony in its own right.
1845: Thoughts: A Series of Sonnets, the first book of poetry by Charles Harpur, is published.
1850: The University of Sydney is founded.
1851: The Port Phillip District is established as the colony of Victoria, separating from New South Wales.
1851: Edward Hargraves publicly announces that he has discovered gold, and thus claims the reward offered by the NSW government to the first person to find a commercially payable goldfield.
1851 December 15: A mass meeting of 14,000 to 20,000 miners is held at Forest Creek to protest against the inequities of the miner’s license.
1853: The transportation of convicts to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) ends.
1853 May 26: The St Vincent, the last convict ship to come to Tasmania, arrives in Hobart with 207 convicts.
1853 June 6: The Anti-Gold Licence Association is formed in Bendigo, at a mass meeting of miners, to protest against the inequities of the miner’s license. The discontent on the goldfields led to further mass meetings and acts of civil disobedience, which came to be known as the Red Ribbon Rebellion.
1854 November 11: The Ballarat Reform League is officially formed at an mass meeting of 10,000 miners on the Ballarat goldfields.
1854 November 31: Peter Lalor is chosen as the leader of the miners of the Eureka Rebellion in Ballarat.
1854 December 3: Military and police storm the Eureka Stockade, ending the Eureka Rebellion.
1855: All of the Australian colonies, except for Western Australia, are granted limited self-government (WA becomes self-governing on 21 October 1890).
1855 December: The Eureka Stockade: The Consequence of Some Pirates Wanting on Quarter-Deck a Rebellion, a first-hand account of the Eureka Rebellion, by Raffaello Carboni, is published.
1856 February 4: A branch of the Operative Masons’ Society is formed in Collingwood (Victoria) by James Stephens and James Galloway, which becomes a catalyst for the winning of eight hour day agreements (agreements were struck soon thereafter with small businesses; although a major agreement with many businesses was made in March, coming into effect in April 1856)
1856 March: Stonemasons in Sydney (NSW) win an eight hour day agreement.
1856 March 19: Victoria passes legislation for voting by secret ballot.
1856: The name of Van Diemen’s Land is changed to Tasmania.
1857 July 4: Anti-Chinese riots occur at Buckland River, where hundreds of European miners oust the Chinese from the goldfields.
1859: Queensland separates from New South Wales, becoming a colony in its own right.
1859: The Melbourne Football Club is formed, the first club to be created for the game of Australian Rules Football.
1859: “The Song of Australia” by Caroline Carleton, wins the Gawler Institute’s competition for a patriotic song; it becomes an unofficial national anthem for many years.
1860 August 20: Burke and Wills set off on an expedition to cross the Australian continent, travelling from Melbourne (Victoria) to the Little Bynoe River (Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland).
1861 June: Burke and Wills die on their return journey, although other members of the expedition survive; their exploration, and that of the rescue parties, enabled the opening up of lands for further settlement in the interior of eastern Australia.
1861 June 30: Anti-Chinese riots occur at Lambing Flat (now Young, NSW); hundreds of European miners oust the Chinese from the goldfields.
1861 November 7: The first Melbourne Cup race is held.
1862: Poems and Songs, the first book of poetry by Henry Kendall, is published.
1865 April 9: The bushranger “Mad Dan” Morgan is shot by police, dying of his wounds on the same day.
1865 May 5: The bushranger Ben Hall is ambushed by police and shot dead.
1868: The transportation of convicts to Australia ends, with the cessation of transportation to Western Australia.
1868 January 9: The Hougoumont, the last convict ship to come to Australia, arrives in Fremantle with 229 convicts.
1870 May 25: The bushranger Frederick Ward, known as “Captain Thunderbolt”, is shot dead by a policeman.
1871 March 11: Alice Springs (Northern Territory) discovered.
1871 May 4: The Victorian Natives’ Association was founded (it shortly thereafter changed its name to the Australian Natives’ Association).
1872 August 22: The Overland Telegraph, from Adelaide to Darwin, is completed, thus establishing a telegraph link to London.
1873 December 9: A large gathering of miners block the usage of Chinese strike-breakers in Clunes (Victoria).
1874: For the Term of His Natural Life, by Marcus Clarke, is published as a book, under the title of His Natural Life (it had previously appeared as a serial story in the Australian Journal during 1870-1872).
1878: The song “Advance Australia Fair” is written by Peter McCormick.
1879 October 6-11: The first Intercolonial Trade Union Congress is held in Sydney (coinciding with the Intercolonial Exhibition).
1880: Peter Lalor becomes Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, a position which he holds until 1887.
1880 January 20: The bushranger Andrew Scott, known as “Captain Moonlite”, is hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol (NSW).
1880 January 31: The Bulletin magazine begins publication.
1880 October 1: The International Exhibition commences in Melbourne (the 8th World’s Fair); it remains open until 30 April 1881.
1880 November 11: The bushranger Ned Kelly is hung at Melbourne Gaol (Victoria).
1882 August 29: The origin of The Ashes in cricket competition between Australia and England.
1885: Where the Pelican Builds and Other Poems, the first book of poetry by Mary Hannay Foott, is published.
1885: New South Wales sends a contingent of volunteers to the war in the Sudan, to assist the British forces fighting the Mahdi.
1887: The Australian Republican Union is formed.
1887: Nellie Melba has her operatic debut.
1888 May 15: The Dawn magazine, owned and edited by Louisa Lawson, begins publication.
1889 October 24: Sir Henry Parkes delivers a speech at Tenterfield in favour of federation, which is viewed by many as an important impetus for the unification of the Australian colonies.
1889: The Australian National Association is formed, with one of its aims being the federation of the Australian colonies.
1890 December 21: “The Man from Snowy River”, by “Banjo” Paterson, is published in The Bulletin; the poem becomes enormously popular.
1891 February: A widespread shearers’ strike is held, which lasts until May 1891.
1891 December 5: The earliest known publication date of the song “Click Go the Shears”.
1894: Short Stories in Prose and Verse, the first book by Henry Lawson, is published.
1894: Seven Little Australians, a novel by Ethel Turner, is published.
1895: The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses, the first book of poetry by “Banjo” Paterson, is published.
1895: “Banjo” Paterson writes the song “Waltzing Matilda”.
1895: Women in South Australia are given the right to vote (age required, 21 years).
1895: The Yellow Wave, a novel by Kenneth Mackay, is published.
1896: Australia competes in the first modern Olympic Games, held in Greece.
1896: In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses, a book of poetry by Henry Lawson, is published.
1899: The Ways of Many Waters, the first book of poetry by E. J. Brady, is published.
1899: Referendums are held in four Australian colonies (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria) on the proposal for Federation. A majority in all colonies vote “Yes”; however, the vote in NSW does not reach the legally-required quota, so the vote fails.
1899 October: The Boer War begins in South Africa; Australian colonies offer troops to assist the British forces (the war ends in May 1902).
1899: Referendums are held in all of the Australian colonies, except Western Australia, on the proposal for Federation; WA holds its referendum in 1900. A majority in all colonies vote “Yes”.
1900 August 4-16: Australian soldiers distinguish themselves at the battle of Elands River.
1901 January 1: Australia officially becomes a nation; Edmund Barton becomes Australia’s first Prime Minister; John Hope (7th Earl of Hopetoun) becomes the first Governor-General.
1901 May 8: The federal parliamentary Labor Party is formed.
1901: The Bulletin Reciter is published.
1903: Such is Life: Being Certain Extracts from the Diary of Tom Collins, the classic novel by Tom Collins (Joseph Furphy), is published.
1903: Dawnward?, the first book of poetry by Bernard O’Dowd, is published.
1905: The Old Bush Songs, a book of songs from Australia’s colonial era, collected by “Banjo” Paterson, is published.
1906 December 26: The Melbourne premiere of the movie “The Story of the Kelly Gang” (some trial showings had been previously held in some country areas); this was arguably the world’s first full-length feature film.
1907 May: The Lone Hand magazine begins publication.
1907 November 8: The Harvester judgement, in the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, sets a minimum wage for workers.
1908 September 5: “Dorothea Mackellar’s poem “Core of My Heart” is published in the Spectator (London, UK); the title of the poem is later changed to “My Country”.
1909 September 13: The Wattle Day League is formed in Sydney.
1909: The Australian Crisis, a novel by C. H. Kirmess, is published.
1909: Poems, the first book of poetry by Agnes L. Storrie (Agnes L. Kettlewell), is published.
1910 September 1: The first Wattle Day celebration is held nationwide (organised by the Wattle Day League).
1911: The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, the first book of poetry by Marie E. J. Pitt, is published.
1911: The Closed Door, and Other Verses, the first book of poetry by Dorothea Mackellar, is published.
1913: Australians Yet and Other Verses, the first book by Grant Hervey, is published.
1913: Backblock Ballads and Other Verses, the first book of poetry by C. J. Dennis, is published.
1914: The First World War begins.
1915 January 1: The Battle of Broken Hill occurs; two Muslims, flying the Turkish flag, attack and kill a number of Australian civilians, as their contribution to the war between the British Empire and the Ottoman Empire.
1915 April 25: The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) lands at Gallipoli (Turkey) as part of an Allied effort to take the Dardenelles and/or keep Turkey out of the European theatre of war.
1915 July 30: The first celebration of “Australia Day” as a patriotic fundraising day during World War One (1914-1918). This special day had nothing to do with the modern “Australia Day” (the celebration of the foundation of a British colony in NSW in 1788), which was celebrated at that time as “Foundation Day”.
1915 August 6-9: The Battle of Lone Pine, at Gallipoli.
1915 December 8-20: The Anzacs evacuate Gallipoli (Cape Helles evacuated on 9 January 1916).
1915: The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, a book of poetry by C. J. Dennis, is published.
1916: The Poems of Joseph Furphy, a book of poetry by Joseph Furphy is posthumously published.
1916: A Short History of Australia, by Ernest Scott, is published (it was afterwards republished in several editions).
1916 July 1: The Battle of the Somme begins.
1917 June 7: Hill 60 blown up by Australian tunnellers.
1917 October 31: The charge of the Australian Light Horse against the Turks at Beersheba Wells.
1918 September 18: Australian forces attack the Hindenburg Line and capture Montbrehain.
1918 November 11: The First World War ends; the date is thereafter commemorated as Remembrance Day.
1918: Backblock Ballads and Later Verses, a book of poetry by C. J. Dennis, is published.
1918: The Magic Pudding, by Norman Lindsay, is published.
1918: Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, by May Gibbs, is published.
1919: Heart of Spring, a book of poetry by John Shaw Neilson, is published.
1919: Australian troops participate in the North Russia Campaign.
1921: Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, the first book of poetry by John O’Brien (Patrick Joseph Hartigan), is published.
1921 March: QANTAS (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services) commences operations.
1921 March: The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is formed.
1921 November 4: Poppy Day is held in Australia to sell poppies, to be worn on Armistice Day (Remembrance Day, 11 November) in commemoration of the end of the First World War and to remember the sacrifice of those who fought and died.
1921 November 13: Ginger Meggs appears for the fist time, in the “Us Fellers” cartoon strip, published in the Sydney Sunday Sun.
1923: Vegemite is sold for the first time.
1923: Beyond the City Gates: Australian Story & Verse, the first book by Jack Moses, is published.
1923 November 23: 2SB (Sydney) is the first commercial radio station in Australia to commence broadcasting.
1929: The Complete Inner History of the Kelly Gang and Their Pursuers, by J. J. Kenneally, is published (it was afterwards republished in several editions).
1929: The Great Depression begins. It lasts until 1932, although financial hardships continued for many Australians throughout the 1930s.
1930 November 4: Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup.
1931 January 22: Sir Isaac Isaacs becomes the first Australian-born Governor-General.
1932 March 19: The Sydney Harbour Bridge is officially opened.
1932 July 1: The Australian Broadcasting Commission is established; it becomes the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on 1 July 1983.
1932-1933: The Bodyline cricket controversy erupts, during the English cricket teams’ Ashes tour of Australia, in which English bowlers adopted the tactic of aiming for the body of Australian batsmen.
1933: Blinky Bill: the Quaint Little Australian, by Dorothy Wall, is published; this is followed by several other Blinky Bill books: Blinky Bill Grows Up (1934), Blinky Bill and Nutsy (1937), and The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill (1939).
1934: The children’s song “Kookaburra”, written by Marion Sinclair, is performed for the first time in public.
1935: Gumtops, the first book of poetry by Rex Ingamells, is published.
1936: The Foundations of Culture in Australia, by P. R. Stephensen, is published.
1938: Conditional Culture, by Rex Ingamells, is published.
1939: The Second World War begins. Australia declares war on Germany.
1941 January 5: Tobruk captured.
1941 April: Australian forces battle German forces in Greece.
1941 April 11: Germans cut off Tobruk from Allied land forces; the siege of Tobruk lasts from April to October 1941; the Australians there cheerfully adopt the name thrown at them by the Germans, as “the Rats of Tobruk”.
1941 May: Allied forces, including Australians, evacuate the island of Crete, in the face of the superior German attacking force.
1941 December 8: Prime Minister John Curtin announces Australia will declare war on Japan, in consequence of the Japanese attack against the USA’s naval base at Pearl Harbor (Hawaii).
1942 January: Australian forces fight the Japanese army in Malaya.
1942 February 19: Japanese planes attack Darwin; further air attacks occur later, against Broome, Darwin, Exmouth Gulf, and elsewhere.
1942 March 3: Japanese planes shoot down a DC-3 full of refugees from the Netherlands East Indies and a Liberator carrying wounded US servicemen; they also destroy 6 planes on the ground and 16 moored flying boats (some of which were carrying refugees); an estimated 100 are killed.
1942 June 1: HMAS Kuttabul sunk by a Japanese midget submarine in Sydney Harbour; 21 sailors killed.
1942 June: Newcastle and Sydney shelled by Japanese submarines; no casualties.
1942 July: Townsville bombed by Japanese planes.
1942 November 2: Australians recapture Kokoda (New Guinea).
1942 November 26-27: The Battle of Brisbane, where fighting occurred between US servicemen and Australian servicemen and civilians; 1 Australian soldier killed, hundreds wounded on both sides.
1943 February: Australian forces defeat the Japanese at Wau.
1943 May 14: The brightly-lit Australian Hospital Ship Centaur is torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine off Stradbroke Island; 268 dead.
1945 May 7: Germany surrenders (effective 8 May).
1945 August 15: Japan surrenders.
1945: The Second World War ends. However, some fighting continued: Elements of the German Army Group Centre in Prague (Czechoslovakia), kept fighting until later in May 1945; Japanese troops on the island of Saipan did not surrender until 1 December 1945, whilst other Japanese troops on the island of Peleliu did not surrender until April 1947 (and some individual Japanese soldiers remained in hiding for many decades after the war had ended).
1945 August 31: The Liberal Party is formed.
1946 September 9: TAA (Trans-Australia Airlines) commences operations (it is later renamed Australian Airlines).
1950: Australian forces enter the Korean War on the side of South Korea.
1954: The Parish of St Mel’s and Other Verses, a book of poetry by John O’Brien (Patrick Joseph Hartigan), is posthumously published.
1955: The Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist) is formed; shortly afterwards, it was renamed as the Democratic Labor Party.
1956 September 16: TCN-9 (Sydney) is the first mainstream television station in Australia to commence broadcasting (some experimental broadcasting had been previously conducted in 1929, using the “Radiovision” system).
1956 November 22: Opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, held in Melbourne (the closing ceremony was held on 8 December 1956).
1958: “A Pub With No Beer” becomes a hit song for Slim Dusty.
1958: “Wild One” becomes a hit song for Johnny O’Keefe.
1959: “Shout” becomes a hit song for Johnny O’Keefe.
1960: “She’s My Baby” becomes a hit song for Johnny O’Keefe.
1961: “I’m Counting on You” becomes a hit song for Johnny O’Keefe.
1964: “She Wears My Ring” becomes a hit song for Johnny O’Keefe.
1965: Australian military forces enter the Vietnam War on the side of South Vietnam (Australian involvement ends in 1972).
1966 August 18: Australian military forces distinguish themselves at the Battle of Long Tan (Vietnam).
1966 February 14: Australia changes from the Imperial monetary system to the Decimal monetary system; pounds, shillings, and pence are converted to dollars and cents.
1967: “Living in a Child’s Dream” becomes a hit song for the Masters Apprentices.
1967: “Woman You’re Breaking Me” becomes a hit song for the The Groop.
1969: “Arkansas Grass” becomes a hit song for Axiom.
1969: “Such a Lovely Way” becomes a hit song for the The Groop.
1970: “A Little Ray of Sunshine” becomes a hit song for Axiom.
1970: “Turn up Your Radio” becomes a hit song for the Masters Apprentices.
1971: “Because I Love You” becomes a hit song for the Masters Apprentices.
1971: The Bushwackers, a folk music band, are formed in Melbourne.
1971: “Eagle Rock” becomes a hit song for Daddy Cool.
1971: “I’ll Be Gone” becomes a hit song for Spectrum.
1971: “My Baby’s Gone” becomes a hit song for Axiom.
1972: “Ginger Man” becomes a hit song for Brian Cadd.
1972: “Show Me the Way” becomes a hit song for Brian Cadd.
1972 December: The last of the Australian forces leave Vietnam; Australia ends its involvement in the Vietnam War.
1974: “Let Go” becomes a hit song for Brian Cadd.
1974: “Give Me a Home Among the Gumtrees” is written by Bob Brown and Wally Johnson.
1974: “Living in the 70’s” becomes a hit song for Skyhooks.
1975 November 11: John Kerr, the Governor-General, dismisses Gough Whitlam from his position of Prime Minister, and subsequently swears in Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister until elections can be held.
1975: “Horror Movie” becomes a No. 1 hit song for Skyhooks.
1975: “The Newcastle Song” becomes a hit song for Bob Hudson.
1975: “Summer Love” becomes a No. 1 hit song for Sherbert.
1976: “Howzat” becomes a No. 1 hit song for Sherbert.
1977: The Australian Democrats party is formed (disbanded in 2015).
1978: The Northern Territory is granted self-government.
1978: “C’mon Aussie C’mon” becomes a hit song for the Mojo Singers.
1978: “Down Under” (also known as “I come from a land down under”, after a line in the song) becomes a hit song for Men At Work.
1978: “Take a Long Line” becomes a hit song for The Angels.
1979: “Shadow Boxer” becomes a hit song for The Angels.
1979: “Up There Cazaly” becomes a hit song for the Two Man Band.
1980: “Clancy of the Overflow” becomes a hit song for the folk music band Wallis and Matilda.
1980: “Duncan” (often referred to as “I’d love to have a beer with Duncan”, after a line in the song) becomes a hit song for Slim Dusty.
1980: “No Secrets” becomes a hit song for The Angels.
1980 August 17: A two-month-old baby girl, Azaria Chamberlain, is taken by a dingo from a tent during the night and killed, at a campsite at Ayers Rock (Uluru); her mother, Lindy Chamberlain, was subsequently convicted of murder, but this was later found to be a wrongful conviction, and she was released.
1981: “Boys in Town” becomes a hit song for the Divinyls.
1982: “Great Southern Land” becomes a hit song for Icehouse.
1982: “Science Fiction” becomes a hit song for the Divinyls.
1983: “I Was Only Nineteen” becomes a hit song for Redgum.
1984 April 19: “Advance Australia Fair” becomes Australia’s national anthem.
1985 March 18: The television show “Neighbours” is broadcast for the first time (the show began on the Seven Network, but was cancelled a few months later, with the last Channel 7 episode airing on 8 November 1985; the show was then picked up by Network Ten, and broadcasting of “Neighbours” recommenced on 20 January 1986).
1985: “Pleasure and Pain” becomes a hit song for the Divinyls.
1985: “Sounds of Then” (often referred to as “This Is Australia”, after a line in the song) becomes a hit song for Gang Gajang.
1988: “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” becomes a hit song for The Angels.
1989: The Australian Capital Territory is granted self-government.
1991: “I Touch Myself” becomes a hit song for the Divinyls.
1992: The Australian Greens party (commonly known as “The Greens”) is formed.
1992 June 3: The High Court gives its decision on the Mabo case.
1994 January 26: Pay TV is launched in Australia.
1995 July 1: Telecom becomes Telstra.
1996 April 28: The Port Arthur massacre occurs in Tasmania, in which 35 people are murdered and 23 others wounded (Martin Bryant pled guilty to the murders, and was imprisoned for the rest of his life).
1997 April 11: The One Nation Party is formed.
1999: Australian military forces are deployed to East Timor, as part of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET), to stabilize the country.
1999 July: “Have a Look” becomes a hit song for Vanessa Amorosi.
1999 October 31: Jesse Martin sails into Melbourne, becoming the youngest person to have sailed around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted.
2000 July 1: The federal Goods and Services Tax comes into effect. The GST was introduced by the Liberal-National coalition government, led by John Howard.
2000 September 15: Opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, held in Sydney (the closing ceremony was held on 1 October 2000).
2001 February 25: Don Bradman dies.
2002 October 12: Terrorists set off two bombs in Bali, Indonesia, at a nightclub frequented by tourists; the bombings were aimed primarily at Westerners, killing 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians, 24 Britons, and many others, culminating in a total of 202 people murdered.
2004: Terrorists set off a bomb outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.
2005: Some Lebanese men bash two lifeguards on a beach in Cronulla, Sydney; this leads to a mass rally of thousand of Australians, to protest against the attacks, which culminates in attacks against people of Middle Eastern appearance; Lebanese Muslims then carry out revenge attacks, smashing hundreds of cars and stabbing at least one person; NSW police lock down Cronulla.
2006: Australian military forces are deployed to East Timor, in Operation Astute, to stabilize the country.
2009 February 7: Black Saturday, the worst day of the huge bushfires that swept through various areas of Victoria in January and February 2009, killing 173 people, and devastating the towns of Flowerdale, Kinglake, Kinglake West, Marysville, Narbethong, and Strathewen.
2010 October 17: Mary MacKillop becomes the first Australian saint, being canonized by Pope Benedict XVI; MacKillop was born on 15 January 1842 in Fitzroy, Victoria (then part of the colony of New South Wales) and died on 8 August 1909 in North Sydney, NSW.
Updated 17 July 2021