Timeline Of Australia: Australia was first invented/resided perhaps 40,000 years ago by aboriginal peoples. During the Age of Exploration, the land was discovered and mapped by many Europeans combining the Spanish, Dutch, and English. However, Australia wasn’t really searched until 1770 when Captain James Cook explored the east coast and challenged it for Great Britain. He named it New South Wales. The first colony was formed at Sydney by Captain Arthur Phillip on January 26, 1788. It was originally considered a penal colony.

This was because many of the first settlers were criminals. Britain would sometimes send their criminals to the penal colony rather than jail. Oftentimes, the crimes that people executed were small or even made up to get cleared of unwanted citizens. Slowly, more and more of the settlers were not convicts. Sometimes you will still hear people invoke to Australia as being started by a penal colony.

There were higher than 500 regional groups, or tribes, from the Yapa, Yolngu and Bininj people in what is now the Northern Province to the Palawah people in Tasmania and all across the land. Also, the people from the Torres Strait Islands are separate from Aborigines but are still today, believed Australians.

Australia History Timeline

Early Times

  • c. 40,000 BC: Indigenous Australians arrive in Australia
  • 1642: Abel Tasman discovers Tasmania
  • 1688: William Dampier sails to Western Australia
  • 1770: Captain Cook claims New South Wales for Britain
  • 1787: A fleet of 11 ships sets sail from Portsmouth to Australia
  • 1788: The first colony is founded in Australia
  • 1790: A second fleet arrives
  • 1791: A third fleet arrives
  • 1793: The first church in Australia is built
  • 1797: Merino sheep are brought to Australia
Timeline Of Australia
Timeline Of Australia

The 19th Century

  • 1803: The first Europeans land in Tasmania. The first Australian newspaper is printed.
  • 1804: A settlement is founded at Newcastle, Convicts rebel at Castle Hill, Hobart is founded
  • 1808: The Rum Rebellion takes place
  • 1813: A pass is discovered through the Blue Mountains
  • 1817: The first bank in Australia opens
  • 1824: The name Australia is officially adopted by the British Admiralty
  • 1825: Brisbane is founded
  • 1828: The first census is taken in Australia. There are 20,870 free settlers and 15,728 convicts.
  • 1829: Berrima is founded, Swan River colony is founded
  • 1833: Bathurst and Goulburn are founded
  • 1835: Melbourne is founded
  • 1836: A colony is begun at Port Adelaide
  • 1840: Transportation to New South Wales ends
  • 1850: Sydney University is founded
  • 1851: Victoria is made a separate state from New South Wales, There is a gold rush in Victoria
  • 1852: Transportation to Tasmania ends
  • 1853: Melbourne University is founded
  • 1854: The Eureka rebellion takes place
  • 1860: Burke and Wills attempt to cross Australia
  • 1861: The population of Australia reaches 1.2 million
  • 1868: Transportation to Australia ends completely
  • 1878: The first telephone call in Australia is made
  • 1880: Ned Kelly is hanged
  • 1892: Gold is found in Western Australia

The 20th Century

  • 1900: The population of New South Wales is about 1.4 million.
  • 1901: The Commonwealth of Australia is formed
  • 1904: The first car race in Australia is held
  • 1914-1918: The Anzacs fight in World War I
  • 1917: A transcontinental railway is completed
  • 1922: Queensland is the first state of Australia to abolish capital punishment
  • 1927: Canberra becomes the capital of Australia
  • 1928: The Commonwealth flying doctor service begins
  • 1939-1945: The Anzacs fight in the Second World War
  • 1948: Clothes rationing in Australia ends
  • 1950: Petrol rationing in Australia ends
  • 1951: Jean Lee is the last woman hanged in Australia
  • 1954: Queen Elizabeth II is the first reigning monarch to visit Australia
  • 1955: Eastern Australia is hit by floods
  • 1956: Television begins in Australia, The Olympic Games are held in Melbourne
  • 1958: The first nuclear reactor in Australia opens
  • 1962: Indigenous Australians are allowed to vote
  • 1964: The last hanging in South Australia takes place
  • 1966: Decimal coins are introduced in Australia
  • 1967: The last execution in Australia takes place
  • 1975: The Governor-General dismisses the Australian government
  • 1992: The Mabo Judgement is made. Unemployment in Australia stands at 11.3%
  • 1993: The Wik Judgement is made

The 21st Century

  • 2000: Over 250,000 people walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge as a symbol of reconciliation, The Olympic Games are held in Sydney
  • 2006: The Commonwealth Games are held in Melbourne
    History Timeline Of Australia
    History Timeline Of Australia

The First Prisoners Brought To Australia

  • During the 17th century and 18th-century European adventurers arrive in Australia. In 1770 Captain Cook challenge eastern Australia for Britain. He called it New South Wales.
  • Life was hard for traditional people in the 18th century and retribution for even minor crimes were severe. In England, you could be executed for more than 200 different crimes.
  • However, as an alternative to hanging prisoners were sometimes penalized for transportation.
  • In the 18th century, prisoners were brought to Virginia and Maryland in what is now the USA. Transportation was a comparatively humane punishment.
  • At any rate, it was better than hanging! However, after the American War of Independence (1775-1783), this was no longer desirable and the government began looking for a new target for transportees.
  • In 1786 it was resolved to send them to Botany Bay. Getting rid of unsatisfactory members of society may not have been the lone motive for founding a colony in Australia. The British may have assumed to found a naval base in the Pacific. They also wished Australia would be a source of timber and flax.
  • At any rate, on 13 May 1787, a fleet of 11 ships set sail from Portsmouth. Onboard were 759 prisoners, most of them men with cadets and marines to guard the convicts. Captain Arthur Phillip directed them. With them, they took seeds, farm appliances, livestock such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, and chickens, and 2 years supply of food.
  • The first settlers came aground at Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. At first, things were tough for the settlers, and food was short although Phillip sent a ship to South Africa for more arrangements which returned in May 1789.
  • Food was conserved and the rations were anything but generous. However, things regularly improved. A second fleet appeared in 1790 and a third fleet came in 1791.
  • At first, the colonists lived in simple wooden huts but later prisoners made bricks for houses. Captain Phillip left Australia in December 1792.
  • When he came back to England he took samples of Australian plants and animals. He also took two primitive people. At first, captives worked on government land for arrangements but from 1793 those who behaved well were freed and given grants of land. Also, the first free colonists arrived in 1793.
  • Although hopes of widening flax in Australia came to nothing but whales were captured in the Pacific and seals were hunted in the Bass Strait.

Aboriginal Australians

Aboriginal Australians could be the ancientest population of humans living outside of Africa, where one theory says they shifted from in boats 70,000 years ago. Australia’s first people known as Aboriginal Australians—have resided on the continent for over 50,000 years. Today, there are 250 dissimilar language groups stretch throughout Australia.

Aboriginal Australians are split into two groups: Aboriginal peoples, who are associated to those who already resided Australia when Britain began colonizing the island in 1788, and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who descend from dwellers of the Torres Strait Islands, a group of islands that is part of modern-day Queensland, Australia. All Aboriginal Australians are associated with groups indigenous to Australia.

However, the use of the term indigenous is controversial, since it can be held by people who descend from people who weren’t the original settlers of the island. Legally, “Aboriginal Australian” is recognized as “a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is welcomed as such by the community in which he lives.”

20Th Century Australia

  • By 1901 the population of Australia was over 3.7 million and it was raising speedily. The population of New South Wales was about 1.4 million.
  • At the end of the 19th century, the disparate states acknowledge forming a federation. So the Commonwealth of Australia was formed on 1 January 1901.
  • After 1913 a new capital city was established at Canberra. Parliament House in Canberra started in 1927.
  • After 1900 Australia regained, to some terms, from the recession of the 1890s but then came World War I.
  • Then in 1907, a court case finished in the Harvester Judgement which said that an inexperienced workman should earn at least 7 shillings for an 8 hour day. (In other words just enough for a decent standard of living). This became the basis of Australia’s basic wage.
  • However, in 1900 bubonic plague struck a number of Australian downtowns. In Sydney alone, 103 people died. Sydney also went through a crash of smallpox in 1913 but fortunately, only 4 people died.
  • The first world war was revealed in August 1914. The first Australian fighters left by a ship in November 1914. They were controlled in Egypt.
  • Turkey was Germany’s ally and the British government had a plan to catch the Dardanelles (the narrow predicament leading to the Black Sea). That would set up the British and French to open a sea route to their ally Russia. It would also knock Turkey out of the war. First, they needed to secure the Gallipoli Peninsula because Turkish guns there dominated the straits.
  • In April 1915 the ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) were sent to Gallipoli. However, they were unable to oust the Turks.
  • The Anzacs were quitted in December 1915 having gone through nearly 8,000 casualties. The Anzacs were then sent to the Western Front.
  • Some 60,000 Australian men expired in the First World War.
  • In the 1920s migration from Britain advanced and Australia advanced to grow.
  • Sydney became the first Australian city to have a population of 1 million in 1922. Melbourne pursued it in 1928. Sydney Harbour Bridge initiated in 1932.
  • At the end of the 1920s, there was industrial tension in Australia. The waterside workers went on strike in 1928-29. They were pursued by the timber workers in 1929 and miners in 1929-1930.
  • The first commercial flight in Australia was in 1921 between Geraldton and Derby in Western Australia. In 1923 radio transmission began in Australia.
  • In 1928 a Queenslander named Bert Hinkler (1892-1933) made the first solo flight from Britain to Australia. The same year, 1928, the flying doctor function began.
  • However, in 1929 the depression hit Australia. The economy went down and unemployment rose strongly. By 1932 unemployment in Australia was 29%.
  • However, after that year, things got better and by the late 1930s unemployment had declined to about 10%. During the Second World War Australia once again involved Britain in fighting Germany. In 1940 Anzacs were sent to North Africa where they played a key role.
  • However, when Japan came into the war in December 1942 Australia herself was in insecurity. When Singapore fell in February 1942 16,000 Australians were apprehended.
  • Then in February 1942, the Japanese began air plunder on Darwin. These continued until November 1943. On May 31, 1942, 3 Japanese midget submarines arrived in Sydney Harbour. One of them managed to sink a store ship, HMAS Kuttabul with the loss of 21 lives.
  • Meanwhile in September 1942 Australians clashed in New Guinea and pushed back the Japanese army. For the rest of World War II Australians resist under the control of Douglas Macarthur. Some 37,000 Australians died in the Second World War.
  • After 1945 the Australian economy boomed. In the 1950s and 1960s, there was full employment and affluence. Meanwhile, The Australian National University was founded in 1946.
  • The School of the Air began in the Alice Springs area in 1951 and television began in Australia in 1956. Sydney Opera House, a symbol of modern Australia, opened in 1973.
  • In the late 1940s ‘displaced people’ left homeless after the war in Europe were welcome in Australia. However, Asians were not. Those Asians who had fled to Australia during the war were deported. Arthur Calwell, Minister for Immigration said: ‘Two Wongs do not make a white’.
  • However, in the 1960s immigration policy changed and many Asian immigrants came in the 1970s and 1980s. There were also many immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe.
  • There were many immigrants from Britain after 1945. Nevertheless, links with Britain weakened. In 1949 the National Citizenship Act made Australians no longer citizens of the UK and colonies but citizens of Australia. Finally, in 1982 all appeals to the British courts were ended. The High Court Of Australia was made the highest court of appeal.
  • Meanwhile, in 1957, a trade treaty was made with Japan, and links with Asia became more important.
  • Treatment of Indigenous Australians improved. From 1959 Indigenous Australians were allowed welfare benefits and after 1962 they were allowed to vote. In 1971 Indigenous Australians were included in the census for the first time.
  • From 1949 to 1974 a great civil engineering project was built on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Project. The plan was to collect the water from liquefying snow in the Australian Alps and divert it through tunnels to drive hydro-electric power stations. The water would then flow into rivers for inundation.
  • Over 25 years 16 dams were formed, 12 tunnels, and 7 power stations. Workers from more than 30 nations strive for the project.
  • On November 11 1975 the governor-general discharged the Australian government, which created much controversy.
  • After 1975 the span of growth and success in Australia came to an end. For one thing, boom rose. Furthermore in the late 1970s unemployment began to grow. By 1983 it had amounted to 10%. It fell to about 6% by 1988 but then began to rise again.
  • In 1977 following a referendum, Advance Australia Fair became the national anthem.

The Mabo Judgement

  • A turning point in Australian history came in 1992 with the Mabo Judgement. Indigenous Australians challenged that the island of Mer existed to them and not to the crown.
  • A court finally invalidated the belief of ‘terra nullius’, the idea that Australia did not belong to anybody when the Europeans appeared. In 1993 the government passed the Native Title Bill to resolve rights to the holding of land.
  • However in 1993 came the Wik judgment, which said that even in the Queensland government-chartered land to pastoralists the Indigenous Australians still had some claim to use the land as long as they did not obstruct the pastoralists’ actions.
  • In 1998 the government was forced to amend the 1993 Native Title Act. As a symbol of rapprochement between the different peoples of Australia over 250,000 people parade across Sydney Harbour Bridge on 28 May 2000.

21st Century Australia

  • Today the population of Australia is 23 million. In 2006 it was counted that the homegrown population was about 500,000 about the same as it was when Europeans first landed in Australia at the end of the 18th century.
  • Unemployment was high in the 1990s but at the opening of the 21st century, the position improved. Today Australia is a comfortable country.
  • In 2008 Quentin Bryce became the first woman Governor-General of Australia.
  • In 2010 Julia Gillard became the first woman Prime Minister of Australia.


When Was Australia Discovered?
However, Australia Wasn’t Really Explored Until 1770 When Captain James Cook Explored The East Coast And Claimed It For Great Britain. He Named It New South Wales. The First Colony Was Established At Sydney By Captain Arthur Phillip On January 26, 1788.
How Did Australia Begin?
The First Fleet Of British Ships Arrived At Botany Bay In January 1788 To Establish A Penal Colony, The First Colony On The Australian Mainland. The Colonies Voted By Referendum To Unite In A Federation In 1901, And Modern Australia Came Into Being.
How Long Have Aboriginals Been In Australia?
Aboriginal People Have Been In Australia For At Least 60,000 Years (Torres Strait Islanders At Least 2500 Years). It Is Only In The Past 500 Years There Has Been European Contact With Australia And The Torres Strait.
What Is The Old Name Of Australia?
In 1804, The British Navigator Matthew Flinders Proposed The Names Terra Australis Or Australia For The Whole Continent, Reserving “New Holland” For The Western Part Of The Continent. He Continued To Use “Australia” In His Correspondence, While Attempting To Gather Support For The Term.