An Australian Timeline

This Timeline is intended to display notable historic events since Europeans first discovered the continent in 1606.

This Timeline is designed to emphasis the following:-
1. Australia is a young country it is only 215 years since European settlement.
2. Australia was the last of the habitable continents to be colonised by Europeans. Lying half a world away from Britain, its flora , fauna, geography and indigenous people were almost entirely unknown.
3. The remoteness of the colony from England, and the slow development of communication by:-

4. Australia is a land peopled by migrants:-


1620 November
The Mayflower carrying the settlers who went to the New World (America) had arrived on the coast of Massachusetts, USA.
This entry is included in the Australian Timeline, to emphasise how recent the settlement of Australia is compared to the rest of the world.


1770 April 20
Captain Cook sighted Point Hicks, NSW. Australia
1787 December
The First Fleet left Capetown, South Africa on 12 November 1787 and where half way across the Indian Ocean on Christmas Day 1787.
1788 January
The First Fleet of eleven ships arrived and Sydney was settled with over 1,000 convicts and military.
1790 June
The Second Fleet arrived.
1791 July - Sep
The Third Fleet arrived.
1798 October
Bass & Flinders circumnavigated Tasmania.


1801 - 1803
Matthew Flinders circumnavigated Australia.
1803 August
Lieutenant Bowen settled at Risdon, Tasmania. The following year the settlement moved to Sullivans Cove and became Hobart.
The Blue Mountains were crossed. It took 25 years to cross these mountains. Today people travel from the top of the Blue Mountains to work in central Sydney. Travel time one hour.
1824 September
A penal settlement was established in Moreton Bay, Queensland.
1829 June
Captain James Stirling arrived as Lieutenant-Governor of the Swan River, Western Australia colony, with the first settlers.
1835 June
John Batman 'bought' some land near Melbourne and in August 1835 he founded Port Phillip, Victoria.
1836 December 28
The first settlers arrived in South Australia.
After 1840 large-scale transportation of convicts to NSW was abolished.
1851 April 6
The first official finding of gold in Australia was by Edward Hargraves at Lewis Ponds, Ophir (near Bathurst, NSW). It triggered off  Australia's gold rush.
1853 May
The last consignment of convicts arrived in Tasmania.
1854 December 3
Eureka Stockade uprising at Ballarat goldfields.
1861 June
Robert O'Hara Burke, William John Wills and Charles Grey died on the return journey from the Gulf of Carpentaria after the first crossing the continent from south to north.
1868 January 9
The last consignment of convicts arrived in Western Australia, thus ending the Transportation System which had brought 160,000 convicts to Australia in the period 1788 to 1868.
1880 June 28
The first telephone exchange was opened in Melbourne.


1901 January 1
The Commonwealth of Australia was inaugurated.
1919 December 10
The first flight from Britain to Australia ended when Ross and Keith Smith landed in Darwin.
1930 April 30
The first telephone call made between Australia and Britain.
Sydney Harbour Bridge completed.
1973 October 20
Sydney Opera House opened.
1975 March
Colour television introduced to Australia.
1978 July 1
The Northern Territory was granted self-government.


2013 September
This Timeline created.
Email your suggestions for this page to Tom Wills