By Tim Lambert

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

The 19th Century

1803 The first Europeans land in Tasmania. The first Australian newspaper is printed.


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.


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


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


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


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

A history of Australia

A timeline of Sydney

A timeline of Melbourne

A timeline of Perth

A timeline of Canberra

A timeline of Brisbane

A timeline of Adelaide