Return to home Australian tourist commission: www.australia.com
Travel Docs: http://www.traveldocs.com/au/index.htm Australia is about the same size as the 48
adjoining US states.
(SSFC, 10/9/05, Par p.27)
The states of Australia included Queensland (Brisbane); the island
state of Tasmania (about the size of West Virginia).
3.6Bil BC Fossils of bacteria from Western
Australia and south Africa date to about this time.
(SFC, 8/23/96, p.A21)(NH, 7/98, p.22) 4.37Bil BC Scientists in 2014
reported that a zircon crystal discovered in Western Australia in
2010 has been determined to be 4.374 billion years old, making it
the oldest rock ever discovered on Earth. In 2005 Scientists had
used the radioactive decay rate of uranium to date zircons from
Western Australia to 4.3Bil BC - 4.1Bil BC. The evidence pointed to
a watery world well-suited for life to emerge.
(SFC, 5/7/05, p.A4)(SSFC, 1/4/15, p.C12)
3.6Bil BC Fossils of bacteria from Western
Australia and south Africa date to about this time.
(SFC, 8/23/96, p.A21)(NH, 7/98, p.22)
3.5Bil BC The Apex Chert of Australia indicate
that by this time at least 11 kinds of bacteria existed.
(PacDis, Winter ’97, p.34)
3.465 In 1993 paleobiologist
J.W. Schopf reported the discovery of microfossils dating to this
time in the Apex chert of the Warrawoona group in Western Australia.
In 2002 Martin Brasier of the Univ. Of Oxford said the fossils were
just mineral artifacts.
(SFC, 8/22/11, p.A2)
3.4Bil BC Scientists in 2006 reported that
stromatolites in western Australia, created about this time, were
likely formed when dirt sediments mixed with carbon dioxide,
expelled from bacteria, along with water and minerals trapped in the
microbe’s sticky mucilage.
(SFC, 6/8/06, p.A6)
3.4Bil BC A team of scientists in 2011, led by
David Wacey and Martin Brasier, reported the discovery of
fossilized, single-celled organisms dating to this time in sandstone
of the Strelley Pool rock formation in Western Australia.
(SFC, 8/22/11, p.A2)
2.7Bil BC In 1999 Australian geologists under
Jochen J. Brocks reported fossil "biomolecules" from this time.
Traces of steranes produced by eukaryotes, and methylhopanes from
cyanobacteria were reported.
(SFC, 8/13/99, p.A1,21)
2Mil BC - 50,000BC In Australia a herbivorous
diprotodon, the largest marsupial to ever roam the earth, lived
about this time. A fossil of the car sized mega-wombat was unearthed
in northern Australia in 2011.
1.2Bil BC Scientists reported in 2002 that
sandstone rocks from the Sterling Range of Australia showed evidence
of wormlike creatures from about this time.
(SFC, 5/10/02, p.A2)
500Mil BC A huge shellfish-type creature called
anomalocaris lived about this time. In 2011 Australian scientists
hailed the discovery of a pair of insect-like eyes belonging to a
freakish prehistoric super-predator. The fossilized eyes measuring
three cm (1.2 inches) across and with a whopping 16,000 individual
170Mil BC The semi-aquatic platypus is thought to
have split off from a common ancestor shared with humans
approximately about this time. In 2008 scientists laid bare the
platypus genome of 2.2 billion base pairs spread across 18,500
150Mil BC Australia's funnel-web spiders emerged
about this time. Their venom is extremely lethal to people.
(Econ., 9/26/20, p.74)
125Mil BC Meat-eating dinosaurs, known as
ceratosaurs, lived in Australia about this time. They represented
globe-trotting groups which spread out across the world before the
continents began to separate. In 2006 a ceratosaur ankle bone was
found near the coastal town of San Remo by an amateur
115Mil BC In 2007 scientists reported that large,
carnivorous dinosaurs roamed southern Australia about this time,
when the continent was joined to Antarctica. The 12-foot dinosaurs
were padded with body fat to survive temperatures as low as minus 30
degrees Celsius. Their findings were based on fossil footprints.
115Mil BC - 105Mil BC Dinosaur tracks were made in
Australia during this period when it was connected to Antarctica and
was located much closer to the South Pole, as a part of the
paleogeographic continent of Gondwana. The average temperature of
the area was around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). In
2011 printed slabs of sandstone were found along the rocky and
remote Milanesia Beach in Otways National Park, west of Melbourne.
100Mil BC Australia split from Gondwana about this
time and began drifting north away from what is now Antarctica,
pushed by the expansion of a rift valley into the eastern Indian
100Mil BC A snake, later named Wonambi, emerged in
Australia about this time. It was believed to have gone extinct
about 50,000 BC.
(SFC, 2/16/06, p.A4)
650Mil BC In 2008 Australian scientists said they
had discovered in an outback mountain range a reef that was under
water at this time.
630Mil BC-542 Mil BC This is known as the
Ediacaran Period, during which animals began to appear according to
the fossil record. It is named after the locality in Australia where
they were first discovered.
560Mil BC In 2003 a fossil of a 2.56-inch fishlike
animal from the Flinders Ranges of southern Australia was believed
to be at least 560 million years old, 30 million years older than
the previous record.
380Mil BC In 2009 Scientists from Australia and
Britain studying 380 million-year-old fossils of the armored
placoderm fish, or Incisoscutum richiei, said embryos in the fish
indicated that sex as we know it, fertilization of eggs while they
are still inside a female, took place as much as 30 million years
earlier than previously thought. They originally thought the fish
laid their eggs before fertilization.
250Mil BC The worst mass extinction in Earth’s
history occurred about this time. 90% of life in the oceans and 70%
of land animals disappeared within a million years due to a
suspected asteroid impact. This was later called the
"Permian-Triassic Extinction" and "The Great Dying." Scientists
later suspected that an eruption of flood basalt in Russia, the
Siberian Traps, caused the massive extinction. In 2004 scientists
suggested that the extinction was caused by a meteorite that hit the
north coast of Pangea, forming a crater known as the Bedout High,
later a part of the Australian continent. [see 225 and 200
(SFC, 2/23/01, p.A1)(SFC, 6/10/02, p.A6)(Econ,
11/8/03, p.78)(SFC, 5/14/04, p.A1)
130Mil BC Stegosaurus dinosaurs left footprints
(SFC, 10/16/96, p.A10)
115Mil BC In 2006 scientists identified two
ancient reptiles that swam in icy waters off Australia about this
time. The discoveries, dubbed Umoonasaurus and Opallionectes,
belonged to a group of animals called plesiosaurs, long-necked
marine reptiles that lived during the time of the dinosaurs. Both
creatures lived in a freezing polar sea that covered what is now
Australia, when the continent was located much closer to Antarctica.
110Mil BC The Daintree rain forest of North
Queensland dated to this time.
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.C7)
96Mil BC Paleontologists in 2019 said fossils of
the pterosaur, named Ferrodraco lentoni, unearthed in the Australian
state of Queensland, lived about this time during the Cretaceous
Period. It boasted a 13-foot (4-meter) wingspan, a bony crest at the
tip of its upper and lower jaws and spike-shaped teeth perfect for a
diet of fish.
80Mil BC The landmass that was to become New
Zealand, broke away from Gondwana, splitting away from Australia and
Antarctica as the Tasman Sea opened up. This split off an area about
ten times the size of present-day New Zealand, a continental
fragment called Zealandia. Full separation took over 20 million
years with the Tasman Sea reaching its present width of 2,000 km
around 60 million years ago. In 1995 the name and concept for the
continent of Zealandia was proposed by Bruce Luyendyk. In 2017
scientists reported that a continent named Zealandia, believed to
have broken away from Australia about this time, sank beneath the
sea as part of the break-up of the super-continent known as
25Mil BC In 1997 a teenage surfer named Staumn
Hunter found a whale fossil in a limestone rock at Jan Juc Beach,
Australia. Researchers named it Janjucetus hunderi in his honor. In
2006 researchers said it was an ancestor of modern baleen whales.
The fossil suggests a creature that grew to a little more than 11
feet with teeth about an inch-and-a-half long.
25Mil BC In 2007 Scientists reported that a fossil
from this time, found in Queensland, Australia, in the 1990s, has
revealed that a predecessor of the hopping kangaroo once galloped on
all fours, had dog-like fangs and possibly climbed trees.
20Mil BC-10Mil BC A team of Australian
paleontologists in 2006 said they had found the fossilized remains
of a fanged killer kangaroo and what they describe as a "demon duck
of doom" that lived during this period in Queensland state.
15Mil BC In Australia sheep-sized relatives of
modern-day wombats lived treetops about this time. The wombat-like
marsupial was later named Nimbadon lavarackorum. The world's largest
tree-climbing marsupial were among fossils found at the Riversleigh
World Heritage Site in Queensland state. The Nimbadon fossil
material was found in 2010.
(SFC, 7/17/10, p.A2)(AFP, 5/3/12)
400000BC - 48000BC A human group, later called
the Denisovans, lived in Asia during this period. They then
interbred with humans expanding from Africa along the coast of South
Asia. In 2010 fossil evidence from a Siberian cave in 2008 revealed
that their DNA was related to the DNA of people from New Guinea,
which contained 4.8% Denisovan DNA. 3-5% of the DNA from native
people of Papua New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and other
nearby islands came from Denisovans, who left Africa as far back as
800,000 BC. In 2014 scientists reported that a genetic between
extinct Denisovans and some modern-day Tibetans and Sherpas.
(SFC, 12/23/10, p.A4)(SSFC, 9/16/12, p.C11)(SFC,
150000BC In 1980 evidence of Aboriginal habitation
were discovered in charcoal remains deep in the bed of the Great
Barrier Reef and dated to about this time.
(SFEC, 2/28/99, p.T4)
114000BC Controversial data from the Jinmium
rock-shelter in northern Australia suggests humans may have reached
the continent at this time.
(AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.21)
100000BC-50000BC The 200-pound Genyornis newtoni,
an ostrich-like bird, and the 25-foot Megalonia lizard were among
the megafauna that flourished in Australia during this period.
(SFC, 1/8/99, p.A2)
53000BC-50000BC During this period the first
humans migrated to Australia from the islands of Indonesia. It is
believed that they came in bamboo rafts from Indonesia and also from
(SFC, 1/8/99, p.A2)(NG, Oct. 1988, p.467)
53000BC-45000BC Australia’s early human population
wiped out the continent’s megafauna over this period.
(SFC, 6/8/01, p.A8)
51000BC The fossil of a Diprotodon, a giant
marsupial from this time, was excavated in 2001 from Cox’s Creek in
New South Wales.
(SFC, 6/8/01, p.A8)
50000BC Research on hair DNA in 2011 indicated
that the first humans arrived in Australia about this time.
(SFC, 9/23/11, p.A10)
48000BC-44000BC In Australia about 85% of the
land-dwelling megafauna weighing over 100 pounds went extinct about
this time. It was later suspected that systematic burning of the
forests by humans contributed to the extinction. Some 55 species
died off including the 230-pound flightless "thunder bird" called
(SFC, 1/8/99, p.A2)(SFC, 6/8/01, p.A8)
45000BC The extinction of most of Australia’s
large animals occurred about this time, shortly after the arrival of
(SFC, 7/8/05, p.A2)
41000BC A land bridge between Australia and
Tasmania formed about this time allowing people to cross into
Tasmania. Two thousand years later the megafauna of Tasmania were
(Econ, 9/14/13, SR p.5)
41000BC The skull of a giant kangaroo dating to
this time was found in a cave in the thick rainforest of the rugged
northwest of Tasmania in 2000. Scientists used the skull to argue
that that man likely hunted to death the giant kangaroo and other
very large animals on the southern island of Tasmania.
400000BC - 48000BC A human group, later called
the Denisovans, lived in Asia during this period. They then
interbred with humans expanding from Africa along the coast of South
Asia. In 2010 fossil evidence from a Siberian cave in 2008 revealed
that their DNA was related to the DNA of people from New Guinea,
which contained 4.8% Denisovan DNA. 3-5% of the DNA from native
people of Papua New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and other
nearby islands came from Denisovans, who left Africa as far back as
(SFC, 12/23/10, p.A4)(SSFC, 9/16/12, p.C11)
38000BCE-1996 Scientists in Australia said that
they found a shrub in Tasmania that began growing 40,000 years ago.
Dubbed "King’s Holly," the plant clones itself and now covers 2
secluded river gullies in the remote southwest.
(SFC, 10/26/96, p.A17)
35000BC In 2008 archeologists unearthed tools
dating back at least 35,000 years in a rock shelter in Australia's
remote northwest, making it one of the oldest archaeological finds
in that part of the country.
35000BC A piece of a stone axe dating to this time
was discovered in 2010 on sacred Aboriginal land in Australia, the
oldest object of its type ever found. Archeologists said the
discovery is evidence that Aboriginal Jawoyn people from Arnhem Land
could have been the first to grind axes to sharpen their edges.
35000BC In Australia the Budj Bim volcano erupted
about this time. Three overlapping volcanic craters formed Lake
Surprise in what later became southwestern Victoria state. The
mountain was named Mount Eeles in 1836 by Major Thomas Mitchell
after William Eeles of the 95th Regiment of Foot who fought with
Mitchell in the Peninsular War. A draftsman's error meant that the
name was rendered Eccles from 1845.
(Econ., 2/29/20, p.65)
35000BC-25000BC Aboriginal rock paintings in
Australia were made as far back as this time.
(SFEC, 2/28/99, p.T4)
28000BC In 2012 archaeologist Bryce Barker dated
the oldest piece of rock art in Australia and one of the oldest in
the world: an Aboriginal work created about this time in the
Northern Territory rock shelter known as Nawarla Gabarnmang.
20000BC In Australia scientists in 2005 said
hundreds of human footprints dating back 20,000 years were
discovered in a dry lake bed near Willandra Lakes, southwest of
2217BC In 2013 scientists reported DNA evidence
that people from India arrived in Australia about this time and
mixed with the local aboriginals.
(Econ, 1/19/12, p.77)
1500BC Domesticated dogs companied people to
Timor, New Guinea and Australia by about this time. The dogs
reverted to a feral existence and in Australia became dingoes.
(NH, 11/1/04, p.14)
1522 In 2007 The book "Beyond
Capricorn" said a 16th century maritime map in a Los Angeles library
vault, which accurately marks geographical sites along Australia's
east coast in Portuguese, proves that Portuguese seafarer
Christopher de Mendonca lead a fleet of four ships into Botany Bay
in this year.
1642 Nov 24, Abel Janszoon
Tasman (d.1659) discovered Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania).
1643 Dec 25, Captain William
Mynors of the Royal Mary, a British East India Company vessel, named
Christmas Island when he sailed past it on Christmas Day.
Sovereignty of the island was transferred to Australia in 1957.
1659 Oct 10, Able Janszoon
Tasman, navigator, died at about 56. He discovered Tasmania.
(WUD, 1994 p.1455)(MC, 10/10/01)
1757 Jun 1, Ignaz J. Pleyel,
Austrian composer, piano builder (Piano method), was born. (MC,
1768 Aug 26, Capt James Cook
departed from Plymouth with Endeavour to the Pacific Ocean. Daniel
Solander and Joseph Banks accompanied Cook to catalog plants and
animals of Australia and New Zealand on the 3-year journey.
4/19/09, Books p.J7)
1768-1771 Capt. James Cook charted the coasts of
both the north and south islands of New Zealand and Australia. Cook
made his historic voyages in colliers, slow but strong ships
designed primarily for carrying coal. His ship was named the
Endeavour. Cook's voyage to Australia kept a botanical record called
the Banks Florilegium. The 738 original plates commissioned by Sir
Joseph Banks was not printed until a 100 set limited edition in
(SFC, 6/18/96, p.D1)(WSJ, 10/5/99, p.A24)
1770 Apr 9, Captain James Cook
discovered Botany Bay on the Australian continent.
1770 Apr 19, Capt. James Cook
first saw Australia. [see Apr 9]
1770 Apr 20, Captain Cook
arrived in New South Wales, Australia.
1770 Jun 11, Capt. James Cook,
commander of the British ship Endeavour, discovered the Great
Barrier Reef off Australia by running onto it.
(AP, 6/11/97)(HN, 6/11/98)
1774 Capt. Cook discovered the
13-square-mile Norfolk Island 1,000 miles east of Sidney. It was
later turned into a penal settlement from which the last prisoner
left in 1855.
1787 May 13, Arthur Phillip set
sail from Portsmouth, Great Britain, with 11 ships of criminals to
Australia. By year’s end some 50,000 British convict servants were
transported to the American colonies in commutation of death
sentences. After the American Revolution, Britain continued dumping
convicts in the US illegally into 1787. Australia eventually
replaced America for this purpose. Penal transports continued until
1853, which left a remarkable legacy: an almost totally unexplored
continent settled largely by convicted felons.
1788 Jan 18, The first English
settlers arrived in Australia's Botany Bay to establish a penal
colony. They found the location unsuitable and Capt. Arthur Philip
moved on to Sydney Cove. England sent the first sheep along with
convicts to Australia.
(NG, 5.1988, pp. 575)(SFEC, 1/4/98, p.T4)(AP,
1/18/98)(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.14)
1788 Jan 26, The 1st fleet of
ships carrying 736 convicts from England landed at Sydney Cove, New
South Wales, Australia. The first European settlers in Australia,
led by Capt. Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney. The day
is since known as Australia’s national day. In 2006 Thomas Keneally
authored “The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Story of the Founding of
(AP, 1/26/98)(HN, 1/26/99)(WSJ, 9/19/00,
p.A1)(Econ, 7/15/06, p.83)
1788 As British settlers
arrived in Australia the native Aborigines are believed to have
numbered about 750,000, and to have inhabited Australia for up to
1789 The prison ship Lady
Julian delivered over 200 women to the penal colony at Sydney
harbor. In 2002 Sian Rees authored "The Floating Brothel: The
Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and Its Cargo
of Female Convicts."
(SSFC, 3/3/02, p.M3)
1789 Smallpox was introduced to
Australia and caused devastation among the aborigines.
(SFC, 10/19/01, p.A17)
1790 Pemulway, an Aboriginal
warrior, speared and killed the governor’s gamekeeper at Botany Bay
and waged war against the British for 12 years. His head was later
sent to England. Eric Willmot later authored "Pemulway, the Rainbow
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T4)
1791 In Australia officials
granted parcels of land around Sydney to convicts who have served
their time, beginning years of dispossession of Aborigines that
continued as white settlers dispersed throughout Australia. Clashes
between Aborigines and settlers led to tens of thousands of deaths
among Aborigines and hundreds of settler deaths.
1792 Arthur Phillip, the 1st
governor of New South Wales, Australia, returned to England
accompanied by Bennelong, an Aboriginal who had earlier attacked and
wounded him. Philip later gave Bennelong a house on a point in
Sydney Cove. In 1973 it became the site of the Sydney Opera House.
(Econ, 7/15/06, p.83)
1795 Apr 28, Charles Sturt
(d.1869), explorer of Australia, was born in India. British explorer
Charles Sturt is known as the "father of Australian exploration." He
was the first to penetrate deep into Australia's interior from 1828
to 1845 during three hazardous expeditions. In 1828 he discovered
the Darling River and in January 1830 the Murray River, which he
followed until he reached present day Goolwa. His last expedition
came to an end when his eyesight was impaired by exposure and
illness. Scotsman John McDouall Stuart was part of Stuart's final
expedition and went on to become a major explorer, crossing the
continent from Adelaide to Port Darwin in 1862.
1797 Australia’s first coal
mining began at Newcastle.
(Econ, 6/6/09, p.39)
1802 A British exploring party
led by Matthew Flinders landed on a 96-mile-long island southwest of
Adelaide and slaughtered 31 kangaroos for a feast. This 3rd largest
island off Australia was thus named Kangaroo Island. Flinders named
the Great Barrier Reef and found a passage to the Corral Sea. He is
best remembered for circumnavigating Australia and giving the
continent its name.
(SFEC,12/21/97, p.T6)(SSFC, 3/24/02, p.C22)(WSJ,
7/23/04, p.W12)(Econ, 5/31/14, p.77)
1802 In Australia the
Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy (b.~1750) was shot dead. His head was
cut off and believed to have been placed in a jar and sent to
England. He opposed British settlement and was described by Sydney's
then governor Philip King as "a terrible pest to the colony" but
also "a brave and independent character."
1803 Mar 5, Australia's first
newspaper, "The Sydney Gazette & New South Wales Advertiser" was
1804 Feb 20, Hobart, Tasmania,
was founded as a penal colony.
1804 Australian soldiers fired
on an aboriginal hunting party on Tasmania and killed some 50
people. Some were salted down and sent to Sydney as anthropological
(WSJ, 8/2100, p.A1)
1810 Jul 11, The
Australian-Briton Frederick Hasselborough discovered the uninhabited
Macquarie island, half-way between New Zealand and Antarctica,
accidentally when looking for new sealing grounds. The island took
its name after Colonel Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South
Wales from 1810 to 1821.
1813 Explorers Gregory
Blaxland, William Wentworth and William Lawson blazed the first
trail from Sydney across the Blue Mountains to the fertile western
(Hem., 1/97, p.53)
1813 Bennelong (49), an
Australian Aborigine, died. He was one of the first Aborigines to
live among white settlers after the landing of the First Fleet in
1788, when he was kidnapped and employed as a cultural interlocutor
by the British. Bennelong had adapted to the European way of life,
teaching the colonizers about Aboriginal customs and language and
learning to speak English, but ultimately became an alcoholic.
1819 In Sydney convict labor
built the Hyde Park Barracks and the state Parliament.
(SFEC, 1/4/98, p.T4)
1820 Aug 9, David Stuurman
(1773-1830) escaped from South Africa's Robben Island for a 2nd
time. He was soon captured and in 1823 was transported to Australia.
He was first arrested in 1809 and charged for resisting colonial
rule as well as opposing the conscription of the Khoi into militias
that were created to defend the colony and to attack the San and
amaXhosa. He first escaped Robben Island in Dec. 1809.
1829 In Western Australia the
Nyoongar people were largely dispossessed by white settlement. In
2006 they proved native title to over more than 6,000 square
kilometers (2,300 square miles) covering Perth and its surrounds by
continuing to observe traditional customs.
c1830-1840 Wine production began in Hunter Valley,
north of Sydney
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T6)
1831 The Sydney Morning Herald
printed its premier issue at the Keep Within Compass pub.
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T10)
1831 James Busby, Scottish-born
father of Australian viticulture, collected 680 different vines from
botanical gardens in Montpellier, Paris and London and brought them
to Australia. These included the syrah grape, called shiraz in
(SFC, 5/5/05, p.F10)
1833 Jul, In Australia the
native warrior Yagan was shot dead by teenage bounty hunters. He had
been a go-between for his people and European settlers in Western
Australia and later an implacable foe. His head and the tribal
tattoo on his back were hacked off and taken to Britain for study
and display. The body parts were returned in Sep 1997. A statue was
erected in his honor on an island park in Perth in 1983. It was
repeatedly vandalized and its head was sawed off in 1997 shortly
after the homecoming of Yagan’s real head. In 2010 his remains were
laid to rest in a traditional ceremony after his skull was recovered
(SFEC, 10/5/97, p.A20)(AFP, 7/10/10)
1833 Oct 19, Adam Lindsay
Gordon, Australian poet, was born.
1834 Aug, The barque Charles
Eaton was wrecked on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. 2 years later
the schooner Isabella arrived in Sydney with the cabin boy of the
lost ship, a 5-year old child and 17 skulls of passengers murdered
on Boydang Island. This event prompted an expedition to survey the
reef, the Torres Strait and the southern coast of new Guinea. In
2005 Jordan Goodman authored “The Rattlesnake: A Voyage of Discovery
to the Coral Sea," an account of the survey expedition.
(Econ, 3/19/05, p.88)
1835 Dec 30, HMS Beagle and
Charles Darwin sailed from NZ to Sydney.
1836 Feb 17, HMS Beagle and
Charles Darwin left Tasmania.
1836 Mar 6, HMS Beagle and
Darwin reached King George's Sound, Australia.
1836 May 21, Eliza Fraser was
shipwrecked off the coast of Queensland, Australia and was soon
captured by aborigines on Great Sandy Island (later Fraser island).
A rescue party that included John Graham, an escaped convict who had
lived for six years with the Aborigines, brought her back to
Brisbane in August.
1837 Nov 21, Thomas Morris of
Australia skipped rope 22,806 times.
1838 Jun 10, In Australia white
settlers led the Myall Creek massacre near Gwydir River, New South
Wales. Up to 30 unarmed indigenous Australians were killed by ten
Europeans and one African.
1840 The Australian merchant
ship “Success" was built in Burma. In 1857 prisoners from
Success murdered the Australian Superintendent of Prisons John
Price, the inspiration for the character Maurice Frere in Marcus
Clarke's novel “For the Term of His Natural Life."
1840 Polish explorer Paul
Strzelecki named Australia’s highest peak in honor of the Polish
national hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko. Early surveyors messed up the
transcription and the peak was named Mt. Kosciusko. Decades later it
was discovered that the mountain was a few feet lower than a
neighboring peak. The New South Wales Lands Dept. swapped their
names to resolve the issue. In 1996 there was a move to restore the
missing z to the name.
(SFEC, 11/24/96, T7)(SSFC, 12/25/11, p.N6)
1843 Jul, In Australia a group
of men called the Highland Brigade, under the leadership of Angus
McMillan, surrounded a Gunai encampment at Warrigal Creek and
proceeded to slaughter the people. A wounded child was forced to
lead them to other settlements and as many as 200 Gunai died in one
(Econ, 6/25/16, p.74)
1844 Barbara Thompson
(1831-1916), a Scottish girl, was possibly the sole survivor from
the wreck of the cutter America, which ran onto Madjii Reef at Horn
Island near Cape York Endeavour Strait off Queensland, Australia.
She was taken in by one of the buwai gizumabaigalai (clan leaders)
of the Kaurareg people, who believed that she was the returned
spirit (markai) of his recently deceased daughter. She managed to
retunr to Sidney in 1849.
1844 Wine production began at
the Penfold Magill Estate in Adelaide.
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T6)
1845 Cooper’s Creek, 800 miles
north of Melbourne, was discovered by non-Aborigines.
(ON, 12/01, p.)
1847 Johann Gramp, founder of
Orlando Wines, planted the first vineyard in the Barossa Valley on
the banks of Jacob’s Creek.
(Label, JC Merlot-1999, 8/8/00)
1849 Apr, Australians began
showing up in San Francisco. By mid-1851 some 11,000 had arrived
including 7,500 from Sydney.
(SFC, 7/21/18, p.C1)
1850 Jul 14, The 1st public
demonstration of ice made by refrigeration took place. James
Harrison of Australia designed an ice-making machine. It was an
improvement on one invented by Jacob Perkins in 1834.
(MC, 7/14/02)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1850 Rabbits were introduced to
Australia about this time and soon became pests.
(Nat. Hist., 4/96, p.16)
1850 The Granny Smith apple
originated about this time in Australia. According to Morgan and
Richards The Book of Apples: A Mrs. Smith, born in England in 1800,
emigrated to Australia in 1838. In 1860s she found some seedlings
growing in a creek where she had tipped out some apples brought back
from Sydney. Tree was propagated and later family increased their
orchards and marketed fruit in Sydney.
1851 Australia’s first gold
rush began and raised boomtowns like Ballarat.
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T9)
1854 Nov, A wooden boat called
Mystery set sail from Cornwall, bound for Australia with seven
Cornishmen hoping to escape their lives of poverty and dig for gold
Down Under, a trip that eventually took 116 days.
1854 In Australia Chartist
ideas influenced the miners of Eureka Stockade in 1854 in Victoria
where they adopted all of Chartism's six points including the secret
ballot. Chartism was a movement for political and social reform in
the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century, between 1838 and
1850. It takes its name from the People's Charter of 1838.
1855-1880 Edward "Ned" Kelly was an outlaw folk
hero who was hung for his crimes. Inspired by tales of the American
ironclad, the Monitor, Kelly wore an 80-pound suit of armor during
his final crimes. In 2000 Peter Carey authored the novel "True
History of the Kelly Gang."
(SFC, 5/3/97, p.E4)(WSJ, 1/05/00, p.W8)(SSFC,
1/14/01, BR p.1)
1856 The state of Victoria
first adopted paper ballots for voting.
(WSJ, 11/9/00, p.A1)
1856 Australia's Van Dieman's
Island was renamed Tasmania.
(Econ, 1/17/04, p.37)
1856 Rabbits were let loose in
Australia about this time.
(WSJ, 4/5/96, p.B-6)
1856 Descendants of the Bounty
mutineers moved from Pitcairn to Norfolk Island, 1,000 miles from
the Australia mainland.
(Econ, 7/10/04, p.38)
1857 Nov 26, First Australian
Parliament opened in Melbourne.
1857 The Botanical Garden in
Adelaide was founded.
(SFEC, 10/25/98, p.T5)
1857 Robert O’Hara Burke (36),
a police superintendent, was hired by a committee in Melbourne to
cross the continent.
(ON, 12/01, p.1)
1858 Narcisse Pelletier
(1844-1894) was abandoned during the dry season, on eastern Cape
York Peninsula in Australia. He was discovered and rescued by an
Aboriginal family and went on to live with the Uutaalnganu speakers
for the next 17 years until he was found by the crew of the John
Bell on 11 April 1875.
1859 The Yalumba Winery in the
Barossa Valley, South Australia, was begun by the Sam Smith family.
(SFEC, 10/25/98, p.T5)
1860 Aug 20, Robert O’Hara
Burke led a group of 15 men, 27 camels and 23 horses out of
Melbourne on an expedition to cross Australia.
(ON, 12/01, p.1)
1860 Nov 11, Robert O’Hara
Burke arrived at Cooper’s Creek with his advanced party of 8 men, 15
horses and 16 camels.
(ON, 12/01, p.1)
1860 Dec 16, Robert O’Hara
Burke set out from Cooper’s Creek toward the gulf of Carpentaria
with 3 men, William Wills (26), John King (21) and Charles Gray, 6
camels and 1 horse.
(ON, 12/01, p.2)
1861 Feb 11, Australian
explorers Burke and Wills approached the coast of Carpetaria but
were forced to turn back when no path through the coastal marsh was
(ON, 12/01, p.2,3)
1861 Feb 13, In Australia the
4-man Burke party began their 700-mile return to Cooper’s Creek
under constant rain.
(ON, 12/01, p.2)
1861 Apr 17, In Australia
Charles Gray, the ex-sailor in the Burke party, was found dead in
his bed roll.
(ON, 12/01, p.2)
1861 Apr 21, In Australia the
Burke party of 3 reached Cooper’s Creek and found a message that the
4-man depot party under William Brahe had left earlier the same day
for Darling with 6 camels and 12 horses. The Burke party departed
Cooper’s Creek for the police station at Mount Hopeless, 150 miles
(ON, 12/01, p.3)
1861 Apr 29, In Australia the
Burke party shot one of their last 2 camels after it got stuck in
mud. Supplies were divided between the 3 men and one camel.
(ON, 12/01, p.4)
1861 May 7, In Australia the
lost Burke party encountered some Aborigines and partook of some
nardoo cakes that provided a euphoric effect.
(ON, 12/01, p.4)
1861 May 30, In Australia
William Wills returned to the Cooper’s Creek depot and left an
updated message as to the Burke party’s plight.
(ON, 12/01, p.5)
1861 Jun 29, Australian
explorers Robert O’Hara Burke and John King left William Wills in
search of Aborigines.
(ON, 12/01, p.5)
1861 Jul 2, Australian explorer
Robert O’Hara Burke died near Cooper’s Creek and John King pressed
on to look for native Aborigines. King later returned to William
Wills but found him dead. King continued to survive with the local
Aborigines until he was rescued. In 1991 Tom Bonyhady authored
"Burke and Wills: From Melbourne to Myth."
(ON, 12/01, p.5)
1861 Sep 18, Australian
explorer John King (d.1872) was found by a rescue party. A land
prospector or "squatter" touring the area in 1875 met an Aboriginal
woman who claimed to have witnessed Robert O’Hara Burke being shot
by John King, and he detailed her story in his journal. Historian
Darrell Lewis unearthed the story around 1990.
(ON, 12/01, p.5)(AFP, 7/23/11)
1862 Scotsman explorer John
McDouall Stuart crossed the continent from Adelaide to Port Darwin.
1863 Jan 25, James Morrill
(1824-1865), a British citizen, ended years of living among
Australian Aborigines after a shipwreck in 1846.
1864 Feb 17, Andrew Barton
"Banjo" Paterson (d.1941), Australian poet and journalist, was born.
He is best known for his song “Waltzing Matilda."
(HN, 2/17/01)(NG, 8/04, p.29)
1866 Jan 2, Gilbert Murray,
Australian born scholar who became the chairman of the League of
Nations, 1923 through 1928, was born.
1867 Mar 5, An abortive Fenian
uprising against English rule took place in Ireland. The
unsuccessful rebellion by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, known as
the Fenians, gave Australia it final generation of convicts. The
1999 book "The Great Shame and the Triumph of the Irish in the
English-Speaking World" by Thomas Keneally tells the story of the
Irish shipped to Australia.
(AP, 3/5/98)(SFEC, 9/26/99, BR p.1,6)
1869 In Australia Mother
Mary MacKillop (1842-1909), founder of the Sisters of St Joseph, was
excommunicated for inciting her followers to disobedience. The
bishop who punished her recanted three years later and she was
exonerated by a church commission.
1870 Henry Redford rustled a
thousand head of cattle from near Fairfield and drove them over a
thousand miles across uncharted desert to market in South Australia.
(NG, 12/97, p.56)
1871 In Australia Sister Mary
MacKillop (1842-1909) was briefly dismissed from the Roman Catholic
Church after her order of nuns exposed a pedophile priest. She and
47 other nuns were thrown onto the streets of Adelaide, relying on
the charity of friends to survive. In 2010 MacKillop was canonized
as Australia's first saint.
1872 Oct 19, World's largest
gold nugget (215 kg) was found in New South Wales, Australia.
1874 Sep 1, In Australia Sydney
General Post Office opened.
1875 Phylloxera, a sap-sucking
a pest of commercial grapevines, was recorded in Australia.
1877 In Australia Hermannsburg
was founded as a Lutheran mission in the Northern Territory.
(Econ, 6/19/10, p.45)
1878 Jan 19, The narrow-gauge
Ghan rail line was begun to serve cattle and sheep ranchers in the
outback. It reached Alice Springs in 1929. Camels from Afghanistan,
India and Pakistan were imported to help work on the line.
(SFEC, 10/10/99, p.T9)
1879 The Royal National Park,
Australia’s first national park, was officially gazetted.
(Hem., 1/97, p.56)
1880 Nov 11, In Australia Ned
Kelly (b.1855), outlaw, was hanged. The day before he died Kelly
wrote to the governor of the jail asking "permission for my friends
to have my body that they might bury it in consecrated ground."
Kelly was hanged at the Old Melbourne Gaol but documents show his
remains and those of 32 other executed prisoners were exhumed and
reburied at Pentridge Prison in 1929. In 2011 his headless remains
were identified using a DNA sample taken from Melbourne teacher
Leigh Olver, Kelly's sister Ellen's great-grandson. In 2011
Victorian state attorney general Robert Clark decided to return his
bullet-ridden bones to his descendants so they could meet his last
(WSJ, 9/21/00, p.A8)(SSFC, 1/14/01, BR p.6)(AP,
3/9/08)(AFP, 9/1/11)(AFP, 11/9/11)
1880 Sydney journalists J.F.
Archibald and John Haynes founded “The Bulletin" with an editorial
focus on political and business commentary, with some literary
content. The magazine shut down in 2008 due to falling circulation
blamed in part on the Internet.
1880 Melbourne, Australia, held
an Int’l. Exposition.
(Hem, 8/02, p.46)
1882 Jul 8, Percy Grainger,
composer, pianist, conductor (Hill Songs), was born in Melbourne.
1882 Aug 29, Australia defeated
England in cricket for the first time. The following day an obituary
appeared in the Sporting Times addressed to the British team.
1883 Davenport Bromfield
(1862-1954), a surveyor from Australia, ran away with Mary Ware
(1851-1935), a married mother of 3. They escaped to New Zealand and
then to San Francisco, where Bromfield became an established
surveyor in San Mateo County.
(Ind, 1/5/02, 5A)
1883 In Australia Charles Rasp,
a boundary rider on a remote sheep station in New South Wales,
discovered a silver mine that would become one of the biggest in the
world. Broken Hill Proprietary’s rich history began in a silver,
lead and zinc mine in Broken Hill, Australia. BHP was incorporated
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1PTOu1iN2w)(Econ 5/20/17, p.55)
1884 The Ghan rail line reached
(SFEC, 10/10/99, p.T9)
1884 The Six Foot Track, a
26-mile bridle trail joining Katoomba and Jenolan Caves, was first
mentioned in newsprint.
(Hem., 1/97, p.54)
1886 Peter "Black Prince"
Jackson (1861-1901), St. Croix-born boxer, won the Australian
heavyweight championship. In 1892 he won the British Empire title.
1886 The Clunies-Ross family
was granted the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean, about 2,700
kilometers (1,680 miles) northwest of Perth, by Queen Victoria.
Captain John Clunies-Ross, a Scottish trader, had landed there in
1887 A cyclone killed some 140
oyster crewmen in Broome, Australia.
(NG, 11/04, p.98)
1886-1952 Sister Elizabeth Kenny, Australian
nurse: "Some minds remain open long enough for the truth not only to
enter but to pass on through by way of a ready exit without pausing
anywhere along the route."
1888 The Queen Victoria
Building was built in Sydney, Australia.
(Hem, 6/96, p.64)
1888 George Chaffey, a
Canadian-born, irrigation expert, selected a site for an irrigation
colony near Mildurain Victoria. This led to the establishment of the
Chateau Mildura Winery. The name was changed to Mildara in 1937.
(SSFC, 4/29/01, p.E7)
1889 Jan 16, An Australian
record temperature of 128.5F, or 53.1C, was recorded in Cloncurry,
Queensland. Later investigations revealed that this temperature was
measured in an improvised screen made from a beer crate and that it
equated to 47–49 °C under standard conditions.
1889 Dec, The poem Clancy of
the Overflow by Banjo Paterson 1st appeared in the Christmas edition
of Australia’s Bulletin magazine.
(NG, 8/04, p.10)
1889 The Sydney Town Hall was
built and in the Italian Renaissance style. It was later restored.
(SFEC, 1/4/98, p.T4)
1890-1900 A gold mining boom led to the growth of
Kalgoorlie, 300 miles inland from Perth in Western Australia.
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T10)
1890-1900 Australia experienced a big drought that
caused a major retreat and reassessment by farmers.
1892 The Sydney Victorian style
Strand Arcade on George Street was built.
(SFEC, 1/4/98, p.T4)
1893 The Daly Waters Hotel and
Pub opened in the Northern Territory town of Daly Waters.
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T10)
1894 South Australia became the
first place in the world to let women stand for parliament.
(Econ, 10/22/16, p.34)
1895 A.A.B. Peterson, aka Banjo
Paterson, (1864-1941) wrote his poem Waltzing Matilda while on
holiday in Queensland, Australia. The name referred to a slang term
for drifting around the outback with a bedroll (your matilda) slung
over the shoulder. Christina Macpherson adopted the poem to the
Scottish tune “Thou Bonnie Wood o’ Craigielea." He later had his
image pictured on Australia's $10 bill.
(SFEC, 5/30/99, Z1 p.8)(NG, 8/04, p.24)
1895-1902 In Australia a drought over this period
was so severe that it helped nudge Australia’s 6 states into
uniting. It thus came to be called the federation drought.
1898 Sep 24, Howard W Florey,
pathologist, was born in Australia. He purified penicillin and won a
Nobel Prize 1945.
1899 In Australia Sidney Kidman
began cattle ranching in Anna Creek, South Australia. In 2015 his
descendants put the ten stations of S. Kidman & Co., reputed to
be the world’s biggest cattle ranch by area, up for sale.
(Econ, 10/3/15, p.68)
1900 Jan 19, In Australia
Arthur Paine (33), a delivery man whose daily work brought him into
contact with Central Wharf, died of Bubonic plague. A population of
black rats had been likely introduced to Australia on the first
fleet of ships carrying white settlers.
1900 Jul 9, Queen Victoria
signed The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, uniting 6
separate colonies under a federal government, effective Jan 1, 1901.
1900 In Australia Helena
Rubinstein (b.1871 in Cracow) opened a beauty shop and sold a cold
cream developed by a Hungarian chemist and relative, Jacob Lykusky.
(SFEM, 8/23/98, p.29)
1900 In Australia residents of
Roma, Queensland, struck natural gas while drilling deep for water.
(Econ, 6/2/12, p.50)
1901 Jan 1, The Commonwealth of
Australia became official as established in the July 9, 1900,
Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act. 6 colonies became an
independent federation with Edmund Barton as the 1st prime minister.
Although independent it still recognized Britain’s royalty as
Australia’s head of state. The governor-general, a representative of
the queen nominated by the prime minister, was appointed by the
(AP, 1/1/98)(SFC, 2/3/98, p.A7)(SFC, 12/31/00,
1901 Jul 28, Alfred Renton
Bryant Bridges (d.1990), aka Harry Bridges, American labor leader
who headed the West Coast Longshoremen’s Union, was born in
(SFC, 7/27/01, p.A21)(HN, 7/28/98)
1901 Dec 23, Australia's
Immigration Restriction Act 1901 was an Act of Parliament which
limited immigration to Australia and formed the basis of the White
Australia policy. The term was widely used to encapsulate a set of
historical policies that aimed to forbid people of non-European
ethnic origin, especially Asians (primarily Chinese) and Pacific
Islanders from immigrating to Australia. A dictation requirement was
ended in 1958 and the whole policy was ended in 1973. The term "wog"
(Westernized Oriental Gentleman) referred to non European immigrants
while "skippies" described Anglo-Saxons.
1902 Feb 27, Harry 'Breaker'
Morant (1864-1902) and Peter Handcock were executed for the murder
of 12 prisoners of war in the dying days of the Boer war. George
Witton had his death sentence commuted because it contained serious
errors. Morant, who volunteered to fight with the British in South
Africa, was born in England but became well known in Australia as a
poet and a horsebreaker. In 1980 the film ‘Breaker’ Morant was
produced in Australia. In 2010 Australia sent Britain a petition
calling for posthumous pardons for Morant and Handcock. The petition
argued the accused were denied the right to communicate with the
Australian government or relatives after their arrest and during
their trials and were refused an opportunity to prepare their cases.
1902 In Australia various
governments met at Corowa on the Murray River, to try to secure
their water supply.
(Econ, 2/23/08, p.60)
1904 The first regional art
gallery in New South Wales was built at Broken Hill.
(Hem., 2/97, p.94)
1906 Sep 1, Papua New Guinea
was placed under Australian administration, which continued to 1973.
5/28/11, SR p.17)
1907 Jul 4, Heavy weight champ
Tommy Burns (1881-1955) knocked out Bill Squires of Australia in the
first round in Colma, Ca.
1908 Aug 20, The American Great
White Fleet arrived in Sydney, Australia, to a warm welcome.
1908 Dec 26, Jack Johnson
(1878-1946) of Texas knocked out Tommy Burns in Australia to become
the 1st black world heavyweight boxing champion. He was not
officially given the title until 1910 when he beat Jim Jeffries in
Las Vegas. In 1913 Johnson fled the US because of trumped up charges
of violating the Mann Act's stipulations against transporting white
women across state lines for prostitution. Johnson held the title
until 1915. In 1920 he returned to the US, was arrested and served a
one year sentence in Leavenworth in Kansas, where he was appointed
athletic director of the prison.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Johnson_(boxer))(ON, 4/09, p.7)
1909 Feb 17, Marjorie Lawrence,
soprano (Venus-Tannhauser), was born in Australia.
1909 Jul 26, The SS Waratah
left Durban, South Africa, with 211 passengers and crew. The
steamship, enroute from Melbourne to London, was due in Cape Town 3
days later, but never arrived.
(Econ, 9/19/09, p.94)
1909 Aug 8, In Australia Sister
Mary MacKillop (b.1842) died. She had founded the Sisters of St
Joseph at age 24 and spent her life educating the poor and taking
learning to the harsh Outback. In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI recognized
a miracle in which she apparently cured a woman of cancer, paving
the way to making her Australia’s first saint.
1909 Dec 5, George Taylor made
the first manned glider flight in Australia in a glider that he
1910 Australia’s government
began removing Aboriginal children from their families, in what was
considered to be best for the children. The race was later estimated
to number about 60,000 nationally at this time, and was said to be
doomed to extinction. The policy continued into the 1970s. As many
as 100,000 children were seized from their parents creating what was
later called the "stolen generation."
(SFC, 5/29/97, p.A10)(SFC, 5/26/00, p.A20)(AP,
1911 Dec 22, The Commonwealth
Bank of Australia (CommBank) was founded as a government bank. In
1991 it became a public company.
1911 The Australian federal
government took control of the Northern Territory as part of a deal
to build a railway linking Adelaide to Darwin.
(Econ, 8/9/03, p.36)
1912 May 28, Patrick White,
Australian writer (The Tree of Man, The Eye of the Storm), was born.
1912 In Australia the Vlaming
Head Lighthouse was built on the North West Cape.
(SFEC, 11/14/99, p.T4)
1912 Australian pioneers
diverted the waters of the Murrumbidgee River to create one of the
biggest irrigation projects in the country.
(Econ, 12/11/10, p.54)
1912 The Australian Antarctic
Expedition of 1911-1914 began using an airplane to tow gear onto the
ice in preparation for their sledging journeys. The plane, the first
from France's Vickers factory, had not been seen since the
mid-1970s, when researchers photographed the steel fuselage nearly
encompassed in ice. Australian researchers stumbled on remains of
the plane on Jan 1, 2010.
1914 Aug 4, Britain and Belgium
declared war after German troops entered Belgium. The United States
proclaimed its neutrality. Britain’s entry also committed its
dominions of Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand and South
Africa. AS WWI started the financial press helped to cover up news
of a run on the Bank of England.
(HNQ, 7/24/98)(AP, 8/4/97)(Econ, 8/2/14,
p.45)(Econ, 9/27/14, p.70)
1914 Nov 9, The Australian
light cruiser HMAS Sydney wrecked the German cruiser Emden, forcing
her to beach on a reef on North Keeling Island in the Indian Ocean.
1914 Australia's Section 70 of
the Crimes Act prohibited a government employee from sharing
information without a supervisor’s permission.
1915 Apr 25, Australian and New
Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli in Turkey in hopes of attacking
the Central Powers from below. Allied soldiers, ANZAC, invaded the
Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey in an unsuccessful attempt to take the
Ottoman Turkish Empire out of the war. The allies were defeated in
one of the deadliest battles of the war.
(AP, 4/25/97)(SFC, 2/18/98, p.A18)(HN, 4/25/99)
1915 Aug 7, In the assault up
Russell's Top at Gallipoli 232 Australians died.
1915 Dec 18, In a single night,
about 20,000 Australian and New Zealand troops slipped away from
Gallipoli, undetected by the Turks defending the peninsula.
1916 Apr 26, Morris L. West,
novelist (Shoes of the Fisherman), was born in Australia.
1916 Jul 19, In the WWI Battle
at Fromelles, France, German machine guns and artillery left over
5,500 Australians and over 1,500 British killed, wounded or missing
in less than 24 hours.
(SFC, 7/20/10, p.A2)
1917 Sep 26, Australian Private
Thomas Hurdis (26) was wounded in Belgium, and died on Oct. 3 in a
US field hospital in France. His skull with a bullet lodged in bone
between his eyes was later put on display at the Mutter Museum of
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. On July 20, 2018, the
skull was buried in Hurdis' grave at the French Mont Huon Military
Cemetery in Le Treport in a ceremony attended by Hurdis' family and
1917 Oct 31, Australia and New
Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) defeated Ottoman troops to gain control
of a strategic crossroads at Beersheba that helped clear the way to
Jerusalem during World War I.
1918 Mar 23, Alick Wickham dove
200' into Australia's Yarra River.
1918 Australia established its
alternative vote for elections. This ranked candidates on the ballot
in order of preference.
(Econ, 4/30/11, p.13)
1918 The last quartz mines
closed in Ballarat.
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T9)
1919 Dec 10, Captain Ross Smith
became the first person to fly 11,500 miles from England to
1920 Mar 16, Leo McKern, actor
(Blue Lagoon, Help, Mouse that Roared, Rumpole of the Bailey), was
born in Sydney, Australia.
1920 Nov 3, Oodgeroo Noonuccal
[Kath Walker], Australian Aboriginal poet, was born.
1920 Australia-based Qantas
Airlines was founded as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial
Services Ltd. Regular passenger service began in 1922.
1921 Big Flat, Australia, near
Coober Pedy. Opals were discovered. Today 70% of the local people
(3,500) live underground in former mines and specially dug caves
since it gets so hot in the summer (130 degrees). Coober Pedy
is derived from the aboriginal term "kupa piti," which means
white man’s hole.
(WSJ, 6/12/95, p.A-12)
1922 Nov 2, Australian Qantas
airways began service.
1922 Vegemite, a salty,
slightly bitter spread made from brewer's yeast, was introduced by
Australian chemist Cyril Callister for the Fred Walker Cheese
Company in Melbourne. The company wanted a Vitamin B-rich spread
that could compete with Britain's popular Marmite. The name came in
a 1923 national poll. In 2009 Kraft Foods Australia announced that a
creamier variation of Vegemite would be on store shelves July 5
alongside the original.
1922 Reginald Arthur Borstel
(b.1875), Australian artist, died. He was known for his ship
(SSFC, 3/27/05, p.B5)
1922 Henry Lawson (b.1867),
Australian poet, died.
(NG, 8/04, p.1)
1922 In Australia Colin
Campbell Ross was hanged for raping and murdering Alma Tirtschke
(12) and dumping her body in an alley in 1921. In 2008 the city of
Melbourne posthumously pardoned him for the crime after new tests
found crucial evidence against him was flawed.
1926 Nov 7, Joan Sutherland,
operatic singer, was born in Sydney, Australia. She retired in 1990
and in 1998 published her autobiography.
(WSJ, 3/25/98, p.A20)(HN, 11/7/98)(MC, 11/7/01)
1927 A new law prohibited
hunters from killing koalas for their pelts.
(SFC, 7/29/00, p.E3)
1928 Feb 7, Australian Bert
Hinkler took off from London in a two-seat Avro 581E Avian biplane
on the first leg of his solo flight from England to Australia.
1928 Feb 22, Australian Bert
Hinkler ended his 11,250-mile adventure in Darwin, Australia, after
flying 128 hours in less than 16 days. The unassuming Hinkler's
grueling flight was little noted by the press until he reached
India, then the world press got caught up in the drama of another
"Lone Eagle" performance so soon after Charles A. Lindbergh's
transatlantic flight. As he plotted a course across Asia and the
Timor Sea using a London Times atlas as his navigational chart, a
newspaper editor dubbed him "Hustling Hinkler," a nickname later
immortalized by the American Tin Pan Alley hit song, "Hustling
Hinkler Up in the Sky."
1928 Jun 9, Charles
Kingsford-Smith & Charles Ulm were the 1st to fly across the
Pacific when they ended their flight from California to Brisbane,
(NPub, 2002, p.11)
1928 Capt. Harry Lyon navigated
the southern Cross on its epic flight from San Francisco Bay to
(SFC, 8/15/03, p.E9)
1928 The Bathers Pavilion
Restaurant opened on Sydney’s Balmoral Beach.
(SFEC, 1/4/98, p.T5)
1929 Aug 6, The 1,360 km. Ghan
rail line reached Alice Springs. It was named after Afghan camel
drivers who predated the railway. In 2004 service was extended to
(SFEC, 10/10/99, p.T9)(SSFC, 10/26/03, p.C2)
1930 Apr 29, Telephone
connection England-Australia went into service.
1930 May 24, Amy Johnson became
the first woman to fly from England to Australia.
1930 Oct 8, Paul Hogan,
Australian actor (Crocodile Dundee, Lightning Jack), was born.
1931 Feb 23, Nellie Melba
(Helen Mitchell), Australian soprano, died.
1931 Mar 11, Rupert Murdoch,
media baron, was born in Melbourne, Australia.
1931 Jul 28, Hubert Wilkins,
Australian explorer, set out from England for Norway aboard the
submarine Nautilus. The ship was the former US WW I vessel O-12.
Wilkins planned to reach the North Pole but failed. [see Aug 28]
(ON, 1/02, p.8)
1931 Dec 11, The Statute of
Westminster recast the British Empire as a Commonwealth of Nations.
1931 Arnhem Land in northern
Australia was made an Aboriginal reserve.
(SFEC, 2/28/99, p.T1)
1931 The last lesser bilby
(Macrotis leucura), a small marsupial with rabbit-like ears, was
collected. It had been widespread in Australia’s sand dune deserts
and Aborigines reported that a few survived into the 1960’s.
(Nat. Hist., 4/96, p.17)
1932 Mar 19, Sydney Harbor
Bridge, Australia, officially opened.
1932 Dec 19, The British
Broadcasting Corp. began transmitting overseas with its "Empire
Service" to Australia.
1932 Sydney’s Harbor Bridge
between north and south Sydney was completed after 10 years. It was
supposed to be the world's longest single-span bridge on completion,
but New York’s Bayonne Bridge beat it by 25 inches.
(SFEC, 1/4/98, p.T1)(USAT, 9/17/99, p.1D)(SFEC,
1932 Phar Lap, an Australian
race horse, took ill and died after being taken to the United
States. The giant New Zealand-born chestnut became an icon in
Australia during the Great Depression, winning 37 of his 51 races,
including one Melbourne Cup in 1930 and two Cox Plates in 1930 and
1931. In 2008 tests proved that Phar Lap was poisoned by arsenic.
1933 Sep 14, Zoe Caldwell,
actress (Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), was born in Australia. In 2001
Caldwell authored “I Will Be Cleopatra: An Actress’s Journey."
(www.infoplease.com)(SSFC, 12/16/01, p.M4)
1934 The Australian song
"Kookaburra" was penned by teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides
Jamboree. In 1990 music company Larrikin acquired the rights to
"Kookaburra." In 2010 the Australian band Men at Work were found
guilty of plagiarizing the children's ditty in their 1980s hit "Down
Under" after a court battle involving two of the nation's most
1935 In Australia cane toads
(Bufo marinus) from Hawaii were introduced to wipe out beetles that
were devastating Queensland's sugar cane industry. The beetles
survived and the toads became a pest and a threat to the native
quolls, small spotted marsupials. On March 28, 2009, a festive mass
killing of the creatures began as “Toad Day Out." The corpses were
turned into fertilizer for the very farmers who've battled the pests
for years. In 2010 scientists reported that cat food attracts
carnivorous meat ants, which swarm over and munch on baby toads
killing 70 percent of them.
(Econ, 7/12/03, p.38)(SFC, 6/10/06, p.B8)(AP,
1935 A 2nd cyclone again killed
some 140 oyster crewmen in Broome, Australia. [see 1887]
(NG, 11/04, p.98)
1937 In Australia the
assimilation of mixed-blood Aborigines, by force if necessary, was
adopted as official policy at a meeting of federal and state
officials, while Aborigines living a "tribal life" are to stay on
1938 Jul 28, Robert Hughes
[Studley Forrest], writer, critic, was born in Australia.
1938 Xavier Herbert authored
“Capricornia," a sweeping novel of social relations between
Australia’s white majority and indigenous aboriginals in the far
north. The novel became a classic example of well-intentioned social
(Econ, 3/3/07, p.89)
1939 Jan 29, Germaine Greer,
feminist, author (Female Eunuch), was born in Melbourne, Australia.
1939 Apr 26, Following a period
during which the Country Party leader, Sir Earle Page, was caretaker
Prime Minister, Robert Gordon Menzies (1894-1978) was elected Leader
of the UAP and was sworn in as PM.
1939 Sep 3, Britain and France
declared war on Germany, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland.
After Germany ignored Great Britain's ultimatum to stop the invasion
of Poland, Great Britain declares war on Germany, marking the
beginning of World War II in Europe. France follows 6 hours later
quickly joined by Australia, NZ, South Africa & Canada.
(AP, 9/3/97)(HN, 9/3/98)(MC, 9/3/01)
1939 Australia set up a wheat
board for growers to market their crops collectively and get better
prices. The AWB was privatized in 1999 and later quoted on the stock
(Econ, 7/30/05, p.59)
1940 Jul 1, Australia refused
entry to Dutch Jewish refugees.
1940 Aug 16, Bruce Beresford,
Australian film director, was born. His films include "Breaker
Morant" and "Driving Miss Daisy."
1940 Aug 31, Jack Thompson of
Australia, actor (Breaker Morant), was born.
1940 Nov 8, The MV City of
Rayville, an American freighter carrying a cargo of lead, wool and
copper from Australia to New York, sank in the Bass Strait after
striking a German mine, a year before the United States entered the
war. One seaman drowned while trying to recover personal items from
the sinking vessel but 37 other crew survived. In 2009 the wreck was
found off of Australia’s southeastern coast.
1940 Australia found itself
with a hung parliament. Robert Menzies (1894-1978) relied on 2
independent parties to stay in power, but the arrangement collapsed
a year later.
1941 Jan 21, Australia &
Britain attacked Tobruk, Libya.
1941 Jan 22, British and
Australian troops captured Tobruk from Italians.
1941 Feb 5, Andrew Barton
"Banjo" Paterson (b.1864), Australian poet and journalist, died. He
is best known for his song “Waltzing Matilda."
1941 Nov 19, The ship HMAS
Sydney was sunk off the west coast of Australia in a battle with the
German raider Kormoran, with the loss of all 645 on board. The
Kormoran also sank, but 318 of the German vessel's crew of 397 were
rescued. The 9,500 ton Kormoran had been disguised as a Dutch
merchant ship when it opened fire on the Sydney. The government
banned all media from reporting the news for 12 days as it scrambled
to explain what happened. In March, 2008, the wrecks of the Kormoran
and the Sydney were found. In 2009 a military inquiry said Navy
Capt. Joseph Burnett made "errors of judgment" in the tragedy.
(AFP, 8/10/07)(AP, 3/16/08)(Reuters, 4/8/08)(AP,
1941 Dec 7, Australian bombers
landed on Timor and Ambon.
1942 Feb 19, Port Darwin, on
the northern coast of Australia, was bombed by about 150 Japanese
warplanes; at least 243 people were killed. General George C.
Kenney, who pioneered aerial warfare strategy and tactics in the
Pacific theater, ordered 3,000 parafrag bombs to be sent to
Australia, where he thought they might come in handy against the
Japanese. Darwin was virtually leveled by 64 bombing raids over 21
(HN, 2/19/98)(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T10)(AP, 2/19/08)
1942 May 31, In Australia 3
midget submarines slipped into the Sidney Harbor after being
launched from a fleet of five larger Japanese submarines offshore.
Two were spotted and attacked, leading the two-man crews to commit
suicide. A 3rd midget submarine managed to fire two torpedoes at the
US heavy cruiser USS Chicago, one of which exploded beneath an
Australian depot ship HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 sailors. In 2006 the
M24 midget submarine was found by scuba divers in deep waters off
the coast. In 2007 the Australian government decided to leave the
M24 and its 2 Japanese sailors undisturbed on the seabed.
(AFP, 11/24/06)(AFP, 5/23/07)
1942 Oct 26, In the 4th day of
the battle at El Alamein (Egypt) the Australians made a
1942 Oct 30, On the 8th day of
battle at El Alamein a new Australian assault began.
1943 Mar 2, The battle of the
Bismarck Sea began. US and Australian warplanes were able to inflict
heavy damage on a Japanese convoy.
1943 Mar 3, US defeated Japan
in the Battle of Bismarck Sea.
1943 May 7, Peter Carey,
Australian writer (Illywhacker, Oscar and Lucinda), was born.
1943 May 14, Australia’s AHS
Centaur was sunk without warning after it was torpedoed by a
Japanese submarine. Of the 332 people on board, only 64 survived. In
2009 deep-sea searchers found the wreck of the hospital ship off the
city of Brisbane.
1943 May 19, Billy Sing
(b.1886), credited with being the most successful and feared sniper
in the Gallipoli campaign, died in Australia. The Australian-Chinese
war hero was credited with having killed more than 200 enemy
soldiers. In 2010 a television film, "The Legend of Billy Sing,"
raised the ire of the Australian-Chinese community because it
featured a white actor as Billy Sing.
1943 Jun 14, A US Army B-17
took off from Mackay, Australia, and crashed in fog at nearby Bakers
Creek, killing 40 of the 41 servicemen crammed into the bomb bay and
crannies of the aircraft. Wartime censorship restrictions suppressed
news of the crash.
1943 A draught occurred in the
outback of Western Australia.
(NH, 2/97, p.12)
1944 Jan 18, Paul Keating was
born in Sydney, Australia. He later became the 24th Prime Minister
of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996.
1944 Apr, Nancy Wake
(1912-2011), a New Zealand-born Australian, parachuted back into
France before D-Day, tasked with helping distribute weapons to
Resistance fighters. She became known as the "The White Mouse" for
her ability to evade the Germans. She and her husband had helped
Allied servicemen and Jewish refugees escape into Spain before she
took her partner's advice and fled to England in 1943.
1944 Sep 12, A US submarine
patrol that included the USS Pampanito, the Growler and the Sealion
II, came upon a Japanese convoy carrying war material. The Japanese
transport Kachidoki Maru, carrying over 900 British soldier, was
sunk by the Pampanito. Much of the convoy was sunk including most of
some 2,000 Allied prisoners of war. The subs after chasing
stragglers of the convoy returned to find 159 British and Australian
survivors clinging to wreckage [see Sep 15]. Some 1000 POWs from
Australia were on the Japanese freighter Enoura Maru sunk by the USS
Sealion. Alistair Urquhart of Scotland, a prisoner on the Kachidoki
Maru, was picked up 5 days later by a Japanese whaling ship and
taken to Japan, where he was forced to work in a coal mine.
Kachidoki Maru had been captured earlier in the war as the President
Harrison home ported in SF. The Pampanito was later berthed as a
visitor attraction in SF. In 2008 Urquhart (89) visited the
(SFC, 5/27/97, p.A17)(SFC,12/5/97, p.C3)(SFC,
1944 Sep 15, The submarine USS
Pampanito picked up 73 allied prisoners left adrift following the
Sep 12 submarine attack on a Japanese convoy that included the
transport ships Rakuyo Maru and Kachidoki Maru.
(SFC, 3/18/09, p.B2)(SSFC, 9/15/19, p.A2)
1944 Nov 8, In Hungary Peter
Balazs (18) was fatally beaten to death for failing to wear a yellow
star marking him as a Jew. In 2009 Australia agreed to extradite
Charles Zentai (87) to face charges regarding the fatal beating of
Balazs. In 2012 Australia said Mr Zentai cannot be surrendered for
extradition because the offence of 'war crime' did not exist under
Hungarian law at the time of his alleged criminal conduct.
1945 Australian soldier Edward
Kenna (d.2009 at 90) single-handedly stormed a Japanese machine-gun
nest at Wewak, New Guinea, firing a Bren gun from his hip with enemy
bullets passing under his arms as he advanced. Kenna was awarded a
Victoria Cross for his valor.
1947 Joan Sutherland made her
operatic debut in Sydney.
(WSJ, 3/25/98, p.A20)
1948 Australia’s produced its
first locally made car, a Holden FX. In late 2013 Holden, a part of
General Motors, said it would quit in 2017.
(Econ, 2/15/14, p.58)
1951 Jul 31, Evonne Goolagong,
Australian tennis player and first aborigine in an international
sport, was born.
1952 Oct 3, The British
detonated their 1st atomic bomb, a 25-kiloton device, in the Monte
Bello Islands off Australia. In 1998 a visit to the islands was
limited to one hour due to lingering radiation.
(SFC, 1/2/99, p.A14)(SFC, 3/13/02, p.A26)(AP,
1952 In Australia Rupert
Murdoch (21) inherited 2 fledgling newspapers in Adelaide. By 2003
his empire generated $17 billion a year in revenues.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)(Econ, 8/30/03, p.61)
1953 May 25, Jane Priest,
Prince Charles' lover, was born in Perth, Australia.
1954 Feb 3, Millions greeted
Queen Elizabeth in Sydney on her first royal trip to Australia.
1954 Sep 8, SEATO (Southeast
Asia Treaty Organization), a sister organization to NATO, was
created under the Manila Pact by the Southeast Asia Collective
Defense Treaty, to stop communist spread in Southeast Asia (Vietnam,
Cambodia and Laos). The United States, Australia, France, Great
Britain, New Zealand, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand signed
the mutual defense treaty. SEATO dissolved in 1977.
1954 In Australia Evdokia
Petrov (d.2002), Soviet Union spy, was abducted by Soviet agents
after she and her husband Vladimir Petrov (d.1991), the third
secretary at the Soviet embassy in Australia, defected. Australian
police snatched her back as her plane stopped for fuel in
1956 Nov 22, Melbourne opened
the 16th Olympiad. 65 countries and 4,276 athletes competed. Closing
ceremonies were held on Dec 8. The Netherlands and Spain withdrew
from the summer Olympics in support of Hungary following Russia’s
invasion. 45 athletes from Hungary defected during the games. Egypt,
Lebanon and Iraq boycotted the games in protest over British and
French actions over the Suez Canal. China boycotted protesting the
inclusion of athletes from Taiwan.
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T8)(WSJ, 9/15/00, p.A1)(WSJ,
1956 In Australia Joaquin
Capilla (27) of Mexico won a bronze medal for springboard diving and
a gold for platform diving.
1956 In Australia Murray Rose
(1939-2012) became an Olympic champion winning the first of his
three gold medals at the Melbourne Games in the 4 x 200m freestyle
1957 Japan’s PM Nobusuke Kishi
visited Australia and signed a commerce treaty. He was the country’s
first post-war prime minister to visit Australia.
(Econ, 7/12/14, p.37)
1958 Jun 19, Entrepreneurs
Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin sought a trademark for a plastic
cylinder based on a similar toy in Australia. Wham-O began selling
the Hula Hoop following a demonstration of a rattan hoop imported
from Australia. After one year teenagers in the US purchased some
100 million hoops at a suggested retail price of $1.98.
(SFC, 7/1/02, p.B5)(SFC, 6/19/08, p.C3)
1958 Oct 1, Britain transferred
Christmas Island (south of Java) to Australia.
1958 Nov 30, Australian
explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins (70) died. In 1959 the USS Skate became
the 1st submarine to surface at the North Pole and the ship’s crew
held a funeral service and scattered the ashes of Wilkins (d.1958),
who had attempted the feat in 1931.
(ON, 1/02, p.9)
1958 Slim Dusty (1927-2003),
Australian country music singer, made a hit with the song "A Pub
With No Beer."
(SFC, 9/20/03, p.A21)
1959 Aug 31, Australia defeated
the US for tennis' Davis Cup.
1960 Jan 2, Australia recorded
a record temperature of 50.7° C at Oodnadatta.
1960 Australia ended a 22-year
ban on the export of iron-ore. The ban had been imposed to protect
its steel industry.
(Econ, 1/26/17, p.34)
1961 In Australia the Packer
family bought The Bulletin magazine (1880-2008), scrapped its racist
masthead ("Australia for the White Man"), and entered a period of
strong growth, high circulation and influence.
1961 Australia’s federal
Marriage Act was enacted, but it did not define marriage. In 2004
the act was amended to say that “marriage is the union of a man and
a woman to the exclusion of all others".
1962 Australia granted
Aborigines the right to vote.
(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.14)
1963 Sep 18, The USSR ordered
58.5 million barrels of cereal from Australia.
1964 Nov 10, Australia began a
draft to fulfill its commitment in Vietnam.
1964 Donald Home authored “The
Lucky Country." His intent in writing the book was to document
Australia's climb to power and wealth. The title has become a
nickname for Australia and is generally used favorably, although the
origin of the phrase was negative.
1965 Apr 29, Australian
government announced it would send troops to Vietnam.
1965 In Australia the Hazelwood
power station in Victoria started generating electricity. In 2017
the coal-powered station was closed, following ten others closed
over seven previous years.
(Econ, 4/1/17, p.65)
1965 New Zealand signed a free
trade deal with Australia.
(Econ, 2/11/17, p.62)
1966 Mar 8, Australia announced
that it would triple the number of troops in Vietnam.
1966 Mar 27, Anti-Vietnam war
demonstrations took place in US, Europe and Australia.
1966 Aug 18, Australians
bloodily repulsed a Viet Cong attack at Long Tan, South Vietnam.
1967 Feb 3, Ronald Ryan
(b.1925) was the last person executed in Australia.
1967 May 27, Australians
approved a referendum to amend the constitution to allow the federal
government to make laws for indigenous Australians and to include
them in the national census. The referendum became law on August 10.
1967 Dec 17, Australia’s PM
Harold Holt (59) plunged into the surf at Victoria during a stroll
on the beach and vanished. In 2005 a coroner officially confirmed
that Holt had drowned.
(SFEM, 10/11/98, p.26)(AP, 9/2/05)
1967 Exmouth was founded near
the tip of the North West Cape in western Australia as a support
base for a US Naval Communications Station.
(SFEC, 11/14/99, p.T1)
1967 Australia pressured
mining-company officials to develop the Panguna mine on
Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, in the face of local opposition.
Cabinet minutes of this were not declassified until 1998.
(WSJ, 3/18/98, p.A14)
1968 Feb 26, Lionel Rose
(1949-2011) outpointed Fighting Harada in Tokyo and became a
national sports hero and an icon for Australia's indigenous
community. Hundreds of thousands lined Melbourne's streets to
welcome him home after his title triumph. He lost the world
bantamweight title to Mexican Ruben Olivares in a fifth-round
knockout in August 1969.
1969 Jun 2, Australian aircraft
carrier Melbourne sliced the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans in half
during NATO maneuvers off the shore of South Vietnam. 74 US sailors
(HN, 6/2/98)(SFC, 6/19/08, p.B5)
1969 The Indian Pacific Railway
was completed with a new standard gauge from Sydney to Perth, 2,720
miles. Until this time different rail lines employed different
(SFEM, 10/11/98, p.29)
1969 At their peak in 1969,
68,889 combat troops from Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of
Korea, Thailand and the Philippines were deployed in Vietnam.
1969 Filippo Casella began
making wine in Australia after having moved from Italy. Casella
Wines introduced their Yellow Tail brand in 2001.
(SFC, 1/5/06, p.F2)
1970 Jan 12, In Australia
British toddler Cheryl Grimmer (3) was kidnapped from a changing
area after spending a morning at the seaside with her mother and
three brothers near the city of Wollongong in New South Wales (NSW).
In 2020 NSW authorities upped the reward on the cold case to one
million Australian dollars (£528,000) for information leading to
arrest and conviction.
(The Telegraph, 1/12/20)
1970 Apr 29, In Australia a
large wooden log was placed on the winding track in front of a royal
train carrying Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip to the
town of Orange. The train did not derail as it was traveling too
slowly. The incident was only revealed in 2009 by a retired
1970 Jul 2, Jessie Street
(b.1889), Australian civil rights activist, died.
1970 Nov 3, An Australian
bomber crashed in Vietnam near the Laos border. The bodies of Flying
Officer Michael Herbert (24) and navigator, Pilot Officer Robert
Carver (24), were listed as missing until their remains were
discovered in 2009. They were the last of Australia’s Vietnam era
1970 Germaine Greer (b.1939),
Australian academic writer, published "The Female Eunuch." The work
insisted on women's right to free sexuality and vaginal pleasure. In
1999 Christine Wallace published the biography: "Germaine Greer:
(SFEC, 7/4/99, BR
1970 The film "Walkabout" by
Nicolas Roeg was produced. It was about the Australian aborigines.
(SFC, 12/29/96, DB p.8)
1970 In Australia the last laws
granting authorities wide powers to take Aboriginal children away
from their families were abolished. Many Aborigines said statistics
show the government is still far more likely to take Aboriginal
children into foster care for reasons such as abuse than white
children. Estimates put the number of children taken since 1910 at
(AP, 1/30/08)(Econ, 2/2/08, p.50)
1970 Leonard Casley, a wheat
farmer in Western Australia, declared his property independent and
styled himself as Prince Leonard I.
(Econ, 12/24/05, p.85)
1970-1979 In the 1970s the Australian government
took over the Ghan rail line, running from Adelaide to Alice
Springs, and upgraded the tracks to standard gauge. The last Ghan
steam engine was replaced in 1982.
(SFEC, 10/10/99, p.T9)
1971 Jun 13, The Broderick
nonuplets were born in Sydney, Australia. None of the five boys (two
stillborn) and four girls live for more than six days.
1971 Jul 18, New Zealand and
Australia announced they would pull their troops out of Vietnam.
1971 Nov 1, The Five Power
Defense Arrangements were concluded by the defense ministers of
Australia, Britain, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. In 2017 it
was upgraded to deal with terrorism threats and new security
(Econ, 11/5/11, p.54)(AP, 6/2/17)
1971 Sidney Nolan (1917-1992),
Australia’s best known modernist, created a piece called “Snake." It
was composed of 1,620 individual panels.
1971 Australia joined with New
Zealand and 14 independent of self-governing island nations to form
the South Pacific Forum. The name was changed in 2000 to Pacific
Islands Forum. Member states include: Australia, the Cook Islands,
the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall
Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa,
the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Since 2006,
associate members territories are New Caledonia and French
1971 Hunting crocodiles, aka
"salties," was banned in the Northern Territory.
(WSJ, 1/24/00, p.A1)
1971 In Australia Harold Thomas
(b.1947), an Aboriginal artist, designed a flag as a banner for a
campaign to allow Aboriginals to reclaim their traditional lands. In
1995 the flag was made an official "Flag of Australia". In 2018
Thomas sold exclusive rights to the flag to WAM Clothing. Until 2018
the flag had been reproduced freely.
1971-1972 In Australia William McMahon (1908-1988)
served as the country’s 20th prime minister. He retained his seat in
parliament until his retirement in 1982. He was later remembered as
one of the country's least popular leaders.
1972 Dec 2, In Australia
Neville Bonner (1922-1999) became the first Aborigine to be elected
to the federal Parliament. In 1971 he became the first Aboriginal
person to sit in the Commonwealth parliament when he was chosen to
fill a vacancy in the Senate caused by the resignation of a Liberal
senator for Queensland.
1972 Dec 5, Gough Whitlam
(1916-2014), labor leader, became the 21st prime minister of
Australia. He served to Nov 11, 1975.
1972 Dec 15, The Commonwealth
of Australia ordered equal pay for women.
1972 Australia and Indonesia
agreed to a maritime boundary set by the deepest point between them
in the Timor Sea.
(Econ, 6/8/13, p.44)
1973 May 12, In Australia the
northeast town of Nimbin was on the verge of closing when a group of
university students held the Aquarius hippy festival in a nearby
paddock. Many hippies put down roots and build an alternate culture.
By 2007 Nimbin's marijuana smoking reputation had become global with
busloads of young foreign tourists.
1973 Sep 18, Australia
abolished the death penalty.
(SFC, 1/9/02, p.A8)(http://tinyurl.com/6bbah5)
1973 Sep 21, The painting "Blue
Poles" by Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) sold for $2,000,000 to the
Australian National Gallery.
1973 Oct 20, Queen Elizabeth II
opened the Sydney Opera House built on Bennelong Point. It was
designed by Danish architect Joern Utzon and cost 102 million
Australian dollars, 14 times the original estimate. Utzon left the
project in 1966. In 2000 Utzon was named consulting architect and in
2003 was called back to redo the interiors.
(SFEC, 1/4/98, p.T4)(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T12)(WSJ,
10/2/03, p.D10)(Econ, 7/15/06, p.83)
1973 Oct, Tony and Maureen
Wheeler produced the first Lonely Planet travel book, "Across Asia
on the Cheep," from a kitchen table in Australia. By 2002 it had 600
titles in print.
(SFEC, 8/29/99, p.T2)(SSFC, 1/18/04, p.C3)
1973 Patrick White (1912-1990),
British-born Australian, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1973 In Australia the
government eliminated its White Australia Policy, an immigration
policy which favored applicants from certain countries.
1974 May 20, Ian Fairweather
(b.1891), Scotland-born Australian artist, died. He lived for much
of his life as a recluse on Bribie Island, north of Brisbane. In
Murray Bail authored “Fairweather," a biography with color
reproductions. The book was expanded in 2009.
1974 Dec 25, The category 4
Cyclone Tracy reduced 90% of Darwin, Australia, to rubble. 65 people
died including 49 in the city and 16 at sea.
1974 In Australia the flooding
of Brisbane led authorities to build the Wivenhoe dam west of the
city in the hope of deterring another flood.
(Econ, 1/15/11, p.45)
1975 Jun 11, Australia’s Racial
Discrimination Act became law under Australia's multicultural policy
to protect minorities against intolerance. It is not enforced by
prison sentences or fines, but enables judges to make orders to
1975 Jun 21, The West Indies,
captained by Clive Lloyd won the first World Cup Cricket series,
beating Australia by 17 runs at Lords.
1975 Oct 16, In East Timor five
Australian journalists were killed when Indonesian troops overran
the border town of Balibo. A 6th died weeks later when Jakarta
launched a full-scale assault on Dili. In 2009 the film “Balibo," by
Australian director Rob Connolly, depicted the killings.
1975 Nov 11, Sir John Kerr,
Australia’s governor-general, fired PM Edward Gough Whitlam. He was
the 1st elected PM removed in 200 years. Kerr asserted his authority
as the constitutional representative of Queen Elizabeth. In 2020 the
"palace letters," correspondence between Kerr and Buckingham Palace,
were made public revealing that Kerr never informed the Queen
directly of his plan.
p.A14)(http://whitlamdismissal.com/)(Econ., 7/18/20, p.28)
1975 The mystery film "Picnic
at Hanging Rock" starred Rachel Roberts and Dominic Guard and was
directed by Peter Weir. It was set in 1900 in Australia.
(SFC, 7/1/98, p.E4)
1976 May 4, Australian PM
Malcolm Fraser announced that "Waltzing Matilda" would serve as his
country's national anthem at the upcoming Olympic Games.
1976 Malcolm Douglas
(1941-2010), Australia's original TV crocodile hunter, shot to fame
with the production of his first documentary, "Across The Top." He
had trekked across Australia's harsh hinterland filming his
encounters with poisonous snakes and ferocious reptiles.
1976 Australia’s federal
government passed legislation granting Aboriginal ownership to large
parts of the Northern Territory, kicking off a new movement to
reclaim traditional lands.
1976 Australian athletes won 5
medals, none of them gold, in the Montreal Olympics.
(WSJ, 9/21/00, p.A8)
1976 South Australia became the
first English-speaking jurisdiction to ban rape within marriage.
(Econ, 10/22/16, p.34)
1976 Dorothy Schiff (1903-1989)
sold the New York Post, founded in 1801, to Rupert Murdoch,
Australian media tycoon, for $30 million.
(WSJ, 4/7/07, p.P10)(www.ketupa.net/murdoch2.htm)
1977 Dec 18, Cyril Ritchard
(b.1897), Australia-born actor, died. He was awarded a Tony in 1955
for Supporting Actor in the musical “Peter Pan."
1977 The rock band INXS was
formed in Perth. Lead singer Michael Hutchence committed suicide in
1997 at a Sydney hotel.
1978 Jun 24, In Australia a
peaceful march was held in Sidney as a protest for gay rights and
the decriminalization of homosexuality. The protest was marred by
police brutality with 53 people arrested in subsequent scuffles. The
march also sparked the annual Sidney Mardi Gras parade that grew
into a major tourist spectacle.
1978 Oct, The Holden Commodore,
a medium to large sedan, began to be sold by Holden. It was
manufactured from 1978 to 2017 in Australia and from 1979 to 1990 in
New Zealand, with production in Australia ending on 20 October 2017.
From 2018 the Holden Commodore is fully imported from Opel Germany,
and is a badge-engineered Opel Insignia.
1978 Australia granted
self-government to its Northwest Territory, an area that covers
almost a fifth of the country.
(Economist, 9/29/12, p.46)
1978 Control of the Cocos
Islands was ceded to Australia by a descendent of the Clunies-Ross
family, which settled the Indian Ocean coral atolls in 1827.
(Econ, 12/24/05, p.84)
1979 Jul 11, The abandoned
78-ton US space station Skylab made a spectacular return to Earth,
burning up in the atmosphere and showering debris over the Indian
Ocean and Western Australia. Solar storms were blamed for Skylab’s
premature fall back.
(AP, 7/11/97)(SFC, 6/3/00, p.A6)(SFC, 3/7/06,
1979 The Australian film
"Breaker Morant" was directed by Bruce Beresford.
(SFEC,12/21/97, DB p.51)
1979 The Australian film "Mad
Max" starred Mel Gibson and was directed by George Miller. It was
filmed near Broken Hill in New South Wales.
(Hem., 2/97, p.91)(SFEC, 9/24/00, DBp.59)
1979 The Australian film "My
Brilliant Career" starred Judy Davis and Sam Neill. It was directed
by Gillian Armstrong.
(SFEC, 5/10/98, Par p.18)(SFEC, 9/24/00, DBp.59)
1979 Dr. J. Robert Warren first
observed an apparent bacterium in the lower part of stomach
biopsies. In 1982 Dr. Barry Marshall managed to grow the
slow-growing Helicobacter pylori bacterium in a culture. In 2005 the
Australian researchers won a Nobel Prize for their work.
(SFC, 8/7/97, p.A11)
1980 Aug 17, In Australia Lindy
Chamberlain’s 9-week baby, Azaria, was allegedly dragged away from a
family campsite at Uluru, or Ayers Rock, by a dingo. The body was
never found and Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and ex-husband Michael
Chamberlain were both convicted for the death but later exonerated
in a case which made global headlines. She was released after 4
years and the Meryl Streep film "A Cry in the Dark" was based on her
story. In 2012 a 4th coroner inquest ruled that a dingo was
responsible for the infant’s death.
(SFC, 4/10/98, p.A14)(AFP, 10/6/04)(AFP,
10/11/10)(SFC, 6/12/12, p.A2)
1981 Apr 29, In Sydney,
Australia, 16 patients died in a nursing home fire in suburban
1981 The Australian film
"Gallipoli" was directed by Peter Weir (b.1944).
(SFEC,12/21/97, DB p.51)
1981 The film "Mad Max II" with
Mel Gibson was filmed near Broken Hill in New South Wales,
(Hem., 2/97, p.91)
1981 Australia’s Great Barrier
Reef was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
(Econ, 5/31/14, p.77)
1982 Australian Thomas Keneally
authored "Schindler's List." He received his information from
Leopold Page (d.2001 at 87), No. 173 on Schindler’s list.
"Schindler's List," Steven Spielberg's drama about the Holocaust,
won Golden Globes for best dramatic picture and best director in
(AP, 1/22/99)(SFC, 3/14/01, p.C2)
c1982 Two Australian doctors,
Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, discovered Helicobacter pylori, a
bacterium that was later shone to cause stomach ulcers.
(SFC, 8/7/97, p.A11)
1983 Mar 5, The Australian
Labor Party won the federal election. The new prime minister, former
trade unionist Bob Hawke, had vowed to stop the Franklin River dam
from being constructed, and the anti-dam vote increased Hawke's
1983 Jul 1, In Australia the
High Court on circuit in Brisbane ruled by a vote of 4 to 3 in the
federal government's favor and prohibited Franklin River dam-related
clearing, excavation and building activities that had been
authorized by Tasmanian state legislation.
1983 Jul, The Tuna Task Force
(TTF) issued a draft plan of management. It contained 14
recommendations, the most important of which include the use of
catch-quotas, minimum limits on fish-size, limited-entry and further
limits on purse-seine operations. It was proposed that the plan
should come into effect at the beginning of the 1983-84 fishing
season (on 1 October 1993). Because of difficulties in reaching
agreement on all aspects, this target was not achieved. Australia,
New Zealand and Iceland pioneered Individual Transferable Quotas
(ITQs) for commercial fisheries.
1983 Sep 26, The Liberty of
the New York Yacht Club lost the America Cup to the Australia
II, owned by businessman Alan Bond. In 1851 the Schooner America
outraced the Aurora off the English coast to win a trophy that
became known as the America’s Cup. For 132 years the New York Yacht
Club had defeated all challengers to retain the prestigious
America’s Cup, the record for the longest winning streak in sports
8/22/97)(SFEC, 10/1/00, p.T4)
1983 Oct, In Australia Edwina
Boyle disappeared from her Melbourne suburb home. Her husband
Frederick William Boyle (35) of Carrum Downs, dismembered her, and
hid her body in a 44-gallon drum. In 2006 his son-in-law opened the
drum a found her remains. A post-mortem showed she died of a bullet
wound to the head. In 2008 Boyle was convicted of murder.
(AFP, 1/31/08)(Reuters, 2/9/08)
1983 Dec 12, Australia’s labor
government under Bob Hawke allowed its dollar to float.
5/28/11, SR p.3)
1983 Dame Roma Mitchell,
retired from the South Australia state Supreme Court after serving
(SFC, 3/6/00, p.A23)
1983 Pastor Brian Houston
founded his Hillsong congregation in Sidney, Australia. The
45-member congregation grew to 15,000 in 2005. Houston was the
author of the book “You Need More Money."
(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.11)
1984 Mar 28, Zoe, the 1st
frozen-embryo child, was born in Melbourne, Australia. Scientists
reported the birth 2 weeks later.
1984 Jul, In Australia Margaret
Tapp was strangled and her daughter Seana raped and later killed. In
2008 Melbourne police withdrew charges against Russell John Gesah,
accused in the murders, after DNA evidence used against him was
found to have been taken elsewhere and mistakenly tested with
samples from the Tapp murder scene.
1985 Apr 12, In Australia the
charred remains of Sandra White (34) were found in rural Victoria.
In 2009 Steven Hutton (54) was later accused of strangling her and
setting her on fire. He is alleged to have confessed to the killing
after being detained in a London psychiatric hospital following a
road accident in 1990. In 2009 he was set to be extradited from
1985 Oct 15, Shelley Taylor of
Australia made the fastest swim ever around Manhattan Island, doing
it in 6 hours 12 minutes 29 seconds.
1986 In Australia the
left-of-center Labor government began to implement an innovative
retirement system. It was based primarily on mandatory private
savings in plans called "superannuation funds."
1987 Jul 11, Australian Prime
Minister Bob Hawke won a third consecutive term, becoming the first
Labor Party leader in the country's history to be elected to three
straight terms in office.
1987 Nov 11, Vincent Van Gogh’s
painting "Irises" was bought from the estate of Joan Whitney Payson
by Alan Bond, an Australian businessman, for $53.9 million at
Sotheby’s in New York.
(HN, 11/11/98)(Econ, 11/18/06, p.79)
1987 Australian businessman
Alan Bond founded Bond University, the country’s first private
higher education institution.
(Econ, 6/13/15, p.62)
1987 Queensland, Australia,
began using a random placement system of cameras to help control
(Econ, 6/2/07, p.62)
1988 Jan 26, Australians
celebrated the 200th anniversary of their country as a grand parade
of tall ships sailed in Sydney Harbor, re-enacting the voyage of the
first European settlers.
1988 Apr 30, World Exposition,
Expo 88 opened in Brisbane, Australia.
1988 Dec 10, In Australia
American mathematician Scott Johnson (27) was found dead at the base
of a cliff near Manly’s North Head in Sidney. In 2020 police
arrested a man (49) and charged with murdering the Johnson.
1988 The Australian film “The
Dunera Boys" was based on the story of 2,000 Jews who fled to
England from Austria Germany in 1940 and were put on the passenger
ship Dunera bound for Australia, where they were interned in camps
(SFC, 10/8/05, p.B5)
1988 The film "Outback Bound"
was made near Broken Hill in New South Wales, Australia.
(Hem., 2/97, p.92)
1988 The Australian Capital
Territory (ACT), a region comprising Canberra, gained
(Econ, 6/17/06, p.50)
1988 Australia pioneered the
use of plastic money.
(Econ, 2/5/05, p.71)
1988 In Australia the
Murray-Darling Basin Commission was established to regulate water
use in the river system. In 2003 the mouth at Adelaide dried up for
a 2nd time since European settlement. 4 states shared the
Murray-Darling river system, which fed two-thirds of the country’s
(Econ, 7/12/03, p.38)(Econ, 4/24/10, p.41)
1989 Aug 13, Thirteen people
were killed when their hot air balloon collided with another over
the Australian outback near the town of Alice Springs. The two
balloons were flying at an altitude of 600 meters when one plunged
to the ground after the collision.
1989 Nov 6, The Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, initiated by Australia, began as
an informal Ministerial-level dialogue group with 12 members:
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand,
Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United States.
1989 The Australian film "Dead
Calm" was directed by Philip Noyce.
(SFEC,12/21/97, DB p.51)
1989 In Australia ATSIC was
established by Bob Hawke's Labor government through the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 (the ATSIC Act). It
took effect on 5 March 1990. It provided a means of
self-determination for indigenous people.
1989 Pernod Ricard SA acquired
the Australian wine brand Jacob’s Creek.
(WSJ, 9/7/05, p.B2)
1990 The Australian firm Thomas
Hardy & Sons, a family firm that had made wine for 160 years,
entered the market in Europe with an investment in Domaine de la
Baume in Languedoc, France.
(WSJ, 5/30/03, p.A3)
1990-1999 In the 1990s a movement began to
establish the Australian bilby, an long-eared, endangered marsupial
of the bandicoot family, as a symbol for an Australian Easter.
(WSJ, 3/25/05, p.A1)
1991 May 29, Coral Browne (77)
Australian actress, (Dreamchild, Ruling Class), died of cancer.
1991 Jul 4, In Australia Victor
Chang, who had earned an international reputation for his pioneering
work on heart transplant methods, was shot dead near his home as he
made his way to work. Phillip Choon Tee Lim and co-offender Chew
Seng Liew were imprisoned over the killing of Chang in the exclusive
Sydney suburb of Mosman, following a failed extortion attempt. In
2010 Lim (50) was extradited to Malaysia after serving 18 years in
1991 Aug 19, Yankel Rosenbaum
(29), an Australian Hasidic scholar, was killed in rioting that
erupted in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn following the
traffic death of a black child. Earlier in the day Gavin Cato (7)
had been hit and killed by a car in a Rabbi’s motorcade. On Oct 29,
1992, a New York City jury acquitted 17-year-old Lemrick Nelson of
Rosenbaum’s murder. In February 1997, a jury convicted Nelson and
Charles Price of violating Rosenbaum's civil rights. In 1998 Lemrick
Nelson Jr. was sentenced to 19 and 1/2 years in prison. In 1998 the
city settled a suit for $1.35 million brought by Jews who accused
City Hall of insufficient protection during the riots. In 2002
Lemrick Nelson and Charles Price had their verdicts thrown out and a
new trial scheduled. In 2005 NYC agreed to pay $1.25 million to
settle a suit brought by the Rosenbaum family.
(SFC, 4/1/98, p.A2)(SFC, 4/3/98, p.A2)(SFC,
1/8/02, p.A3)(SSFC, 6/19/05, p.A3)
1991 Dec 20, In Australia Paul
Keating took over as the country’s 24th prime minister. He continued
(Econ, 5/28/11, SR
1991 Dec 31, President Bush
arrived in Australia as part of a 12-day Pacific trip.
1991 In Australia a simple
formula of catchy children's tunes with sing-along lyrics and
entertaining dances was born when Anthony Field, Murray Cook and
Greg Page were studying to become pre-school teachers. They formed a
children's band called The Wiggles went on to become a global
cultural force. They planned to be the subject of an exhibition at
Sydney's Powerhouse Museum to celebrate their 20th year in 2011.
1991 Dame Roma Mitchell,
founder of the Australian Human Rights Commission, became governor
of South Australia state.
(SFC, 3/6/00, p.A23)
1991 A toxic algae bloom choked
a 1,000km stretch of Australia’s Darling River.
(Econ, 4/28/07, p.82)
1992 Mar 27, Lang Hancock
(b.1909), pioneer Pilbara tycoon, died. He was famous for
discovering the world's largest iron ore deposit in 1952 and
becoming one of the richest men in Australia,
1992 The Australian film
"Proof" was directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse.
(SFEC,12/21/97, DB p.51)
1992 The Australian film
"Romper Stomper" was directed by Geoffrey Wright.
(SFEC, 9/24/00, DBp.59)
1992 The Australian film
"Strictly Ballroom" was directed by Bazz Luhrmann.
(SFEC,12/21/97, DB p.51)
1992 Australia’s Keating
government passed a law requiring workers to set aside big chunks of
their income into a superannuation account for retirement. This
began to create a huge national retirement pool.
(WSJ, 12/6/05, p.A1)(Econ, 5/28/11, SR p.6)
1992 Australia’s High Court
accepted the concept of “native title," which struck down the
doctrine of British settlers that the land they found was terra
nullius (belonging to no one). The landmark Mabo decision resulted
in legislative recognition of native title rights over some
government-owned lands and years of acrimonious debate about the
(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.15)(AP, 1/30/08)(Econ,
5/28/11, SR p.11)
1992 In Australia the Labor
government of Paul Keating introduced a policy of mandatory
detention for asylum seekers, pending assessment of their claims.
(Econ., 4/25/15, p.24)
1992 Australia’s High Court
made the sterilization of retarded girls illegal if not medically
required, unless a court or tribunal approved it.
1992 The Australian wine firm
Thomas Hardy & Sons merged with a rival to create BRL Hardy.
(WSJ, 5/30/03, p.A3)
1992 In Yemen 2 hotel bombs
directed at US servicemen killed 2 Australians. The bombing was
later linked to Osama bin Laden, the scion of a wealthy Saudi
family. He was stripped of his Saudi citizenship in 1994.
(SFC, 8/14/96, p.A10,12)
1993 Aug 28, In Australia
Jeffrey Gilham (23) allegedly stabbed his father, mother and brother
to death in their Sydney home, but told police he killed his sibling
in a fit of rage after discovering he had murdered their parents. He
pleaded guilty in 1995 to the manslaughter of his brother (25),
escaping with a five-year good behavior bond. Gilham was eventually
charged with the killings of his parent in February 2006 after 13
years of campaigning by his paternal uncles. In 2009 Jeffrey Gilham
was sentenced to life in prison. In 2012 a court found Jeffrey
should be acquitted and not retried over the killing of his parents.
1993 Sep 23, Sydney, Australia,
was selected to host the 2000 Summer Olympics, beating Beijing by 2
votes. It was later revealed that 2 African members of the IOC had
been bribed the night before the vote.
(AP, 9/23/98)(SFC, 1/23/99, p.A1)
1993 China curbed satellite
dish sales and ownership after Rupert Murdoch, who had just bought
Star TV, said that satellite broadcasting threatened totalitarian
regimes by enabling viewers to bypass state controlled media.
(WSJ, 3/26/96, p.A-15)(SFC, 5/8/99, p.C1)(Econ,
1993 In Australia the Daintree
Eco Lodge and Spa opened in the rain forest of North Queensland.
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.C7)
1993 In Australia, a developer
bought a 260-acre site in Cardwell, Queensland, across from
Hichinbrook Island, the world’s largest island national park. His
$100 million plans to develop the site faced major opposition in
1998 even after 12 million was invested.
(SFC, 1/16/98, p.B4)
1994 Australia’s Labor
government passed native title laws.
1994 Australia’s foreign
minister, Gareth Evans, accused "freelance military personal and
business spivs" (shady dealers) in Thailand of providing refuge for
Khmer Rouge leaders and helping them get gems and timber out of
Cambodia. The statement was made after 2 Australians were murdered
by the Khmer Rouge.
(SFC, 6/7/96, p.A12)
1994 Australian states began
reforming water management.
(Econ, 11/5/16, p.19)
1994 Fires in Sydney,
Australia, killed 4 people and destroyed 1.9 million acres of
(SFC, 12/4/97, p.A18)
1994 The Hendra virus was first
discovered and named for the Australian suburb where it was found in
an outbreak that killed a horse trainer and 13 horses. It causes
flulike symptoms that can lead to pneumonia or encephalitis. It is
believed to originate in fruit bats in Australia and mainly infects
1995 Mar 5, An Australian yacht
broke in two and sank in heavy wind and fierce winds off the
Southern California coast, the first sinking in the history of
America's Cup racing; all 17 crew members were rescued.
1995 Australia's Northern
Territory introduced the world's first voluntary euthanasia
legislation, but it was overturned in 1997 by the federal
1995 Australia’s Macquarie Bank
won a tender to build the M2 toll road in Sydney by floating a
company that would own the road.
(Econ, 10/15/05, p.81)
1996 Feb 14, A failed Loral
Intelsat satellite launch caused a rocket to hit a village near the
Xichang Space Center in China’s southwest Sichuan province. China
acknowledged 6 deaths. US intelligence estimated the death toll at
200. The rocket was a new-generation Long March 3B. The satellite
was intended for TV shows in Latin America for Rupert Murdoch’s News
(WSJ, 2/16/96, p.A-1)(WSJ, 3/4/96, p. A-6)(SFC,
1996 Mar 2, The first
conservative government in 13 years was elected in a landslide
victory. John Howard with a pro-business coalition defeated the
reformist labor party of Paul Keating.
(WSJ, 3/4/96, p. A-1)(SFC, 11/27/98, p.A16)
1996 Mar 11, In Australia John
Howard was sworn in as prime minister.
(Econ, 3/11/06, p.40)
1996 Apr 23, Pamela Lyndon
Travers (96), Australia born writer (Mary Poppins), died in London.
1996 Apr 28, A lone gunman,
Martin Bryant (b.1967), killed 35 tourists visiting a colonial
prison on the Australian island of Tasmania. He was later sentenced
to 35 life terms in prison. Less than two weeks after the Port
Arthur massacre, Australia banned semi-automatic rifles and
p.A-1)(SFC, 11/22/96, p.A22)(AP, 3/28/19)
1996 Jun 8, China set off an
underground nuclear test blast. The Australian Seismological Center
reported a nuclear test by China having a body wave magnitude of
5.7, a middle range explosion, in the Lop Nor area of Xinjiang
Province. This was the 44th test since 1964.
(SFC, 6/8/96, p.A11)(AP, 6/8/06)
1996 Jul 1, The world’s first
voluntary suicide law was scheduled to go into effect in Australia.
The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act originated in Darwin. The
world’s first law making it legal for doctors to assist in the
suicides of terminally patients was passed by the Northern
Territories Parliament. The national parliament overturned the law a
year later and passed a law to prevent the country’s three
self-governing territories from legislating on the matter.
(WSJ, 6/27/96, p.A18)(SFC, 1/14/98,
p.C3)(Reuters, 7/27/05)(Econ, 10/22/16, p.34)
1996 Jul 7, The average cost of
a Big Mac in Australia was $1.97.
(SFC, 7/7/96, Parade, p.17)
1996 Jul, In Atlanta Australian
equestrian Gillian Rolton (1956-2017) broke multiple bones during a
cross-country ride, but remounted following two falls to finish the
competition and help her team win a gold medal.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tXL9atLwAo)(SSFC, 12/10/17, p.C11)
1996 Jul, In Sydney Ivan Milat
(b.1944), Australian outdoorsman, was jailed for life for murdering
seven backpackers. Milat killed three Germans, two Britons and two
Australians between 1989 and 1992. Their bodies were later found in
shallow graves in a remote forest southwest of Sydney.
1996 Aug 19, In Canberra,
Australia, protestors stormed the parliament in opposition to
changes in labor laws and proposed budget cuts to reduce the
(SFC, 8/20/96, p.A10)
1996 Aug 21, Rescuers worked to
save some 200 pilot whales on the southwestern coast near
Dunsborough. Most were herded to sea but 14 died.
(SFC, 8/22/96, p.E3)
1996 Sep 22, In Australia Bob
Dent became the first person to kill himself legally under the
world’s only voluntary euthanasia law.
(SFC, 9/27/96, p.A13)
1996 Oct 16, It was reported
that fossilized footprints of a stegosaurus dinosaur were discovered
stolen last week from Aboriginal grounds near Broome.
(SFC, 10/16/96, p.A10)
1996 Oct 16, The Australian
Senate called for self-determination in East Timor and supported
independence from Jakarta. The government had earlier recognized the
incorporation of East Timor into Indonesia.
(SFC, 10/17/96, A11)
1996 Oct, The rabbit calcivirus
was released. It quickly cut the rabbit population and forced eagles
to concentrate on road kill. Increased incidents of vehicle
collisions with eagles was reported.
(SFC, 1/18/96, p.A16)
1996 Nov 22, Martin Bryant, who
gunned down 35 people on Apr 28 at Port Arthur, Australia, was
sentenced to life behind bars with no chance for parole.
1996 The Australian film "Angel
Baby" by Michael Rymer won all the top Australian awards. It starred
John Lynch, Jacqueline McKenzie and Colin Friels.
(SFC, 1/31/97, p.D3)
1996 The Australian film
"Floating Life" starred Annette Shun Wah and Annie Yip. It was
directed by Clara Law. It was about a Hong Kong family that moves to
(SFC, 8/4/99, p.E3)
1996 The Australian film
"Shine" was produced. It rated a 5th place in the 1996 top 10 by one
reviewer. It was based on the life of pianist David Helfgott.
Geoffrey Rush won the 1997 Academy Award for best actor. A 1998 book
by Margaret Helfgott showed how the film twisted and perverted the
facts of Helfgott’s life.
(SFC, 12/29/96, DB p.31)(WSJ, 7/27/98, p.A12)
1996 Australia granted full
independence to its central bank.
(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.4)
1996 Australia’s Argyle diamond
mine left the De Beers cartel.
1997 Feb 4, The parliament
voted to begin the process of becoming a republic. A constitutional
convention was planned for the fall and delegates would decide on
how to put the issue to the electorate.
(WSJ, 2/5/97, p.A1)
1997 Mar 2, The Australian film
"Children of the Revolution" was released in the US.
(SFEC, 3/2/97, DB p.48)
1997 Mar 7, It was disclosed
that the reputed Aboriginal painter Eddie Burrup was actually
82-year-old Elizabeth Durack.
(SFC, 3/8/96, p.A11)
1997 Mar 13, It was revealed
that the 1995 award-winning autobiography of an Aboriginal woman,
"My Own Sweet Time, " was actually written by a 47-year-old white
man in Sydney named Leon Carmen.
(SFC, 3/14/97, p.A16)
1997 Mar 24, The Australian
Senate struck down the law passed by the Northern Territory’s
Parliament that allowed doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally
ill. The law might be reinstated in 2000 if the territory is granted
proposed statehood because under the constitution the national
Parliament cannot override state laws. A growing interest soon
developed in travel to Mexico to buy liquid pentobarbital
(Nembutol), which causes a painless death. The Australian government
later banned Philip Nitschke's book, "The Peaceful Pill Handbook"
(2006) which gives tips on everything from carbon monoxide to buying
pentobarbital in Mexico.
(SFC, 3/25/97, p.A12)(SFC, 1/14/98,
1997 Apr, Pauline Hanson
published her book "Pauline Hanson: The Truth." In it she warned
that Australia’s president in 2050 will be "Poona Li Hung," a
"lesbian of Indian and Chinese background...a part
machine...produced by a joint Korean-Indian-Chinese research team."
(SFC, 5/9/97, p.E3)
1997 Apr, The Australian comedy
film "Love Serenade" was shown at the SF Film Festival.
(SFC, 4/23/97, p.D3)
1997 Apr, The Australian film
"The Quiet Room" was released in the US.
(WSJ, 4/25/97, p.A12)
1997 May, The Cadbury Schweppes
company launched Yowies, miniature plastic bush animals covered in
chocolate with names such as Boof, Rumble and Ditty that quickly
became the champion in pester power.
(WSJ, 8/21/98, p.B1)
1997 Jul 4, It was reported
that Australia had sold 167 tons of gold over the last 6 months in
order to put the money into more productive assets.
(SFC, 7/4/97, p.C1)
1997 Aug 18, Burnum Burnum
(b.1936 as Henry James Penrith), Aboriginal activist, died at age
61. He had been a member of the "stolen generation," Aborigine
children taken from their families into government welfare.
(SFC, 8/19/97, p.A20)
1997 Oct 11, A photograph
titled "Piss Christ" at the National Gallery of Victoria in
Melbourne by Andres Serrano (47) was damaged when an attacker
wrenched it from the wall. The photograph depicted Jesus immersed in
urine. The next day an 18-year-old attacked the work with a hammer
while a companion diverted attention by pulling other pieces off the
(SFC, 10/14/97, p.B5)
1997 Nov 22, Michael Hutchence
(b.1960), lead singer for the Australian rock band INXS, committed
suicide at a Sydney hotel.
1997 Dec 3, Fires in the
southeast destroyed 38 houses and killed 2 firefighters. Up to 150
fires were raging in New South Wales.
(SFC, 12/4/97, p.A18)
1997 Dec 15, A government
report said that at least 1,045 retarded women and girls have been
sterilized since a 1992 law that made it illegal without special
1997 The Australian film "The
Castle" was directed by Rob Sitch.
(SFEC, 9/24/00, DBp.59)
1997 In Australia a national
inquiry said policies removing Aboriginal children from their
parents caused massive trauma to 100,000 children and their
families, and recommended the "stolen generation" be compensated.
The final report, "Bringing Them Home - Report of the National
Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Children from Their Families" was released. PM John Howard refused
an official apology.
1997 Australia’s Macquarie
Island, located about halfway between Australia and Antarctica, was
designated a World Heritage site as the world's only island composed
entirely of oceanic crust. It is known for its wind-swept landscape,
and about 3.5 million seabirds and 80,000 elephant seals migrate
there each year to breed. In 2009 researchers said a 1995 decision
to eradicate cats from Macquarie island allowed the rabbit
population to explode and, in turn, destroy much of its fragile
vegetation that birds depend on for cover.
1997 Australian businessman
Alan Bond was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of fraud.
(Econ, 6/13/15, p.62)
1998 Jan 13, A federal court
upheld the armed forces’ right to expel HIV-positive soldiers.
(SFC, 1/14/98, p.C3)
1998 Feb 7, Over 1000 defense
force personnel were called to help clean up parts of the Northern
Territory where the worst floods in 40 years resulted from the
overflowing Katherine River.
(SFC, 2/7/98, p.A5)
1998 May 26, In Australia the
first National Sorry Day was held, to acknowledge the wrong that had
been done to indigenous families and to allow healing process to
begin. Sorry Day is also in remembrance of mistreatment of the
Aboriginal people and not only to the children involved in the
Stolen Generation. The day was held annually until 2004. It was
renamed National Day of Healing from 2005, however, in September,
2005, the name reverted when the National Sorry Day Committee
decided to restore the name Sorry Day.
1998 Jul 7, The Senate passed a
law that scaled back Aboriginal land rights under threat by Prime
Minister John Howard to dissolve both houses and call for new
(SFC, 7/8/98, p.A12)
1998 Jul 11, It was reported
that dingoes from Mount Archer National park near the central
Queensland coast were stalking neighborhoods for food.
(SFC, 7/11/98, p.A8)
1998 Jul 29-1998 Jul 30, In
Australia giardia and cryptosporidium were found throughout the
water supply of Sydney. PM John Howard called the crises an
(SFC, 8/1/98, p.A11)
1998 Aug 5, It was reported
that Ian Murphy, founder of the Freedom Scouts, believed that a
million Indonesians planned to invade the country within 5 years.
His organization trained as a guerrilla force to hit and run and
protect Australia from attack.
(SFC, 8/5/98, p.A8)
1998 Oct 3, In Australia
parliamentary elections were scheduled. The conservative coalition
of John Howard won re-election by a narrow margin.
(WSJ, 10/1/98, p.A1)(SFEC, 10/4/98, p.A17)
1998 Nov, Burger King, a unit
of Diageo PLC, opened its 10,000th restaurant in Australia.
(WSJ, 5/13/99, p.B13)
1998 Dec, A brushfire in Queens
that started near Linton killed 5 volunteer fire-fighters.
(SFC, 12/5/98, p.A5)
1998 Dec 28, At least 6 sailors
were feared dead from a gale that struck off Australia during the
Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison skippered the
Sayonara to victory.
(SFC, 12/29/98, p.A1)'
1998 Mandy Sayer of Australia
published her novel "Dreamtime Alice." It was about her years
performing as a tap dancer on the streets of Manhattan and New
Orleans with her father, a drummer, in the 1960s.
(WSJ, 5/20/98, p.A12)
1998 Aden Ridgeway became the
2nd Australian Aborigine to be elected to the federal Parliament.
(SFC, 2/6/99, p.A21)
1998 In Australia’s waterfront
war Chris Corrigan, head of the cargo-handling Patrick Corp., took
on the “wharfies" and smashed their union’s control of the docks.
(Econ, 10/30/04, p.70)
1998 Alphonse Gangitano,
Melbourne drug lord, was shot dead in his home. Retaliatory killings
(Econ, 6/18/05, p.39)
1998 A rise in sea temperatures
due to El Nino caused a mass bleaching of the world’s coral reefs.
Up to 90% of the Indian Ocean’s coral reefs turned to skeletal
wastes. A mass bleaching on Australia's Great Barrier Reef occurred
when sea temperatures spiked. More followed in 2002, 2016, 2017 and
(Econ, 5/12/12, p.87)(Econ, 4/18/20, p.28)
1998 Saudi Arabia, in response
to a massive outbreak of rift-valley fever, imposed a trade ban to
prevent nomadic herders from selling sheep and goats for sacrifice
during the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The government opted to buy
more expensive Australian livestock instead.
(Econ, 2/3/07, p.80)
1999 Jan 22, In Manoharpur,
India, Graham Stewart Staines (58), an Australian missionary, and
his 2 sons (10 & 8) were burned to death by activists of the
radical Bajrang Dal. Dara Singh led some 30 men in the attack. Singh
was captured in Jan 2000. In 2003 Mahendra Hembram (23), a security
guard, stood by the statement he gave in a lower court in 2002 that
he burned the missionary's jeep, killing the missionary and young
sons as they slept. In 2003 13 men were convicted for the murders. A
trial court later sentenced Dara Singh to death but in 2011 it was
reduced to life in prison on appeal.
(SFEC, 1/24/99, p.A14)(SFC, 2/2/00, p.A17)(AP,
3/24/03)(AP, 9/15/03)(AP, 1/21/11)
1999 Apr 19, One of the annual
Goldman Environmental Prizes went to: Jacqui Katona and Yvonne
Margarula, Australian aboriginal women, who have led a fight against
the mining of a uranium deposit by Kakadu National Park on lands
owned by the Mirrar people.
(SFC, 4/19/99, p.A2)
1999 May 17, US authorities
charged Jean-Philippe Wispelaere of Australia for trying to sell
classified American defense documents. Wispelaere had worked in
Canberra for the Australian Defense Intelligence Organization.
(SFC, 5/18/99, p.A3)
1999 Jul 27, In Switzerland 19
people were killed as they tried to "canyon" down a narrow
gorge on the Saxeten River off Lake Brienz. Two people were
still missing and 13 were identified as Australians.
(SFC, 7/28/99, p.A1)(SFC, 7/29/99, p.A10)
1999 Aug 26, The Parliament
recognized 200 years of injustice to its indigenous people.
(SFC, 8/27/99, p.D3)
1999 Sep 6, Jiang Zemin arrived
in Australia, the first visit there by a Chinese president.
(WSJ, 9/7/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 15, The UN authorized
an int'l. peacekeeping force in East Timor led by Australia with
some 8,000 troops from a number of nations.
(SFC, 9/15/99, p.A15)(WSJ, 9/16/99, p.A1)
1999 Oct 10, Morris West,
thriller writer, died at age 83. His 27 novels included "The Devil's
Advocate," "Children of the Sun," and "Shoes of a Fisherman."
(SFC, 10/11/99, p.A24)
1999 Oct 23, Albert Tucker,
hailed as Australia's most influential 20th century painter, died at
age 84. His work was the 1st Australian art to be purchased by New
(SFC, 10/25/99, p.A24)
1999 Oct 31, Jesse Martin of
Australia became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe,
sailing solo, non-stop and unsupported. He sailed from Melbourne,
Australia, on December 8, 1998 aged 18 years 104 days and returned
on October 31 1999, taking 327 days 12 hours 52 minutes.
1999 Nov 6, In Australia
elections to decide on severance of ties with the royal family were
scheduled. 54.5% voted against a republic in which the head of state
would be elected by Parliament.
(SFC, 11/2/99, p.A12)(SFEC, 11/7/99, p.A21)
1999 Dec 2, In Australian a
rail collision outside Sydney killed 7 passengers and injured over
50. A commuter train with 450 people slammed into the back of the
transcontinental Indian Pacific with 159 passengers.
(SFC, 12/3/99, p.D4)
1999 Dec, Victoria and New
South Wales planned to open heroin injecting rooms for addicts. A UN
narcotics board considered sanctions against Australia if the plan
went into effect. At stake was $100 million in export revenues for
opium used by pharmaceuticals.
(SFC, 12/22/99, p.A19)
1999 The Australian film "The
Castle" stared Michael Caton and Tiriel Mora. It was directed by Rob
(WSJ, 5/7/99, p.W6)
1999 The Australian film "Head
On" starred Alex Dinitriades and Paul Capsis. It was directed by Ana
Kokkinos and told an intimate story of male sexual confusion.
(SFC, 11/8/99, p.D3)(SFC, 11/11/99, p.B3)
1999 The Australian film "The
Well" starred Pamela Rabe and Miranda Otto. It was directed by
(SFC, 4/16/99, p.C6)
1999 Rupert Murdoch (68),
Australian born media mogul, married Wendi Deng (31), Chinese-born
junior TV executive.
1999 Natasha Ryan (14)
disappeared in Queensland. Leonard John Fraser, an alleged serial
killer, was charged with her murder. In 2003 she was found hiding at
the home of a boyfriend.
1999 Australia started pumping
from the Laminaria-Corallina oil field in the Timor Sea.
(Econ, 6/5/04, p.40)
1999 Australia withdrew from
the Int’l. Court of Justice’s jurisdiction on maritime boundary
questions shortly before East Timor’s independence.
(Econ, 6/5/04, p.40)
1999 A 2006 report by East
Timor's Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that Australia
actively lobbied to delay East Timor's independence vote in 1999 and
prevent its separation from Indonesia.
1999 The Guinness Book of
Records described Australia’s Palm Island as the most violent place
on Earth outside a combat zone.
1999 Leslie Cunliffe, dubbed
the "Silence of the Lambs" rapist by Australian authorities, posed
as a policeman to abduct a 21-year-old woman at gunpoint from the
southern city of Geelong and locked her in a backyard shed with
padded walls. Cunliffe, a British man, served 12 years in prison for
torture and rape and in 2011 faced deportation.
1999-2003 The US Volcker report of 2005 said that
Australia's wheat exporter, AWB Ltd., paid over $221 million during
this period to the Jordanian company, Alia, and that some of the
money was for the benefit of the Iraqi government. During this
period AWB sold over $2.3 billion in wheat to Iraq. In 2006 11
former executives faced prosecution for illegal kickbacks from Iraq.
(Econ, 1/28/06, p.41)(Econ, 12/2/06, p.46)
2000 Feb, The Australian film
"The Wog Boy" opened with Steve Karamitsis.
(SFC, 5/9/00, p.A10)
2000 Mar 5, Dame Roma Mitchell,
founder of the Australian Human Rights Commission, died at age 86.
She was Australia's first female Supreme Court Judge and state
(SFC, 3/6/00, p.A23)
2000 May, Some 100 billion
locusts threatened the states of New South Wales, Queensland and
South Australia. It was the worst infestation in over a decade.
(SFC, 5/6/00, p.B8)
2000 May, A mining company
discovered a huge underground water reservoir in Western Australia
that covered an area 435 by 25 miles.
(SFC, 5/20/00, p.D8)
2000 May 27, In Australia the
"Declaration of Reconciliation" was presented by prime Minister John
Howard to help heal the history of government racism toward the
native aborigines. Howard removed a phrase of apology in one passage
and substituted regret.
(SFC, 5/26/00, p.A14)
2000 Jun 23, In Australia a
fire at a hostel in Childers, 130 miles north of Brisbane, killed at
least 15 foreign backpackers.
(SFC, 6/23/00, p.D3)
2000 Jul 1, Australia adopted
the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
2000 Jul 14, In Australia John
Roche contacted the Australian intelligence agency, known as ASIO to
discuss information regarding his contacts with al-Qaeda.
2000 Jul 14, Mark Oliphant, a
physicist who helped split the atom in 1932, died at age 98. He
founded the Australian Academy of Science and was appointed as the
governor of South Australia state (1971-1976).
(SFC, 7/18/00, p.A22)
2000 Aug 28, Foster’s Brewing
of Australia reported a deal to buy the California Beringer winery
for some $1.5 billion.
(SFC, 8/29/00, p.A1)
2000 Sep 5, A Beechcraft King
Air 200 plane crashed near Mount Isa after flying for 6 hours on
autopilot. 8 people were killed and believed to have blacked out
after loss of cabin pressure following takeoff from Perth.
(SFC, 9/6/00, p.A11)
2000 Sep 11, Some 5,000
protestors rallied against the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit 2000 in
(SFC, 9/11/00, p.A14)
2000 Sep 12, A series of
clashes between police and protesters marred a generally peaceful
second day of the three-day Asia-Pacific Economic Summit in
2000 Sep 15, The XXVII Olympic
Games opened in Sydney. The 2000 Summer Olympics opened with a
seemingly endless parade of athletes and coaches and a spectacular
display that included wild fantasy, blazing color, and booming
cheers; Aborigine runner Cathy Freeman ignited an Olympic ring of
(SFC, 9/16/00, p.A1)(AP, 9/15/01)
2000 Sep 15-2000 Oct 1, The
2000 Summer Olympics were held in Sydney, Australia.
(WSJ, 8/8/95, p. B-1)(USAT, 5/7/98, p.6E)
2000 Sep 17, In Sydney swimmer
Tom Dolan of the United States won the 400-meter individual medley.
2000 Sep 30, In Sydney,
Australia, Marion Jones won Olympic gold in the U.S. women's
1,600-meter relay and bronze with the 400-meter squad, making her
the only woman to win five track medals at one Olympics. In 2007 the
IOC stripped Jones of her 5 medals due to use of steroids.
(AP, 9/30/01)(WSJ, 12/13/07, p.A1)
2000 Oct 1, In Sydney,
Australia, the 2000 summer Olympics ended with a big party. The US
(97), Russia (88) and China (59) topped the medal count.
(SFC, 10/2/00, p.A1)(WSJ, 10/2/00, p.A1)
2000 Nov, In New South Wales
the worst flooding in 40 years stretched across a third of the
(SFC, 11/25/00, p.D8)
2000 The Northern Territories
proposal for statehood was due for action.
(SFC, 1/14/98, p.C3)
2000 The Solar Sailor, a
prototype solar-powered ferry, began operating in Sydney harbor.
(SFC, 2/6/01, p.A14)
2001 Jan 12, Johnny Warangkula,
Papunya Tula school Aborigine artist, died at age 75. His dot
paintings included "Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa, 1972."
(SFC, 2/17/01, p.A24)
2001 Feb 17, In Queensland
state elections the opposition Labor Party won at least 60 of 89
seats. Many traditional conservatives switched to the right-wing One
Nation group headed by Pauline Hanson.
(SFC, 2/19/01, p.A10)
2001 Mar 15, Australia’s HIH
Insurance, the country’s 2nd largest insurance firm, was forced into
liquidation. This led to a revision of regulatory oversight.
(Econ, 5/28/11, SR
2001 Mar, Billiton, a South
African mining company, and Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP), an
Australian rival, revealed plans to merge.
(Econ, 8/21/10, p.56)
2001 Apr 15, Australia
indicated that it would not ratify the Kyoto treaty to reduce
carbon-dioxide emissions and said the treaty is probably defunct now
that the US has repudiated it.
(WSJ, 4/16/01, p.A1)
2001 Jul 4, Australia’s interim
cabinet approved East Timor’s demands for 90% of the revenues from
oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.
(SFC, 7/5/01, p.A8)
2001 Jul 14, In Australia
British backpacker Peter Falconio (28) was murdered and his
girlfriend, Joanne Lees. Murdoch was assaulted while they
backpacking in the Outback. In 2005 Bradley John Murdoch (47), was
convicted and given a mandatory life sentence.
2001 Aug 4, Steve Fossett
launched his 5th bid to circle the globe in an unpressurized gondola
from Australia. He set a duration record on Aug 16 over Argentina.
(SFC, 8/17/01, p.D1)
2001 Aug 17, Balloonist Steve
Fossett was forced down by bad weather in Brazil after traveling
(SFC, 8/18/01, p.A8)
2001 Aug 24, Australia’s Parkes
Observatory picked up an unusual burst of radio waves from the
direction of the Small Magellanic Cloud. Astronomers only noticed it
in 2007 while poking around the in Parke’s archived data. Similar
unrepeated “fast radio bursts" (FRBS) were later noted elsewhere.
(Econ, 3/18/17, p.81)
2001 Aug 27, Australia denied
access to the Tampa, a Norwegian cargo ship carrying some 433
refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, who had been rescued from a
sinking Indonesian ferry.
(SFC, 8/29/01, p.A8)(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.13)
2001 Aug 29, Australian
commandos seized the Norway cargo ship carrying 438 rescued refugees
after the captain defied orders not to enter Australian waters.
(SFC, 8/30/01, p.A12)
2001 Aug 31, Ministers of New
Zealand and Nauru announced that they would take the Afghanistan
asylum seekers stranded in Australian waters.
(SFC, 9/1/01, p.A6)
2001 Sep 7, Australia
intercepted a boat with 200 migrants and put them on the same ship
taking 433 Afghans to Papua New Guinea.
(SSFC, 9/9/01, p.A15)
2001 Sep 13, An Indonesian boat
with 129 people, mostly from Iraq, refused to change course and
landed at Australia’s Ashmore Reef. The UN issued Australia a
warning that it could be breaching its int’l. obligations toward
refugees by mounting a blockade.
(SFC, 9/14/01, p.A32)
2001 Sep 28, In Australia a
leech dropped off Peter Cannon as he and an accomplice tied a woman
(71) to a chair in her remote home in the Tasmanian woods and stole
several hundred dollars in cash. Australian officials extracted
blood from the leech. In 2009 DNA evidence led the police to Cannon,
who admitted to robbing the elderly woman.
2001 Oct 17, Peter Carey won
his 2nd Booker Prize for his novel "True History of the Kelly Gang,"
a fictional account of the 19th century Australian outlaw.
(SFC, 10/18/01, p.B3)
2001 Oct 19, A refugee ship,
enroute from Indonesia to Australia, carrying some 353 emigrants
from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Palestine and Algeria, sank off the
island of Java. 44 people survived.
(SFC, 10/23/01, p.C1)(AP, 2/3/06)(Econ, 4/25/09,
2001 Oct, A plague of bush rats
was reported to have destroyed half of Queensland’s surviving wheat
crop, already decimated by drought. The rats were accompanied by an
explosion in the population of feral cats.
(SFC, 10/13/01, p.C10)
2001 Nov 10, In Australia
conservative PM Howard faced Labor’s Kim Beazley in elections.
Howard and his conservative government won a 3rd term. Howard’s
Liberal Party won 68 seats of the 150 in the lower house. The
coalition National Party won 12 seats. Labor won 67 and independents
(WSJ, 11/9/01, p.A1)(SSFC, 11/11/01, p.A15)
2001 Dec 11, Australia reported
that an Australian citizen, David Hicks (26), who had trained with
the al Qaeda, had been captured in Afghanistan.
(SFC, 12/12/01, p.A19)(SFC, 12/15/01, p.A16)
2001 Dec 28, Bush fires reached
within 12 miles of Sydney. Some 150 home were already destroyed by
over 100 fires across new South Wales. 80% of the Royal National
Park had burned. A number of blazes were due to arson, and 3
teenagers and 2 men had been arrested.
(SFC, 12/29/01, p.A3)
2002 Jan 2, Fires continued
near Sydney and almost 160 houses were lost. 21 arson suspects had
been arrested since the fires began Christmas eve. Arson bombs were
found in Sydney’s northern suburbs.
(SFC, 1/3/02, p.A4)
2002 Jan 3, Fires continued for
the 11th straight day. At least 40 were fires were started by
arsonists. Over 100 fires covered 1,250 square miles.
(SFC, 1/4/02, p.A14)
2002 Jan 7, Rain began to fall
over the charred 1.2 million acres west of Sydney.
(SFC, 1/7/02, p.A5)
2002 Jan 24, Some 200 mainly
Afghan asylum seekers continued their hunger strike for a 10th day
in Woomera. Some had sewn their lips together. Australia resumed
processing asylum applications following a mass suicide attempt.
(SFC, 1/25/02, p.A15)(WSJ, 1/25/02, p.A1)
2002 Jan 30, Woomera asylum
seekers said they would end their hunger strike and continue
negotiations with the government. At Camp Curtin about 100
immigrants refused to eat for a 3rd day.
(SFC, 1/31/02, p.A9)
2002 Mar 31, On Australia’s
Norfolk Island Glenn McNeill (24) of New Zealand hit Janelle Patton
(29) with his car and later stabbed her "just to make sure she was
dead." McNeill was arrested in 2006 based on DNA evidence. Patton
suffered 64 separate injuries including a fractured skull and
numerous stab wounds in the attack In 2007 McNeill told police he
had been smoking cannabis when he hit Patton. On Mar 9 a jury
convicted McNeill of murder. On July 25 he was sentenced to 24 years
(AP, 8/12/02)(Econ, 7/10/04, p.38)(Reuters,
2002 Apr 10, In Australia
Caroline Stuttle (19) was pushed to her death from a bridge in the
north-eastern city of Bundaberg. In 2004 Douglas Previte (32), a
drug-addicted drifter, was found guilty for the murder and robbery
that netted him 73 pence ($1.80) in change.
2002 Apr 14, Glenn Murcutt,
Australian architect, was selected as the winner of the Pritzker
(SFC, 4/16/02, p.D5)
2002 May 20, East Timor, with a
population at about 800,000, celebrated independence. A legal battle
loomed with Australia over the disputed Greater Sunrise natural gas
field in the Timor Sea. The filed lay 95 miles south of East Timor
and 250 miles north of Australia.
(SFC, 5/20/02, p.A6)(WSJ, 5/20/02, p.A19)(WSJ,
2002 Jun 5, In Australia PM
John Howard used World Environment Day to reject calls for his
government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.
2002 Jun 17, Australian
scientists said they had successfully "teleported" a laser beam
encoded with data, breaking it up and reconstructing an exact
replica a yard away.
2002 Jun 19, American
adventurer Steve Fossett launched his latest solo round-the-world
balloon trip from Australia, his silver balloon rising over this
western farming town after a long delay caused by surface winds.
2002 Jun 22, An aboriginal
artist, famed for his paintings of the Northern Territory’s Western
Desert, died at age 70 in Alice Springs. His name was kept anonymous
in respect of Aborigine belief that the dead not be identified.
(SSFC, 6/23/02, p.A2)
2002 Jul 2, Steve Fossett
became the 1st person to fly a balloon solo around the world. On his
6th attempt he completed the journey in 13 days, 12 hours, 16
minutes and 13 seconds. He departed from Australia Jun 19 and
covered an estimated 19,428 miles.
(SFC, 7/3/02, p.A3)
2002 Jul 3, Over Australia
balloonist Steve Fossett was forced to spend an extra night in the
air as the winds that helped him become the first person to fly solo
around the world bedeviled the final stage of his voyage.
2002 Jul 4, In Australia Steve
Fossett launched Independence Day celebrations early when his Spirit
of Freedom balloon ended its record-breaking flight around the
2002 Jul 19, Evdokia Petrov
(88), former Soviet Union spy, died in Melbourne. She lived under
the name Maria Anna Allyson. Her husband Vladimir Petrov (1991) was
the third secretary at the Soviet embassy in Australia and also
covertly served as a KGB spy. They defected in 1954.
2002 Jul 23, Leo McKern (82),
Australian actor, died in Bath, England. He played the barrister in
the TV show "Rumpole of the Bailey."
(SFC, 7/24/02, p.A1)
2002 Jul 27, Nearly 60 false
killer whales stranded on an Australian beach died or were
euthanized after failed attempts to return them to the water.
2002 Jul, Alexander Downer,
Australia’s foreign minister, accused Saddam Hussein of developing
weapons of mass destruction. Iraq soon after announced that it would
cut its wheat purchases from Australia. Directors of AWB,
Australia's wheat exporter, flew to Iraq and struck a new deal for
(Econ, 1/28/06, p.42)
2002 Aug 2, Australia and
Malaysia signed a counter-terrorism pact which pledged them to work
together to fight suspected Islamic militants in the region.
2002 Aug 8, Australia's highest
court ruled that Aborigines do not have rights to oil or minerals
found under tribal land now being used by mining companies.
2002 Aug 8, The Chinese
government awarded an Australian consortium a 25-year natural gas
supply contract in Australia's biggest-ever foreign trade deal.
2002 Sep 27, In Australia a
federal judge formally gave control of a remote chunk of the
northwest slightly bigger than Greece to an Aboriginal tribe,
marking the end of six years of negotiations.
2002 Oct 12, In Indonesia a car
bomb ripped through the Sari Club at the Kuta Beach resort packed
with foreign tourists on the island of Bali, sparking a blaze that
killed 202 people and injured 300 others. It was the worst terrorist
act in Indonesia's history. Authorities said a second bomb exploded
near the island's U.S. consular office. An estimated 100 victims
were from Australia. Imam Samudra was later charged with engineering
the blast. In 2004 Samudra (34) published a jailhouse autobiography
“Me Against the Terrorist," in which he called for fellow Muslim
radicals to take the holy war to cyberspace. In 2005 Sally Neighbour
authored “In the Shadow of Swords: How Islamic Terrorists Declared
War on Australia."
(AP, 10/13/02)(SSFC, 10/12/02, p.A1)(SFC,
12/17/04, p.W1)(Econ, 12/17/05, p.83)
2002 Oct 21, In Australia Xiang
Huan Yun (36) opened fire at Monash University in Melbourne in,
killing two people and seriously wounding 5 others. Yun was soon
charged with two counts of murder and five counts of attempted
(AP, 10/21/02)(AP, 10/22/02)
2002 Oct 24, In southern
Australia a train and a school bus collided, killing six people.
2002 Oct 25, Australia's prime
minister promised to give the world's 50 poorest countries better
access to his nation's markets and called on other rich nations to
do the same.
2002 Oct 27, The Australian
government listed the militant Islamic network Jemaah Islamiyah as a
2002 Nov 14, Australia added
four more Islamic groups to its list of banned "terrorist"
organizations and said that anyone linked to the groups and living
in Australia would be targeted by police and security forces.
2002 Nov 14, In Sydney,
Australia, some 1,000 protesters demonstrated against globalization
and a possible war with Iraq, and blocked downtown intersections in
defiance of a ban on mass street gatherings imposed for a two-day
mini-summit of the World Trade Organization.
2002 Nov 21, In Australia
speaker Jonathan Hunt ruled that "knitting is permitted in the house
but is not permitted from the minister's chair." Retired lawmaker
Marilyn Waring admitted to knitting 32 garments during 9 years in
Parliament. She said in her autobiography it was the only productive
thing she had accomplished in the debating chamber.
2002 Dec 7, In Australia
wildfires raging across Sydney's northern fringe blackened 250,000
2002 Dec 12, Australia's
highest court dismissed one of the nation's longest running tribal
land claims. The Yorta Yorta tribe began the battle in 1994 for a
special property right known as native title in 800 square miles of
land around the Murray River in eastern Australia. The area is now
occupied by farmers.
2002 Dec 13, In Australia an
attacker poured hydrochloric acid on the face and down the throat of
Dominic Li, a Sydney suburban accountant. Li went into a coma and
died three weeks later. In 2006 a man who helped arrange Li’s murder
was sentenced to up to 18 years in jail.
2002 Dec 16, It was reported
that a severe drought ravaging most of Australia's rural sector will
slash farm exports by 13 percent this fiscal year. Triggered by
abnormal sea temperatures, El Nino was blamed for severe drought in
Australia, which slashed crops and caused a liquidation of the
nation's livestock. The drought continued thru 2005.
(AP, 12/16/02)(AP, 5/24/05)
2002 Dec 20, Grote Reber
(90), a pioneer of radio astronomy died in Tasmania. He followed up
Karl Jansky's 1933 announcement of the discovery of radio waves from
space and in his spare time in 1937 built a 30-foot antenna dish,
the 1st radio telescope, in his back yard in Wheaton, Ill., and
managed to pick up signals two years later.
2002 Dec 31, Australia's asylum
seeker detention centers were in turmoil following an attempted mass
breakout and riot in a Sydney centre, an armed stand off at another
and fires burning in two.
2002 The first Timor Sea Treaty
was signed with Australia giving East Timor 90% of the revenue from
a Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA).
(Econ, 6/8/13, p.44)
2003 Jan 10, An Australian
euthanasia campaigner complained that customs officials seized a
machine he designed to help people kill themselves as he prepared to
board a flight to the United States.
2003 Jan 18, Heavy bush fires
hit Canberra, Australia, killing 4 people. At least 388 homes were
2003 Jan 31, In Australia a
commuter train derailed south of Sydney and 9 people were killed.
2003 Feb 2, Australia's first
cloned sheep, Matilda (b. Apr, 2000) died unexpectedly of unknown
2003 Feb 8, In Australia 750
nude women formed a heart around the words 'No War' near the town of
Byron Bay to protest possible war with Iraq.
2003 Feb 15, Tens of thousands of people
gathered in downtown Sydney and around Australia to protest possible
war with Iraq and their country’s involvement.
2003 Feb 16, In Australia PM John Howard
said he respects the views of hundreds of thousands of citizens who
took part in peace protests over the weekend but would not be swayed
by their opposition to war with Iraq.
2003 Mar 11, A top Australian intelligence
adviser resigned to protest the government’s hardline policy on
Iraq. Andrew Wilkie, one of its senior intelligence analysts argued
that, based on U.S. and other intelligence information he has seen,
there is currently no justification for a war on Iraq.
2003 Mar 18, In Australia
PM John Howard said his government would commit 2,000 military
personnel to any U.S.-led strike aimed at disarming Iraq.
2003 Apr 17, Sir William Gunn
(89), a sheep farmer who took over his family's flock as a teenager
and rose to become one of the most powerful men in Australian
2003 Apr 20, An Australian navy
vessel boarded a North Korean ship off Sydney and charged it with
involvement in a $48 million heroin shipment to Victoria.
(WSJ, 4/22/03, A1)
2003 May 1, The Australian
stock market began trade in Australia's first-ever listed brothel,
The Daily Planet. Shares began trading at 31 cents. Heidi Fleiss was
on hand to promote the enterprise and her new book, "Pandering."
2003 Jun 25, An Australian
military spokesman said the army will kill as many as 15,000
kangaroos to keep a southeastern army base from being overgrazed.
2003 Jul 2, The film "Ken
Parks" by Larry Clark and Edward Lachman received an illegal public
screening in Balmain, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. The film was
about the dysfunctional lives of skateboarders in the suburbs of
Visalia, Ca., and was banned due to its explicit sex and violence.
(SFC, 7/7/03, p.D2)
2003 Jul 17, The leaders of an
Australian Christian church voted to allow homosexuals to become
priests, drawing protest from within the congregation.
2003 Jul 23, In "Operation
Helpem Fren" an Australian-led peacekeeping force poured into the
Solomon Islands to keep the island chain from slipping deeper into
(AP, 7/24/03)(Econ, 8/9/03, p.34)
2003 Aug 1, Australia’s island
state of Tasmania reported that a deadly facial cancer was killing
Tasmanian devils, a carnivorous marsupial the size of a small dog.
2003 Aug 7, An Australian
patrol boat spotted the Viarsa, a Spain-based fishing vessel, near
Heard Island, half way between Australia and South Africa. The
Viarsa with 96 tons of Chilean Sea Bass fled south and was chased
for 3 weeks until cornered with help by ships from Britain and South
Africa. In 2006 G. Bruce Knecht authored “Hooked: Pirates, Poaching
and the Perfect Fish," an account of the chase and the Chilean Sea
(WSJ, 5/4/06, p.B1)
2003 Aug 20, In Australia
Pauline Hanson, the right-wing firebrand known for her
anti-immigration rhetoric, was sentenced to three years in jail for
fraudulently setting up her One Nation political party and illegally
using electoral funds.
2003 Sep 14, A Saudi importer
of some 58,000 Australian sheep was reported to be trying to
give them away for free. The sheep had been stranded for five
weeks on the ship, the Cormo Express, due to a 6% infection rate for
scabby mouth disease. Australia in 2002 had imposed tougher rules on
ships exporting livestock to the Persian Gulf after it was revealed
that 14,500 sheep had died from heat stress in one month. Some 5,700
sheep aboard the Cormo Express died before Eritrea accepted the
(AP, 9/14/03)(Econ, 12/2/06, p.88)
2003 Sep 19, Slim Dusty (76),
Australian country music singer born as David Gordon Kirkpatrick,
died while recording his 106th album. His career took off in 1958
with the song "A Pub With No Beer."
(SFC, 9/20/03, p.A21)
2003 Oct 22, In southern
Australia the fossil of a 2.56-inch fishlike animal from the
Flinders Ranges was believed to be at least 560 million years old,
30 million years older than the previous record.
2003 Oct 22, Christina Mae
Watson (26) died as she and her new husband dove off the tropical
coast of Queensland. In 2009 David Gabriel Watson, of Birmingham,
Alabama, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was expected to serve
just one year of the four-and-a-half-year sentence in the death of
his wife of 11 days. Watson served an 18-month sentence in Australia
and was deported to the US in 2010 where he faced 2 murder counts in
Alabama. On Feb 23, 2012, Watson was acquitted of murder charges
after a Birmingham judge ruled that prosecutors lacked sufficient
(AP, 6/5/09)(SFC, 11/26/10, p.A7)(SFC, 2/24/12,
2003 Oct 23, Pres. Bush, was
heckled inside and outside Australia's Parliament. He said that the
war in Iraq was right and inevitable, but that Americans and
Australians "still have decisive days ahead" and that the broader
war on terror could be long and drawn out.
2003 Oct 24, Chinese President
Hu Jintao became the first Asian leader to address Australia's
2003 Oct 28, Australia and New
Zealand said they will start withdrawing troops from the Solomon
Islands, claiming success in a mission to restore law and order.
2003 Nov 4, The Minasa Bone, an
Indonesian fishing boat with 14 Kurds aboard, sought asylum on
Melville Island, Australia. The government quickly moved to separate
Melville Island from Australia for migratory purposes and forced the
boat back to Indonesia.
(Econ, 11/22/03, p.41)
2003 Dec 4, The Australian
government said it will join a U.S. program to build a missile
defense system, calling the threat of ballistic missiles too grave
2003 Dec 7, Daniel Morcombe
(13) was last seen waiting for a bus in northern Queensland. In 2011
west coast truck driver Brett Peter Cowan (41) was charged with
Morcombe's abduction, murder and interfering with his corpse. Police
confirmed that three bones recently found at Beerburrum State Forest
belonged to Morcombe.
2003 Dec, Australia launched an
enhanced cooperation program for Papua New Guinea.
(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.11)
2003 Russell Crowe learned to
play a violin in a few months before he starred in the 19th century
war drama "Master and Commander." In 2018 the 128-year-old violin,
made by Leandro Bislach, sold for 135,000 Australian dollars
2003 Mark Latham (42) became
head of Australia’s Labor party.
(Econ, 9/24/05, p.53)
2003 Jim Bacon, head of the
Labor Party government of Tasmania, appointed Richard Butler, former
UN arms inspector, as governor.
(Econ, 1/17/04, p.37)
2003 Andrew Forrest, a former
stockbroker, founded Fortescue to mine iron ore in the Pilbara
region of Western Australia. The company’s first shipment to China
went out in May, 2008.
(Econ, 11/15/08, p.50)
2003 Australia’s 3 phone
companies began blocking service to stolen phones. By 2011 thefts of
stolen phones had dropped 25% even as the number of mobile phones
increased from 15 million to 26 million.
(SFC, 12/3/11, p.C2)
2003 In New South Wales,
Australia, the lower reaches of the Great Anabranch of the Darling
River ran dry following a 10-year drought.
(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.15)
2004 Feb 1, The first passenger
train to cross Australia from south to north set off on its
three-day journey, marking a new era of rail travel through the vast
Outback. Regular train service from Adelaide to Darwin would take 43
hours. Plans for the Transcontinental line had begun in 1911.
(SSFC, 10/26/03, p.A1)(AP, 2/1/04)
2004 Feb 16, In Australia
rioters set fire to a train station and pelted police with gasoline
bombs in an Aboriginal ghetto in Sydney during a nine-hour street
battle that began after a teenager died, allegedly while being
chased by officer.
2004 Mar 17, It was reported
that locusts have swarmed through the Australian Outback,
devastating crops just as farmers had begun recovering from a
2004 Mar 20, Thousands of
protesters marched in Australia to mark the first anniversary of the
Iraq war. Protests extended across Asia with some 30,000 marching in
2004 Mar 20, The Economist
reported that a Goldman Sachs study found consumers in Australia and
Spain to be the most vulnerable, of 19 countries, to higher interest
rates or recession.
(Econ, 3/20/04, p.85)
2004 Mar 24, Australia's
parliament passed a law making the Great Barrier Reef the most
protected reef system on earth. A fishing ban on a third of the
World Heritage site would begin in July.
2004 Apr, Australian police,
trying to break a large drug syndicate, supplied information that
led to the arrest of the nine Australians on Indonesian resort
island of Bali. The nine were allegedly carrying 11.2 kilograms
(24.7 pounds) of heroin at the time and faced the death penalty on
2004 May 4, In Australia 800
delegates of the Country Women's Association of New South Wales
voted to drop the singing of "God Save the Queen" altogether and
only permit renditions of "Advance Australia Fair", the national
2004 May 14, In Copenhagen,
Denmark, Australian Mary Donaldson married Danish Crown Prince
Frederik, becoming Crown Princess Mary.
2004 May 18, Australia and the
US signed a bilateral free trade agreement.
(WSJ, 5/19/04, p.A16)
2004 May 27, Australia's
conservative government introduced legislation to ban same-sex
marriages and wants immigration rules to stop gays and lesbians from
adopting foreign children. The government has also announced that
same-sex partners will be recognized for the first time by federal
authorities as dependents.
2004 May 27, In Australia
British-born Jack Roche changed his plea from innocent to guilty,
acknowledging his role in an al-Qaida plot to blow up the Israeli
Embassy in Canberra. On June 1 Roche was sentenced to 9 years in
(AP, 5/28/04)(AP, 6/1/04)
2004 May 30, Australians have
been warned they face an environmental crisis unless they stop
squandering scarce water resources in the world's most arid
2004 Jun 25, Australia's
government decided to cover most of the outside of cigarette
packages with graphic images showing the physical damage caused by
2004 Jun 25, The Council of
Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to and signed the National
Water Initiative (NWI) to improve water management across the
2004 Jul 4, Australia and
Thailand signed a free-trade agreement that officials believe will
boost the economies of both countries by billions of dollars over
the next two decades.
2004 Jul 24, An online
statement by a group representing itself as al-Qaida's European
branch threatened to turn Australia into "pools of blood" if it
doesn't withdraw its troops from Iraq.
2004 Jul 30, A new Austrian
postage stamp featuring a likeness of California Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger went on sale on his birthday.
2004 Aug 5, David Hicks,
Australian terror suspect held at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba,
signed an affidavit stating: "Interrogators once offered me the
services of a prostitute for 15 minutes if I would spy on other
detainees." Hicks documented a number of physical abuses.
2004 Aug 12, It was reported
that a huge ant colony measuring 100 kilometers (62 miles) across
had been found under the southern Australian city of Melbourne. The
ants were a mutant variety of Argentine ants.
2004 Aug 13, Australia's
parliament approved a free trade pact with the United States.
2004 Aug 25, David Hicks, an
Australian cowboy who'd converted to Islam and allegedly fought for
the Taliban in Afghanistan, pleaded innocent to war crimes charges
before a U.S. military commission. He was detained by the U.S.
Government in Guantanamo Bay until 2007 when he became the first to
be tried and convicted under the U.S. Military Commissions Act of
2006. He was extradited to Australia to serve the remainder of his
sentence. Hicks served his nine month term in Adelaide's Yatala
Labor Prison and was released under control order on December 29,
2004 Aug 26, Australia
announced a cruise missile program to give it the region's "most
lethal" air combat capacity, a move that further strained awkward
relations with Indonesia.
2004 Sep 5, Australian Prime
Minister John Howard defended his country's controversial refusal to
ratify the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases as he launched the
19th World Energy Congress in Sydney.
2004 Sep 9, In Indonesia a car
bomb exploded outside the gates of the Australian Embassy in
Jakarta, killing eight people and wounding more than 160.
(AP, 9/9/04)(Econ, 9/11/04, p.39)
2004 Oct 9, Prime Minister John
Howard scored a convincing victory in Australia's federal election,
winning a historic fourth term.
2004 Oct 21, Australian police
arrested 3 Chinese men in Sydney after they uncovered $74 million
worth of crystal methamphetamine hidden in hollowed-out candles from
2004 Oct, Congo’s government
quelled an uprising near a mine owned by Australia’s Anvil Mining
Ltd. The UN later accused Anvil of providing the government with
vehicles and planes in the operation that killed scores of
villagers. In 2007 a military court jailed two Congolese army
officers for life for the 2004 massacre of civilians. The verdict
cleared three Canadian mining company employees of complicity.
(WSJ, 3/20/07, p.A13)(AFP, 6/29/07)
2004 Nov 13, Australian police
arrested two men and seized three million ecstasy tablets that the
pair is accused of importing from Poland hidden inside a bakery
2004 Nov 16, In northeast
Australia a speeding high-speed passenger train derailed, injuring
nearly all 163 people on board.
2004 Nov 28, On southern
Australia’s King Island about 80 whales and dolphins died after
beaching, and about 50 more were still at risk.
2004 Nov, Cameron Doomadgee
died on Australia’s Palm Island soon after he was arrested by Senior
Sergeant Chris Hurley for public drunkenness. A first autopsy put
the cause of death down to a fall, leading to a riot that saw the
island's police station, barracks and watchhouse destroyed. In 2007
officer Hurley was charged for Doomadgee’s death.
2004 Dec 24, The world's
biggest earthquake in almost four years, measuring 8.1 on the
Richter scale, struck off the coast of Australia's southern island
state of Tasmania, but caused no damage or injury.
2004 Australia prohibited the
importation of asbestos.
2004 Australia’s Macquarie Bank
organized a deal to take over Chicago’s Skyway toll road under a
99-year lease for $1.8 billion.
(WSJ, 12/6/05, p.A1)
2004 Australia’s housing market
peaked after more than 2 years of 15% or greater annual growth.
(WSJ, 7/14/05, p.A1)
2005 Jan 1, Australia was
forecast for 3.4% annual GDP growth with a population at 20.3
million and GDP per head at $30,630.
(Econ, 1/8/05, p.90)
2005 Jan 1, Australia’s
free trade agreement with the US became effective.
(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.10)
2005 Jan 5, Australian PM John
Howard pledged $765 million over five years to Indonesian tsunami
reconstruction and development due to the Dec 26 disaster.
(AP, 1/6/05)(Econ, 1/15/05, p.38)
2005 Jan 11, At least eight
people were killed in a wildfire that raced through southern
Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, forcing terrified residents to leap into
the sea to avoid the flames.
2005 Jan 12, Firefighters
brought Australia's deadliest bushfires in 20 years under control
after 9 people died in the blazes in the Eyre Peninsula.
2005 Jan 16, Australian born
and bred Charlie Bell (44), the first non-American to head the
McDonald's chain of 30,000 burger restaurants in 119 countries, died
in Sydney from cancer.
2005 Jan, Mark Latham, head of
Australia’s Labor Party, resigned.
2005 Feb 7, Australia's central
bank warned that interest rates, stable at 5.25 percent since
December 2003, may be raised within months amid signs of renewed
2005 Feb 21, In Sierra Leone an
Australian investigator for a U.N.-backed war-crimes tribunal was
convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl who sought a job
as a nanny in his household.
2005 Feb 22, PM John Howard
said Australia will send an extra 450 troops to Iraq to help protect
a Japanese humanitarian mission and bolster the country's transition
2005 Feb 24, Australian PM John
Howard dismissed as "alarmist" a warning by his government's chief
economic adviser that the US was heading for a financial crash that
could ravage the global economy.
2005 Mar 2, Australia’s central
bank raised interest rates to 5.5% from 5.25%. The 2004 annual
growth rate was reported to be 1.5%.
(WSJ, 3/3/05, p.A11)
2005 Mar 16, Tropical Cyclone
Ingrid flattened Faraway Resort, a tourist resort built to showcase
the beauty of northern Australia.
2005 Mar, Australia’s current
account deficit hit 7.1% of GDP.
(Econ, 5/7/05, Survey p.4)
2005 Mar, Mining giant
BHP-Billiton paid $7 billion to acquire WMC Resources of Australia.
WMC owned the Olympic Dam copper an d gold mine, which also
contained the world’s largest uranium deposit.
(Econ, 8/21/10, p.56)
2005 Apr 1, Australia and NATO
signed an agreement to cooperate in the fight against international
terrorism, weapons proliferation and other global military threats.
2005 Apr 2, An Australian navy
helicopter crashed on the earthquake-devastated Indonesian island of
Nias. Media reported that nine people were killed and two were
2005 Apr 4, The leaders of
Australia and Indonesia signed a partnership agreement that they
said would lead to new security pact between their countries.
2005 Apr 7, Australia’s PM John
Howard and Malaysia’s Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced plans to
negotiate a free trade agreement but refused to concede ground on
key differences regarding Canberra's role in the region.
2005 Apr 8, The Wiggles, 4
Australian performers, topped BRW Magazine's list of Australia's 50
richest performers in 2004 with an estimated gross income of $34.5
million, up from $10.7 million in the previous year.
2005 Apr 13, Australia’s Mining
giant BHP Billiton said it had won a 71.5% rise in iron ore prices
with a number of its steel customers.
2005 Apr 14, Amanda Vanstone,
Australia’s immigration minister, said Australia would take in
140,000 immigrants in 2005-06, the biggest number for 35 years.
(Econ, 4/30/05, p.40)
2005 Apr 14, Australian
authorities seized some 5 million ecstasy tablets and arrested 4 men
in what they said was the biggest ever haul of the party drug
anywhere in the world.
2005 Apr 17, In Indonesia
authorities arrested 9 young Australians, the Bali Nine, for trying
to smuggle 8.3 kg of heroin to Australia. In Feb, 2006, 2 of the 9
were sentenced to death and the rest to life in prison. An appeal by
4 sentenced to prison led to a change in their sentences to death.
In 2008 three of the convicted Australians had their death sentences
reduced to life imprisonment. In 2011 Australian drug smuggler Scott
Rush (24) won an appeal reducing his death sentence to life
9/16/06, p.52)(AFP, 3/6/08)(AP, 5/10/11)
2005 Apr 18, Australia and
China agreed to start talks on a free trade pact. Visiting PM John
Howard also announcing Canberra's recognition of China as free
2005 Apr 21, Police in
Melbourne seized 18 million dollars (14 million US) worth of the
party drug ecstasy a week after announcing a world-record haul of
2005 Apr 26, In Australia, a
state official said thousands of wild camels will be shot in the
Outback from helicopters in an effort to reduce their numbers.
2005 May 7, In northeastern
Australia a commuter airplane carrying 15 people slammed into a
hillside and everyone on board was feared killed.
2005 May 10, Peter Costello,
Australia’s finance minister, proposed his 10th budget that included
income tax cuts worth almost $17 billion.
(Econ, 5/14/05, p.44)
2005 May 12, Australian police
arrested five men after seizing more than 115 kgs (253 pounds) of
heroin, with a street value of more than A$60 million (US$46
million), hidden in containers of plastic chairs from China.
2005 May 13, East Timor
finished talks in Sydney, Australia, that managed to overcome 2 main
sticking points on their maritime border and revenue from the
Greater Sunrise gasfield. They agreed to defer the boundary issue
for 50 years along with a 50% revenue split.
(Econ, 5/21/05, p.46)
2005 May 20, Australia stepped
up diplomatic efforts to stop Japan from increasing its whale hunt,
saying up to 35 countries were opposed to the plan.
2005 May 26, It was reported
that Jayant "Jay" Patel (56), an America surgeon born and trained in
India and linked to the deaths of at least 87 patients in Australia
over two years (2003-2005, had been given glowing references by six
colleagues in the United States despite having been cited for
negligence there earlier. In 2006 a court issued warrants for
Patel’s arrest on three charges of manslaughter and five charges of
causing grievous bodily harm to patients at Bundaberg Base Hospital
in Queensland. Patel was hired at Bundaberg without disclosing that
he had been disciplined for negligence by medical boards in Oregon
and New York. In 2008 Patel was arrested by FBI agents in Oregon.
(AP, 5/26/05)(AP, 11/22/06)(AFP, 3/12/08)
2005 May 27, Schapelle Corby
(27), an Australian woman, was convicted and sentenced to 20 years
in prison for smuggling nine pounds of marijuana onto Indonesia's
Bali island. In 2012 the justice ministry recommended granting
clemency Corby. Lawyers argued she had gone insane after being
jailed in Bali’s Kerobokan prison. Her sentenced was reduced by 5
years. Corby was released on Feb 10, 2014.
(AP, 5/27/05)(AFP, 4/4/12)(AFP, 5/21/12)(AP,
2005 Jun 2, Australia led 15
countries including Britain, France and Germany in a protest on
against Japan's plans to expand its annual whale hunt.
2005 Jun 2, On Australia's
southwest coast up to 160 whales became stranded on 2 beaches after
2 pods beached themselves.
2005 Jun 4, Australian
officials said a senior Chinese diplomat has sought Australian
government protection for himself and his family, claiming he faces
persecution if he goes home. Analysts said Chen Yonglin's defection
could muddy Canberra's relations with Beijing.
2005 Jun 6, It was reported
that the rate of rural suicide in Australia is among the highest in
the world as farmers battle the stress of years of drought, failed
crops, mounting debt and slowly decaying towns.
2005 Jun 7, In Australia 2
Chinese defectors, one of them a diplomat who walked away from his
post, claim that China is running a spy network in Australia and
other Western countries.
2005 Jun 11, Australian farmers
danced in the rain as downpours delivered the first soaking falls in
over four years to large parts of drought-ridden eastern Australia.
2005 Jun 13, Australia and
Pakistan signed a new counter-terrorism pact during a visit by
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
2005 Jun 13, Australia handed
East Timor the base at Moleana, a tiny town near the border with
Indonesia, signaling the end of a six-year mission that heralded a
controversial new era of regional intervention in East Timor.
2005 Jun 15, Iraqi troops,
backed by US forces, freed an Australian hostage after six weeks in
captivity. The release came as a suicide bomber dressed in an Iraqi
army uniform blew himself up in a mess hall north of Baghdad,
killing at least 25 Iraqi soldiers and injuring 27. A suicide car
bomber slammed into 3 police cars on patrol in eastern Baghdad,
killing 8 officers.
2005 Jun 16, Australian
scientists said they have found a way to make blood cells in volume
out of human master cells, which could eventually lead to production
of safe blood cells for transfusions and organ transplants.
2005 Jun 17, Australia pledged
to ease a controversial policy of locking up refugees.
2005 Jun 18, In Australia more
than a dozen Chinese nationals detained for immigration violations
slashed their wrists and body parts in attempted suicide fearing
they will be deported.
2005 Jun 21, In Australia PM
John Howard introduced new legislation on the detention of illegal
(Econ, 6/25/05, p.42)
2005 Jun 23, Australia's Deputy
Prime Minister John Anderson resigned because of health concerns.
2005 Jun 30, In Australia a
clinical audit of cases handled by surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel
nicknamed "Dr. Death" by his former colleagues, has found he
contributed to eight patient deaths during his two years at a
Queensland hospital, far fewer than earlier reported.
2005 Jun 30, Storms lashed
Australia's east coast in a violent end to one of the country's
worst droughts on record.
2005 Jul 3, One of Australia's
12 Apostles has disappeared. One of nine limestone stacks that made
up the famous landmark off Australia's southern coast collapsed into
the Indian Ocean.
2005 Jul 8, Australia granted
fugitive former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin a permanent visa
allowing him to stay in the country indefinitely.
2005 Jul 16, In Australia Sir
Ronald Wilson (82), a former World War II fighter pilot who became a
respected Australian judge and headed a national inquiry into the
"stolen generations" of Aboriginal children, died.
2005 Jul 21, In Indonesia the
first suspect to face charges in the 2004 bombing of the Australian
Embassy was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison for assisting the
attack's perpetrators, but was cleared of more serious charges.
2005 Jul 26, A
government-commissioned study said Australia will become warmer and
drier with average national temperatures rising as much as two
degrees Celsius and rainfall decreasing significantly by 2030.
2005 Jul 27, Environment
Minister Ian Campbell said Australia and the US have been secretly
negotiating a new international pact on greenhouse gas emissions to
replace the Kyoto Protocol, which they refused to sign.
2005 Jul 27, In Australia Bob
Carr (57), premier of New South Wales, resigned. He was replaced by
(Econ, 8/6/05, p.34)
2005 Jul 29, The ASEAN summit
concluded in Vientiane, Laos. Australia agreed to sign a
non-aggression pact with the group in exchange for an invitation to
another summit, where ASEAN hopes to start work on an East Asian
(Econ, 7/30/05, p.39)
2005 Jul 31, The HMAS Brisbane,
a decommissioned U.S.-built Australian naval destroyer (1966-2001),
was scuttled with explosives off the coast of Queensland. The vessel
sank evenly to its resting point about 115 feet beneath the surface
to become an artificial reef and a major diving attraction.
2005 Aug 9, Australia’s Foreign
Minister Alexander Downer said Australia and China are negotiating
an agreement to allow Australia to export uranium to China for
2005 Aug 16, It was reported
that scientists in Australia's tropical north are collecting blood
from crocodiles in the hope of developing a powerful antimicrobial
drugs for humans, after tests showed that the reptile's immune
system kills HIV.
2005 Aug 17, Australian
scientists said that cyclone Ingrid, which lashed northeastern
Australia in March, inflicted damage on 10 per cent of the Great
2005 Aug 23, Australians who
take drugs into Asia are stupid and should not expect to be bailed
out by the Australian government, PM John Howard said after another
two Australians were detained in Indonesia over drugs.
2005 Aug 23, Australia’s
government and moderate Muslim leaders pledged to join forces in the
fight against terrorism and blend Australian values with Islamic
teachings at mosques and schools.
2005 Aug 30, In Australia
protesters demanding an end to the Iraq war and a cut in Third World
debt broke through a steel fence around the Sydney Opera House at
the start of the Forbes Global CEO Conference.
2005 Aug 30, Australia and New
Zealand lobbied the United Nations Security Council to indict
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his government in the
International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
2005 Sep 6, Australia staged a
high seas arrest of a Cambodian-flagged ship with an international
crew suspected of fishing illegally in sub-Antarctic waters.
2005 Sep 6, In Australia Donna
Fitchett (46) murdered her 2 sons aged 9 & 11. She was first
convicted in 2008 and sentenced to 24 years prison. She appealed her
conviction and was granted a retrial in May, 2010. A jury again
found her guilty after she admitted drugging her sons and then
strangling one and smothering the other. On Sep 1, 2010, she was
sentenced her to 27 years in prison.
2005 Sep 14, In Australia the
CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization)
Total Wellbeing Diet book was reported to have already sold 370,000
copies. Publishers targeted sales of one million to the country of
just 20 million people.
2005 Sep 19, Mark Latham,
former head of Australia’s Labor Party, published “The Latham
Diaries," the story of the Labor Party from 1996-2005, and a
sobering account of the state of Australian democracy 100 years
2005 Sep 25, In Australia 20
high-tech solar-powered cars from 10 countries set off on a 3,000
kilometer (1,860 mile) race across the vast outback in the 8th World
Solar Challenge. The Nuna team of the Delft University of Technology
from the Netherlands scored a hat-trick with their third victory in
a row; their Nuna 3 won with a record average speed of 103 km/h.
2005 Sep 27, Australian PM John
Howard won unanimous support from state premiers for tough new
counter-terrorism laws, including detention without charge and
electronic tagging of suspects.
2005 Sep 28, In Australia a
team from Holland, known more for its windmills than its sunshine,
won a four-day, 1,860 mile, international solar-powered car race
across deserts, notching up their third straight victory. The
"Challenge," to design and build a car capable of crossing Australia
on the power of daylight, was launched in 1987 and teams and
individuals from corporations and universities throughout the world
2005 Sep 29, Officials
announced that Rupert Murdoch's Asian broadcast business is buying a
20 percent stake in the Indonesian television network ANTV.
2005 Oct 3, Australians Barry
J. Marshall and Robin Warren won the 2005 Nobel Prize in medicine
for showing that bacterial infection, not stress, was to blame for
painful ulcers in the stomach and intestine.
2005 Oct 10, Japan's space
agency conducted a test flight of a supersonic jet prototype in the
2005 Oct 25-2005 Oct 26, Over
130 whales died in a mass stranding on a remote beach in Australia’s
southern island state of Tasmania.
2005 Oct, Australia’s
government announced a deal with the Labor government of the
Northern Territories to shake up communal management of aboriginal
land by introducing market-driven incentives.
(Econ, 11/19/05, p.46)
2005 Nov 8, Police in Australia
arrested 17 suspects in a string of raids and said they had foiled a
major terror attack. Algerian-born Abdul Nacer Benbrika, a prominent
radical Muslim cleric, was among those arrested after the government
strengthened laws to detain those in the early stages of planning
terror acts following the London transport bombings in July.
(AP, 11/7/05)(AP, 10/25/10)
2005 Nov 15, Hundreds of
thousands of workers staged what unionists called the biggest
protest in Australia's history against PM John Howard's proposed
2005 Nov 17, Australian
researchers confirmed they have scrapped 10 years of research into
genetically modified peas because the altered version caused lung
inflammation in mice.
2005 Nov 17, It was reported
that Syria had detained 4 Australian-Iraqi women at the Damascus
airport for allegedly trying to take gun parts hidden in a child's
toy onto a plane bound for Australia.
2005 Nov 23, Australia's PM
John Howard visited Pakistan's devastated earthquake zone and
announced a further 37 million dollars in aid for victims of the
2005 Dec 1, Reserve Bank of
Australia (RBA) board member Robert Gerard announced his
resignation, a week after revelations about his disputes with the
2005 Dec 1, Australia and East
Timor finalized a revenue-sharing pact covering the $5 billion
Sunrise natural-gas project.
(WSJ, 12/2/05, p.A8)
2005 Dec 2, Singapore executed
25-year-old Australian Nguyen Tuong Van for drug trafficking, after
he had a "beautiful last visit" with his family. Australia's leader
protested the sentence, saying it would damage ties.
2005 Dec 2, Peter Menegazzo,
one of Australia's main cattle barons, was among four people killed
in a light plane crash in the Outback.
2005 Dec 7, Australia’s
Treasurer Peter Costello unveiled details of the nation’s Future
Fund with seed capital of $13.56 billion to cover public service
(WSJ, 12/8/05, p.A14)
2005 Dec 8, In the first visit
to Australia by a Turkish leader, PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized
military solutions to the so-called "war on terror", saying the
US-led invasion of Iraq had transformed the country into a training
ground for extremists.
2005 Dec 11, In Australia
racial tension erupted into violence on a Sydney beach when around
5,000 people, some yelling racist chants, attacked youths of a
Middle Eastern background. White youths were angered by reports that
youths of Lebanese descent had assaulted two lifeguards. Young men
of Arab descent retaliated in several Sydney suburbs, fighting with
police and smashing cars.
(AP, 12/11/05)(AP, 12/11/06)
2005 Dec 12, Young people
riding in vehicles smashed cars and store windows in suburban
Sydney, a day after thousands of drunken white youths attacked
people they believed were of Arab descent at a beach in the same
area in one of Australia's worst outbursts of racial violence. About
50 cars had swept into the area, disgorging men of Middle Eastern
appearance who began trashing every car in sight with baseball bats.
2005 Dec 13, In Australia a
jury convicted Bradley John Murdoch (47), a mechanic, in the July
14, 2001, Outback death of British backpacker Peter Falconio (28).
He also was convicted of assaulting and abducting Falconio's
girlfriend, Joanne Lees. Murdoch was given a mandatory life sentence
by Northern Territory Supreme Court Justice Brian Martin.
2005 Dec 15, An emergency
sitting of Australia’s parliament passed special laws allowing
Sydney police to "lockdown" parts of Sidney to stop racial unrest.
The New South Wales (NSW) state parliament also increased the
penalty for rioting from 10 to 15 years and doubled the sentence for
affray to 10 years.
2005 Dec 15, Australia
announced a major program to expand and upgrade its military forces
to cope with increasing commitments at home and abroad.
2005 Dec 20, One in three
Australians believe too many immigrants are allowed into the country
and 16 percent oppose multiculturalism, according to a survey after
the country's worst racial violence in decades.
2005 Dec 20, Rebekah Lawrence
(34) committed suicide in Sydney. In 2009 a coroner said that
participation in an intense self-help course led a woman to suffer a
psychotic breakdown before she stripped naked and leaped to her
death from an office window in front of horrified co-workers. Her
death came two days after she completed The Turning Point, a
four-day seminar run by the Sydney self-development company People
2005 Dec 26, Kerry Packer (68),
Australian media mogul, died in his Sydney home. He built his empire
on the Nine Network television station and the Australian
Consolidated Press magazine publishing business but in recent years
had concentrated his efforts more in the gaming industry.
(SFC, 12/27/05, p.B4)(Econ, 1/7/06, p.77)
2005 Dec 28, Australian
investment bank Macquarie Bank Ltd. said it had bought an 81 percent
interest in two Canadian healthcare projects, nine months after
acquiring a Canadian aged care housing provider.
2005 Dec 30, Across southeast
Australia firefighters battled to contain scores of wildfires in
scorching, tinder-dry conditions and were bracing for more blazes in
the days ahead.
2005 Craig Thomson, Australia’s
national secretary of the Health Services Union, allegedly made a
payment of A$2,475 ($2,595) to a Sydney brothel on his union credit
card. Thomson, who was elected to government in 2007. The HSU first
became aware of questionable financial transactions in May of 2008
as a result of an exit audit following Craig Thomson's departure as
national secretary. In 2011 the lawmaker's former union asked police
to investigate his union credit card bills.
2006 Jan 1, Raging bushfires
have destroyed at least 10 homes and threatened scores more in
southeast Australia as a scorching heat wave hit Sydney with its
hottest New Year's Day on record.
2006 Jan 2, In eastern
Australia 5 people were killed when a plane carrying a group of
skydivers plunged into a dam near Brisbane.
2006 Jan 7, In eastern
Australia a 21-year-old woman died after a shark attack near North
Stradbroke Island. A camper on a nearby beach said the woman had
been scuba diving in waist-deep water at the time of the attack.
2006 Jan 10, Australia said it
will send an extra 110 troops to Afghanistan to bolster the fight
against Islamist militants, increasing its presence in the country
to about 300.
2006 Jan 11, The Asia Pacific
Partnership on Clean Development and Climate opened in Sidney. It
brought together senior ministers from the US, Australia, Japan,
China, South Korea and India, along with executives from energy and
resource firms. The US and Australia insisted at the opening of a
two-day climate change conference that industry leaders can be
relied upon to voluntarily slash emissions blamed for heating the
2006 Jan 11, In Egypt a tour
bus carrying Australian tourists overturned on a wet highway,
killing six people and injuring at least 24.
2006 Jan 12, Australia and East
Timor agreed to equally share revenue from the Greater Sunrise
natural gas project in the Timor Sea.
(WSJ, 1/13/06, p.A8)
2006 Jan 16, A lawyer told a
government inquiry that Australia's wheat exporter, AWB Ltd.,
knowingly provided hundreds of millions of dollars in kickbacks to
Saddam Hussein's regime and deceived the United Nations about the
payments under the oil-for-food program.
2006 Jan 19, Dragan
Vasiljkovic, a Serbian-Australian man accused of ordering the
torture of Croats during the bloody breakup of the former
Yugoslavia, was arrested in Sydney. Authorities said Vasiljkovic
trained and commanded a unit of the Croatian Serb special forces
known as the "Kninjas." At the time, the rebels were engaged in a
major campaign of ethnic cleansing, forcing tens of thousands of
local Croats to flee their homes.
2006 Jan 23, In Australia
commercial fishing was banned in Sydney's harbor due to dangerous
levels of poisonous dioxin being found in prawns and fish. Prawn
fishing had already been banned a month earlier. Greenpeace said
some of the pollution originated in Homebush Bay on the Parramatta
River, some 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Sydney Harbor Bridge.
From 1957 to 1976 Union Carbide made chlorinated herbicides there,
including 2,4,5,-T a component of the infamous Agent Orange used
during the Vietnam War.
2006 Jan 23, Wildfires raged
across southern Australia. A firefighter was killed as a fire truck
overturned speeding to a blaze. Distraught ranchers shot cattle
injured by the flames.
2006 Jan 25, In Australia
emergency crews rushed to clean up 10,000 liters of fuel oil that
fouled mangroves off Gladstone City near the Great Barrier Reef
after two vessels collided.
2006 Jan 28, Warren Mundine,
previously an advisor on Aboriginal issues to the conservative
government of PM John Howard, took over the role of Australian Labor
Party president. The first Aborigine to be elected president of an
Australian political party, Mundine said that he wanted to enter
parliament after his term finishes.
2006 Jan 28, A 20-million US
dollar FA-18 Hornet strike fighter jet was lost when it crashed
during a training exercise off the Queensland coast.
2006 Jan 30, Australian Gas
Light Company (AGL) announced that it would build the country's
largest wind farm as part of efforts to meet its legal obligation to
invest in renewable energy. The 95 megawatt facility would cost 236
million dollars (177 million US dollars) and use 45 wind turbines
over an area of 14 square kilometers (5.6 square miles) near the
town of Hallett in South Australia.
2006 Feb 6, In eastern
Australia police investigating the deaths of 13 hospital patients
recommended charging Dr. Jayant Patel, an Indian-born American
surgeon, with four counts of manslaughter and six counts of grievous
bodily harm. On June 29, 2010, Patel (60) was found guilty of
killing three of his patients and grievously harming another.
(AP, 2/6/06)(AP, 6/29/10)
2006 Feb 6, Australian police
arrested three men over a shipment of almost 46 kilograms (101
pounds) of crystal methamphetamine hidden in a speedboat imported
2006 Feb 7, Mario Condello
(53), an Australian underworld figure due to face court on
incitement to murder charges, was shot dead in his driveway
overnight, bringing the toll in a gangland war to 28. Melbourne's
gang war began in 1998 when self-styled "Godfather" Alphonse
Gangitano, 40, was shot dead in his laundry.
2006 Feb 8, Australia and New
Zealand vowed to work to build a single economic market on the back
of strengthening trade ties, but stopped short of endorsing a single
2006 Feb 9, Australian senators
voted to remove an effective ban on abortion drug RU-486.
2006 Feb 9, An Australian
inquiry into alleged kickbacks paid to Iraq under the UN
oil-for-food program claimed its first scalp with the resignation of
Andrew Lindberg, the chief executive of wheat exporter AWB.
2006 Feb 13, In Indonesia 2
Australians were sentenced to death for trying to smuggle 18.3
pounds of heroin in 2005 from the Indonesian resort island of Bali
to their homeland. In February, 2015, Myuran Sukumaran (33) and
Andrew Chan (31) faced immediate execution.
(AP, 2/14/06)(SFC, 2/15/15, p.A6)(SSFC, 2/15/15,
2006 Feb 15, An Australian
television network broadcast photographs and video clips that it
said were previously unpublished images of the abuse of Iraqis held
in US military custody at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003. Many of the
images broadcast were more graphic than those previously published,
showing what appear to be dead bodies, as well as wounded people and
prisoners performing sex acts.
2006 Feb 16, Australia's
parliament stripped regulatory control of an abortion drug from the
country's health minister, a staunch Roman Catholic who once warned
of an "epidemic" of abortion in Australia.
2006 Feb 22, Former US
President Bill Clinton and Australia announced plans to combat AIDS
in China, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea, warning that 40 percent of
all new infections could be in the Asia-Pacific region by 2010.
2006 Feb 26, In Australia
Joseph Terrence Thomas (32), a former taxi driver known as "Jihad
Jack" and alleged by prosecutors to be an agent for Osama bin
Laden's Al-Qaeda network, was convicted of receiving funds from the
group but acquitted on more serious terrorism charges.
2006 Feb, China detained an
Australian and later convicted under China's state security laws.
James Sun, a former Chinese air force employee, was helping to
recruit foreign students to Australia when he was seized by security
police and detained as he headed to dinner. Sun was accused of
"seducing" a former air force colleague into copying more than 1,000
top-secret and classified documents, and of passing them to the
Taiwanese. He was found guilty in late 2007 and sentenced to life in
prison. In 2011 the foreign ministry in Canberra confirmed the
2006 Mar 2, Vietnam announced
it has commuted the death sentence of Nguyen Van Chinh (45), a
convicted Australian drug trafficker, to life imprisonment after
heavy lobbying by the Australian government.
2006 Mar 6, PM John Howard in
New Delhi said Australia will consider selling uranium to India if
it is convinced about New Delhi's commitment to follow global
nuclear safeguards for its civilian atomic reactors.
2006 Mar 12, Queen Elizabeth II
arrived in Australia for a five-day state visit that has reignited
the simmering debate over whether she should remain the country's
head of state.
2006 Mar 15, Britain's Queen
Elizabeth II was greeted with protests, as well as pomp, when she
arrived in the southern Australian city Melbourne to open the
2006 Mar 18, Anti-war
protesters marched in Australia, Asia, Turkey and Europe in
demonstrations that marked the third anniversary of the US-led
invasion of Iraq with a demand that coalition troops pull out.
2006 Mar 19, Australian Prime
Minister John Howard's Liberal Party was defeated at the weekend in
two state elections where Labor governments held on to power.
2006 Mar 20, The most powerful
storm to hit Australia in three decades laid waste to its
northeastern coast, mowing down sugar and banana plantations with
180 mph winds but causing no deaths or serious injuries.
2006 Mar 21, Troops began
delivering aid to an estimated 7,000 people who lost their homes to
the cyclone that battered Australia's northeastern coast.
2006 Mar 23, The Australian air
force sank a North Korean cargo ship for target practice. It had
been seized in 2003 after being used to smuggle heroin into
2006 Mar 24, Indonesia recalled
its ambassador in Australia in response to the granting of temporary
asylum to 42 of 43 Papuans who landed in northern Australia by boat
in January. The asylum request from the 43rd Papuan is still being
2006 Mar 25, Researchers said a
prototype scramjet engine, that could ultimately lead to two-hour
jet flights from Australia to Britain, was launched in the South
2006 Mar 30, Researchers in
Australia's Outback launched a test flight of a supersonic jet
designed to fly 10 times faster than conventional airplanes.
2006 Mar 30, Australia's remote
northwest shore was lashed by 80 mph winds as Cyclone Glenda made
landfall. There were no immediate reports of substantial damage.
2006 Mar 31, Australian police
arrested and charged three men with alleged links with a terrorist
organization after counter-terrorism teams swooped on Melbourne's
2006 Apr 1, Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao arrived in Australia for a visit aimed at finalizing a
uranium supply deal and speeding up free trade negotiations between
the two nations.
2006 Apr 3, Australia agreed to
sell China uranium for nuclear power stations despite concerns that
Beijing could divert the material to atomic weapons.
2006 Apr 7, Australian PM John
Howard moved to ease Indonesian outrage over a decision to grant
visas to asylum-seekers from Papua, saying his government would
review the process.
2006 Apr 10, Mark Vaile,
Australia's trade minister, said he did not read a string of
diplomatic cables warning that the country's monopoly wheat exporter
allegedly was paying multimillion-dollar kickbacks to Saddam
2006 Apr 10, Australian
scientists reported the discovery of an "anti-freeze gene" that
allows Antarctic grass to survive at minus 30°C, saying it could
prevent multi-million-dollar crop losses from frost.
2006 Apr 18, Australia said it
will send up to 110 troops to the Solomon Islands to help restore
calm after the election of a new prime minister sparked rioting.
2006 Apr 21, Australia became
debt free as it paid off the last of its government borrowing.
(WSJ, 4/21/06, p.A7)
2006 Apr 30, In Australia
rescuers made voice contact with two miners trapped a half mile
beneath the earth for nearly a week. Todd Russell (34) and Brant
Webb (37) were trapped April 25 when a small earthquake caused a
rock collapse at the Beaconsfield Gold Mine. One of their co-workers
was killed in the quake.
2006 May 3, Australia raised
its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 5.75%. This sent
its currency to a seven-month peak against the US dollar.
2006 May 9, Australia's
government unveiled a big-spending "boom budget" that will use a
projected 10 billion dollar (7.7 billion US) surplus to finance
across-the-board tax cuts and build up the military and national
2006 May 9, In Beaconsfield,
Australia, Brant Webb and Todd Russell were rescued from a mine more
than a half mile underground. A small earthquake on April 25 trapped
Webb and Russell in the 4-foot-tall safety cage they were working in
under tons of rock. Mourners gathered to bury, Larry Knight, who
died in the same rock collapse.
2006 May 11, In Australia the
local assembly of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which
encompasses the national capital Canberra, adopted controversial
legislation in a late night vote providing for civil unions between
same-sex couples, the first such law in Australia.
2006 May 12, It was announced
that "King Kong" star and Oscar nominee Naomi Watts of Australia has
agreed to serve as special representative for the Joint United
Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS).
2006 May 17, In Australia
widespread evidence of child abuse in Aboriginal communities has
sparked calls for the Australian government to take greater action
to protect children at risk.
2006 May 18, In Australia
officials released a 2005 statement in which Australia's national
wheat exporter admitted paying money to Saddam Hussein's regime.
2006 May 18, A Canadian citizen
and two US navy sailors were handed lengthy prison sentences for
attempting to smuggle methamphetamine into Australia stashed in the
radar dome of a visiting warship.
2006 May 18, Australian PM John
Howard, during his first official visit to Ottawa, urged Canada to
work with his country on climate change, much to the horror of
environmentalists. Australia did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
2006 May 20, Australian
Aborigines rejected calls for military peacekeepers to protect
indigenous women and children from violence, as a new report
revealed high levels of sexual abuse of young indigenous males.
2006 May 24, International
peacekeepers and troops from Australia and New Zealand were headed
to East Timor to help restore order after gunbattles between
disgruntled ex-soldiers and the military killed two people and
2006 May 25, PM John Howard
increased Australia’s contingent to Timor-Leste to some 1,300
troops. 500 Malaysians and troops from New Zealand and Portugal were
(Econ, 6/3/06, p.15)
2006 Jun 13, Conservative PM
John Howard's federal government has invoked special powers to
invalidate a territory's law that had been the first in Australia
giving legal recognition to same-sex relationships. On May 11 the
Australian Capital Territory, which includes the national capital
Canberra, became the first of Australia's six states and two
territories to legally recognize gay and lesbian relationships.
2006 Jun 19, Faheem Khalid
Lodhi (36), a Pakistani-born architect was convicted of plotting a
terrorist attack in Australia. He was arrested in April 2004 at his
home in suburban Sydney. The jury convicted Lodhi of charges
relating to maps, chemical inquiries and bombmaking instructions. On
August 23 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
(AP, 6/19/06)(AP, 8/23/06)
2006 Jun 21, Australian
soldiers in Baghdad mistakenly opened fire on Iraqi Trade Minister
Abdul Falah al-Sudany's bodyguards, killing one and wounding three
people. The Australian government apologized the next day.
2006 Jun 22, In Australia a
176-year-old giant tortoise, believed to have been studied by famed
English naturalist Charles Darwin, died after a short illness.
Harriet was originally named Harry, as she was mistakenly identified
as male, an error which was not rectified for more than a century.
2006 Jun 25, Actress Nicole
Kidman married country music star Keith Urban in Sydney, Australia.
2006 Jun 28, Australia's PM
Howard hailed his country's record liquid natural gas export
contract with China as a symbol of blossoming trade between the
countries during an inaugural ceremony with Premier Wen Jiabao at
the Chinese gas terminal in Shenzen.
2006 Jul 4, Two former currency
dealers for Australia's biggest bank were jailed for their part in a
260 million US dollar rogue trading scandal. Vince Ficarra (27) and
David Bullen (34) made a raft of fictitious trades for the National
Australia Bank (NAB) between September 2003 and January 2004 to mask
massive losses. Bullen was sentenced to 44 months in prison and
Ficarra to 28 months.
2006 Jul 6, An Australian
consortium led by Macquarie Bank said it has agreed to a friendly
1.59 billion US dollar takeover of US utility Duquesne Light
2006 Jul 31, Australian PM John
Howard said he would seek a fifth straight term, ending his
ambitious deputy's leadership hopes and cementing his place as one
of the world's most successful conservative leaders.
2006 Aug 2, Australia's central
bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points to a six-year high of
6.0% in an effort to head off inflationary pressures in a booming
2006 Aug 2, The Australian
government said it had started reducing troop numbers in East Timor
as security in the tiny nation was steadily improving.
2006 Aug 7, Robert McNaught of
the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia made the 1st sighting of
a comet that came to be called Comet McNaught.
(Econ, 1/20/07, p.89)
2006 Aug 14, Australian PM John
Howard ditched plans for a tough new immigration law, conceding he
did not have sufficient support in parliament.
2006 Aug 18, Anglo-Australian
resources giant BHP Billiton closed its operations at the world's
biggest copper mine in Chile and ended negotiations with striking
workers. The strike began on August 7 at the Escondida Mine,
majority owned by BHP. The Chilean government has signaled it was
ready to intervene.
2006 Aug 25, The UN established
a new mission in East Timor but left Australian-led troops in place
following a dispute over whether they should remain independent or
be part of a UN force.
2006 Aug 28, Don Chipp (81), an
Australian politician famed for his pledge to "keep the bastards
honest," died after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
2006 Aug 30, Canadian miner
Uranium One said it had approved Australia's fourth uranium mine,
the Honeymoon project in the South Australian outback.
2006 Sep 4, Steve Irwin (44),
world-famous Australian "crocodile hunter" and television
environmentalist, was killed by a stingray blow to the chest while
filming a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef. His "Crocodile
Hunter" show, in which the adventurer appeared in his trademark
khaki shorts and shirt, was first broadcast in 1992 and has been
shown around the world on the Discovery cable network ever since.
2006 Sep 6, An Indonesian
appeals court sentenced four Australian members of a drug smuggling
ring to death, prompting a protest from the Australian government.
Scott Rush, Tan Duc Than Nguyen, Si Yi Chen and Matthew Norman had
originally received life terms for trying to take home more than 18
pounds of heroin from Indonesia's resort island of Bali last year.
2006 Sep 19, In Australia Judge
Murray Wilcox granted Aborigines a title claim over Perth, the
capital of Western Australia.
2006 Sep 19, Australia and
Japan imposed financial sanctions on 11 North Korean companies, a
Swiss company and its president, based on allegations they helped
the communist nation's weapons programs.
2006 Sep 20, In Australia
arrested 5 Canadian men after cocaine worth A$35 million ($26
million) was found hidden inside computer monitors. This was
believed to be Australia's fifth-largest illegal drugs seizure.
2006 Oct 9, Cambodian PM Hun
Sen began a six-day official visit to Australia that will focus on
security and trade.
2006 Oct 12, More than 100
wildfires raged across Australia, sending firefighters scrambling to
protect homes and farmland.
2006 Oct 15, Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer said Australia would cut ministerial contacts with
its northern neighbor until an investigation was held into the
escape from Papua New Guinea of a Solomon Islands official wanted on
child sex charges. Julian Moti, now in custody in the Solomons and
facing charges of illegal entry, was wanted in Australia on child
sex charges involving a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997. Moti
was deported to Australia in 2007. His case was thrown out in
December after the court found that Australian officials had
colluded in his illegal deportation.
(AFP, 10/15/06)(Econ, 10/28/06, p.51)(Econ,
2006 Oct 16, Australia said it
will ban North Korean ships from entering its ports, toughening its
response to the North's reported nuclear test.
2006 Oct 17, Australia's
worsening drought was driving farmers to suicide. Scientists and
politicians said government funds should be used to help them leave
increasingly unviable land.
2006 Oct 18, Australia’s
Tasmania state unveiled an historic five million dollar (3.8 million
dollars US) compensation package for Aborigines forcibly taken from
their families as children.
2006 Oct 22, PM John Howard
announced that Australia is to launch a 500-million-dollar drive to
tackle global warming, as the country battles its worst drought in
more than a century.
2006 Oct 23, An Australian
scientist said Global warming will force changes to Australia's
A$4.8 billion ($3.6 billion) wine export industry, threatening the
very existence of some varieties as temperatures rise.
2006 Oct 24, The environmental
group WWF said Australians soak up more scarce resources than almost
any other nation and produce so much waste on average that their
mark on the world's ecology exceeds China.
2006 Oct 27, Australia gave the
green light to the southern hemisphere's largest wind farm, the
country's 2nd major project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas
emissions announced this week.
2006 Oct 31, Australia pointed
an accusing finger at China and India as major polluters as it
refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change despite a
major new report warning of impending catastrophe.
2006 Nov 5, Fiji's military,
locked in a standoff with the government, accused Australia on of
breaching its sovereignty by sending an unspecified number of police
it described as mercenaries into the country.
2006 Nov 7, Australia's Senate
narrowly voted to lift the country's ban on cloning human embryos
for stem cell research. A leading expert at a crisis summit said
Australia, already the world's driest inhabited continent, is in the
grip of its worst drought in 1,000 years.
(AP, 11/7/06)(AFP, 11/7/06)
2006 Nov 10, Chevron Corp.
unveiled the Clio field, one of Australia’s biggest natural gas
(WSJ, 11/11/06, p.A4)
2006 Nov 12, The Australian
government denied that a new security pact with Indonesia means that
it would be party to the suppression of Indonesian separatists. The
new agreement was to be signed Nov 13 on the Indonesian resort
island of Lombok.
2006 Nov 18, In Australia
police on horseback and wielding batons clashed with rock- and
bottle-throwing demonstrators outside a G-20 meeting of some the
world's top financial officials, turning what had been promised as a
peaceful rally against poverty into running street skirmishes.
2006 Nov 21, An Australian
government report said Australia should use its uranium to fuel its
own nuclear power industry and curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Australia held 38% of the world’s low cost uranium reserves.
(Econ, 11/25/06, p.59)
2006 Nov 27, An official
inquiry into the corruption that riddled the UN oil-for-food program
in Iraq cleared the Australian government but cited 12 top
executives for bribing Saddam Hussein's regime.
2006 Nov 30, Tens of thousands
of Australians rallied against controversial industrial relations
laws, temporarily bringing parts of the country's major cities to a
halt. Critics said the laws passed 12 months ago strip power from
unions and erode job security, wages and conditions.
2006 Dec 4, Insurance Australia
Group (IAG) announced it will buy British motor insurer Equity
Insurance Group for 570 million pounds.
2006 Dec 6, Australia's
Parliament lifted a four-year ban on cloning human embryos for stem
cell research despite opposition from the prime minister and other
2006 Dec 8, Thousands of
firefighters rushed to contain more than a dozen wildfires burning
across southern Australia amid fears that high temperatures and
gusty winds forecast this weekend could further stoke the blazes,
threatening farms and towns.
2006 Dec 10, More than 3,000
firefighters battled some of Australia's worst wildfires in 70
years, as flames fanned by strong winds and searing temperatures
destroyed one home and threatened dozens more.
2006 Dec 14, Australian flag
carrier and national icon Qantas accepted an increased
11.1-billion-dollar (8.7 billion US) offer from a private equity
group, a day after rejecting a lower bid.
2006 Dec 14, Australia and
France signed an agreement on military cooperation designed to
enhance their ability to work together.
2006 Dec 18, An Australian
court ruled that providing Web links to copyright-protected music is
enough to make a site legally liable. The case created legal
uncertainty for search engines around the world. The full bench of
the Federal Court upheld a lower court ruling that Stephen Cooper,
the operator of the Web site in question, as well as Comcen, the
Internet service provider that hosted it, were guilty under
Australian copyright law.
2006 Dec 20, The USDA for the
1st time released a database that included the recipients of about
$56 billion in subsidies. The USDA also suspended Australia’s state
wheat export monopoly, AWB Ltd., for its dealings with the former
Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.
(AP, 12/19/06)(WSJ, 12/20/06, p.A8)
2006 Dec, Australia’s PM John
Howard stripped the country’s wheat board of its monopoly following
a bribery scandal.
(Econ, 1/13/07, p.36)