Administration of Northern Territory transferred from South Australia to Commonwealth
Federal Capital Territory (later ACT) established.
Douglas Mawson leads first Australasian Antarctic Expedition.
Adelaide’s The Mail (later Sunday Mail) first issued.
First automatic telephone exchange in Australia installed at Geelong, Victoria.
First Commonwealth of Australia postage stamp issued.
National capital of Australia officially named Canberra.
Adelaide–Melbourne telephone line opens.
Australia enters World War I; volunteer servicemen recruited.
Australian Red Cross founded.
Opal found at Coober Pedy.
South Australians WH and WL Bragg share Nobel Prize for Physics for work in X-ray
25 April officially named and widely observed as Anzac Day.
Returned Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia (later
closing of hotels in most states.
National conscription referendum—‘no’ vote succeeds.
Transcontinental railway completed with linking of Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie
Second national referendum rejects conscription.
First direct wireless message transmitted from Britain to Australia.
South Australian German place and district names changed under provisions of Nomenclature
Act of 1917.
Holden’s Motor Body Builders begins large-scale production
of car bodies
Worldwide influenza epidemic reaches Australia—eventual death toll more
Ross and Keith Smith and crew land in Darwin and win £10,000 prize for
flying from England to Australia in under 30 days.
Australian Country Party founded. Communist Party of Australia formed.
Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry (later CSIRO) established.
Western Australia’s Edith Cowan becomes the first woman elected to an
Country Women’s Association formed in New South Wales.
Qantas begins regular air services between Charleville and Cloncurry, Queensland.
Afternoon paper The News launched in Adelaide.
Regular radio broadcasting in Australia begins in Sydney.
Vegemite*, a spread from brewer’s yeast developed by Cyril P Callister
of Fred Walker Cheese Company, goes on sale. *Trade Mark
Voting made compulsory in Federal elections.
Radio stations 5DN and 5AB (later 5CL) begin broadcasting in South Australia.
Australia’s population reaches six million.
Adelaide engineer Alfred Traeger invents pedal wireless, opening up communication
in the Outback.
Duke of York officially opens Parliament House in Canberra.
Aerial Medical Service, founded by Rev John Flynn, begins operating in Queensland;
renamed Flying Doctor Service in 1942.
Charles Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm and crew complete first flight across the
Pacific in Southern Cross.
Adelaide waterside workers attack non-union labour at the docks.
Railway link between Adelaide and Alice Springs completed.
Australia linked to Britain by telephone for the first time.
LHB Lasseter expedition in Central Australia to find gold reef.
Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup.
Public demonstrations in all states protest against unemployment and poverty: ‘Beef
riot’ in Adelaide.
General Motors-Holden’s Ltd is formed with merger of Holden’s Motor
Body Builders and General Motors Australia.
Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, established as an Aboriginal reserve.
Official opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Australian Broadcasting Commission established.
Unemployment in Australia reaches 30 per cent.
‘ Bodyline’ bowling controversy in 1932–33 Test cricket series
England and Australia.
Western Australians vote to secede from Commonwealth.
First John Martin’s Christmas Pageant parades in Adelaide.
Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney, unveiled.
Giant cane toad introduced into Queensland to control sugar cane pest, the grey-backed
South Australian Housing Trust established, the first state housing authority
Ansett Airlines founded.
Centenary of foundation of South Australia celebrated.
Infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis) epidemic in Australia.
Thomas Playford becomes Premier of South Australia.
Australia agrees to accept 15,000 political refugees from Europe over next three
Robert Menzies becomes Prime Minister of Australia.
Australia follows Britain and declares war on Germany.
Compulsory military training reintroduced in Australia.
Australia declares war on Italy.
Petrol rationing introduced.
Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, Women's Royal Australian Naval Service
and Australian Women's Army Service established.
National child endowment scheme introduced.
HMAS Sydney, with 645 crew, lost in action against German cruiser HSK Kormoranoff
the Western Australian coast.
Australia declares war on Japan.
Single men aged 18–45, and married men aged 18–35 are called up.
Japanese air raids on Darwin, Broome, Wyndham and Townsville.
Three Japanese midget submarines enter Sydney Harbour.
Rationing of tea, sugar and clothes introduced.
Australian Women’s Land Army formed.
Australian troops defeat Japanese forces at Kokoda Trail campaign.
Women aged 18–30 called up for war work.
Hospital ship Centaur sunk off Cape Moreton, Queensland, by Japanese
268 lives lost.
Rationing of butter introduced.
First women elected to Australian Federal Parliament: Dame Enid Lyons (Tasmania)
and Dorothy Tangney (Western Australia).
Meat rationing begins.
Japanese prisoners of war attempt a mass escape from camp at Cowra, New South
Liberal Party of Australia established.
FH Faulding & Co becomes first commercial manufacturer of penicillin in
Commonwealth unemployment and sickness benefits commence.
Adelaide’s Lance Hill designs the Hills Hoist—first rotary clothes
hoist to achieve national sales success.
Trans-Australia Airlines’ first flight from Sydney to Melbourne.
Assisted immigration scheme reintroduced for British migrants to Australia, and
agreement to accept displaced persons from Europe.
First Barossa Vintage Festival held.
Sugar rationing ends.
Meat and clothing rationing ends.
Australian cricket captain Donald Bradman retires from Test cricket with a Test
average of 99.94 after playing in 52 Test matches.
Launch of first ‘all Australian’ car, the Holden, at Fishermans
Australian citizenship defined under Nationality and Citizenship Act.
First missile launched from Woomera.
Federal franchise extended to Aboriginal people if they have the right to vote
under state law, or have served in the defence services.
Arrival in Australia of 50,000th European displaced person and 100,000th British
migrant since end of World War II.
Work begins on Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.
Petrol, butter and tea rationing ends.
Australia sends RAAF squadron to Singapore for service in the Malayan Emergency.
Australia commits military units to the United Nations Force in Korea.
School of the Air begins broadcasting for children in isolated areas from Flying
Doctor base at Alice Springs.
Victa® rotary lawn mower developed by Mervyn Victor Richardson
British atomic testing begins at Emu Field, South Australia.
First around-Australia Redex Reliability Trial car marathon.
Queen Elizabeth II visits Australia, the first reigning British monarch to do
Earthquake causes extensive damage to Adelaide region.
‘ Petrov’ affair: Soviet diplomat Vladimir Petrov defects to Australia.
South Australia’s first drive-in theatre, the Blueline at West Beach,
‘ Black Sunday’ bushfires; Marble Hill vice-regal residence in Adelaide
Adelaide Airport opens at West Beach.
Australia’s millionth post-war migrant arrives.
Severe flooding along River Murray in South Australia.
Free mass immunisation campaign with Salk polio vaccine begins.
First television broadcasts in Sydney and Melbourne.
British atomic tests take place at Maralinga, South Australia.
Summer Olympic Games held in Melbourne.
Joern Utzon wins competition to design Sydney Opera House.
Federal Council for Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders founded.
First nuclear reactor in Australia begins operation at Lucas Heights, New South
Electric trams no longer operating in Adelaide, except for Adelaide–Glenelg
First women members elected to South Australian Parliament: Joyce Steele and
Television begins transmission in South Australia from NWS 9.
First Adelaide Festival of Arts held in March.
The world’s second ‘big dish’ radio telescope opened at Parkes,
New South Wales.
Oral contraceptive pill approved for distribution in Australia.
Commonwealth Electoral Act extends right to enrol and vote to all indigenous
South Australian Roma Mitchell appointed as Australia’s first female Queen’s
Millionth Holden car, an EJ Premier, produced at Dandenong, Victoria.
South Australia’s population exceeds one million.
Australia’s population reaches 11 million.
HMAS Voyager sinks after collision with HMAS Melbourne.
The Beatles tour Australia.
The Australian national daily newspaper launched.
Reintroduction of National Service with 20-year old conscripts chosen by birth
Charles Perkins leads ‘freedom ride’ bus tour in rural
New South Wales in protest against racial discrimination.
Election of first Labor State Government since 1933 in South Australia,
ending Premier Sir Thomas Playford’s record 27-year term in
Australia commits troops to war in Vietnam to support US forces.
South Australian Roma Mitchell appointed first female Supreme Court judge in
Model Jean Shrimpton’s mini-skirt scandalises Derby Day racegoers at
Thomas Angove develops portable wine cask.
Sir Robert Menzies retires after a record 16 successive years as Prime Minister.
Decimal currency introduced in Australia.
South Australian firsts in Australian legislation: Prohibition
of Discrimination Act prohibiting discrimination by race, colour, or country
of origin; and Aboriginal Lands Trust Act, the first major recognition
of Aboriginal land rights.
Australian national referendum supports giving the Commonwealth power to legislate
for Aboriginal people, and include them in the census.
Ten o’clock closing introduced in South Australian hotels.
Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears when swimming at beach at Portsea, Victoria.
Fire destroys News Ltd’s Newspaper House on North Terrace,
Commonwealth Arbitration Commission accepts principle of equal pay for equal
work, regardless of gender.
Protests held against Australia’s involvement in Vietnam War.
South Australia is first state to legalise abortion in certain circumstances.
Women ’s liberation groups formed in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Thousands of Australians march in Moratorium Day demonstrations against Australian
participation in the Vietnam War.
Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge collapses during construction, killing
Pope Paul VI is the first Pope to visit Australia.
Queensland Senator Neville Bonner becomes first Aboriginal to enter Federal Parliament.
Anti-apartheid demonstrations when South African Springbok rugby team tours Australia.
Aboriginal ‘tent embassy’ set up in Canberra in demonstration for
South Australian Film Corporation established; award-winning feature films produced
in South Australia include Storm Boy; Gallipoli; Bad Boy
Bubby; The Adventures
of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; and Shine.
Women's Electoral Lobby established in Melbourne.
Pastor Douglas Nicholls becomes first Aboriginal to be knighted.
Australian Labor Party, led by Gough Whitlam, wins Federal election for first
time in 23 years.
Last Australian troops leave Vietnam.
Voting age in Federal elections reduced from 21 to 18.
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam opens Adelaide’s Festival Theatre.
Sydney Opera House opens.
SANFL Football Park opens at West Lakes; first match: Central District versus
Bankcard credit card introduced for domestic use.
Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin on Christmas Day, destroying nine out of ten
Transmission of colour television begins in Australia.
South Australia becomes the first Australian state to make sex discrimination
unlawful, and to decriminalise homosexual relations between consenting adults
Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act proclaimed.
Australian constitutional crisis: Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismisses Whitlam
government and appoints Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister.
First Vietnamese ‘boat people’ arrive in Darwin seeking
Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls appointed Governor of South Australia, the first
Aboriginal Governor of any Australian state.
Cigarette and tobacco advertising banned on television and radio.
Opening of Rundle Mall, Adelaide.
Late-night shopping begins in Adelaide city and suburbs.
Granville train disaster in New South Wales; 83 killed when train derails and
crashes into concrete bridge.
Australian Democrats formed by Don Chipp.
South Australian Police Commissioner Harold Salisbury dismissed for misleading
government over Special Branch files.
Gay rights protest held in Sydney—first Gay Mardi Gras.
Legislation introduced by government of Premier Don Dunstan to recognise traditional
rights of Pitjantjatjara people to their lands.
Space station Skylab crashes near Esperance, Western Australia.
First ‘Ash Wednesday’ bushfires in Mount Lofty Ranges.
Australia’s first test-tube baby, Candice Reed, born in Melbourne.
Baby Azaria Chamberlain missing at Ayers Rock, reported to have been taken by
Pitjantjatjara Land Rights Act passed by South Australian government recognises
traditional rights of Pitjantjatjara people to their lands.
Conservationists protest to save the Franklin River in Tasmania’s
south-west wilderness area from being flooded by proposed dam for
Major ‘Ash Wednesday’ bushfires in South Australia
and Victoria cause loss of 75 lives and destroy more than 2500
Advance Australia Fair proclaimed as national anthem, replacing
God save the Queen.
South Australia’s Maralinga Tjarutja Land Rights Act returns land
used for atomic weapons testing to traditional owners.
Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia begins hearings.
Adelaide Casino opens.
Commonwealth transfers freehold title for Ayers Rock and Uluru National Park
to Mutijulu Aboriginal community.
First Australian Formula One Grand Prix held in Adelaide.
The Australia Act makes Australian law fully independent from the British
and legal system.
Senator Janine Haines becomes the first female leader of a political party in
the Federal Parliament.
Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody begins.
Record fall of share prices on Australian Stock Exchange.
Australian Bicentennial celebrations of European settlement—Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islanders march in Sydney as a statement of protest and survival.
New Parliament House opens in Canberra.
Australia’s worst earthquake strikes Newcastle, New South Wales.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) is formed; Lowitja O'Donoghue
appointed as the inaugural Chairperson.
Dame Roma Mitchell becomes Governor of South Australia, the first woman appointed
as a Governor in Australia.
State Bank of South Australia faces financial collapse.
Adelaide Entertainment Centre opens.
Federal Labor government introduces mandatory detention at Port Hedland for all
arrivals by boat without authorisation.
First Big Day Out held at Sydney Showgrounds.
First Womadelaide world music festival staged.
Australia’s last remaining metropolitan
afternoon newspaper, Adelaide’s The News, closes.
High Court’s Mabo judgement recognises native title rights of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and overturns legal notion of ‘terra
Unemployment in Australia reaches over 11 per cent, the highest rate since the
Native title legislation passed by Federal Government.
Poker machines introduced at Adelaide Casino, and in hotels and clubs during
the following year.
Australia’s east-coast bushfire crisis.
Letter bomb explodes at National Crime Authority’s offices in Adelaide.
Beatification of Mary MacKillop.
Hindmarsh Island Bridge Royal Commission held.
National Inquiry into Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
from their Families established.
Final Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Adelaide, after which event moves
South Australian Natasha Stott Despoja, aged 26, becomes youngest woman to enter
Port Arthur, Tasmania, massacre.
First National Reconciliation Week.
High Court’s Wik decision recognises that native title and pastoral leases
Formation of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation political party.
Australian Reconciliation Convention in Melbourne; Prime Minister John Howard
refuses formal apology to indigenous Australians for past injustices.
Thredbo landslide in Snowy Mountains.
Constitutional Convention recommends that Australia becomes a republic.
South Australian born astronaut Andy Thomas spends 141 days in space, with 130
days at Mir space station.
Australian troops lead multi-national United Nations peacekeeping force in East
Woomera Immigration Reception and Processing Centre established by Federal Liberal
government in response to increase in unauthorised boat arrivals.
Constitutional referendum proposal to establish Australia as a republic defeated.
Australia’s population reaches 19 million.
South Australian scientists clone sheep ‘Matilda’.
People’s Walk for Reconciliation across Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Summer Olympic Games held in Sydney.
Australian Centenary of Federation.
Andy Thomas becomes first Australian to walk in space.
Riots, hunger strikes and escapes from immigration detention centres.
Federal Government refuses to allow asylum seekers rescued by MV Tampa to
land and seek asylum in Australia.
20-year-old South Australian Lleyton Hewitt becomes the youngest player ever
to achieve world number one tennis ranking.
88 Australians killed in Bali bombing at Kuta.
Devastating bushfires in Canberra district.
Prime Minister John Howard announces Australia will join US in war against Iraq.
Redeveloped State Library of South Australia opens.