Peace & Quiet
The Shaping of Australia
At least 50,000 years ago Aborigines arrive in Australia from what is now Southeast Asia. 1606 Dutch explorer Willem Jansz sails past the Queensland coast, proving that what is known as Terra Australis Incognita does exist. 1770 Lieutenant James Cook and the Endeavour crew land at Botany Bay, south of Sydney, and later claim the eastern coast of New Holland (Australia) for King George III, under the name of New South Wales. 1779 In England, following the cessation of convict transportation to America in 1776, the first suggestions are made that New South Wales could become a penal colony. 1787 The `First Fleet' departs from England on 13 May to sail to Botany Bay. The fleet's 11 ships carry over 1,400 people, among whom are 759 male and female convicts. 1788 The Fleet arrives in Botany Bay on 20 January. The Fleet's commander and first Governor of the colony, Captain Arthur Phillip, decides the site is unsuitable and on 26 January moves north to Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour). The colony of New South Wales is proclaimed. 1790 The Second Fleet, with a further 1,006 convicts, arrives. 1793 The first free settlers land in Sydney. 1804 Australia's second major colony is founded at Hobart, Tasmania. 1810 Scotsman Lachlan Macquarie becomes Governor and remains until 1821. During his stay, he transforms the unruly colony into a settlement with great potential and the population reaches 10,000. 1817 Governor Macquarie first refers to the colony as `Australia' in official correspondence. 1824 Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is founded. 1828 The first census reveals a population of 36,000 convicts and free settlers, and 2,549 military personnel. 1829 Perth and Fremantle are founded and Western Australia is proclaimed a British colony. 1832 Assisted emigration begins - during the next 20 years over 200,000 people emigrate, mostly from Britain. 1835 The city of Melbourne is founded. 1836 The first settlers arrive in Adelaide, South Australia. 1840 Convict transportation to New South Wales ceases. A total of 83,000 convicts had been sent to the colony since 1788. 1859 Queensland, previously part of New South Wales, becomes a separate colony. 1869 Darwin, capital of the remote Northern Territory, is founded. 1901 The Commonwealth of Australia is proclaimed on 1 January, joining the six Australian colonies into a federation. Edmund Barton is elected as the first Prime Minister. 1908 Canberra is chosen as the site for the new national capital. 1923 Work begins on the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is finally opened in 1932. 1927 The seat of national government moves from Melbourne to Canberra. 1947 Post-war immigration from Europe begins, starting the nation's slow but inexorable surge towards multiculturalism. 1966 Decimal currency, in the form of dollars and cents, replaces the old pounds, shillings and pence. 1973 Queen Elizabeth II opens the Sydney Opera House. 1975 Dismissal of the Whitlam Labor Government by the Queen's representative, the Governor General. 1988 On 26 January 200 years of European settlement are celebrated. 1996 Massacre at Port Arthur leads to strict gun control legislation. 1999 Australians vote against becoming a republic in a national referendum. 2000 Sydney hosts the Olympic Games.