18 January 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip and the First fleet of convicts arrived at Port Jackson. Many convicts were sentenced to deportation to Australia for minor crimes due to overcrowding and unemployment in Britain.
1 January 1810 Governor Lachlan Macquarie became the first Governor of New South Wales who envisioned Australia as more than a penal colony.
1810 Gold discovered in Victoria sparked a gold rush which led to an influx of immigrants to Australia
March 1840 Captain Alexander Machonochie helped reform the human rights of convicts by applying his principles of prison discipline to reduce cruel punishments and save the convicts’ sense of dignity.
11 June 1849 4,000 people assembled at The Great Protest Meeting in Circular Quay to cease the transportation of British criminals to the colony and campaign for self-governance.
3 December 1854 The Battle of Eureka Stockade was fought between Ballarat gold miners and the British colonial authority. 22 miners and 5 troops were killed.
21 April 1856 An Eight Hour day was introduced following a movement led by stonemasons who wanted better working conditions in the colonies and argued that an eight hour working day was appropriate in the Australian heat.
15 March 1877 Australia plays its first official test match against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia won by 45 runs.
11 November 1880 Ned Kelly was hung at Melbourne Gaol after he was sentenced to death for the murder of Constable Lonigan. A petition of clemency was signed by 30,000 people but the execution went ahead.
1890-93 Economic depression hit Australia and the Federal Bank of Australia collapses. Major financial institutions were forced to suspend trading.
18 December 1894 A bill was passed in the South Australian parliament which granted women the right to vote and stand for parliament thanks to suffragist Mary Lee; a first in the world.
23 December 1901 The Immigration Restriction Act 1901 was passed. It limited immigration to Australia and formed the basis of the White Australia Policy.
3 August 1914 The first division of the Australian army marched off to war. They made their first landing at Anzac Cove as part of the Battle of Gallipoli.
28 October 1916 The first plebiscite was held due to the Labor government’s desire to conscript Australian men for overseas service during WW1.
26 January 1938 The Indigenous civil rights movement was born when organisers of the Australian Aborigines League declared a Day of Mourning. It was a protest of 150 years of callous treatment and seizure of land by the British.
3 September 1964 The editors of satiric magazine Oz (Richard Neville, Richard Walsh, Peter Grose) goes to trial after being convicted of distributing an obscene publication.
March 1966 The Migration Act 1966 relaxed immigration laws and abolished the White Australia Policy. This led to an increase of non-European migration.
22 August 1966 Dissatisfied after their appeal for equal pay failed 200 Aboriginal stockmen of the Gurindji people held a strike and walked off Wave Hill pastoral station in the Northern Territory.
20 October 1966 US President Lyndon Johnson began a three day visit to Australia in a bid to gain more troops but met with rowdy anti-Vietnam War demonstrations everywhere he went.
1970’s The Builders Labourer’s Federation introduced the Green Bans, to preserve the character and heritage of the inner city by refusing to work on projects that encroached upon the green space. A first of its kind in the world.
April 1971 Five members of an organisation of mothers, Save Our Sons, served 11 days in Fairlie Women’s Prison for wilful trespass after handing out anti-Vietnam war leaflets on government property.
11 January 1973 Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War formally ceased when the Governor General issued a proclamation. Australia’s military involvement was the longest participation in war in Australian history.
16 August 1975 Prime Minister Gough Whitlam hands back 3000 square kilometres of the Gurindji’s traditional land back to Gurindji leader Vincent Lingiari.
October 1988 Rodney Croome and 130 others were arrested in Hobart protesting against a law that threaten same-sex partners over 21 years of age with gaol. It was the largest act of gay rights civil disobedience in Australian history.
26 January 1988 Aboriginal activist Burnam Burnam plants an Aboriginal flag on the white cliffs of Dover on the Australian Bicentenary Day. It was his way of claiming England, as Arthur Phillip had done to his homeland in 1788.
11 April 1997 The One Nation political party was founded by Pauline Hanson after being elected as an independent. The party condemned multiculturalism and rallied against government immigration.