This tag is associated with 454 posts

January 15, 1842 – Birth of Mary MacKillop, nun and Australia’s first saint

Mary Helen MacKillop RSJ (15 January 1842 – 8 August 1909) was an Australian religious sister who has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church, as St Mary of the Cross. Of Scottish descent, she was born in Melbourne but is best known for her activities in South Australia. Together with the Reverend Julian Tenison-Woods, she founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (the Josephites), … Continue reading

January 14, 1960 – Reserve Bank of Australia established

On January 14, 1960, The Reserve Bank of Australia, the country’s central bank and banknote issuing authority, was established. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has had this role since 14 January 1960, when the Reserve Bank Act 1959 removed the central banking functions from the Commonwealth Bank. The bank has the responsibility of providing services to the Government of Australia in addition to also providing services … Continue reading

January 13, 1939 – The Black Friday bushfires burn 20,000 square kilometers of land in Australia, claiming the lives of 71 people

The Black Friday bushfires of 13 January 1939, in Victoria, Australia, were part of the devastating 1938–1939 bushfire season in Australia, which saw bushfires burning for the whole summer, and ash falling as far away as New Zealand. It was calculated that three-quarters of the State of Victoria was directly or indirectly affected by the disaster, while other Australian states and the … Continue reading

January 12, 2003 – Death of Maurice Gibb, Manx-Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer

Maurice Ernest Gibb CBE (22 December 1949 – 12 January 2003) was an English musician, singer, songwriter and record producer who achieved fame as a member of the Bee Gees.  Although his elder brother Barry Gibb and fraternal twin brother Robin Gibb were the group’s main lead singers, most of their albums included at least one or two songs featuring Maurice’s lead … Continue reading

January 11, 1986 – The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia is officially opened

The Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges are a side-by-side pair of road bridges on the Gateway Motorway (M1), which skirts the eastern suburbs of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The western bridge carries traffic to the north and the eastern bridge carries traffic to the south. They are the most eastern crossing of the Brisbane River, the closest to Moreton Bay, crossing at the Quarries Reach, between Eagle … Continue reading

January 10, 1945 – Birth of John Fahey, New Zealand-Australian lawyer and politician, 38th Premier of New South Wales

John Joseph Fahey AC (10 January 1945 – 12 September 2020) was an Australian politician who served as Premier of New South Wales from 1992 to 1995 and as the federal Minister for Finance from 1996 to 2001. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1984 to 1996 and the federal House of Representatives from 1996 to 2001. Fahey also served … Continue reading

January 9, 1903 – Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson, son of the poet Alfred Tennyson, becomes the second Governor-General of Australia

Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson, GCMG, PC (11 August 1852 – 2 December 1928) was a British aristocrat who served as the second Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1903 to 1904. He was previously Governor of South Australia from 1899 to 1902. Tennyson was born in Twickenham, Middlesex, and educated at Marlborough College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was the eldest son of the poet Alfred, … Continue reading

January 8, 1885 – Birth of John Curtin, Australian journalist and politician, 14th Prime Minister of Australia

John Curtin (8 January 1885 – 5 July 1945) was an Australian politician who served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia from 1941 until his death in 1945. He led the country for the majority of World War II, including all but the last few weeks of the war in the Pacific. He was the leader of the Australian … Continue reading

January 7, 1920 – Death of Edmund Barton, Australian judge and politician, 1st Prime Minister of Australia

Sir Edmund “Toby” Barton, GCMG, KC (18 January 1849 – 7 January 1920) was an Australian politician and judge who served as the first Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1901 to 1903. He resigned to become a founding member of the High Court of Australia, where he served until his death. Barton was an early supporter of the federation of the Australian … Continue reading

January 6, 1953 – Birth of Malcolm Young, Scottish-Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer

Malcolm Mitchell Young (6 January 1953 – 18 November 2017) was an Australian musician and songwriter. He was best known as the co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist, and songwriter of the rock band AC/DC. Except for a brief absence in 1988, he was with the band from its beginning in 1973 until retiring in 2014 due to health reasons. … Continue reading

January 5, 1975 – The Tasman Bridge in Tasmania, Australia, is struck by the bulk ore carrier Lake Illawarra, killing twelve people

The Tasman Bridge disaster occurred on the evening of 5 January 1975, in Hobart, the capital city of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, when a bulk ore carrier travelling up the Derwent River collided with several pylons of the Tasman Bridge, causing a large section of the bridge deck to collapse onto the ship and into the river below. Twelve people were … Continue reading

January 4, 1931 – Birth of William Deane, Australian judge and politician, 22nd Governor-General of Australia

Sir William Patrick Deane AC KBE QC (born 4 January 1931) is an Australian barrister and jurist who served as the 22nd Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1996 to 2001. He was previously a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1982 to 1995. Deane received his undergraduate education at the University of Sydney, and later studied international law at The Hague Academy of … Continue reading

January 3, 1956 – Mel Gibson, American-Australian actor, director, producer, and screenwriter was born

Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson AO (born January 3, 1956) is an American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for his action hero roles, particularly his breakout role as Max Rockatansky in the first three films of the post-apocalyptic action series Mad Max and as Martin Riggs in the buddy cop film series Lethal Weapon. Born in Peekskill, New York, Gibson moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia, when he was 12 … Continue reading

January 2, 1830 – Henry Kingsley, English Australian writer, born in Northamptonshire

Henry Kingsley (2 January 1830 – 24 May 1876) was an English novelist, brother of the better-known Charles Kingsley. He was an early exponent of muscular Christianity in an 1859 work, The Recollections of Geoffry Hamlyn. Kingsley was born at Barnack Rectory, Northamptonshire, the son of the Rev. Charles Kingsley the elder and Mary, née Lucas. Charles Kingsley came of a long line of clergymen and … Continue reading

January 1, 1901 – Six British colonies federate as the Commonwealth of Australia

On January 1, 1901, the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia federated as the Commonwealth of Australia; Edmund Barton was appointed the first Prime Minister. By establishing the Commonwealth, they established a system of federalism in Australia. The colonies of Fiji and New Zealand were originally part of … Continue reading

December 31, 1790 – Enough barley is harvested in the penal colony of New South Wales to alleviate impending starvation

The First Fleet, containing the officers and convicts who would first settle Australia, arrived in Botany Bay on 18 January 1788. The colony’s Governor, Captain Arthur Phillip, immediately determined that there was insufficient fresh water, an absence of usable timber, poor quality soil and no safe harbour at Botany Bay. Thus the fleet was moved … Continue reading

December 30, 1998 – One of a set of stegosaurus prints stolen from a sacred Aboriginal site near Broome is recovered

On 16 October 1996, it was reported that a set of fossilised dinosaur footprints had been stolen from a sacred Aboriginal site in outback Australia. The footprints came from the best preserved trackway of a stegosaur in the world, and were the world’s only known set of fossilised stegosaurus prints. They were also the only … Continue reading

December 29, 1960 – Australian cricketer David Boon was born

David Clarence Boon MBE is an Australian cricket match umpire, former cricket commentator and international cricketer whose international playing career spanned the years 1984–1996. He was born on December 29, 1960 in the Northern Tasmanian city of Launceston, the son of Clarrie and Lesley Boon. His father Clarrie worked in a newsagency in Launceston, while … Continue reading

December 28, 1850 – Henry Parkes establishes the ‘Empire’ newspaper, later giving rise to his prominent political career in Australia

Henry Parkes was born in Warwickshire, England, on 27 May 1815. A failed business venture prompted him to seek passage with his wife to Australia, and he arrived in Sydney in 1839. Moving up from a position of farmer’s labourer, to clerk, to managing his own business, a number of failed ventures indicated that he … Continue reading

December 27, 1803 – Convict William Buckley escapes, spawning the Australian phrase “Buckley’s chance”

William Buckley was born in Marton, Cheshire, England in 1780. He arrived in Australia as a convict, and was a member of the first party of Europeans to attempt the first settlement at Sorrento, on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. On 27 December 1803, soon after his arrival, he escaped from custody. Despite the friendliness of … Continue reading

December 26, 1945 – The first Sydney to Hobart yacht race is held in Australia

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is a major Australian event held annually on Boxing Day. Hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the race starts in Sydney on Boxing Day and finishes in Hobart, a distance of 1167km, or 630 nautical miles. The first race was held on 26 December 1945, and included … Continue reading

December 24, 1836 – Colonel William Light enthusiastically approves the site for Adelaide

Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia. Although not the only Australian state to have been founded by free settlers, it is the only state to have remained entirely free of convicts during its history. The site of Adelaide was originally determined by Captain Collet Barker. Barker was sent by Governor Darling in April … Continue reading

December 23, 1906 – Australian invention, the surf lifesaving reel, is demonstrated for the first time

Australia is a land of innovations and inventions: many of them developed out of necessity due to Australia’s unusual or harsh conditions and environment. One such invention is the surf lifesaving reel. The world’s first lifesaving clubs were spawned in Australia, when the Bronte Beach Surf Club was formed in 1903. Early rescue equipment was … Continue reading

December 22, 1845 – Land for the first gold mine in Australia is purchased

The first recorded gold discovery in Australia was in 1823 by James McBrien who discovered flecks of alluvial gold in the Fish River of New South Wales. Further traces of gold were discovered in areas of the Blue Mountains in the ensuing decades. Early discoveries of gold were kept secret as it was feared that … Continue reading

December 21, 1817 – Governor Macquarie recommends the use of the name ‘Australia’ instead of New Holland for the continent

The first known Europeans to set foot on Australia’s shores were the Dutch, doing so over 150 years before English explorer James Cook ever sighted eastern Australia. In 1642, Abel Tasman sighted and named Van Diemen’s Land. After Tasman had established in 1644 that the continent was separate from other land masses to the north, … Continue reading


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