Tags: History. Historical. Australia.
This month the world remembers the day 50 years ago when man first landed on the moon in 1969. A few special “Senior” readers may be able to remember things that happened more than 80 years ago, such as the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932, or the fateful introduction of Cane Toads into northern Australia in 1935.
Featured image(above): Sydney Harbour Bridge 1930
Beyond that, many of the significant things that happened in Australia are simply part of “History”, forgotten long ago, if they ever were remembered after leaving the school classroom. Historical dates are not very interesting, or easy to remember, but we need to be reminded now and again about how long ago, or indeed how recently, some key events that shaped Australia actually happened. Here are a few things that are part of all our heritage, that put the years and events in perspective.
Aussie Rules, Rabbits & Sport
In 1824 the Moreton Bay Penal Colony was established on the Brisbane River, but it was 35 years later in 1859 before Queensland was established as a separate Colony from NSW. A year before that in 1858 the first Australian Rules Football match was played in Melbourne between Scotts College and St. Kilda Grammar School. The next year in 1859 wild European Rabbits was introduced into Australia for “Sport”.
They soon started breeding, as Rabbits do, and reached plague proportions before the Myxomatosis virus was introduced in 1950 to control the population. Any readers who lived on the land will clearly remember those shocking images. In 1860 the first Cameleers came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey and played a key role in opening up the outback with their Ships of the Desert. In that same year Burke, Wills, King and Gray became the first Europeans to cross Australia from South to North, and all but Gray perished on the fateful return journey.
A year later in 1861, that’s 158 years ago, the first Melbourne Cup was run at Flemington racecourse. That same year Australia’s first Mosque was built in South Australia by Afghan cameleers. A few years later the first Australian Cricket team went to England to play a series of “Entertaining” matches in 1868. The team was made up entirely of Aboriginal men. It was 9 years later in 1877 before the first cricket Test Match was played between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket ground.
After 80 continuous years of Convict transportation from England to Australia, convicted felons finally stopped being shipped out here in 1868, just 151 years ago. By about 1900 the once populace indigenous inhabitants of the Moreton Bay area been almost wiped out.
Australia on the world stage
In today’s era of smartphones and instant communication, it is worth remembering that it was only 147 years ago in 1872 that the final leg of submarine telegraph cable was laid between Java and Darwin to link Australia with Europe, reducing communication time from months to hours. The Royal National Park was the first to be established in Australia in 1879 and in 1885 BHP was founded and went on to become the world’s largest mining company, expanding into Steel and Coal.
Banjo Patterson had his now-famous poem “The man from Snowy River” published in the Bulletin magazine in 1890 at a time when Australia was developing into a distinct national identity. It was the First World War of 1914/18 that provided that lasting opportunity. In the final years of the 1890s, some Aussie legends were established with Jackie Howe hand shearing 321 sheep in a single day, a record that remains unbeaten.
In 1896 the first Australian Olympian Edwin Flack won Gold in the 800 and 1500 metres, took part in the Marathon, and also won a Bronze medal in the doubles Tennis at Athens in Greece.
Aboriginal Cricket Team 1868
Pollies, Pictures & Products
The world’s first Labour Government was sworn into Queensland Parliament in 1899 with Anderson Dawson as Premier. A couple of years later the White Australia Policy was introduced to limit Non-British migration into Australia. It might surprise some people to learn that the world’s first multi-reel feature-length film titled “The Story of the Kelly Gang” was made in Australia and first shown in Melbourne in 1906, just 113 years ago.
Fifty years later in 1956, the first Television broadcast took place to transmit the Olympic Games from Melbourne to the world. Canberra was announced as Australia’s new Capital in 1913 and in 1915 the Aboriginal Protection Act gave the power to remove any Aboriginal child for any reason. The first woman to be elected to an Australian Parliament was Edith Cowan in 1921 in Western Australia.
She was a social reformer who fought for the rights of women and children, and her face featured on the reverse of the $50 banknote from 1995. Vegemite first went on sale in Australia in 1923 after being developed by an Australian Chemist. The first swimsuit to be produced under the brand name Speedo was sold in 1928.
Opening the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1933 may be remembered by some, but the opening of the Bribie Island Bridge in 1963 will be remembered by many more readers, and that makes our bridge 30 years younger. This is an appropriate point to end these historical reminders!!.