Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17 On This Day in Australian History

1788 - Ships’ boats counted the number of Aboriginal people in canoes around Port Jackson. The tally from this census was 67 canoes, with 94 men, 34 women and nine children. This was despite the fact that, as Phillip observes, ‘It was the Season in which they make their new Canoes, and large parties were known to be in the woods for that purpose’.

1801 - The Female Orphan School officially opened. The School was founded by Governor King and housed 31 girls who were taught needlework, spinning, reading and some writing. By May 1803 there were 104 girls at the Orphan School. Reverend Samuel Marsden performed a special ceremony and sermon for the opening.

1834 - Five of the 'Tolpuddle Martyrs' - James Loveless, Thomas and John Standfield, James Hammett and James Brine - arrived in Sydney after being sentenced to seven years transportation for conspiring to raise wages "by administering unlawful oaths".

1836 - Mrs Eliza Fraser, alomng with two ships boys and the second mate of the Stirling Castle were rescued from Fraser Island by John Graham.

1861 - NSW coalminers refuse to accept a 20% pay cut and walk out. They are then locked out until a settlement is reached 14th October.

1863 - A Fourth Paper, by the Victorian Association in Aid of Moravian Missions to the Aborigines of Australia, was read in connection with the report of the Committee at the annual meeting of the Victorian Association in Aid of Moravian Missions to the Aborigines of Australia held in Melbourne on this day.

1868 - The first record of Mongers Lake (WA) came from N. W. Cooke who came upon it on this day while exploring east from his home farm at Arrino.

1895 – The Albert Railway Bridge opened in Brisbane.

1904 - George H Reid succeeded John Watson as Prime Minister of Australia.

1912 - The Australian Flying Corps was established with a training course opened at Point Cook, Vic.

1914 - Work of medically examining volunteers for the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force began at the Parade Ground on King William Road (SA). The pay for a private was 4s a day and 1s deferred pay while in Australia and 5s a day with 1s deferred pay plus rations while overseas. Criteria included height 5 feet 6 inches and age between 19 and 38 years. Two men aged 34 and 36, both ex-servicemen, walked from Port Pirie to enlist.

1934 - The Australian Government placed an order for 42 new aircraft for the RAAF.

1939 - The Reconciliation Church (La Perouse) started as a school house for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal poor, funded by the Catholic Womens Association and opened by Archbishop Gilroy opened on this day.

1959 - The Fawkner to Upfield rail line (Vic) reopened.

1965 - A free trade agreement between Australia and New Zealand was signed.

1966 - The Australian operations base at Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy province was fired upon by the Viet Cong with mortar and shell at about 2 am.

1969 - Tully headlined a special Sydney Town Hall concert, supported by the John Sangster Quintet and The Executives, and presented by Hair producer Harry M. Miller.

1970 - The Australian Film Development Commission was established.

1975 - The first National Homosexual Conference with the support of the Australian Union of Students (AUS) was held in Melbourne with 800 people attending.

1976 - Second National Homosexual Conference was held at Sydney University.

1979 - Gillian Armstrong's acclaimed feature film, 'My Brilliant Career', was released.

1980 – Azaria Chamberlain disappears, at Ayers Rock, Northern Territory, probably taken by a dingo, leading to what was then the most publicized trial in Australian history.

1981 - Aboriginal employment had increased by 120 per cent since the National Aboriginal Employment Development Committee (NAEDC) swung its campaign into operation at the beginning of June 1981, according to an article in the Northern Territory News. It was reported that 267 Aborigines had been employed in the Territory in the first two months of the campaign. The campaign – the seventh in a series of regional campaigns conducted under the auspices of NAEDC since April 1979 – was expected to increase the numbers of successfully employed Aborigines to well over 1,500.

1988 - MLC the Reverend Fred Nile placed on notice in the NSW Upper House, a resolution calling for Clause 28 style legislation.

1989 - VH-OJA was QANTAS' first Boeing 747-400 which set the still unbroken commercial long distance and time record on this day and has since flown more than 13,800 flights clocking up 106, 154 flight hours carrying 4,094,568 passengers. The plane completed the London to Sydney flight in 20 hours, 9 minutes and 5 seconds.

1991 – Strathfield Massacre: In Sydney, Australia, taxi driver Wade Frankum shoots 7 people and injures 6 others before turning the gun on himself.

1994 - The KALWUN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION was incorporated on this day and included within its group of organisations the Gold Coast Aboriginal and Islander Housing Co-operative Society Limited.

2005 - Australian scientists said that cyclone Ingrid, which lashed northeastern Australia in March, inflicted damage on 10 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef.

2006 - Then Prime Minister John Howard called for a History Summit to be held in Canberra on this day to address a renewal of Australian history in schools.

2010 - A 31-year-old man died from serious injuries after being attacked by a shark while surfing near Gracetown in Western Australia's south-west.

2012 - The Australian Government introduces legislation to allow offshore processing of asylum seekers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. It is passed by both houses of Parliament and becomes law on this day.