Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19 On This Day in Australian History

1770 - Cap. Jimmy Cook was dropping names all over the place in his excitement of tripping over stuff like land masses, islands, creeks, the odd mermaid, etc; today he plonked down the titles of Forbes Island (after Admiral John Forbes Commissioner of Longitude in 1768, and a Lord of the Admiralty) and Bolt Head (after no one in particular) Temple Bay ( after Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple), Cockburn Islands (after Admiral George Cockburn was a Commissioner of Longitude and Comptroller of the Navy ) and Cape Grenville (after George Grenville, brother of Earl Temple and Admiral of the Navy).

1804 - It was reported that " Aboriginal attacks are widespread. At Georges River they assault a settler’s wife and take away ‘everything that was portable’.".

1820 - Joseph Wild examined and named Lake George and sighted mountains he named the Snowy Mountains.

1822 - The Parramatta magistrates convicted Ann Rumsby of perjury against Dr James Hall (superintendent surgeon of the ship on which she was transported) and sentenced her to gaol at Port Macquarie.

1824 - . The Sydney Gazette claimed that Aborigines were merely “wanderers”, who “bestowed no labour on the land” and had no real property sense – “This vast country was to them a common”.

1840 - Adelaide was incorporated as Australia's first Municipality.

1876 - The whaling ship Catalpa was given a tumultuous welcome as it sailed into New York harbor. She had no whales on board, but a far more valuable cargo, six Fenian prisoners from England's Western Australia penal colony. Clan na Gael's John Devoy, with the help of his friend John Boyle O'Reilly, a Fenian who had once escaped from Australia himself, planned the escape. Somehow maintaining the secrecy of the mission, the two arranged to buy and crew a whaler purchased in New Bedford, Massachusetts, for the attempt. The Catalpa set out in April 1875 with most of the crew unaware of their actual mission. In March 1876, they reached Australia and soon had the six Fenians -- James Donagh, Martin Hogan, Michael Harrington, Thomas Hasset, Robert Cranston and James Wilson -- safely on board. The British gunboat Georgette overtook the Catalpa the next day and fired a shot across the ship's bow, demanding the prisoners be turned over. Captain George Anthony raised the Stars and Stripes and defied the British to fire on it; they would not. Seeing Anthony would not be intimidated, the Georgette headed back to port. Clan na Gael and the Fenians had achieved one of their greatest victories over the British Empire.

1884 - The Main North Rail Line (NSW) from Armidale - Dumaresq was opened.

1887 - The Tatura to Echuca (Vic) rail line opened.

1906 - John Denis O’Loughlin, a police constable, was tried at the Perth Criminal Court for stealing a purse containing 26 shillings from Rachael O’Brien. According to O’Brien, she had been accosted by O’Loughlin while he was in uniform and intimidated into buying him a drink at a hotel. He then took her purse, pocketing 7 shillings from it. O’Loughlin was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months hard labour.

1907 - New Zealand's All Blacks Rugby Union team beat New South Wales 12 points to 8.

1907 - In WA the 2,036 mile-long rabbit-proof fence was completed after 5 years construction.

1909 - Detailed discussions were held between representatives of the British Admiralty and the Australian Government that resulted in a decision to proceed with the establishment of an Australian Fleet Unit.

1912 - Sydney's first radio station, POS, began broadcasting from premises at suburban Pennant Hills.

1913 - Frank Hurley released Home of the Blizzard, a documentary film about the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

1914 - The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force departed Sydney; its mission was to capture German possessions in the Western Pacific and in German New Guinea.

1925 - The Broken Hill Rail Line (NSW) from Trida - Ivanhoe was opened.

1930 - The two halves of the Sydney Harbour Bridge were joined 10pm. The two half arches were fabricated from steel in workshops before being loaded onto barges and towed into position. The arches were then lifted up by two 580 tonne electrically operated creeper cranes. The arch spans 503m and the summit is 134m above sea level. Steel decking was then hung from the arches over the next nine months.

1933 - City of Sydney Eisteddfod inaugurated.

1936 - At the All-Australian Amateur Football Carnival Victoria beat WA 11.13 (79) to 3.8 (26).

1940 - Sir John Latham, Chief Justice of the High Court, was appointed Minister to Japan to cement and extend cordial relations between Australia and Japan. Within 18 months, Japan would commence attacking the Australian mainland.

1944 - *Post-war Reconstruction and Democratic Rights* Referendum was polled on this day - to give the Commonwealth power, for a period of five years, to legislate on 14 specific matters, including the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen, national health, family allowances and 'the people of the Aboriginal race'. This was not carried with only 45.99% voting in favour.

1961 - The ABC current affairs programme, Four Corners, was first aired.

1967 - Robert Bartle, while practicing for a spear fishing competition and in company of other spear fishers, was killed by a shark Jurien Bay 275 kilometres north of Perth in Western Australia.

1971 - Prime Minister William McMahon pledged to have all Australian troops in Vietnam home by the end of the year.

1977 - The effects of a tsunami that originated in the Sunda Islands was felt in WA with land inundation reported at Cape Leveque, Dampier and Port Sampson.

1988 - The Governor-General, the Rt Hon Sir Ninian M Stephen AK GCMG GCVO KBE, proclaimed the golden wattle as Australia’s national floral emblem.

1991 - Yankel Rosenbaum (29), an Australian Hasidic scholar, was killed in rioting that erupted in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn following the traffic death of a black child.

1996 - Protesters rioted outside Parliament House over Federal Government industrial relations legislation on eve of Federal Budget 1996.

1996 - Tickets went on sale for the 1996 Sleaze Ball, Voodoo Circus on 5 October. The poster was designed by Richard Hughes.

2000 - The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir performed in the Sydney Dance Company production of Mythologia.

2002 - The Western Suburbs Indigenous Gathering Place Association Committee of Management was established on this day; The Gathering Place is to provide services and programs to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community residing within the catchment areas of Maribyrnong, Hobson's Bay and the Shire of Melton, Brimbank, Wyndham and Moonee Valley.

2009 - Australia celebrated the biggest trade deal in its history and said it proved vital ties with China had survived a series of bruising rows.

2010 - An Australian Muslim woman, who sought permission to keep her face and head covered while she gives evidence at an upcoming trial, was told by a judge she would have to remove her veil. She was a prosecution witness in a case against the director of a company that ran a Muslim women's college in Perth.

2011- The Australian Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Papua New Guinea to re-establish an “assessment centre for asylum seekers” on Manus Island.