Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 31 On This Day in Australian History

Malaya and Borneo Veterans’ Day; today is the official date of commemoration for two historical campaigns involving Australian Defence personnel – The Malayan Emergency (1955–1960) and the Indonesian Confrontation (or Konfrontasi, 1965-1966).

 1795 - Five escaped convicts, who had been living with the local Aboriginal people were recaptured when Captain W.R. Broughton, of H.M.S. “Providence”, put into Port Stephens because of bad weather.

 1814 - New South Wales' first governor, Arthur Phillip, popped his clogs, aged 75.

 1816 - Between 1816-1818 the Kidnapping of Aboriginal children became widespread. Government Notices continued to outlaw the practice, to no avail. In retaliation Aborigines raided settlers’ huts and burned crops. Reports of both practices appeared regularly in the government newspaper, Hobart Town Gazette - on this day 1816 The Hobart Gazette reported; "A few days ago a party of about twenty Black Natives pursued three of the Government Stock-keepers near New Norfolk, and began throwing their Spears at them, when the men turned about and began firing, but at which they not regarding still kept on throwing their spears : this made the Stock-keepers resolved to kill some of them, which they soon accomplished by leaving three dead in the field and taking one prisoner, and which soon made the Natives quit their military array and disband themselves - In the engagement they threw upwards of 40 Spears, which was very surprising that not one of them hit the men."

 1819 - Land granted to Colebee and Nurragingy by Gov. Macquarie was registered.

 1834 - Captain Wiseman’s vessel, the ‘Augustus Caesar’ visited Nahgi Island, discovering ship wreckage but unable to find the source, and sighted islanders on a beach nearby. This was one of the last sightings of the Kulkalgal people, who after open conflict with white settlers, slowly declined in numbers and disappeared.

 1842 - First issue of Portland Mercury newspaper.

 1849 - A hurricane blew down houses and leveled chimneys in Melbourne. The Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers were in high flood. At Dight's Falls the Yarra rose 37 feet above its normal level.
1865 - Inspector Murray sent a letter from Rockhampton “I have the honour to request that you will inform me as soon as possible what authority I have to stop persons from encouraging troopers to desert from the Native Mounted Police and afterwards employing them – and what steps I shall take should troopers in such case desert?”

 1869 - Sugar was extracted from beetroot grown at Campbells River near Bathurst, NSW, exhibited by J.F. Clements.

 1870 - An intercolonial exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the landing of Lieut. James Cook at Botany Bay, NSW, opened at Prince Alfred Park, Sydney.

 1878 - An Aborigine working for white people was killed at Smithfield, Cairns (QLD). there were a reports of "dispersals" (massacres) at Smithfield in 1878.

 1880 - First Fremantle Railway Bridge opened (WA).

 1892 - Uncle Toby's Oats was introduced by Sydney businessman and food manufacturer, Clifton Love.

 1912 - Work began on the construction of Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

 1916 - The Bulletin published a cartoon outlining the service of Aboriginal men in WW1 titled‘Too dark for the Light Horse’.

 1917 - 10,000 people protested over Australia's inflation rate, which exceeded 20% per year.

 1918 - Cpl Albert Knight (the second of 3 Aboriginal brothers to enlist) “single handed and in the face of extremely heavy fire Pte Irwin rushed three separate machine gun posts and captured the three guns and crews. It was while rushing a fourth machine gun that he was severely wounded. On his irresistible dash and magnificent gallantry, this man materially assisted our advance through this strongly held and defended wood; and by his daring actions he greatly inspired his whole company.” He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his outstanding act of valour.

 1919 - Electric train services commenced running from Flinders St to St Kilda (Vic).

 1921 - The Australian Air Force was formed on 31 March 1921. King George V approved the prefix "Royal" in June 1921 and it became effective on this day.

 1928 - The new blast furnace at Port Kembla, NSW, was lit for the first time.

 1929 - Rockhampton Gas and Coke Co ceased electricity supply.

 1929 - Electrical power supply opened in Proserpine.

 1930 - William Burton sustained a minor hand injury when he was bitten by a shark whilst fishing at Geraldton (WA).

1931 - 31,200 square miles of Arnhem Land was set aside for Aboriginal people.

 1933 - The township of Stuart in the Northern Territory was renamed Alice Springs.

 1935 - The Cootamundra Gaol was closed after being in service for 49 years.

 1937 - Iona Asai was (not fatally) bitten about the head, neck and shoulders by a Tiger shark whilst diving from the lugger San that was operated by the Protector of Aborigines at Mabuiag Island, between New Guinea & Australia.

 1939 - Amateur Radio Licences in Australia were withdrawn on this day.

 1939 - Three days prior to war’s declaration, No. 23 Squadron (RAAF) flew into Archerfield.

 1942 - US Army Anti-Aircraft H 208 CA AA CNG departed from the South Townsville State School, having been camped in the school grounds for five months.

 1942 - Sugar was added to the list of rationed goods. Australian citizens were limited to two pounds of sugar each per fortnight.

 1945 – The Liberal Party of Australia was founded by Robert Menzies, the United Australia Party (UAP) was absorbed into the new Liberal Party of Australia .

 1953 - The Morpeth Branch Railway Line (NSW) was closed between East Maitland - Morpeth (1st), and Morpeth (1st) - Morpeth.

 1968 - The Captains Flat Branch Railway Line (NSW) was closed between Bungendore Junction - Captains Flat.

 1969 - In what was presumed to be a politically motivated attack, a group of 'gatecrashers' invaded a party for campaign workers at the Melbourne home of Labor opposition frontbencher Dr Jim Cairns. Five men and two women seized Dr Cairns from behind and he was bashed and kicked unconscious; his wife Gwen was beaten and choked when she tried to defend him.

 1970 - First direct telecast of Brownlow Medal count.

 1970 - The Labor Party leader Gough Whitlam called for homosexual law reform at the Labor Women's Conference in Brisbane.

 1975 - Australia celebrated International Women’s Day; The Australian Government held the first national conference from 31 August to 6 September on the status of women (Women and Politics) and committed Australia to celebrating International Women’s Day with other member nations of the United Nations. The conference generated a great deal of debate in Australia. Some conference delegates invaded the offices of the Canberra Times to protest about the coverage of the conference.

 1977 - Philip Horley was bumped off his surf board and his left thigh lacerated (not fatally) by a white shark at Cactus Beach, Ceduna (SA).

 1980 - The Bondi Lifesaver, that started out as a wine bar in a couple of terrace houses but eventually walls were knocked down to create a proper music venue, was a staple of the Sydney music scene for almost 10 years from 1971 until it closed with a bang on this day.

 1984 - New South Wales decriminalised male homosexual sex for people over 18.

 1985 - The Aussat 1 satellite was launched successfully from the Space Shuttle Discovery. The satellite was positioned successfully 36,000 km above the equator to the north of the Solomon Islands.

 1986 - Transperth became an offical trading name for WA transport.

 1987 - The Cowwarr to Maffra railway line closed (Vic).

 1987 - Warwick Fairfax launched his bid to buy Fairfax company shares.

 1995 - 24-year old author Helen Darville, writing under the name Helen Demidenko, had the distribution of her novel 'The Hand That signed The Paper' frozen amid claims of plagiarism and claims about herself and her family being fabricated.

 1995 - The South Pacific Motor Club (SPMC) folded after 25 years.

 1996 - Steve Spaulding owner of the Greed Sisters Emporium one of the early gay shops in King Street, Newtown, closed up shop due to upmarket rents.

 2000 - Virgin Blue’s first flight was DJ214 from Brisbane to Sydney.The airline had one route, two aircraft, and a dedicated team of just 200 people.

 2001 - Ministers of New Zealand and Nauru announced that they would take the Afghanistan asylum seekers stranded in Australian waters.

 2001 - The Full Court of the Federal Court handed down its decision in the appeal of Lorna Cubillo and Peter Gunner. The Full Federal Court agreed with the trial judge’s position that the Commonwealth was not liable to pay compensation to Mrs Cubillo or Mr Gunner who said they had been wrongfully and unjustifiably affected by past practices in the Northern Territory.

 2001 - The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) began in Durban on this day. It was attended by ATSIC chair Geoff Clark along with ATSIC Commissioners Brian Butler and Commissioner Patricia Thompson.

 2002 - A community forum supported the community celebrating Mardi Gras for future events regardless of whether the trademarks were bought by a private bidder.

 2003 - The world famous Claremont Speedway, (operated from May 14, 1927 - March 31, 2000) had a monument unveiled by Dr. Don Robertson, the President of the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia Inc.

 2003 - The National Trust was disappointed with a Federal Government decision to sell off much of the historic Point Cook Air Force Base in Melbourne's south-west. The world's oldest operating airfield will be sold within the year, with the RAAF Museum and the heritage precinct to remain in Commonwealth hands.

 2004 - The New South Wales Government rejected an offer of $30 million from the Federal Government to reinstate the Casino to Murwillumbah rail service.

 2005 - The New South Wales Rural Fire Service declared a start to this year's danger period for bushfires after several outbreaks today.

 2005 - The Tasmanian Devil was formally listed as a vulnerable species.

 2006 - Second tunnel linking Esplanade Station to Perth Underground (William Street) was completed.

 2011 - Australia's High Court dealt a heavy blow to the government by blocking its plans to send asylum-seekers to Malaysia, ruling they could not go to a nation lacking legal safeguards.

 2012 - Indonesian fishermen rescued 43 starving, dehydrated Sri Lankans who had been adrift in a boat for nine days after their engine broke down while trying to reach Australia to seek asylum.

 2013 - Muslim women were shocked at Mr Abbotts attacks on religious dress; Mr Abbott’s statement was that he found the dress of some Muslim women confronting and would not like to see such dress on the streets of Sydney.

 2014 - Protesters marched as part of a wave of anti-government rallies across the country. The rallies were protests against federal government policy decisions, which included the seven-dollar GP co-payment, the proposed winding back of the Renewable Energy Target and budgeted fuel tax increases.

 2015 - Victoria Police approached AFL player Courtenay Dempsey after he was the target of racial abuse online.

 2015 - The Northern Territory Health Department found "higher than expected" lead levels in children in two remote communities, Palumpa and Peppimenarti, in the West Daly region.