Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 16 On This Day in Australian History

1791 - Whalers Matilda and Mary Ann arrived at Sydney from the "Coast to the south" (Illawarra).

1807 - John Macarthur was arrested on a second warrant, and granted bail. Upon his commitment for trial before the Criminal Court, he demanded payment of a 15-year old debt from Judge-Advocate Atkins.

1811 - Gov Lachlan Macquarie set in motion the move of the settlement at Port Dalrymple back to the George Town site on Outer Cove from York Town. He renamed the locality York Cove.

1817 - Colonial architect Francis Greenway was given a conditional pardon.
1824 – Explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell arrived in the area the Aborigines call Corayo (Corio)
 on a bay called Jillong (Geelong)

1826 - Joshua John Moore is recorded as the first European landowner in the area known as the Limestone Plains. In 1824 he took out a ticket-of-occupation for 2000 acres on what is to become the site of Canberra. In 1825 he obtained permission to purchase 1000 acres of unoccupied land, but does not exercise his option to purchase until 16 December 1826 when he writes:
"The land I wish to purchase is situate at Canbery on the E. bank of the river which waters Limestone Plains, above its junction with the Murrumbeeja [sic], adjoining the grant of Mr Robert Campbell snr."He had already built huts and stockyards on the ridge where the Canberra Community Hospital now stands and enclosed thirty acres (12 ha) for cultivation.


1845 - Thomas Mitchell departed Orange, New South Wales, in search of a great river flowing to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

1860 Burke, Wills, Gray and King strolled off from Cooper's Creek in the general direction of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Will you tell them or shall I ...?

1876 - British Government agrees to send a Military Engineer to Australia to advise on its defences.

1888 - Melbourne's Princes Bridge was opened.


1900 - Bushfires ravaged Benalla and Wangaratta, Vic.

1903 After 8 years the great drought broke in most states of mainland Oz.
Which was seen as a sign from heaven when women were allowed to vote in Oz in federal elections for the first time.

1903 - Held in Victoria on this day was Australia's second federal election and the first (worldwide) in which women have the right to vote and the opportunity to stand for national Parliament.Vida Goldstein, Nellie Martel and Mary Ann Bentley stood for the Senate. Selina Siggins stood for the seat of Dalley in the House of Representatives.

1908 - Ballarat was placed on water restrictions.

1909 - The former Prime Minister George Reid was appointed as Australia's first High Commissioner in London.

1910 - Ford sold its 400th Model-T car in Australia.


1910 - Invalid pensions first made available Australia wide.

1914 - Today saw the completion of the branch railway line from Miles to Wandoan (QLD).

1919 Oops, spoke too soon, with severe drought tightening its grip throughout Oz.

1921 - The railway line from Yarram to Won Wron (Vic) opened.

1922 The wonderful Smith Family welfare organisation was begun in Sydney.

1922 Major-General Sir John Gellibrand began the first Legacy Club in Hobart.

1922 - The Australian Country Party (ACP), as The National Party was then known, won 14 seats at the elections on this day and held the balance of power.

1925 - Australian federal election, 1925: Stanley Bruce reelected as Prime Minister.

1929 – The Rothbury Riot took place in NSW  in which police shot at locked out miners, killing Norman Brown and injuring 45 others.

1929 - The Burcher Railway Branch line (NSW) opened.

1929 - Seventeen year old Nancy Thom was bodysurfing at Collaroy, NSW,  when she received superficial lacerations to her leg from a small shark.

1929 - Electric train services commenced from Reservoir to Thomastown (Vic).

1936 – A Brisbane to Adelaide air race was held to commemorate South Australia's centenary.

1939 - The Cronulla Railway Line (NSW) opened.

1941 - An official order was issued by the Administrator to evacuate women and children from Darwin. The evacuation was primarily organised by the A.R.P. (Air Raid Precautions) with assistance from Police and Military personnel. Most of the 1066 women and 900 children went by sea, with the first group leaving Darwin on December 19 aboard the Koolinda.

1942 - South Australia adopted Preferential voting for its lower house elections.

1947 – The reconstructed Regent Theatre, Melbourne opened after it was destroyed by fire in 1945.

1948 – HMAS Sydney, the first aircraft carrier of the Royal Australian Navy, was commissioned.

1948 - Australia took delivery of its first aircraft carrier - the 14,000 tonne HMS Terrible (R93) - under the commission of HMAS Sydney III.

1950 - Desmond Quinlan, a lifesaver, was treading water at 4.15pm at  Palm Beach North, 5 miles north of Burleigh Heads, Brisbane. when he was fatally  attacked by a shark having his lower abdomen severely bitten & his left leg severed.

1964 - Melbourne's La Trobe University was founded; the first undergraduates were admitted in March 1967

1964 - Brown's Range Space Tracking Station near Carnarvon, WA, became operational.

1969 - Following the withdrawal of 25,000 US troops from South Vietnam, and plans by the US Government to withdraw another 50,000, the Prime Minister (Sir John Gorton) advised any further substantial reductions would include Australian forces.

1976 - The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act was passed and provided Aboriginal people with freehold title to former reserve land across the Northern Territory.

1976 - Racial discrimination becomes illegal in South Australia.

1979 - Heavy rain washed out the annual Carols by Candlelight held in Elder Park and for the first time in thirty-six years the event was cancelled. On the previous Thursday night a runaway truck caused damage to the steel-scaffolding stage, but by using additional workers and working until 10 pm the stage had been rebuilt in time. Then the rains came. Carols by Candlelight began in the dark days of the war when some 50,000 people attended the first festival on Christmas Eve 1944, held in aid of the Adelaide Children’s Hospital and the Somerton Sick and Crippled Children’s Home, and arranged by the Commercial Travellers Association and 5AD. Since that the concert has become an integral part of Adelaide’s Christmas observance and many of Australia’s best singers have appeared there. In 1950 the guest artist was Joan Sutherland and record crowd of 70,000 heard her sing.

1979 - Sunday trading in Sydney public bars began.

1982 - The Victorian Government passed the Freedom of Information Bill, the first among the Australian states, guaranteeing the right of access, within limits, to Government-held information.

1983 - The Sale Wharf Railway line (Vic) closed.

1994 - A Spanish court refuses to extradite failed businessman Christopher Skase to Australia on humanitarian grounds.

1995 - The suggested re-opening of Sydney Airport's east-west runway was opposed by anti-noise protesters.

1997 - The Gundjehmi court case began in the Federal court, challenging the validity of the original Jabiluka mining lease.

1997 - Senator John Heron announced initiatives totalling $63 million for practical assistance to those affected by the Stolen Generation policies.

1999 - Geoff Clark, ATSIC commissioner for Victoria, became the first elected leader of the ATSIC Board of Commissioners.

1999 - After 13 years in court, it took 30 minutes to hand out cheques for $7000 to 235 Palm Islanders, the first of 3500 Aboriginals to be compensated after years of being under-paid and over-worked.

2001 - The Indigenous documentary “Trepang – a tale of discovery” was broadcast on the ABC. The TV documentary tells the story of pre-colonial contact between Macassan seafarers and the Aboriginal people of Arnhem Land.

2002 - It was reported that a severe drought ravaging most of Australia's rural sector will slash farm exports by 13 percent this fiscal year. Triggered by abnormal sea temperatures, El Nino was blamed for severe drought in Australia, which slashed crops and caused a liquidation of the nation's livestock. The drought continued through 2005.

2002 - A male swimming at Miami Lake, QLD at 2.30am was fatally attacked by a Bull shark.

2003 - One of the largest Acts passed by the Parliament of Victoria, the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (632 pages) was assented to on 16 December 2003.

2004 - A male surfer was fatally attacked by two sharks whilst on a surfboard being towed behind a boat at West Beach, Adelaide, South Oz.

2013 - PM Tony Abbott said Australian combat troops have completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan, marking the end of the nation's longest war which left 40 of its soldiers dead.

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