Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 23 On This Day in Australian History

1789 - The ship Guardian carrying stores for the colony struck an iceberg and was forced back to the Cape. It never reached the colony in New South Wales.

1790 - During the second raid on Australia's First Peoples as ordered by Gov Phillip ;
Dawn they broke camp, the‘Christmas‘ tidal surge flooded in; ‘we were suddenly stopped by a creek, about sixty yards wide, which [before] appeared dry from the tide being out. We were immersed, nearly to the waist in mud, so thick and tenacious.
I am sinking resounded on every side. Our distress would have terminated fatally, had not a soldier called out to those on shore to cut boughs off trees and throw them to us; a lucky thought, which certainly saved many of us from perishing miserably. Our march ended at sun-set, without our seeing a single native’.
Having escaped what Captain Tench described ‘a Serbian Bog’ with guns ‘rendered unserviceable by the mud’ his exhausted troops spent another sleepless night under stars.

1825 - Surveyor Heneage Finch arrived in Newcastle from Sydney by crossing the Hawkesbury River at Wiseman's Farm

1829 - Arrival of ship William. Passenger Sir Edward Parry Commissioner of Australian Agricultural Company was on board.

1836 - George Steveson wrote in his journal whilst on board the Buffalo anchored off the South Oz coast;
"For the last three evenings we have neared the land just in time to be too late to proceed; & we have regularly tacked & stood out to sea a sufficient distance to occupy the whole day in returning.
The breeze however is a little fresher this evening & we shall probably go on. Our worthy captain has been openly bragging of having imposed upon the Commissioners by telling them of a 90 or 100 days passage;
while he says that he knew all along, & in fact told Mrs Hindmarsh, at Portsmouth, that we should not be at Port Lincoln before December 22 (yesterday) “For,” said he, (I record the words) “If I had said a longer time to them, I should not have been able to get the Buffalo” !! So our precious Governor feels no scruple in telling, & no shame in avowing that he has told a gross falsehood on a point of the last importance to the welfare of the Colony! What may we not expect in the way of imposition after this?"

1837 - Today saw the first sale of land on which stood the famously glamorous South Australian Hotel (originally built as a bank) in North Terrace, Adelaide (demolished by interstate faceless executives of Ansett Transport Industries in 1971).

1839 - A School for Aboriginal children opened in Adelaide.

1839 - The survey of the 4000 acre parcel of land otherwise known as the Seventh Special Survey was completed on this day; it would eventually become known as the town The Meadows, (South Oz).

1840- Bushranger Edward Davis (Teddy The Jewboy) and five of his gang were captured and sentenced to death. They were hanged 16th March 1841).

1841 - Arrival of the Emerald Isle from Plymouth with 150 emigrants. Some Australian Agricultural Company servants were also on board.

1841 - 1000 acres at Ebenezer Estate near Lake Macquarie was advertised for sale.

1856 - The Oneida ship parked its prow in Melbourne and dislodged the new Victorian Governor, Sir Henry Barkly from its depths.

1861 - Sydney's first horse-drawn tram began running along Pitt Street from Circular Quay to the Railway Station at Redfern.

1861 - The Main Western Railway line (NSW) was opened.

1867 - An Act was passed prohibiting the sale or supply of liquor to Aboriginal people in New South Wales.

1871 - Second Inter-University Rowing Race, Sydney Vs Melbourne, was held on the Parramatta River.

1878 - An £81,000 iron bridge across the Murray River at Echuca permited the completion of a railway line between Melbourne and Deniliquin in the NSW Riverina district.

1878 - The Bealiba to St Arnaud section of railway line (Vic) opened.

1881 - Railway steam locomotive number 17 had its boiler blow up at Wentworth Falls (NSW).

1882 -    Only 15 kms from Adelaide The Largs Bay seaside resort, the beginnings of Largs Bay, was opened. The project, built by the Largs Bay Land and Investment Company, was impressive and included a jetty to provide harbour facilities for overseas ships, a railway connected to the Fort Glanville line and a luxurious grand hotel for guests to stay. There were also six shops, to complement the Company’s land speculation ambitions for development of Largs Bay.

1889 - Preston - Reservoir (renamed Resevoir) to Whittlesea railway line (Vic) opened.

1895 - Sir Gerald Smith became Western Australia's Governor.

1901 - A new test was devised which seems sure to keep Australia as white as its population clearly wanted it to be. Under the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, immigrants were to be requested to sit for a dictation test of 50 words in any European language.

1912 - The Oaklands Railway Branch line (NSW) was opened.

1914 - Electoral enrolment and voting became compulsory in Queensland.

1916 - The Belmont Railway Branch line (NSW) was opened.

1916 - Battle of Magdhaba, northern Sinai The capture of Magdhaba by Chauvel's Mounted Brigade and the Imperial Camel Corps helped open the way for the successful Allied campaign in Palestine.

1920 - Australia's mandate over New Guinea was confirmed by the League of Nations.

1922 - Remembrance Club was founded in Hobart, Tas, by Major-General Sir John Gellibrand.

1922 - The Semaphore Bathing Pavilion and Palais (South Oz) opened on the foreshore. Designed to accommodate over 500 bathers, it also included a kiosk, dance hall, roof garden and observation tower.

1924 - The Brisbane to Cairns, Qld, rail link opened.

1924 - The Dorrigo Railway Branch line (NSW) opened.

1928 - A glorious 274 kms stretch of The Ghan Railway line opened from Rumbalara to Oodnadatta, (South Oz).

1929 – The 1929 Timber Workers strike resulted from a decision of Judge Lukin of the Arbitration Court to reduce the wages and increase the hours for 20,000 timber workers from a 44 hour week to 48 hour week.

1932 - The P&O liner SS Strathaird became Australia's first cruise ship when she departed Sydney for a five-night cruise with just two ports of call - Brisbane and Norfolk Island.

1946 - East-West Airlines was established.

1983 – Australia recorded its first death from the HIV/AIDS virus.

1993 - Former Western Australian Premier Brian Burke and his secretary were charged with stealing funds from the State ALP between 1984 and 1988.

1959 - Formula One motor racing driver Jack Brabham becomes the new world champion.

1964 - A rail service was proposed  for the Kurri industrial area, NSW.

1973 - The Cessnock Railway Branch line (NSW) was closed.

1980 - The Hamer Liberal government decriminalised male homosexuality in Victoria.
A loosely worded "soliciting for immoral purposes" clause, inserted by dissident Liberals, saw police harassment of gays continue well into the 1980s.

1982 - Paul Caffyn finished his almost-but-only-5-days-short-of-a year long effort to circumnavigate The Fair Isle of Oz in a kayak.

1996 - The Australian High Court handed down its decision on the Wik Native Title claim. This process resulted in the Federal Government establishing theWik Ten Point Plan on Native Title. The High Court found by a majority of four to three that the grant of particular pastoral leases under Queensland legislation did not confer exclusive possession on the leases and that any native title held by the Wik and Thayorre peoples over the land was not necessarily extinguished.

2004 - A magnitude 8.1 earthquake was located at Macquarie Island, and was felt throughout Tasmania. The specific area affected was the Macquarie Rise in the Pacific Ocean about 800 km off the coast of Tasmania. At the time, this event was one of the largest earthquakes recorded anywhere in the world in almost four years. A wave height of 150 mm was recorded at Spring Bay, Tasmania.

2007 - The Mandurah to Perth railway line opened.

2009 - Australian officials said residents were "fleeing for their lives" as savage wildfires blazed out of control in South Australia, with several homes destroyed and more under threat.
The City of Port Lincoln was again directly threatened by bushfire just prior to Christmas in 2009, with 6 houses and around 30 sheds and outbuildings on the city fringe destroyed. The fire burnt an area of 650 hectares.

2010 - Melbourne men Wissam Mahmoud Fattal (34), Nayef El Sayed (26), both of Lebanese descent, and Somali-origin Saney Edow Aweys (27) were found guilty of conspiring to plan a terrorist act, which carries a possible life term. Two other men, Somali-origin Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed (26) and Yacqub Khayre (23) were found not guilty after the three-month trial. 
2010 - Anglo-Australian resources giant Rio Tinto made a 3.9 billion US dollar offer for Australia's Riversdale, sparking speculation of a bidding war for its African steel-making coal with Indian and other rivals.

2011 - Cinema Seven opened in Hobart with a screening of The Women on the 6th Floor. Equipped with 70 comfy high-backed seats, high ceilings and regal red decor - and of course latest technology digital sound and projection, including 3D, C7 is fast becoming a new favourite for regulars.

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