Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 26 On This Day in Australian History

Boxing Day originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria.
Boxing Day is so called because it was the custom on that day for tradesmen to collect their Christmas boxes or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year.

1803 - Arrival of the ship Calcutta at Port Jackson. On board the Calcutta was convict John Fawkner, his wife and two children Elizabeth and John Pascoe Fawkner.

1836 - Mary Thomas, who had arrived in South Oz in November 1836, wrote in her journal;
"This day was extremely hot. The thermometer rose to 120 degrees F (48 degrees Celsius), the highest point we had yet seen it attain, and that in the shade, at least, in the tent, where it was generally hot, but I afterwards saw it at 150 degrees F (65 degrees Celsius), exposed to the sun."

1850 - William Beaumont and James Waller flung open the doors to their zoological gardens at their Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany, NSW.

1855 - The eventual design of the Parliament was left to two employees of what was to become the public works department, John George Knight and Peter Kerr. The first foundation stones were laid on Boxing Day 1855. At double time and a half I should hope !

1856 - Sir Henry Barkly became Victoria's first constitutional governor.

1861 - The Ballarat East Town Hall Foundation Stone was laid.

1861 - A troop of native police under the command of Lieutenant Cave carried out a grim reprisal for the deaths of Horatio Wills and 17 others on the Comet River in Queensland. The troopers drove a large group of Aboriginal people to the edge of a precipice and shot about 60 or 70 of them.

1862 - Gold was discovered at Walhalla. Another glittery bauble for the Christmas tree perhaps?

1866 - A team of Aboriginal cricketers played a match against Melbourne Cricket Club on this day.

1877 - Over 1,000 people saw Aboriginal athlete Frank Clark win running and vaulting events at a Mortlake sports meeting.

1885 - Not wanting to leave a potential Boxing Day pressie unwrapped The Powers That Were opened the new South Coast Railway Line (NSW) on this day.

1887 - The work of a 17-year old poet named Henry Lawson is first published in The Bulletin.

1895 - At Eudunda (South Oz) a meeting of about 100 local farmers and residents was held to discuss the formation of a Farmer’s Co-operative Society.

1898 – Gatton murders: Three members of the same family (a brother and two sisters) were sexually molested and murdered near the town of Gatton, Queensland (unsolved).

1900 - Never letting them in NSW get the better of them The Vic Powers That Were unwrapped the brand-spanking new whole 2.5kms of the Bungaree Racecourse Railway Branch.

1902 – Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville, Qld, were declared cities.

1902 – Ada Evans became the first female law graduate in Australia.

1906 - The world's first feature movie (which vies for the title with another Aussie flick, Soldiers Of The Cross), The Story of the Kelly Gang, had its premiere in the Athenaeum Hall, Melbourne. Produced by the Tait brothers, it ran for over an hour.

1908 - Jack Johnson (1878-1946) of Texas knocked out Tommy Burns in Australia to become the 1st black world heavyweight boxing champion. He was not officially given the title until 1910 when he beat Jim Jeffries in Las Vegas. In 1913 Johnson fled the US because of trumped up charges of violating the Mann Act's stipulations against transporting white women across state lines for prostitution. Johnson held the title until 1915. In 1920 he returned to the US, was arrested and served a one year sentence in Leavenworth in Kansas, where he was appointed athletic director of the prison.

1910 - The Wondergraph Theatre, an open air picture theatre in between the Customs Boarding Station and the Semaphore Coffee Palace (South Oz), opened on this day.

1932 - A recent census showed Australia's "full-blood" (vomit) Aboriginal population had fallen to a record low of 60,101 persons.
1940 - The classic Australian movie, 'Forty Thousand Horsemen', directed by Charles Chauvel and starring Chips Rafferty, premiered in Sydney.

1945 - What was intended as a cruise soon became the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, the first being held on this day.

1947 – Heard Island and McDonald Islands became administered by Australia.

1958 - Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira sentenced to serve a gaol sentence for supplying alcohol to a full-blood Aborigine in the open and in his own country. The conviction raised controversy over the denial of Australian citizenship to the majority of "full-blood" (vomit) Aboriginals.

1971 - The super-bloody-awesome Daddy Cool and La De Das headlined an outdoor concert at the 3XY Rosebud Show before an crowd of 50,000 people.

1971 - Townsville, Qld, was declared a disaster area after being hit by cyclone Althea.

1977 - Semaphore Cinema (South Oz) opened in the upstairs portion of the former Ozone Theatre on this date.

1980 - A $250,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction over a spate of bombings of Woolworths stores. It was the largest reward offered in Australia's history. Woolworth's Town Hall store in Sydney was bombed on Christmas Eve, becoming the third of the company's stores to be bombed in nine days.

1998 – Astronaut Andy Thomas became the first Australian to walk in space.

1998 - In a unique bid to encourage Indigenous participation in the Queensland Justice system, Kowanyama residents were urged to play a major role in the construction of a new courthouse in the community. Attorney General Matt Foley said residents would be encouraged to take ownership of the project by contributing to its final design through the provision of public art.

2004 - The Boxing Day Tsunami -  It originated in Sumatra and was felt along the coastlines of NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA, with 35 people having to be rescued from rip currents, boats were damaged in marinas (especially in WA, but also including as far as Tasmania). There was also some limited and localised inundation of immediate foreshores in a small number of WA coastal towns.

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