Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31 On This Day in Australian History

1790 - Twenty-five bushels of barley were harvested in the new colony of New South Wales, the first grain harvest and a boon to Sydney which was suffering severe food shortages. A damn fine reason to celebrate NYE !

1831 - George Augustus Robinson and his group of about 14 black envoys negotiated the surrender of 28 members of the Mairremmener people, an amalgam of Oyster Bay and Big River tribes. The tiny group of 16 men, nine women and a child, led by Tongerlongter and Montpeliater, was all that remained of what had once been one of the island's most powerful clans and much of Hobart Town's population lined the streets as Robinson walked with them through the main street towards Government House.They were sent to the Wybalenna settlement on Flinders Island, joining another 40 Aboriginal people who had previously been captured, although another 20 interned on the island had earlier died. By late May many more, including Kickerterpoller and Umarrah, had also contracted influenza and died.

1836 - Mary Thomas in South Oz wrote in her journal ;
"This morning we received intimation that the Governor had ordered ten men from the Buffalo to assist in getting our luggage from the shore. Accordingly they came, and, with their help, the men harnessing themselves to the trucks, all the heavy cases of goods and printing material were brought up. The latter was arranged in a rush hut, whence the Proclamation and other orders from the Governor were soon afterwards issued."

1838 - John Reynell planted South Australia's first vineyard - Reynella farm south of Adelaide. He plants South Australia's first vineyard in 1841.

1839 - The estimated population of Port Phillip district was 5,822 comprising 4,014 males and 1,718 females.

1839 - Frederick Stokes bought back the Sydney Herald from Ward Stephens.

1849 -  Today saw the abolition of the Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate which had failed miserably to drag the Indigenous people down to the European ways of life.

1852 - Those at Port Arthur and Hobart noticed the sudden rise and fall of the tide due to a tsunami somewhere.

1857 - The Yan Yean Reservoir was opened...holding the same amount of water then as it does now.

1859 - The Convict Establishment, Fremantle, WA, was completed.

1881 - A steam tramway, from Newtown to Marrickville in Sydney, began operating.

1887 - First issue of Mackay Banner Newspaper flew off the printing press.

1892 - Ballarat saw the demise of 66 Hotels which were closed by Local Option ( licensing bills which gave ratepayers the chance to close neighbourhood licensed premises by way of a majority vote).

1901 - Agriculturalist William James Farrer released his new drought resistant strain of wheat called Federation.

1903 - Australia ends the year as the world's largest producer of gold.

1912 - Australia was officially the preferred destination for British immigrants ahead of Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and India.

1913 - Australia's first oil and motor spirit merchant, Golden Fleece, was set up by Melbourne businessman Harold Sleigh. Golden Fleece ceased to exist in 1981 when its operations were taken over by Caltex.

1914 - Volunteers for the AIF enlisted so readily that a second convoy of reinforcements left within two months of the first. Many of those aboard its ships would land on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.So young,so silly and so sad.

1919 - The toll of the Spanish Flu epidemic was 11,552 confirmed deaths.

1919 - 1919 was declared the year of the strike following many strikes by workers, including one involving 5,400 miners at Broken Hill who had been idle since May.

1920 - Prime Minister WM Hughes removed Walter Burley Griffin as director of construction at Canberra after disagreements over his supervisory role. Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin had won the competition to design the national capital on 14 May 1912.

1921 - Those in Hobart had reason to celebrate this date when Cadbury's opened their factory there.

1921 - And those in Melbourne were shouting Huzzah! when the 44 hour week came into play.

1921 - Sin City Sydney were out with the streamers at the newly opened Mascot Airport.

1924 - The Albury Daily News ceased to exist; it was incorporated in Border Morning Mail the following month.

1935 - The Cane Toad was introduced into QLD to control the grey-black beetle..unfortunately the Cane Toad quickly wore out its welcome despite the best efforts from golfers everywhere. The most humane way of disposing of them is to pop them in a plastic bag inside your freezer. Fore !

1946 - It was announced that rationing of clothing, tea, sugar, butter and meat was to still continue, the black market not withstanding, of course.

1955 - The Adelaide newspaper The Sunday Mail, was first published.

1958 - The New South Wales government legislated for equal pay for women...not before time either!

1964 - Donald Malcolm Campbell set a new world water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung, WA. He achieved a speed of 444.7 km/hr.

1964 - Test drilling in Bass Strait struck oil and gas.

1968 - A MacRobertson-Miller Airlines Viscount 700 crashed after catching fire near Port Hedland, killing all 26 on board. It was a former TAA aircraft, sold to Ansett ANA in 1961 to replace an Ansett-ANA Viscount that crashed into Botany Bay, Sydney, with the loss of 15 lives. It apparently cartwheeled through the air for about 43kms before crashing.

 1964 - Those in Katoomba got to hear and dance to The Missing Links playing in the New Year.

 1973 - And if those rockers were still around at Chequers in Sydney they probably witnessed the first public gig of a little-known band called AC/DC.

1974 - AC/DC found they were on to a good thing so they followed up their popularity with a New Years Eve concert at Melbourne's Festival Hall.

1974 - The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea opened an embassy in Australia. The following April an Australian embassy opened in North Korea. On 30 October 1975, North Korea withdrew its embassy from Canberra and on 6 November expelled the staff of the Australian embassy in Pyongyang.
1975 - Australian-born scientist John Warcup Cornforth was named the joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, sharing the award with Vladimir Prelog for their work on the stereochemistry of enzymes and the spatial arrangement of molecules in living cells.

1976 - Australian films boomed in overseas markets. Film enjoying success include Don Crombie'sCaddie; Peter Weir's Picnic At Hanging Rock; Fred Schepisi's The Devil's Playground; Helen Safran's Storm Boy; and Bruce Beresford's Don's Party.

1976 - The inaugural Festival of Sydney opened with a free concert at the Sydney Opera House.

1977 - The Darwin Reconstruction Commission finished up.

1981 - Yippie ! New South Wales announced it was to abolish death duties.

1982 - The Main North Railway Line )NSW) was opened from Saxonvale Junction - Saxonvale Coal Loader.

1985 - South Australia celebrated 150th anniversary.

1993 - It was announced today that Skin cancer claimed the lives of 1,215 Australians during the year, an increase of 21 per cent over the previous year.

1994 - 98% of New South Wales, 45% of Queensland and large areas of South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria were declared drought affected.

1993 - A total of 953 boat people landed on Australia's shores during 1994.

1998 - Australian businesses gear up for the biggest hoax in years - that the country's computers will go awry because of the so-called Year 2000 (Y2K) computer bug.

1999 - An Adelaide funeral firm offered to store a sample of a client's tissue containing their client's Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) for later cloning.

2002 - Australia's asylum seeker detention centers were in turmoil following an attempted mass breakout and riot in a Sydney centre, an armed stand off at another and fires burning in two.

2005 - Sections of the Trans-Australian Railway near Nurina on the Nullarbor Plain were washed away by flooding, halting passenger and freight services for up to five days.

2009 - Australia residents returned to survey the wreckage after Western Australia's worst wildfire in 50 years engulfed 38 homes in an isolated rural community.

2010 - In Australia floodwater rose across a vast area in the northeast, inundating 22 towns, forcing 200,000 residents out of their homes, and closing a major sugar export port.

2013 - A cyclone ripped across northwest Australia, closing ports and threatening mining operations in the sparsely populated Pilbara region.

2014 - As of this day over 27 per cent of the country had been successfully determined, with 249 Native Title determinations and thousands of negotiated agreements (including 949 Indigenous Land Use Agreements) to facilitate future development.

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