Friday, December 8, 2017

Decemmber 8 On This Day in Australian History

1789 James Ruse was a chuffed chappie when he reaped the first harvest on Government Farm at Parramatta.

1801 Flinders explored and charts King George's Sound (later Albany) in Western Australia.

1838 During the Myall Creek trials The Australian newspaper reported that one of the jurors remarked:
‘I look on the blacks as a set of monkeys, and the earlier they are exterminated from the face of the earth the better. I would never consent to hang a white man for a black one. I knew well (the settlers) were guilty of the murder, but I for one would never see a white man suffer for shooting a black.’

1839 Rev. James Gunther wrote in his journal;
We had 14 Young men & elderly boys at Church, also, many Natives, besides about the Establishment. It is pleasing, after all, that however much they wander, they again & again come back to the Mission and seem to consider it their home. - Mr W. being poorly I officiated both times. A certain neighbouring Gentleman, who bears J.P. behind his name, sent, to day, a Black woman to attend Church, dressed in a theatrical & ridiculous style, men’s clothes, and with his own, handsomely, bound, Bible & Prayer-book in the hand. Had she come into the Church door, it would, no doubt, have caused laughter with some & thus a disturbance. But fortunately Mrs G. saw her before she had proceeded so far, and kept her in her room, as she was obliged to stay at home. When I came from Church Mrs G. pointed her out to me, and, happily, another Magistrate who had been at Church, just called in, so when we presented the theatrical figure. He was shocked, and said, he would give the Gent a strong reprimand, and I requested him to tell him, if he did so again, I should certainly take some steps against him.

1855 Ballarat was proclaimed a Municipality.

1888 Mr J.T Williams leapt from a hot air balloon over Sydney....and proceeded to demonstrate the amazing powers of the parachute.
At least....we hope the chap remembered to sling one on his back...

1888 The village of Gilgandra (NSW) was proclaimed on this day.

1899 George St in Sydney was beside itself with the comings and goings of the new electric tramway sliding its length.

1909 Lady Dudley got on the blower and called a meeting at Govt House in Melbourne from which lead the formation of the legendary Bush Nursing Service.

1910 Geelong, Victoria was declared a city.

1934 Imperial Airways extended its airmail service to Australia.

1941 The Kiwis and Aussies declared war on Japan.

1941 War returned to Broome the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. Australia instantly joined America in declaring war on the Japanese and almost immediately, all pearling activity ceased in Broome. Men rushed to join the war effort and the industry’s labour pool vanished overnight as Japanese residents were interred in camps.

1956 The 16th Olympic games closed at Melbourne, Australia.

1965 Martin Sharp's first exhibition of paintings opened at the Clune Galleries in Potts Point, Sydney. Sharp was the main illustrator and co-editor of Oz magazine.

1966 A pioneering piece of legislation was passed in the South Australian Parliament when the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act, the first ever Act in Australia to recognize Aboriginal land rights, was assented to on this day.

1970 Victoria passed the Aboriginal Land Act 1970 which is supposed to recognise the Aboriginal people's right to hold the title of the land where they lived.

1972 Australia’s military commitment in South Vietnam ended, although controversy about the precise end date of the war continues.

1975 Probably the only rock anthem with bagpipes, Aussie rock group AC/DC's It's a Long Way To The Top was released.
To promote it, ABC-TV's Countdown filmed the now-classic video-clip for the single, featuring the band playing the song live on the back of a flatbed truck as they are driven through Melbourne.

1983 Stated by Hon C Holding MHR, Commonwealth of Australia   
"This Government looks to achieve further progress for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the two principles of consultation and self-determination, that is, with the involvement of the Aboriginal people in the whole process ... All our policies, each of our programs and projects, have been and will continue to be fashioned in discussions with Aboriginal people and their organisations at national and community levels."

1986 The Balranald Railway Line (NSW) was closed.

1986 In Victoria they had a field day kicking umpteen stations and railway lines to the kerb....
Curdie's River Junction (later renamed Timboon Junction) to Timboon (Vic) closed.
Hopetoun to Patchewollock line closed
North Creswick to Allendale line closed
Jeparit to Yanac line closed
East Natimuk to Carpolac line closed .
 East Natimuk to Noradjuha closed .
Moulamein to Balranald line (services suspended) .
 Wedderburn Jct to Wedderburn line closed .
 Elmore to Diggora West line closed .
Piangil to Kooloonong line closed .
 Dookie to Katamatite line closed .
 Numurkah to Picola line closed .
 Bowser to Peechelba East line closed .
 Moe to Yallourn line closed .
 Traralgon to Cowwarr line closed

1987 Queen Street Post Office Massacre
Frank Vitkovic enters Melbourne's Queen Street Post Office and opens fire on customers and staff with a sawn-off shotgun killing 8 before taking his own life.

1988 Mabo Vs Queensland 1988 took place.
The High Court of Oz declared that the Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act - which tried to abolish native title rights - was not valid.

2005 A plaque was unvieled to honour the Aboriginal warrior Multuggerah who was an Aboriginal leader of the Jagera (Yuggera) nation, of the Lockyer Valley area near Toowoomba, Queensland. He was part of the resistance to European colonisation of the Darling Downs. In December 1843 Multuggerah led the Battle of One Tree Hill (Tabletop) in defence of the hill, a site of spiritual significance to his people.

2006 Thousands of firefighters rushed to contain more than a dozen wildfires burning across southern Australia amid fears that high temperatures and gusty winds forecast this weekend could further stoke the blazes, threatening farms and towns.


  1. We have come some way forward in our treatment of our first peoples. And have a long way to go before justice and equity are met.

  2. "Our" first peoples? Very long story.
    Self always wonders what Australia might have become; under the Aegis of Portugal, Spain, Franco-russian .. Ottoman empires ... meh.

  3. Also 'december' is the tenth month - depending on who believes History .. heh.
    (lluv ya)

  4. 1801 .. really? Have lost my Family history tree ; and probably 'off track a but this mention of Matthew Flinders sort of sparked a memory or two.
    Thre was a discussion some time recently about the Date of "Australia" day.

    'Tis my premise and claim ... that the Colony named "New South Wales"
    Was Never "AUSTRALIA" - until Matthew Flinders circumnavigated, mapped, the entire coastline of this Island continent and - historically 'named' this 'terra australis incognito' (Latin - unknown south land)... as AUSTRALIA.

  5. Ah, am not specifically a "Historian" by trade ... but remain fascinated when i ask blokes in the front bar of any local pub ...
    Do you know what happened in 1901? What happened in Longreach - under the tree?

  6. 1941 - my father signed up for the RAAF - 1944, was born.
    1945, father died in RAAF aircrash; that year' so close - in timing; but so far away - from Hiroshima.