Thursday, May 24, 2018

May 24 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History

1770 - Captain Cooks first landing in Queensland (and second in Australia) at Bustard Bay.
Cook, Banks and Solander spied many pelicans and, on the shore, a species of bustard, one of which was shot. They considered it the best bird they had et since leaving England, and in honour of the poor roasted bird they called the inlet Bustard Bay. The crew caught fish and harvested oysters from the rocks and around the mangroves.
Although the party did not make contact with any Aborigines they did find campsites, fires and artefacts. However members of the Endeavour's crew who had remained aboard the vessel observed about twenty members of the Meerooni tribe on the beach.

1804 - Bungaree escorted six Aboriginal people who have been visiting Sydney back to the Hunter River in the ship Resource.

1805 - Billy Bligh was given the job of 4th Guv of NSW, just to keep him off ships and away from water for awhile.

1841 - Gas lighting was lit for the first time in Oz, for Queen Vicky's birthday, when the streets of Sydney were bathed in the oh so romantic but what a biatch to read by gas lights. Queen Vicky was mildly amused.

1845 - The Maitland Mercury reported ;
Sydney Cab Men.-These men have become most notorious for the robbery of their passengers. One man was committed by the Sydney police bench last week to take his trial for robbing a seaman of £7, who had taken his cab along with a messmate for the purpose of having a spree, and, getting intoxicated, they were robbed.

1849 - The foundation stone of St Peter's College, Adelaide, two blocks from the old city bridge, was laid by Bishop Augustus Short.

1859 - First Australian Trades' Hall opened at Melbourne.

1865 - The brand spanking new FitzRoy ironworks furnace at Mittagong was officially fired up and the Iron Works directors marked the occasion by slapping down the foundation stone for the Wesleyan (Uniting) church and by releasing the first lots of the New Sheffield sub-division. A luncheon for over 300 guests completed the celebrations.

1865 - The foundation stone of St George's Uniting Church, Eden was laid by Mrs. Barclay.

1866 - St George's Uniting Church at Eden, probably one of the oldest continuously operating churches in Australia, was opened by Rev. John Dunmore Lang on land bequeathed by George Barclay to the Presbyterian Church, whose congregations, formally known as St. Andrew's Presbyterian Congregation had been meeting since 1859 in the Eden Court House.

1869 - JWO Bennett was speared by Aborigines; he died and was buried on top of Fort Hill later being moved to the Pioneers Section of the General Cemetery, Darwin.

1870 – Port Adelaide Football Club played their first match.

1878 - Mary Grant Bruce, that brilliant children's author who should be better appreciated, was found in the petunia patch in Sale, Gippsland.

1878 - Freeman Cobb, who founded the coach line Cobb & Co, popped his clogs in South Africa.

1884 - Thomas Stoddart presented 12 white marble statues to adorn the public gardens of Ballarat, which were unveiled today.While visiting a sculptors’ studio in Italy, Thomas Stoddart saw classical statues being made for the gardens in Genoa. He thought, “Why should not the gardens at Ballarat be similarly adorned?” On impulse he ordered a dozen on the spot. The sculptures are three-quarter human size and depict deities from the realms of Greek and Roman mythology. It was the intention of the donor that the statues would cultivate a love for the beautiful in the hearts of the young people of the district.

1889 - The Wallace Statue was officially unveiled. James Russell Thomson was a Scottish miner who made his fortune from goldmining. At his death he left 3000 pounds for statues at the Gardens. Sir William `Braveheart` Wallace was chosen as a tribute to Thomson`s birthplace.

1900 - The Queen Victoria Statue was commissioned by the citizens of Ballarat in 1897 to commemorates Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and was unveiled on the Queen's Birthday, 24 May 1900, by the Lieutenant Governor Sir John Madden before some 20,000 people. The cost of 2,300 pounds had been raised by public subscription.

1902 - The formal opening of the Queen's Victoria Hospital in Adelaide was held on this day, Queen Victoria's birthday, before 500 invited guests and another 1000 people who paid sixpence each for admission.

1902 - A drinking fountain commemorating Queen Victoria was unveiled by the Federal Attorney-General and Acting Prime Minister the Honourable Alfred Deakin at Ballarat.

1905 - Empire Day was introduced, celebrated on the dead Queen Vicky's birthday. Aussie schoolkids would rush home on the half holiday to build the bonfire to have that night with fireworks going off madly.  It remained a public holiday until 1958. This jocularity was outlawed by the Fun Police in 1965. The Aussie kids finally agreed with Queen Vicky and were not amused.

1915 - A formal truce was declared at Gallipoli where the Turkish were able to bury their dead.
" But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain.
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs...
Then we started all over again...."

1917 - Les Darcy, Aussie champion "blacksmith boxer" and world middle weight champion, and spunky looking eye candy that made the gals swoon and drool, died of pneumonia in Memphis, Tennessee.

1927 - A story appeared in the Mt Gambier-based Border Watch, claiming a bottle with the words ‘Shackleton Glacier, 22 June 1912’ and eight names engraved on it, was found on Tuggerah Beach in New South Wales (NSW) by a local resident, George Bressington.

1927 - Another story appeared in the Barrier Miner in Broken Hill, and claimed that the bottle was picked out by a worker at the NSW bottle works in Ultimo, Sydney, and handed to his supervisor, George Bressington, in 1917, telling him it had come from an unknown boat. 

1930 - Amy Johnson arrived in Darwin. She becomes the first female aviator to conquer the London to Darwin solo flight.

1935 - Construction on the cantilever Story Bridge in Brisvgas began.

1947 - The Woronora Cemetery Railway Line (NSW) was closed.

1947 - The Centralian Advocate was first published in Alice Springs.

1958 - Empire Day became Commonwealth Day and was no longer celebrated as a public holiday. This anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birthday had been a public holiday since 1905.

1960 – The Parliament of Victoria authorised Totalizator Agency Boards with the intention to stamp out starting price (SP) betting.

1962 - The Minister for Defence (Reginald Townley) announced intention to send 30 army advisers to South Vietnam (SVN).

1965 - Advance party from 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR), departed for South Vietnam, for service with the US 173rd Airborne Division.

1966 - 5 RAR deployed by helicopter from 1ATF concentration area at Vung Tau to secure the Task Force area at Nui Dat. Private Errol Noack became the first national serviceman and member of 1ATF to die from enemy action.

1968 - Official visit to Victorian Parliament by Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India.

1969 – Keith Payne was the last Australian soldier awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery during the Vietnam War.

1971 - Senator Neville Bonner became the first Aboriginal parliamentarian. He was nominated by the Queensland Liberal Party for a vacant Senate seat. Indigenous people were included in the national census for the first time in 1971, following the 1967 amendment to the Constitution.

1974 - Martin Smith’s Gay Pride Week trial was held at Central Criminal Court, Liverpool Street.

1978 - Introduction of Queensland Legal Aid Bill by Minister for Justice Mr Lickiss, who said,
"The general principles behind the concept of legal aid are that all people have the right to legal representation and other legal services; and that no-one should be denied justice merely because they are unable to afford the services they need."

1980 - QEII and Phil The Not-So-Gardening Greek beamed down from the mothership for the official opening of the High Court building in Canberra.

1987 - O'Loughlin Catholic College in Darwin was officially opened.

1988 - The SGMG Association AGM was held. The new Committee was Jack Allen, Anthony Babicci, Colin Fawcett, Celia Hutton, Christoper Jarvis, Panos Kouros, Peter MacDonnell, Murray McLachlan, Kimberley O’Sullivan, Catherine Phillips, David Ryan, Anthony Sleiman, Richard Wherrett and David Wilkins.

1991 - Members of ACT-UP staged an action in Pitt Street Mall, followed by a short sit-in in Market Street.

1994 - During the Cannonball Run in the NT in one of the timed sections near Alice Springs, a Ferrari F40 crashed into a checkpost killing its occupants, the Japanese duo Akihiro Kabe and co-driver Okano (first name unknown) and two track officials, Tim Linklater and Keith Pritchard.

2006 - International peacekeepers and troops from Australia and New Zealand were headed to East Timor to help restore order after gunbattles between disgruntled ex-soldiers and the military killed two people and wounded nine.

2009 - In Australia thousands of homeowners remained isolated in the flood-hit northeast. Authorities said days of torrential rain had created a vast "inland sea."

2010 - Australia demanded that Israel withdraw an embassy official from the country, saying the Jewish state was behind fake Australian passports linked to the killing of a Hamas operative.

2011 -  It was reported that an unknown number of Australian soldiers and contractors might have been exposed to blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis or HIV after staff at Defence’s main hospital unit in the Middle East failed to sterilise surgical equipment properly. The breach of protocol at the al-Minhad air base continued for 19 months in 2009 and 2010 during heavy fighting and significant casualties for Australian troops, but soldiers were not alerted to the problem until last week.


  1. Have you been to 1770?
    We visited last year and I have a blog post with photos of same.

    1. No, sorry, my broomstick doesn't get me far these days, Margaret. I shall pop over and have a squiz at your photos!

  2. I adored the Billabong Series. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Just been packing up my childhood friends in the Billabong series along with the Silver Brumby *sigh* BLISS!