What important historical events happened in Australia?

1606 Dutch explorer Willem Jansz became the first recorded European to set foot on Australia's shores, doing so on the western shore of Cape York Peninsula.

1616 Dirk Hartog charted regions of the Western Australian coast.

1688 Pirate William Dampier became the first Englishman to land on Australia's shores.

1770 Cook's "Endeavour" sailed up Australia's east coast, with Cook charting the coastline and botanist Sir Joseph Banks noting the extensive, unusual new flora. Cook claimed the eastern half of the continent for Briatin, under the name of New South Wales.

1788 Australia's first groups of white settlers, mostly convicts, arrived from England, along with officers, marines and free settlers.

1801-1803 Matthew Flinders circumnavigated Australia.

1804 A colony was established in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania)

1813 Crossing of the Blue mountains by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth: they were the first Europeans to succeed in crossing Australia's impenetrable Blue Mountains, and allowing vital expansion of the settlement to the west.

1824 The first colony (Colony of Moreton Bay) in what is now Queensland was established.

1829 The colony of Western Australia was officially proclaimed.

1829-30 Charles Sturt followed and charted the major rivers of New South Wales, opening up the waterways along the Murray and Darling Rivers, and generating interest in a southern colony (later South Australia).

1836 The colony of South Australia was proclaimed.

1840-41 Edward Eyre became the first European to travel overland from east to west, crossing the Nullarbor Plain in gruelling conditions, with just one aboriginal companion, after two other aborigines travelling with him killed his overseer.

1851 in April, gold prospector Edward Hargraves and his partners reported finding gold at Ophir NSW, beginning the Australian goldrush.

1851 Victoria separated from New South wales to become its own colony, and Australia's richest goldfields for the time were found in Victoria.

1852-1860, anti-Chinese riots occurred on the gold fields in Australia, after a fear of Chinese labourers taking European jobs for cheaper pay.

1854 The Eureka rebellion, when gold diggers were forced to pay a licence fee whether they found gold or not, which began the rebellion. The birthplace of Australian democracy.

1859 Queensland separated from New South Wales.

1860-61 The ill-fated expedition of Burke and Wills, who attempted to be the first to cross Australia from south to north and back again. They perished in the desert, whilst hardy little Scottish explorer, John McDouall Stuart, succeeded in making the crossing from Adelaide to the north (1862).

1872 The Overland Telegraph Line was completed, allowing the southern states of Australia to communicate directly by telegraph with the rest of the world. It followed the path Stuart had taken.

1872-3 The goldrush continued in Australia as the goldrushes began in Western Australia.

1888 Notorious bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged at Melbourne Gaol for his crimes of robbery and murder.

1901 Federation of the six colonies occurred in 1901, and although Australia supported the British Empire in both World Wars, it gradually grew into the completely autonomous, multi-cultural and rich country it is today, with one of the highest standards of living in the world.

1891 - 1901 Australia entered its most severe depression, beginning with the failure of several Australian banks, many Australians faced the prospect of unemployment and business losses.

1891 - 1894 - The harsh conditions of Australia's economic depression led to the Shearers' strikes, the formation of labour unions and, eventually, the formation of the Australian Labor Party.

1915 The battle of Gallipoli took place during the first world war, and to this day ANZAC day is commemorated in Australia and New Zealand.

1929 - 1932 - The Great depression, the effects of which were less pronounced in Australia than elsewhere in the western world.

1932 Opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

1939 The Black Friday bushfires of Victoria, which resulted in 71 deaths.

1942 Japanese bombed Darwin and numerous other centres in Australia's north. Within ten weeks, Japan controlled Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore and the Australian territory of New Britain (Rabaul).

1950 Post war immigration from Europe, Australia had a massive immigration program, to populate Australia after the narrow invasion from Japan. The Snowy River Hydroelectric scheme brought tens of thousands into Australia, employing immigrants from all over the world.

1954 The Petrov Affair, a spy event involving Soviet Spy Agent, Vladimir Petrov, who wanted to provide ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) information of the Soviet's plans, in return for defection (joining the Australian side and betraying his own country).

1965 Australian troops were sent to Vietnam war, as an ally of the United States and under the ANZUS pact.

1973 Official opening of the Sydney opera House.

1974 Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin on Christmas Day, killing over 60.

1975 The dismissal of the Whitlam government, ending years of controversy and change.

1983 The Ash Wednesday bushfires of southern Australia, in which 75 people were killed.

1989 The Newcastle earthquake occurred. To date, it has been Australia's only earthquake which resulted in fatalities.

2008 Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen generations for the wrongs done to them in the twentieth century.

2009 The Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, which have been Australia's worst bushfires so far. The final death toll was over 180 people.

2010 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd became the first Australian Prime Minister removed from office before completing a full term. Julia Gillard became Australia's first female Prime Minister.