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Defining Moments in Australian History

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Compiling the initial list of 100 Defining Moments in Australian History was a challenging process. Inevitably, everyone's list is different.

What do you think is Australia's most significant defining moment?

Your comments and suggestions will be published on this website. We are also compiling a list of the most popular moments. Your contribution may also be published in other Museum print or online publications, and in our social media channels.

Help us shape the list. Use the form below or tweet your suggestion using #nmamoments


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NMA Defining Moments Team
05 Feb 2016 12:07pm

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all of the brilliant suggestions that have been coming through for public moments in our Defining Moments project. We've been working on turning some of your proposed moments into featured pages on the web - why not check them out?

1804: Convict uprising known as the Castle Hill Rebellion (or the Battle of Vinegar Hill) put down by New South Wales Corps
http://www.nma.gov.au/online_features/defining_moments/your_defining_moments/castle_hill_rebellion

1913: The newly created Royal Australian Navy's 'fleet unit' sails into Sydney Harbour.
http://www.nma.gov.au/online_features/defining_moments/featured/royal_australian_navy

1935: Cane toads introduced into Australia to control pest beetles in Queensland’s sugar cane crops.
http://www.nma.gov.au/online_features/defining_moments/featured/cane_toads

1966: Switch to decimal currency
http://www.nma.gov.au/online_features/defining_moments/featured/decimal_currency

1976: First Vietnamese refugees arrive by boat in Darwin Harbour.
http://www.nma.gov.au/online_features/defining_moments/your_defining_moments/vietnamese_refugees_boat_arrival

1984: Introduction of Medicare – Australia’s publicly funded universal healthcare system.
http://www.nma.gov.au/online_features/defining_moments/your_defining_moments/medicare 

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Libby
28 Jan 2016 8:38pm

11 June 1971: Neville Bonner becomes Australia's first Indigenous federal parliamentarian, filling a vacate seat in the Senate as a senator for Queensland. 

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P Reynders
28 Dec 2015 12:34pm

Great project, not only - hopefully - resulting in discussion, but also more knowledge out there. Already a great list with further suggestions. Keep up the good work. An issue is what 'history' is considered to be. Does it include tectonic geology? Some historians stop where matters have not been documented with contemporary material. Archaeology can assist history in writing it, but date establishment is usually a long period ; historians refine that. You will sort that out.

Some comments for what it is worth about what has been published so far: First the initial list:
- 52.000 years: the word 'peoples' suggest multiple finds in different locations that indicate different communities. I have the feeling that the 52.000 year evidence relates to a single site and perhaps even a single skeleton.
- 5000 years: dingo. A recent Max Planck Institute paper ( with 5 international authors using DNA of people from around the Indian ocean) suggests that about 4500 y ago the dingo would have brought in by watercraft with in-migrants form the subcontinent, who also brought new technology so called microlithic tools. The dingo is related to the Bengal Woolf.
- 1606 the spelling of Janszoon as
Janssen. it is confusing as people just got used to calling him Janszoon ( pr Jahnz- zone) A dutch Dictionary of biography has an entry giving Janssen as an alternative name. The documentation that he would have his name spelled that way is not available, or I can not find it. I would stick with Janszoon as his name was a patronymic ( so not a family name) and a park Willem Janszoon Commemorative Park is named after him in the ACT.
- abt 1700 Makasar is a rare spelling for Makassar, a place name. The people from it are known as the Makassarese. ( not the Makassans or the Makasar)They are called the trepangers, as they fished for trepang which they cooked ashore. They did not 'come to trade' with the aborigines, as your sentence may be perceived as meaning, but as they came to harvest and treat their catch, some trading become inevitable.Trepang was sold to the Chinese.
- 1770: correct!; NOT as some people claim the "eastern half"
- 1917: many academics have complained that Australian history writers have told us lots about the eastern events and neglected the west. In the initial list WA only turns up here for the first time. Your advisers/compilers seem to be part of that sad school.The west coast was charted first, as a whole, with the first convicts being dumped there first. ( 1629)
- 1956, perhaps clarifythis was B7W TV
- 1967: Aborigines were subject to commonwealth law before, except it was wildlife legislation. I think it is essential that they gained the right to vote form this ref'm.

Regarding so the list from submissions on your website:
- 1606 Torres perhaps add: he may not have seen or noticed the Australian mainland.
- add: 1622: first known shipwreck at our coast: The Trial under EIC captain John Brooke, at Trial rocks WA. So an Eglishman.
- add 1642: Tasman discovers and names Tasmania Van Diemensland.
- Add 1642 & 1644 Tasman circumnavigates the cntinent ( widely) and established that there is a continent here and its approx extent. Established that it is not the old theoretical (unknown ) South Land.( that arguably can be pinned on Antarctica).
- 1667: add "legally"
- 2007 Howard loses seat: only a defining moment for him.

PR 

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NMA
13 Jan 2016 9:38am

Hi Peter,

Thanks so much for your support of and feedback about our Defining Moments Project. This is exactly the kind of discussion we were hoping our list would stimulate!

All the best,
the NMA Defining Moments Team


Peter Reynders
27 Dec 2015 7:04pm

Someone else has submitted Hartog I see, but I would repeat that with REASONS, as his case is a special one indeed. Thank you for inviting us to contribute to this discussion. It is important.

I would like to nominate Dirk Hartog's chance visit to Australia's west coast on 25 October 1616 as a defining moment. Indeed a key moment. Indeed, more so than the earlier visit by Willem Janszoon, his crew and his ship Duyfken, which has already been listed in the NMA's provisional list of 100.

For the following reasons:
Willem Janszoon's discovery was presented upon returning as an extension of New Guynea. His chart brings that out: it is clearly marked Nova Guinea. For a decade no further explorers were sent to that region as there was not a hint that anybody suspected that he would have perhaps struck a continent or indeed the mythical south land.
Dirk Hartog however, as the writing of several historians bring out (including local ACT historian C Dr. Robert J King, specialist in the (pre-discovery of Australia) 16th century mapping of the world.) documented the evidence why he and his contemporaries were convinced he had found that south land. This included Hessel Gerritszoon the VOC cartographer of the period and others (see WAM website).

Several further visits were made following Hartog, finally resulting in the defining voyages of Abel Tasman, who did establish, indeed discover that there is a continent here. (1642 and 1644) establishing at the same time that it was NOT the mythical South land (Terra Australis incognita also given other names by cartographers such as Australia Incognita, it however either did not exist at all or, arguably, was indeed the later discovered Antarctica). For this reason Tasman's charting should also be listed as an essential key moment in our history: a most defining moment.

Being the first European to visit does provide a certain status, as just that. It does not always provide the historically more relevant event. For example Columbus was, like Hartog, the second European to visit/land on - an unknown continent: America (thinking he was in the Indies). Leif Ericsson was the firs European to visit that continent. After Ericsson no further visits were made for a while, indeed for centuries. Columbus is agreed wby most historians to be the more relevant, defining if you like, mariner of the two.

So the historical relevance of Hartog , like Columbus', is greater than that of Janszoon. Indeed the relevance is underscored by the fact that his finding of the west coast triggered the further exploration of the continent: One suddenly wanted to know its extent and hoped to find treasure or trade goods.

The events that followed Hartog, all 'connected', ensured that Australia became a western/European nation located at the other side of Asia, i.e. the furthest possible away from Europe. So Hartog and the sequence he triggered are essential for Australian to know, as they should understand why, unlike other formerly colonised countries in the Far East bar New Zealand, we are not a nation of purely or mainly its original or native inhabitants.
That's why the chance visit of Hartog is one of the most important defining moments in Australian history, even before it was called Australia.

Just in time we realise this, as next year we celebrate the 400th year anniversary of his visit. 

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Bruce O'Toole
26 Nov 2015 11:50am

1817. The year Bankof New Sourh Wales was established. First bank in Australia.
Now known as Westpac and will be 200 years old in 2017 

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Anonymous
15 Oct 2015 6:19pm

1770- The First Fleet lead by Captain James Cook found the Eastern side of Australia and called it “New South Whales”. 

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P Reynders
27 Dec 2015 6:03pm

The knowledge of the writer above may reflect that of many people, demonstrating a confused understanding of the contribution of the multi-cultural charting and unveiling (in the composite)of the Australian coast to the outside world.
Cook co sailed the Endeavour, just one ship, on his 1770 voyage where he visited our east coast and was not leading any fleet. He died approx a decade before the First Fleet arrived, so has little to do with it himself. His claiming of the east coast of "New Holland" at the last moment when leaving the coast may well have been a factor in the 1st fleet having been sent, as has the fact that the American colonies of Britain were lost shortly before. Cook knew the east coast was there, it had just not been charted, just like Neil Armstrong knew the moon was there, when he became its first visitor. Cook knew it from the maps he had on board, which established there was/is a continent here based on information from dozens of other earlier mariners. He will have known that if there is a west coast, a north coast and a south coast of the said continent, that there must be an east coast. The 17th Cy so called Bonaparte Map (in the Mitchell Library, indeed an image of it features in mosaic in the floor of its foyer) shows a conjectured line that showed where the east coast was thought to be. In that sense it was not a 'discovery' of a coast of which nobody knew its existence, merely a confirmation and a detailing of it. An earlier captain of a European ship had glanced the east coast in 1756 (Jean Gonzal), without realising it (see the writings of respected historian G A Mawer) . Cheers PR


Anonymous
15 Oct 2015 10:02am

Women were allowed to vote in South Australia. 1894 

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Joseph
15 Oct 2015 9:56am

1989: Newcastle earthquake
Killed 13, injured 160. 

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Auchmuty
15 Oct 2015 9:55am

1908/1909-The Australian Wallabies first game, touring for 9 months in the United Kingdom, Ireland and North America. 

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gwyn
15 Oct 2015 9:54am

I think that Australia’s most definite moment in history was in 1993 when the AFL player Nicky Winmar responded to a racist abuse from spectators by raising his jersey revealing his bare skin declaring, ‘I’m black and I’m proud to be black!’ Showing everyone that just because some of us are dark skinned doesn't mean that we should be belittled. 

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Emma
15 Oct 2015 9:54am

1789 - First civilian police force in Australia, known as the Night Watch and was formed by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1789 to guard Sydney Town. 

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James
15 Oct 2015 9:54am

1908/1909-The Australian Wallabies first game, touring for 9 months in the United Kingdom, Ireland and North America. 

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Minna
15 Oct 2015 9:53am

1901- Our First Prime Minister, Edmund Barton was elected for one of the country's most important jobs. 

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Joanna
15 Oct 2015 9:53am

1851-first major gold strikes in Australia. 

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Francesca
14 Oct 2015 8:36pm

1967- On the 17th Prime Minister Harold Holt had disappeared, presumably drowned while swimming at Cheviot Beach. 

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Amish
14 Oct 2015 7:51pm

Captain James Cook first found Australia

In 1770 a British sailor, Captain James Cook, found the rich east coast of Australia. He called it New South Wales, and claimed it for Britain. 

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H.K
14 Oct 2015 6:50pm

1975-The first prime minister to get fired. On the 11th of November 1975 Gough Whitlam lost his job as a prime minister. Sir John Kerr, the Governor-General of Australia fired Gough Whitlam and appointed Malcolm Fraser as Prime Minister. On December 13th, 1975, a Double Dissolution election was held, Gough Whitlam was defeated. 

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Isabella
14 Oct 2015 6:11pm

Australia defeats England in the first ashes test held in Australia. - 1882 

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Anonymous
14 Oct 2015 5:41pm

1901- Our First Prime Minister, Edmund Barton was elected for one of the country's most important jobs. 

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Anthony H.S.
14 Oct 2015 5:21pm

The bombing of Darwin
-19th Feb. 1942 

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Anonymous
14 Oct 2015 5:18pm

Julia Gillard was the first female prime minister of Australia 

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IZZY
14 Oct 2015 5:11pm

Guy Sebastian was one of the Australians to get the most number one songs. 

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Bella.L
14 Oct 2015 5:10pm

In 2000 a very important event occurred; the Australian Olympic team won the largest number of medals we have ever won. This is an important part of Australian history because it provoked sport players all over Australia to REALLY put in an effort and because of this I believe we now have an award winning soccer, rugby, swimming and many more amazingly talented teams competing for Australia. I also think that because of this amazing achievement we now have junior swimming, soccer, netball, cricket, AFL, rugby opportunities. This is a remarkable achievement in Australian history and it should be recognised more by Australia and other countries. 

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Will
14 Oct 2015 5:02pm

1859: rabbits were introduced to Australia. 

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Aidan
14 Oct 2015 4:51pm

Australia enters the WW2 September 1939 

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Aidan.D
14 Oct 2015 4:44pm

WW2 Darwin bombings February 19, 1942 

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Anonymous
14 Oct 2015 11:00am

A musical and cultural defining moment was The Beatles tour in 1964. A seminal moment in Australia's cultural progress. 

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GM Dunn
13 Oct 2015 3:22pm

The Victorian goldrushes had a profound impact on the economics of the developing colonies. The colonisation of WA is also important as is the settlement of the NT. Federation should also be mentioned. 

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Brett Zimmermann
13 Oct 2015 12:08pm

Peter Norman, on winning the silver medal at the Mexico Olympics in the 200m support of John Carlos and Tommie Smith when they made their famous raised-fist gesture on the podium.
The subsequent (poor) treatment he received upon his return to Australia, and the
failure of Australia to fully recognise his inspirational role before his untimely death in 2006 led to formal parliamentary apology in 2012. 

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Anonymous
13 Oct 2015 9:51am

The Beatles 1964 tour of Australia 

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Adrienne Mallinson
13 Oct 2015 12:39am

Federation in 1901... I don't understand how this is not on the list.... 

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National Museum of Australia
14 Oct 2015 11:58am

Hi Adrienne,

Thanks for getting involved in the Defining Moments project! Federation is a tricky moment to spot on the list. It has been included in the initial 100 moments, just under the official title of 1901: Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Best wishes, the DM team


Bruce Tabor
10 Oct 2015 9:24pm

Australia's darkest hour:
From 19 November 1941 (loss of HMAS Sydney) until early September 1942 (Japanese start to withdraw from Kokoda).

A number of events in this period were very similar to Britains Darkest Hour (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Darkest_Hour). A major naval loss was followed soon afterwards by entry of Japan into the war, several military defeats: sea, land and air; and the perceived threat of an an invasion of Australia.

Curtain said, "Without any inhibitions of any kind, I make it clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom" etc. (26 Dec 1941)

White Australia felt isolated and vulnerable for the first time since 1788. 

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Bruce Tabor
10 Oct 2015 8:37pm

I'd prefer that events deep history were omitted from the 'initial list'. This list is about 'defining moments', 'history' and, I take it national (Australian) identity. History is something for which there is an oral or written record. No doubt the original settlement about 50,000 years ago was the most significant event in the human occupation of the Australian landmass, which included New Guinea then. Other big prehistorical events: megafauna extinctions (each one) firestick farming, aboriginal fish farms etc etc. But there is no written or oral record of these (aside from Dreamtime stories), and they can't be defined in the same sense as historical events. There are too many questions, eg. where there multiple waves of settlement? etc. And they have a very different role in defining our current national identity. The deep aboriginal history of Australia belongs in a different, perhaps more significant, category.

And removing the first 4 'moments' would free up space for Cathy Freeman at the 2000 Olympics! 

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Don Fletcher
28 Sep 2015 1:54pm

Around 40-50,000 years BP, the extinction of Australia's mega-predators including Thylacoleo carnifex and Megalenia priscus, which likely would have included humans among their prey, and for that matter the extinction of the entire Australian megafauna. 

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Anonymous
25 Sep 2015 12:03pm

Having attended the Defining Moments panel discussion last night, I think there could be 1000 defining moments in our history in several categories - economic history (free trade agreements, CER), indigenous (petition to Queen Victoria from Flinders Island, Mabo),sport (underarm bowling incident with NZ, Cathy Freeman),international relations (Indonesian Independence, recognition of China),environment (introduction of rabbits; cane toads), culture (National Gallery, Portrait Gallery), social (Caroline Chisholm, Harvester Judgement and pensions)- to name just a few. 

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Maia Appleton
26 Aug 2015 11:55am

Ned Kelly was an Australian bushranger of an Irish background. Ned is one of Australia's greatest folk heroes. He was a rebellion at his time and committed many crimes such as assaulting farmers to killing 3 police officers with his gang. One oft he most memorable parts of his life was when he was hung in Melbourne his last words were "such is life, I guess it had to come to this" 

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Bree O'Connor
26 Aug 2015 11:54am

The most significant moment in Australia's history is the end of World War I. At this historical time it discusses how this war was bought to an end and the agreement which officially finalised the cessation of all hostilities. Every year we remember those 331 781 Australians who served and on a day called ANZAC day we show our respect for there bravery with a minute of silence. 

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Stephen Spicer
26 Aug 2015 11:54am

Australia's involvement in the World War 1 was due to the association with England....approximately 420,000 Australians enlisted in The Australian Imperial Force. 

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Makaylah Olthof
26 Aug 2015 11:54am

Gallipoli became a symbol of Australia's national identity, achievements and existence. Australians entered the Great War welcoming conflict as a test of their nation. 

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Kallan Sherwood
26 Aug 2015 11:53am

The end of The Great War was an important event for Australia because the impact felt by Australia was huge. At the time the australian population was just below five million, 416809 soldiers enlisted. By the end of the war 60000 australians were lost. This was a significant loss which is why it was a significant event. 

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Zac Thomas
26 Aug 2015 11:53am

The building of the Sydney-Melbourne way the the most significant for the future of Australia, for it was the very first track to go over the border of two states, and it was alzo a very big reasons for states to actually communicate with each other. Without the Sydney-Melbourne railway these sound most likely be no way to cross state to state on the same train. 

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Louis Koeppen
26 Aug 2015 11:52am

The Rum Rebellion
The Rum Rebellion was a very significant event in Australia's history as it shaped and defined the life we live today, it had a very large effect on Australian soldiers and showed people that rebellion was possible.
The Rum Rebellion was also the first Rebellion that was successful and completed by local Australian soldiers. 

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Jordan Tan
26 Aug 2015 11:52am

The rum rebellion was a very significant event in Australian history because it was the only time in Australian history a government was overthrown by a military coup. This later on made the Australian government stronger which made Australia a more civil country. 

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Ibon yarritu
26 Aug 2015 11:52am

The introduction of surfing in Australia by Duke Kahanamoku in 1914 at the coast of Sydney. 

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Aiden Robins
26 Aug 2015 11:51am

The first Test match played between Australia and England at the MCG

I believe that my event is very significant to the Australian history because for the first time Australians were proud to play as Australians and represent their country, also the Australians adopted the British game and beat them at it. 

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Ester Pedrick
26 Aug 2015 11:51am

I believe the Settlement of Perth was a significant event, because it made the sixth colony of Austrlia, meaning that when Austrlia became a nation it would be one complete country. 

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Catherine Mottershead
26 Aug 2015 11:51am

Sir Henry Parks delivered the Tenterfield Oration
The Tenterfield Oration given by Henry Parkes was a significant moment in Australia's history because it was the starting point of Australia's federation. Henry Parkes was the first person to stand up and tell people to stop fighting and to start working together to make an even more successful nation. He made people open their eyes to the bigger picture and Australia progressed to a united nation. 

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Oscar Herbst
26 Aug 2015 11:50am

Matthew Flinders circumnavigation of Australia was a huge turning point in our nations history. It was a journey that mapped out all of Australia for the first time and dismissed the theory that their maybe a straight sepperating Western Australia from the eastern colonies such as New South Wales, Queensland , Victoria and Tasmania. Without this circumnavigation Australia would have remained unknown for up to thousands of years. 

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Ruby Flintoff
26 Aug 2015 11:50am

The start of World War One and when the first Australian soldiers went to war (1914) is so significant because it was the first time Australia has fought as one nation. It was also the first time the people of Australia had fought under the Australian flag instead of fighting battles under the Brittish flag. 

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Summer Rice
26 Aug 2015 11:50am

"The Man From Snowy River" by Banjo Paterson is a vey significant part of Australia's history. It captured the spirit of Australian outback, a place few people had experienced, and brought the harsh and beautiful landscapes of Australia to people around the world, building Australia as a heroic, individual nation and making Australians proud of their young home. 

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Kayla Tribbeck
26 Aug 2015 11:49am

Port Arthur is a very significant event in Australian history, becauae of its important role in keeping Australia a controlled and 'problem free' country, as well as revolutionising its forms of punishments. It also relieved the penal colonies of their worst offenders and supplied goods to Tasmania to help build up its status. 

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Kaely Cunningham
26 Aug 2015 11:49am

I believe that John Caesar the first bushranger was the most important event that happened during the colonisation of Australia because he was a slave that escaped multiple times 

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ReefMorgan
26 Aug 2015 11:49am

I think that the most significant moment in Australian history is the Gallipoli landing because the landing was when we were first seen as a nation and not a colony of Britian we also lost a lot of lives due to the guessing of Turkey being a weak ally to Germany a lot of lives were lost and in my opinion that is why it is such a significant moment in Australia's history. 

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Shakhari Woolcock
26 Aug 2015 11:49am

Myall Creek Massacre 1838
The Myall Creek Massacre was a significant event in history because it was the first time that white men had ever been convicted, charged and hanged for the slaughter of unarmed Aboriginals and in the 1900's it was seen as normal for an indigenous to be murdered and nothing was done about it. Australia has come a long way since the 1900's and now, the majority of people in Australia are equal. 

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Mackellar Field
26 Aug 2015 11:48am

The Victorian Gold Rush in Australia in 1851 was a very significant moment in Australia's history because it had a huge effect on everyday life. The discovery of gold in Australia caused a dramatic growth in population, wages and economic and social development. It was a defining moment in the history of Australia and many things changed because of it. 

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Mi Mondy
26 Aug 2015 11:47am

The Myall Creek Massacre (and all other massacres that happened around Australia) was a significant event because it helps us to understand that the aboriginal people have lost so much culture, tradition and identity all because of British settlement. 

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Ayla Miller
25 Aug 2015 2:24pm

The First World War: Landing of soldiers on 25th April 1915, Gallipoli, Turkey.
The First World War was an extremely significant event in Australia's history. Once news was heard that the British were going to war with the Germans, Australia didn't resist to stand beside their mother land of England. The county of Australia enlisted 416,809 civilians resulting in 331,781 men serving in the war. Australia wasn't well known in the world, only as an island full of convicts, but because of the commitment to the war between Britain and Germany, the country of Australia was seen as a nation and as part of the global structure. The Australian wouldn't be as nationalised as it is today if the First World War didn't occur, intriguing the Australian to follow the British to the beachs of Gallipolli. 

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Matilda Kawiti
25 Aug 2015 2:24pm

Australian soldiers in WW1
I think the Australian soldiers fighting in the First World War was such a significant event in Australian history because it was the first time Australia was recognised as their own country, no longer connected or fighting for the British, and it brought a better sense of Nationalism. 

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Donnie Longmore
25 Aug 2015 2:23pm

The Victorian gold rush was a significant event in Australian history because it brought thousands of people to Australia. It also made the leaders of the colonies come up with a law to keep non-Australians out of Australia. 

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Georgie Chaffey
25 Aug 2015 2:21pm

The Canberra foundation stone was an important part of Australian history because it was the first public building on the land and the start of the city of Canberra. The day in was set was the day Canberra became the capital city and the civilians were told the name of the city. 

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Chaise Leggett
25 Aug 2015 2:21pm

The landing at Gallipoli in 1915 was a significant event in Australian history because it gave Australians, as a nation, a chance to meet the world. It gave Australia as an unidentified nation a chance to display to the globe our morals, our honour and affirm ourselves as an independent nation. Even though Australia lost hundreds of men this war helped frame Australia as the nation it is today. 

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Zinzan Hullen
25 Aug 2015 2:20pm

The first fleet landing in Sydney in 1788, is the most important event in Australia's history because it didn't just create a nation, it created Australia. If the first fleet landing in Sydney in 1788 wasn't an important event why would we celebrate Australia Day every year? If Australia was never landed we wouldn't be here, we wouldn't be who we are and we wouldn't be Australian. 

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Dodi Anderson
25 Aug 2015 2:20pm

The founding of Perth was a significant event in Australian history because if Perth wasn't founded back in 1829, then it probably wouldn't have existed or it would've been different to what it's like today. 

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Connor Morgan
25 Aug 2015 2:19pm

The eureka massacre shaped Australia by lowering the tax for mining and rebelling so the eureka flag now represents rebelling and freedom 

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Chloe kevill
25 Aug 2015 2:18pm

World War 1 played a very significant part in Australias history leaving families broken and lonesome graves scattered over the whole of Gallipoli. The result of this war grave freedom and hope for the future. Every year on the 25th of april we acknowledge the soldiers that fought for our country and for the peoples freedom, as our country still mourns the death of these soldiers. 

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Jaikie Hastie
25 Aug 2015 2:17pm

The Immigration Restriction Act (1901) was a significant event in Australia's history because it defined Australia as a nation.The Immigration Restriction Act gave Australia it's positive and negative attributes. 

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Julia Griffiths
25 Aug 2015 2:17pm

I believe Women's suffrage in South Australia, 1849, was a critical part of Australian development, not only for women but for uniting the new found country. It shaped Australian culture for today and made the country a much more pleasant place to be. 

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Jace
25 Aug 2015 2:17pm

The Perth settlement was a great part of Australia's history. Perth is when the Swan river settlement began, and the Swan 'WA' state began. 

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Hayden Maclean
25 Aug 2015 2:16pm

Banjo Paterson was a significant person in Australia's history because he created the famous poems called "The man from snowy river" and "Waltzing Matilda". 

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Tom Chadwick
25 Aug 2015 2:16pm

The Rum Rebellion was a significant event in Australia's history because the British brought over more soldiers and law enforcement because they didn't want Australia to have any more rebellions. This made life in Australia more strict and caused the crime rate to drop dramatically. Australia's Government was also made stronger and this made Australia a more civilised place. 

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Ella Child's
25 Aug 2015 2:15pm

Rum Rebellion was a significant event in Australia because it was the 20th anniversary of their arrival in the colony. 

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Macy Shaw
25 Aug 2015 2:15pm

The start of the Australian Football Club was a significant event because its our National Sport 

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Yana Bacich
25 Aug 2015 2:14pm

In my opinion, changing the name of the country from "New Holland" to "Australia" is one of the most significant moments in the history of Australia. I think by changing the name it made the prisoners and other people living on the island feel as this is their new home. It was one of the last things connecting them to England as it was the English man who named it New Holland, but Australians named Australia, Australia. 

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Jarah Webb
25 Aug 2015 2:13pm

The end of of World War 1 is the most significant event in Australia history because it is the first time people fought and died as one nation and under one flag!! 

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Noah OR'eilly
25 Aug 2015 2:12pm

John Caesar was a significant person in Australian history because he started the trend of a bushranger and was also an Australian hero. 

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Matilda Kawiti
25 Aug 2015 2:10pm

Australian soldiers in WW1 

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xenos
29 Jun 2015 2:09pm

eureka stockade 

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Duncan Keenan-Jones
22 Jun 2015 1:23am

Snowy Mountains scheme: a fantastic engineering achievement, also the pinnacle (in Australia at least) of the modernist project to remake our environment as we wish. Now representative of changing attitudes as environmental flows are being restored to the Snowy River. 

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Jim
16 Jun 2015 10:36am

Rosemary Follett and Carmen Lawrence becoming the first women to be chief minister/premier and Andrew Barr - first openly gay head of government 

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Rob Mitchell
14 Jun 2015 9:27am

The arrival of the Beautiful Balts in 1947. It was the start of our successful Multiculturalism. 

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National Museum
15 Jun 2015 9:42am

Hello Rob, thanks for visiting and making your nomination. As you rightly point out, the 'Beautiful Balts' were a crucial part of Australia's journey towards to multiculturalism. When our 1945 'Australian Government announces a post war migration drive', they will be a key part of the story. At the moment, we have this scheduled to go up in August.

All the best, the DM Team.


Caroline
13 Jun 2015 10:37pm

The election of Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister - "It's Time"
Over 23 years of conservative Liberal government came to a close.
As much as this period of time is derided for poor government, the Whitlam Government provided us with free medical care, free education, withdrawal of our troops from the Vietnam Conflict, the establishment of the Family Court, no blame divorce, returned land to the Gurindji people and increased funding to the Arts - to name a few. 

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Greg Hooper
25 May 2015 4:56pm

I think the development and declaration of Goyder's Line marked a significant contribution to public understanding of the limits to land use imposed by the land itself. It was an authoritative claim for the specifics of place. 

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National Museum of Australia
25 May 2015 5:02pm

Hello Greg, Goyder's Line is a fascinating aspect of our environmental history. Thanks so much for taking the time to make your suggestion. Have a great day!
Cheers, the DM team.


Anonymous
16 May 2015 7:44pm

10 February 1964 at 8.56pm Australia's worst peacetime military disaster occured. Two Royal Australian Navy ships collided-HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Voyager off the coast of NSW. 82 lives were lost and many more lives were forever changed. Bravery awards were granted-including a George Cross posthumously (the peacetime equivalent of the Victoria Cross). Two Royal Commissions followed-the only time in Australia's history this has occured for the same incident. 

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Angus Trumble
11 May 2015 11:08am

The separation of the colony of Queensland from New South Wales on 10 December 1859 

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The DM Team
11 May 2015 4:02pm

Hello Angus, Thanks so much for your nomination of this moment and of the separation of Victoria. Please feel free to tell us a little more about why they are defining moments for you. We'd love to hear. All the best, The DM Team.


Angus Trumble
11 May 2015 11:07am

The Separation of the colony of Victoria from New South Wales on 1 July 1851 

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National Museum of Australia
13 Apr 2015 9:43am

Hi Yoko. Great to hear back from you. We are currently working on a redesign of the Your Moments page, because we've had so many nominations. We'll include your 1791 moment in that, but in the interim, your nomination is now live on this page. Cheers, the DM team. 

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Yoko
14 Apr 2015 1:15am

Thanks so much, DM team!
I'm looking forward to the new look of the Your Moments page.
It is good to hear that many people have contributed to this project and have nominated their "moments".
Honoured to be a part of it!
Cheers,
Yoko


Sheelagh Daniels-Mayes
23 Mar 2015 10:33am

Myall Creek Massacre; In June 1838 at least 28 Kwiambalmen, women and children were massacred at Myall Creek in northern New South Wales.The perpetrators were initially exonerated. However, following a second trial seven men were found guilty of murder and subsequently hanged. This was the first time that white men had been bought to justice over the murder of Aboriginal peoples. Today, at Myall Creek, a memorial has been established and each year a service of remembrance is held. In the neighbouring town of Bingara a process of reconciliation has taken place between the descendants of the victims and perpetrators. It is an attrocity that has not been swept under the carpet but rather remembered, grieved and reconciled through the work of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal locals. 

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Yoko
21 Mar 2015 3:33am

I was lucky enough to have a chance to visit the Exhibition last November. It was an impressive exhibition and I enjoyed it very much. However, at the same time, I found it interesting that there was little reference to Australia’s commitment to whaling in the early settlement days. I’ve been fascinated by a very deep history of whaling around the continent and have always wondered whether Australia rode on the sheep’s back or the whale’s back. It might be a little difficult to pick just one moment to put it in a timeline but I believe a history of whaling in Australia should be given a little more attention. 

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Yoko
13 Apr 2015 2:05am

Dear DM team

Many thanks for your kind reply and encouragement to nominate a specific moment re. whaling. (Sorry for this very late reply!) After having a deep consideration, I thought it would be fair to choose 1791.

Professor William John Dakin dedicated his signature book, Whalemen Adventurers: the story of whaling in Australian waters and other southern seas related thereto, from the days of sails to modern times (1934), to “the memory of the old seadogs who sailed out of Sydney cove 1791 – 1891”. This indicates the importance of the year 1791.

In 1791, the Third Fleet arrived at Sydney. After releasing convicts, two of the transport ships, the William and Ann and the Britannia, set sail for whaling. They returned to Sydney with one whale each and this event is considered to be the first whale catch in the Australian waters. Eber Bunker, the captain of the William and Ann, later got heavily involved in whaling and came to be known as the father of Australian whaling.

Hope the year sounds decent to you, too, in order to remember the significance of the whaling in the early Australian settlement days.

Cheers
Yoko


National Museum of Australia
23 Mar 2015 9:33am

Hi Yoko, thanks very much for your contribution. You make a good point about the sheep's back or the whale's back. If you'd like to nominate a specific moment in the history of whaling, we'd be happy to include it in our ever growing public list. Have a great day. Cheers from the DM team.


Jenny
20 Mar 2015 4:07pm

The High Court decision to stop the damming of the Franklin River. 

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National Museum of Australia
20 Mar 2015 9:22am

Hi Mark, thanks for your comment and nomination of the Chamberlain case. The Gurindji strike (Wave Hill walkoff) is on the official list. Thrilled to hear you are using our site to help you with your work. With thanks from the DM team. 

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mark green
19 Mar 2015 1:22pm

I came to Australia in 1974, from England, when i was 10 years old. After passing through Darwin our plane landed in Adelaide and a few days later I saw the newspaper headline about Cyclone Tracy.
I remember the headlines about Lindy Chamberlain, over many years. Just recently i viewed the ABC mini series 'Through My Eyes', its an older mini series i borrowed from the library but for me it tied a whole lot of history together that i previously didn't know had connection. In particular how Lindy's conviction was a political interference to avoid liability for the mismanagement of wildlife(dingoes) by white rangers, and also how some of the many witnesses in support of Lindy, were indigenous and discriminated against. The mini-series also dramatises the handing over of Uluru to indigenous management and the departure of the rangers whose incompetence led to the death of Azaria , and how the CLP NT administration of the time forbade any NT officials attending the handing over ceremony. Something about the above and also the wave hill walk off should be in your list of 100. Lindy, like indigenous peoples are national heroes for having survived great injustice. ps like ur site, i'm teacher using pemulray and vinegar hill rebellion, 

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Elizabeth Wills-Edwards
14 Mar 2015 12:24pm

The significance of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and its enduring iconic presence in the world. 

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National Museum of Australia
26 Feb 2015 12:25pm

Thanks for the most recent posts. The Museum is still very keen to hear from everyone in all different sectors, either to express support for an existing moment or to propose an alternative one. Do keep them coming! 

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Lynne Gowans
26 Feb 2015 7:31am

This list seems very biased towards politics and economic moments. What about Patrick White's 1973 Nobel prize for literature "for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature". 

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Craig Webber
25 Feb 2015 5:00pm

August 1994: Commonwealth Games, British Columbia; Catherine Freeman wins 400m gold and celebrates with a lap of honour parading both the Australian national flag, and the Aboriginal flag, together. What an exciting moment celebrating national pride, honour and reconciliation! 

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Craig Webber
25 Feb 2015 4:51pm

3 June 1992. Australian High Court decision to overturn Terra Nullius, otherwise known as the Mabo Decision; following a 10 year case by Eddie Mabo. 

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Anonymous
04 Feb 2015 12:15pm

When Colin McKenzie drove his strange collection of animal and human body parts in jars from Melbourne in 1929 to the new city of Canberra and set up the Australian Institute of Anatomy in the building that now houses the National Film and Sound Archive. 

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Jeff Heron
31 Jan 2015 8:46am

On the morning of 15th October 1970, the Melbourne West Gate Bridge, still under construction, suddenly collapsed, killing 35 workers. The bridge was eventually opened on 15th November 1978. 

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Jeff Heron
31 Jan 2015 8:37am

On 19th March 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened by the then Premier of New South Wales, Mr Jack Lang. The Bridge was one of the greatest engineering achievements of its time. Commenced in 1924, the bridge displaced about 800 families with no compensation. 

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James Dampier
18 Jan 2015 9:45am

Gough Whitlam's historic visits to China in 1971 and 1973 

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Ian Lambert
28 Dec 2014 4:22pm

The systematic mapping of Australia after WW2. This has provided progressively more accurate data on the locations and elevations of natural and manmade features. It has underpinned many facets of Australia's development. 

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Jude Alexander
09 Dec 2014 8:28pm

The first people coming here, 52 000 years ago. 

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PJ Hawk
23 Nov 2014 12:10pm

A few defining moments for me:
Federation- the unification of a country without a civil war is remarkably rare in human history.
Aboriginal voting rights - you cannot call yourself a true democracy until all citizens have equal voting rights.
Embracing multiculturalism as Government policy
The election of the Whitlam Government and the start of the transition into a modern Australia with an identity not overly defined by its colonial ties to Britain. 

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John Boulton
30 Oct 2014 1:55am

Nearly 50,000 years ago, the first Australians excavated the Gabarnmung rock shelter or meeting place or cultural centre in Arnhem Land. Is there an older example of architecture? At the site, a 35,000 year old cutting tool has been found which was originally sharpened on a grindstone. Also in Jawoyn country, are paintings of Genyornis birds which are thought to have been extinct for 40,000 years. 

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John Boulton
28 Oct 2014 12:34pm

The first Menzies government left the RAAF with no planes capable of defending Australia when the Japanese attacked in 1942 ("Wounded Eagle" by Dr Peter Ewer). Under Curtin, it became the 4th largest allied air force (after USA, USSR & UK). Many modern aircraft were manufactured in Australia. 

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National Museum of Australia
23 Oct 2014 1:28pm

Hi, many thanks for the suggested additions to the ‘Your defining moments’ list. We’ve acted on many of your suggestions. Please keep them coming. 

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John Boulton
23 Oct 2014 12:33pm

12 November, 1894. The aerofoils on his box-kite lifted Lawrence Hargrave off the sand at Airlie beach in Sydney. (He had already built a working drone.) It was reported that Hargrave declined the offer of royalties from the Wright brothers because they had simply used his cross-sectional drawings of a boomerang. 

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David Bailey
19 Oct 2014 2:47pm

well for me, I think the decision in the UK sometime in the early 1830's to settle a free settlement in Australia, i.e., without convicts, and this lead to the creation of what is now South Australia. 

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Ben Charnley
17 Oct 2014 5:28am

John Curtin forming an alliance with the USA in the New Year's Message of 1941. At this point Australia looked after its own interests over Britain's. Hence this is a defining point of Australian independence and nationhood. 

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Martine Atherton
16 Oct 2014 5:03pm

1951 Australian referendum,
Do you approve of the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled 'Constitution Alteration (Powers to deal with Communists and Communism) 1951'?

was defeated, showing the Asutralian people valued freedom of speech. 

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Anonymous
16 Oct 2014 3:47pm

In 1902, after the devastating Federation Drought, the Attorney-General received a letter from a John Edwards stating that:

It is no exaggeration to say that if it had not been for the Afghan and his CamelsWilcannia, White Cliffs, Tibooburra, Milperinka and other Towns, each centres of considerable population, would have practically ceased to exist. 

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F WILMOT
16 Oct 2014 3:44pm

In 1903, a petition on behalf of more than 500 Indians and Afghans in Western Australia was placed before the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. The petition made four major complaints against 'certain legislative restrictions' facing the cameleers: they were unable to hold a miner's right on the goldfields; they could not travel interstate for work, 'except under the most stringent conditions'; they were not allowed to re-enter Australia if they left; and they were not able to be naturalised. Nothing was to come of their petition. 

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F WILMOT
16 Oct 2014 3:39pm

In 1898, the Privy Council held in Cooper v Stuart, that New South Wales was a colony which consisted of a tract of territory practically unoccupied, without settled inhabitants or settled law...', doctrine of terra nullius – a land empty of people. This decision made a fiction the Aboriginal presence, their lives, culture and law. It was also in direct contradiction of the acknowledgement of Aborigines in the preambles to the Acts creating the other Australian colonies, and how the British had acknowledged other Indigenous peoples, such as in New Zealand and Canada. 

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F WILMOT
16 Oct 2014 3:36pm

The White Australia Policy came into law when The Immigration Restriction Act 1901 was passed in December, restricting immigrants from working in Australia and restricting migration of non-white people. At the opening of Federal Parliament, on 9 May 1901, the speech of the Attorney General Alfred Deakin (later Prime Minister) reflected the populist sentiment of some Australians when he opined on a vision of Australia as a nation that should 'remain one people, without the admixture of other races'. 

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F WILMOT
16 Oct 2014 3:30pm

During the 1870s, Muslim Malay divers were recruited through an agreement with the Dutch to work on Western Australian and Northern Territory pearling grounds. By 1875, there were 1800 Malay divers working in Western Australia. A mosque was built in Broome. 

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F WILMOT
16 Oct 2014 3:28pm

The first camel drivers arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, in June 1860, when eight Muslims and Hindus arrived with the camels for the Burke and Wills expedition. The next arrival of camel drivers was in 1866 when 31 men from Rajasthan and Baluchistan arrived in South Australia with camels for Thomas Elder. Although they came from several countries, they were usually known in Australia as 'Afghans' and they brought with them the first formal establishment of Islam in Australia 

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F WILMOT
16 Oct 2014 3:26pm

The first mosque in Australia built in 1861 at Marree, South Australia. 

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F WILMOT
16 Oct 2014 3:24pm

The first Afghans to arrive in Australia were camel drivers hired in 1859 to participate in the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition. More Afghans arrived over the next 40 years and worked in the carting busines 

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Alan Dalling
10 Oct 2014 12:07pm

Ronald Ryan execution and banning of capital punishment in Australia. 

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Peter Jeffery
30 Sep 2014 4:35pm

To be accurate, it was the Australian PARLIAMENT (not GOVERNMENT) that passed the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act. And, the High Court did not ESTABLISH native title in the Mabo decision; it RECOGNISED native title. And, there is no need to refer to FEDERAL in the context of the 1st women elected to the 'Australian Parliament'. 

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Our response
20 Nov 2014 1:48pm

Hi Peter, thank you for your suggested improvements to our online list of defining moments. Your suggestions have been adopted and the web page at http://www.nma.gov.au/online_features/defining_moments/list has been updated.


A patriot
28 Sep 2014 5:19pm

1994, the year the 'living dinosaur' was discovered, that is the Wollemi Pine. It was discovered in the Wollemi National Park by a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger. 

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Ranger Steve
28 Sep 2014 5:14pm

1980 - the year the ACT Parks and Conservation Service was created to look after bushland in the Australian Capital Territory - the nation's capital. 

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Ranger Jim
28 Sep 2014 4:57pm

1879 was when the first National Park was declared in Australia - the Royal National Park. 

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NWatson
18 Sep 2014 11:07am

The arrival of the FIRST Australians to a new land, 60,000 years ago. 

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Cheryl Cowell
12 Sep 2014 11:30am

25 October 1616
Dutch Captain of the Eendracht and several of his crew landed at Cape Inscription on Dirk Hartog Island in Shark Bay Western Australia and left an inscribed peweter plate nailed to a post. Thus becoming the first recorded European explorer to set foot on Australian soil. 

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Des Matthews
11 Sep 2014 2:32pm

Captain Dirk Hartog landing at Cape Inscription on 25th October 1616 would rank in the top 5 National Treasured sites in Australia. 

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Martin Grenside
10 Sep 2014 4:02pm

Dirk Hartog's landing on at Cape Inscription, the northern tip of Dirk Hartog Island in 1616. This was the first know landing of Europeans on Australian soil. 

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Sharyn
10 Sep 2014 12:58pm

Dirk Hartog's landing at Cape Inscription in 1616. First documented European landing on Australian soil 

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Kieran Wardle - Dirk Hartog Island
10 Sep 2014 12:05pm

Dirk Hartog in 1616; 'Had a profound effect on cartography and profoundly changed 18th century European worldview'. His discovery led to a series of landings between 1616 & 1772 that 'literally put Australia on the map'. - National Heritage List 2006. No. S 53 

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Ron Moran
05 Sep 2014 3:55pm

The harvester decision the effect of which continues to this day 

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Dierk von Behrens
04 Sep 2014 4:20pm

1966 (14 Feb) we replace Australian pound, with its 20 shillings to the pound and twelve pence to the shilling, with the Australian dollar ($), with its 100 cents each! 

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Geoff Wardle
04 Sep 2014 2:56pm

The landing of Dutch Captain Dirk Hartog at Cape Inscription in 1616 on the island that now bears his name - Dirk Hartog Island. This being the first Recorded landing of a European on Australian soil evidenced by an engraved pewter plate originally attached to a timber post and now on show in the Dutch National Museum in Amsterdam and which details this landing. Dirk Hartog Island is the cradle of Australian modern history 

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Liam Bourke
04 Sep 2014 9:37am

January 26th, 1808 - Governor William Bligh was deposed in the only successful armed takeover of Government in Australian history

http://www.portrait.gov.au/magazine/files/f510-m.jpg 

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casper
03 Sep 2014 7:09pm

Without 1788 there would be no Australia. 

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David Geoffrey
01 Sep 2014 4:41pm

The Vinegar Hill in 1804. Arguably this marked the beginning of change in the political culture of Australia, perhaps even the gestation of the concept of a 'fair go'. The political exiles, sent here en lieu of execution in Britain and Ireland, began here to create influence and to bring forms of thought and action against the oppression of British aristocracy. The form or social democracy we enjoy is probably due in large part to their courage - both intellectual and physical. 

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docdanse@hotmail.com
01 Sep 2014 10:00am

i wouldnt call some of these moments 'defining' but absolute MOMENTS OF SHAME!

myall creek for example! 

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John Nightingale
31 Aug 2014 2:54pm

The National Museum of White Australia, an ideologically correct selection of white moments and English triumphalism. You seriously put in the founding of the Victorian Employers Union? With none but a vague mention of 'depression and strikes' in 1890-1 in order to skate over the founding of the union movement? Is ideological purity, cleaving to the agenda of the IPA, the central guide to what the Museum will allow? It's a bit like The Catholic Weekly refusing to report on the Royal Commission into institutional child abuse... 

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James Hartlett
31 Aug 2014 2:49pm

What a Victorian-centric list. 

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Robert Scott
31 Aug 2014 2:41pm

In 1953, by means of a Commonwealth Act of Parliament – the Flags Act 1953 – the "British Blue Ensign" was proclaimed Australia's national flag. Only since then has it had seniority over the Union Jack. 

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Denise Moore
31 Aug 2014 8:33am

The end of conscription
Universal health care introduced
The arrival of the first group of Vietnamese refugees or 'boat people' as they were cruelly described
Equal opportunity act
Voting rights for women and Indigenous Australians
2 Olympic Games
Introduction of pensions

Some things on the list may have been significant events at the time but to 'define' would be the things that made us who we are today as a nation

The 

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Vic of Bathurst
30 Aug 2014 9:45pm

The list is Victorian centric and shows a significant left/aboriginal bias. The shearers strike and the Labour party started in Queensland as did Qantas, surly that deserves a mention along with the trumpeted southern developments.
Why is Tampa even mentioned and who forgot ti include the fact that the Labour party invented the White Australia Policy.
Almost as bad a list as the Living National Treasures from a few years ago. 

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BkDw
30 Aug 2014 8:20pm

The election of the Abbott Government. 

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Millie Cattlin
30 Aug 2014 7:08pm

First female prime minister!!!!!!!!! Someone has made a tremendously bad oversight... 

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Regina Bos
30 Aug 2014 6:39pm

The Mabo decision, the birth of the Australian labour movement, Eureka stockade, the Wave Hill walk off, Federation, immigration - just a few that come to mind. 

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Campbell Beer
30 Aug 2014 6:11pm

The discovery of gold at Coolgardie Western Australia in 1892.
With the rest of Australia in depression, thousands flocked to the gold rush in the west. This was the beginning of the change from a sleepy colony no-one cared about to, today, the wealthiest state, per capita, in the Australian Federation. 

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Russell Ian Close
30 Aug 2014 5:42pm

The word 'Australia' on Matthew Flinder's chart of the continent, if 'history' in this context is the recorded history of the land mass known as Australia. 

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Russell Ian Close
30 Aug 2014 5:33pm

Separation of the continent from Gondwanaland. 

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Alan Rich
30 Aug 2014 5:08pm

The introduction of radio must surely have had an enormous impact on the 20th century.

The publication of 'Australian Discovery and Colonisation' as the first history of the colonies by Samuel Bennett in 1865 was a real defining mark of an intellectual coming of age by the fledging colony.

The air force being used for domestic surveillance purposes by Gareth Evans on the Franklin Dam project was an extraordinary misuse of political power.

The political moves to take legislative action to mitigate global warming by the recent Labor government will surely in the next 50-100 years go down in history as one of the most important decisions Australia has ever taken, despite the controversy that has been generated by those who will be shown over time to be ignoramuses. When the children of today are 70 this moment will be very high on this list. 

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Jess Sinclair
30 Aug 2014 4:34pm

2011 Queensland Floods
The most devastating and costliest flood in Australian history, can't believe this is not on the list. 

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David L.
30 Aug 2014 4:32pm

The Great Fire of Brisbane - 1864 

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David Sinclair
30 Aug 2014 4:01pm

April 1976 - the first Vietnamese refugees arrived by boat into Darwin. These arrivals have shaped public opinion and government policy (good and bad) on refugees ever since.

Our response: Thanks for your suggested moment David. We agree that this moment was a significant one in Australia's refugee and migration history. One of the most fascinating objects in the National Historical Collection is one of the early vessels that brought a group of Vietnamese refugees to Australia in 1978 - the Hong Hai. You can look at this collection via our new Collection Search feature at: http://collectionsearch.nma.gov.au/ce/hong%20hai?object=9019 

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Craig Iedema
30 Aug 2014 2:40pm

Federation 1901 

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Ross Smith
30 Aug 2014 1:20pm

Australian Football did not exist in 1858 so the list to choose from is flawed from the start.
Teams with 40 players in each and goals a mile apart = village, folk or schools football as per UK & Europe, but certainly not Australian.

Our response: Thanks for your comment Ross. We agree that it’s always tricky to pin down a beginning date for any sport because they evolve over time. Is the game played today even recognisable compared to the version played over 150 years ago? But you have to start somewhere so we chose to go with the first ‘organised’ game as opposed to the large village events you mention. 1858 is also the year the Melbourne Football Club was established. 

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Raymond Pearson
30 Aug 2014 10:43am

Papunya Art by Geoff Bardon changed the course of art not only in Australia but the world! Geoff was good enough to be on the list of Who's Who I'm Australia when he was alive! 

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Tina Palladinetti
30 Aug 2014 1:14am

The Mabo decision!!!! The post war immigration of non British immigrants especially Italian's & Greeks who have contributed so much to our culture. In 1902 Australian women received the vote second only to NZ in the world! The Whitlam dismissal a very dark day in our history. So many more but above all else I think we need to acknowledge that this land still belongs to Aboriginal people they never relinquished their rights they fought & were massacred by the British this is really important to acknowledge & teach it in schools such heinous wrongs cannot be forgotten, reparations should be made to the first Australians it is a blight on our character as a nation & despite all this the first Australians have contributed so much culturally which makes Australia distinctive their culture is the longest living continuous culture in the world!!!! 

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Skip Lissiman
29 Aug 2014 9:23pm

I can't believe you haven't included Australia II win of the Americas Cup in 1983 as a defining moment!!?? 

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wendy nooson
29 Aug 2014 8:58pm

please stop peddling lies, "Commonwealth Franchise Act gives women AND ALSO MEN the vote in federal elections, that elections that do relate to state election". shame shame national musuem.

Our response: You’re absolutely right Wendy, the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 established who could vote in elections for the Commonwealth Parliament, and included men and women 21 years and over. Notably, this meant that women in four states, who had not been able to vote previously, were given that right, making Australia the second country after New Zealand to give women the vote. However, the act was not universal – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and people from Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands (except New Zealand) were disqualified from voting. 

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Jonathon Troy
29 Aug 2014 7:01pm

The Mabo Decision and the subsequent Native Title legislation 

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Trevor
29 Aug 2014 6:40pm

Moon landing and Australia's involvement
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2011/11/moon-landing-defining-moment-in-history/ 

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Anonymous
29 Aug 2014 5:56pm

2000 Sydney Olympics - Cathy Freeman draped in the Aboriginal and Australian flags; Midnight Oil wear sorry shirts. 

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