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More defining moments

Animating Australia’s Defining Moments

Learn about our animated videos for students, on Federation, the 1967 Indigenous Referendum and the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme.

Civics and Citizenship timeline

Explore Defining moments in Civics and Citizenship in Australian history.

Industry and Environment timeline

Explore Defining moments in Industry and Environment in Australian history.

Suggest a moment

4th Jan 2024 10:33am

Jessica Watson sailing solo around the world.

18th Dec 2023 13:47pm

Matilda sensation stops the nation. The woman's world cup in Australia unifying soccer fans and fans of woman sports across the nation. Year 2023

12th Dec 2023 11:11am

The great emu war 1932

17th Nov 2023 11:01am

It would be great to recognise the Matilda’s 4th place in the women’s World Cup as a huge monumental moment for women’s sport in australia

23rd Oct 2023 3:34pm

I believe the referendum from 14 October 2023 should be added as a notable event. The voice which was based upon the Uluru statement of the heart and the outcome highlight Australia’s continue need for growth.

27th Sep 2023 13:08pm

Voluntary assisted dying laws, 2011 floods in Queensland, COVID pandemic

17th Sep 2023 10:02am

I would like to suggest Julia Gillard's misogyny speech

12th Sep 2023 5:06PM

October 2023 Referendum to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

2nd Sep 2023 12:05pm

The uluru statement from the heart

29th Jul 2023 12:59pm

1421 China launched a huge armada to map the world, with boats reaching Australia, and evidence still remaining in SA.

29th Jun 2023 15:47pm

When homosexuality was officially legal in all of Australia

21st Jun 2023 11:52am

Julia Guillard’s Misogyny Speech

20th Jun 2023 11:42am

Launch of Radio Australia 1939

14th Jun 2023 11:24am

More before 17th century stuff lol

11th Jun 2023 4:09PM

Battle of Long Tan should be on the wall

17th Apr 2023 10:50am

You’re missing the Great Emu War and the Rum Rebellion

NMA team

Thanks for your suggestions. Here's a link to our Defining Moment on the Rum Rebellion.

11th Apr 2023 10:58am

2012 Julia Gillard Misogyny speech

NMA team

Thank you for your suggestion. You may also be interested in our Defining Moment on Australia’s female leaders.

7th Apr 2023 14:52pm

Australian military deployment to Vietnam in 1962

NMA team

Thanks for your suggestion. Australian troops committed to Vietnam is included in our Defining Moments.

3rd Mar 2023 11:54am

Maybe Senator Neville Bonner could be considered as an addition

14th Jan 2023 13:52pm

In 1999, Australian voters across all states resoundingly reject a proposed politicians republic in a nationwide referendum. This ensures the continual stability of Australia as a constitutional monarchy under the reign of Elizabeth II and Charles III.

4th Jan 2023 10:00am

2017 ball tampering against South Africa in the cricket

25th Nov 2022 10:07am

I want to see the moment with Captain Cook visiting New Zealand expanded and perhaps see what exactly compelled him to navigate North-West from New Zealand to eventually make it to Australia. E.g had people in New Zealand told him about the land or was it just a lucky coincidence?

NMA team

The Museum is revisiting and updating a number of Defining Moments. We have passed your comment on to our Curatorial team. Thank you for your feedback.

16th Jul 2022 16:01pm

Defining white moments in Australian history?? Where is indigenous perspective

NMA team

Thank you for your comment. We recognise that not all perspectives are represented through our Defining Moments project. While it is not a comprehensive list, here are some moments that relate to First Nations history.

11th Jul 2022 10:00am

Ash Barty becomes the first woman since Evonne Goolagong Cawley to win Wimbledon, the most prestigious sporting event in the world.

24th May 2022 7:52PM

Outcomes of the 2022 Federal Election, including the increased representation of women - notably by teal independents who unseated some longstanding blue-ribbon Liberal seats in some major capital cities, the significant fall in primary votes for both major parties and the greatly enlarged crossbench, increased diversity especially of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members, etc., etc.

8th May 2022 11:07am

Marriage equality

NMA team

Thanks for your suggestion. The vote for marriage equality is included in our Defining Moments.

26th Apr 2022 1:03pm

The 2011 Brisbane floods should be added

23rd Apr 2022 12:05pm

Medicare formed

NMA team

Thanks for your suggestion. The introduction of Medicare is included in our Defining Moments.

18th Apr 2022 10:37am

Marriage Equality vote

NMA team

Thanks for your suggestion. The vote for marriage equality is included in our Defining Moments.

1st Apr 2022 2:05pm

Black Summer bushfires of 2020 or Floods of 2022 for Climate Change induced Natural disasters

10th Mar 2022 11:30am

2019-2022 bushfires and 2022 floods

27th Feb 2022 12:11pm

Jakara Anthony winning gold for Australia in the winter olympics, for the first time in 12 years.

9th Feb 2022 14:59pm

1888 - Australias first mosque

5th Feb 2022 2:54pm

31 January 2022 - Freedom Truck Convoy arrives in Canberra.

27th Dec 2021 2:31pm

1867 Gold discovered by James Nash in Gympie Queensland needs to be added.

NMA team

The beginning of the gold rushes in the 1850s is included in our Defining Moments but, as you point out, there were other gold discoveries across Australia. We’re going to consider ways we can include subsequent events such as the Gympie discovery, so thanks for your suggestion.

26th Jun 2021 1:07pm

Lesser Bilby goes extinct 1960s

23rd May 2021 12:07pm

The death of the great Steve Irwin. It rocked the lives of many Australians

15th May 2021 1:41pm

Bob hawke becomes Prime Minister

8th Apr 2021 4:16PM

I would like to see the election of the Gough Whitlam government as a defining moment.

28th Feb 2021 11:55am

COVID-19 response and 2019-2020 bushfires across Australia

NMA team

Thanks, we are working on adding moments for both. Meantime, you might be interested in our Momentous website.

26th Feb 2021 3:01pm

19 October 2001: SIEV X asylum seeker boat sinks in Australia's aerial border protection zone, 353 people drowned. There is a memorial to these people in Weston Park, not far from the Museum.

22nd Feb 2021 15:40pm

The first COVID-19 vaccinations in Australia

19th Feb 2021 11:06am

The demise of the local car manufacturing industry should be on the timeline, since the first Holden is there

NMA team

Yes, the end of this era is mentioned at the end of our Holden launch moment.

16th May 2020 1:07pm

Can you tell me about the first prime minister

NMA team

See our Defining Moment on Federation in 1901. You can also learn more about Edmund Barton on our Prime Ministers of Australia website.

12th Dec 2019 12:00pm

Formation of TISM and subsequently the end of TISM

NMA team

Thanks for your suggestion. TISM has some great songs but if we chose one band we’d have to do many. We're after a defining moment when a person or band is responsible for a significant change.

31st Dec 2019 1:03pm

2000 Olympic Games Sydney

27th Oct 2019 1:10pm

How about adding some moments in history from the past 10 years to the defining moments wall. Surely AFLW, marriage equality , stopping people climbing Uluru.

NMA team

Thanks for your great suggestions Elle. Our Defining Moments Discovery Wall is only a selection of the moments that we have on our Defining Moments website. There you’ll find full feature moments on three of your suggestions – marriage equality, women’s AFL, and the handback of Uluru. Some of these more recent defining moments will also be added to the Discovery Wall soon, as we know our visitors are interested in them. Thanks for being involved in our Defining Moments program.

26th Sep 2019 12:04

Early aboriginal history maybe through archaeological finds across Australia

NMA team

Thank you for your suggestion Sabrina. We have recently published a Defining Moment on First rock art.

8th Jul 2019 11:00am

Cathy freeman winning Gold at Sydney Olympics.

NMA team

Hi Shelley, thank you for this great suggestion. We have a Defining Moment on Cathy Freeman.

3rd Jul 2019 10:59am

I believe we should have Sam the Koala as a moment in Australia as it tells the tale of the koala who drank from a water bottle and was taken to Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter in the 2009 Bushfires

NMA team

Hi Kellie, we have a feature moment on the Black Saturday bushfires. We think this is a great idea and are working on adding a photo of Sam the Koala to the 2009 bushfire moment.

28th Jun 2019 15:41undefined

Proposal for a new Australian Defining Moment: Can a small group change a nation (and the world) through a clear, passionate, well-researched message? Small Melbourne based protest group wins a nobel peace prize for calling to attention weapons against humanity Despite being a small group, stripped of funding, and essentially challenging the Australian government and world’s super powers in their love of weapons which do not differentiate between soldiers or civilians, ICAN’s message prevailed! Why does the world need cluster bombs? Or nuclear weapons? This Defining Moment would have direct links to the current NMA Defining Moment Come-on NMA! The public and primary and secondary educators across the country need and want to recognise the power of active citizenship, pressure groups, and have quality resources for Civics and Citizenship units in the Australian Curriculum. Also, some of us have seen and heard the inspiring Former Federal MP and UN lawyer Melissa Parke speak at History Teachers' Conferences and about a small Melbourne group challenging and changing the world and 'Australia’s role leading the world to get rid of nuclear weapons and weapons that harm civilians is critically important’ (hear! hear!).

NMA team

Hi Matt, thanks for your suggestion. We have a moment on ICAN wins Nobel Peace Prize.

20th Jun 2019 10:48undefined

Nicky Winmar mid 90s lifting his jumper and pointing to his skin mid AFL game - indigenous Australian

NMA team

Thanks for your suggestion Andrew. Nicky Winmar’s stand is already a moment and on our timeline.

8th Jun 2019 11:08undefined

The burning of gold licences and the anti Chinese party is not included in the defining moments wall

NMA team

Thanks for the suggestion, Abigail. The riots at Lambing flat are a defining moment on our timeline. We also have a few lines covering this in the Gold rushes feature moment.

27th May 2019 14:39undefined

hello, this helped my son, benny and my daughter, mia she finally understood the ending of the phar lap mystery book. from archie ( not the one from riverdale) thanks

27th May 2019 14:38undefined

thank you! it worked wonderfuly for my kid, liah.

8th Oct 2018 11:10am

Percy Trezise and Dick Roughsey's friendship and bond resulting in them winning the Order of Australia and the Order of the British Empire as they created and left a legacy of more than 30 childrens books about indigenous history and culture published in every state and territory in Australia, and worldwide. Dick Roughsey was awarded the Order of the British Empire, as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for Service to Aboriginal Art and Culture in 1978. Percy Trezise AM (1923 - 2005) was a painter and writer as well as an historian and documenter of Aboriginal rock art. Trezise served in the RAAF during WW2, and from 1956 he worked in northern Australia as an airline pilot. From the air he would gauge areas likely to contain Aboriginal rock art that he would later explore. Trezise collaborated on a series of children’s books with Aboriginal artist Dick Roughsey, and as well as being a member of the Order of Australia, in 2004 he received an Honorary Doctorate from James Cook University. Roughsey's passion for the preservation of Indigenous culture and traditions presented him with the opportunity to be appointed to the Aboriginal Advisory Committee for the Australia Council in 1970. In 1971 he wrote the first autobiography by an Aboriginal author. In 1973 Roughsey became the Chair of the Aboriginal Arts Board, continuing this role until 1975. He was also a member of the Institute of Aboriginal studies. Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award, Picture Book of the Year, 1974: commended for The Giant Devil-Dingo Fellowship of Australian Writers Patricia Weickhardt Award to an Aboriginal Writer, 1976 for The Rainbow Serpent Fellowship of Australian Writers Patricia Weickhardt Award to an Aboriginal Writer, 1976. Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award, Picture Book of the Year, 1976: winner for The Rainbow Serpent Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award, Picture Book of the Year, 1979: winner for The Quinkins IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Honour Diploma, Illustration, 1980 for The Quinkins Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award, Picture Book of the Year, 1983: commended for Turramulli the Giant Quinkin The Order of the British Empire, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for Service to Aboriginal Art and Culture, 1978 These notable awards for his publications were significant in contributing to cross-cultural communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. His cultural contributions inspired the establishment of the Gooalathaldin Memorial Community Centre, which opened in his honour on Mornington Island in 2003. Roughsey met Percy Trezise in 1962 at Karumba Lodge at the mouth of the Norman River. Trezise was a pilot for Ansett Airlines who painted casually and quickly became Roughsey's mentor. Trezise encouraged Roughsey to paint the stories that were part of his country and not to mimic the styles and narratives of the then famous Albert Namatjira. Trezise encouraged Roughsey to develop his personal painting style on bark paintings initially, then move to oil on canvas. Throughout their relationship Trezise regularly supplied Roughsey with art materials often cutting bark himself from around his home in Cairns.

8th Oct 2018 11:10am

ICAN awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) originated in Australia launching in 2007 in Melbourne as a grassroots movement growing to 122 countries. It is the first Australian-born group to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Former Federal MP and UN lawyer Melissa Parke spoke at the 2018 History Teachers' Association about how, especially with current tensions so high in the region between Asia and the US, and Australia complicit in selling uranium to overseas buying knowing that nuclear and indiscriminate weapons are made and possibly stored on bases in and around our country, public awareness and global understandings not just about the threats from nuclear weapons, but also from prohibited weapons which are classed as indiscriminate and inhumane such as biological and chemical weapons, land mines, cluster munitions is important to be known and talked about. These concerns are based on the principles of international humanitarian law.

27th Sep 2018 1:33pm

This timeline is amazing Thank you so much to the researchers :) Could I suggest 'Statement of the heart' 2010's

21st Sep 2018 4:10pm

2017- ICAN wins Nobel Peace Prize

10th Aug 2018 12:21pm

Lucy Osburn: The founder of modern Australian nursing Lucy Osburn was an English nurse trained at the School of Nursing founded by Florence Nightingale. She is regarded as the founder of modern nursing in Australia. In the wake of a damning report into the Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary (known as Sydney Hospital from 1881), NSW Colonial Secretary Henry Parkes made a request to British nursing legend Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) to help reform the lax system of patient care. Nightingale appointed Lucy Osburn (1836–91) to head a team of six nurses to travel to Sydney to reform nursing at the infirmary and to establish a school to train local women, who would then spread the system of “Nightingale nursing” throughout hospitals in the colony.

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