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Learn more about each key event and check the answers for our quiz on Australian history over the 18th and 19th centuries.

C. The primary purpose of Lieutenant James Cook’s first voyage to the South Pacific was to observe the planet Venus

Image: French marble portrait bust of Captain Jacques Cook was made in about 1788. National Museum of Australia

B. The First Fleet landed at Botany Bay

Image: Captain Arthur Phillip, by Francis Wheatley, 1786, oil painting, 30 x 25 cm. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales ML 124

A. Whaling was the first commercially viable industry to develop in Australia

Image: South Sea Whalers Boiling Blubber. Boats Preparing to Get a Whale Alongside, by Oswald W Brierly, 1876, watercolour, 55 x 97 cm. State Library of New South Wales a128893

C. Merino sheep originated from Spain

Image: Merino sheep. Photo: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via Wikimedia Commons

B. Matthew Flinders’ cat was named Trim

Image: Bronze statue of Matthew Flinders’ cat, Trim. National Museum of Australia

D. The Castle Hill Rebellion took place in New South Wales

Image: Convict Uprising at Castle Hill 1804, unknown artist. National Library of Australia an5577479

A. The Rum Rebellion deposed Governor Bligh

Image: The Arrest of Governor Bligh, 1808, unknown artist, watercolour, 23 x 37 cm. State Library of New South Wales IE3203670

C. The first Australian currency was nicknamed the holey dollar

Image: 1813 holey dollar. National Museum of Australia

C. Gregory Blaxland, William Wentworth and William Lawson crossed the Blue Mountains to look for agricultural land

Image: Victoria Pass, Blue Mountains, by Eliza Thurston, 1861, watercolour, 65 x 74 cm. National Museum of Australia

A. Bathurst was the first town in Australia to be established inland, away from the coast

Image: Governor Lachlan Macquarie, 1819, artist unknown, watercolour, 8 x 7 cm. State Library of New South Wales MIN236

D. When Governor Macquarie arrived in Sydney in 1810 he discovered that the colony’s main form of exchange was rum

Image: Bank of New South Wales, Head Office, 1822–53. State Library of NSW, Government Printing Office 1–17946

C. The founding governor of Western Australia was Captain James Stirling

Image: The Foundation of Perth 1829, by George Pitt Morison, 1929. Art Gallery Western Australia 1977/OP17

A. The Black Line was a coordinated action by Van Diemen’s Land colonists to force the Aboriginal population from their lands

Image: Governor Arthur’s Proclamation to the Aborigines, artist unknown, 1828, oil on wood panel, 36 x 23 cm. National Library of Australia obj-138420046

A. The name of the botanist and natural scientist whose third expedition to northern Australia was lost in 1848 was Ludwig Leichhardt

Image: Portrait of Ludwig Leichhardt, artist unknown, 1850, hand-coloured lithograph, 32 x 25 cm. National Library of Australia obj-136518437

B. New Zealand became a separate colony from New South Wales in 1841

Image: The Missionary Settlement Rangihoua on the North Side of the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, artist unknown, 1832, oil on wood panel, 23 x 31 cm. National Library of Australia obj-134112722

C. The district of Port Philip became Victoria in 1851

Image: Map of Port Phillip District, about 1844–1863, by Charles Norton. State Library of Victoria H88.21/96

B. Australia’s first university was founded in Sydney

Image: Sydney University Main Building and Great Hall from City Road entrance. Sydney University Archives G3_224_0943

B. Australia’s first steam railway line was in Melbourne

Image: Australia Post’s 150th anniversary of railways stamp, issued in 2004. Image reproduced with permission of the Australian Postal Corporation 2004. Illustrator: Ned Culic. National Museum of Australia

B. The leader of the Eureka rebellion was Peter Lalor

Image: Eureka Stockade Riot, by JB Henderson, 1854, watercolour, 17 x 23 cm. State Library of NSW a928052

C. In the United States the ‘Australian ballot’ is the common name for the secret ballot system of voting developed in Australia in 1856

Image: Justice Henry Samuel Chapman, by Frederick Alexander Dunn, 1867, photographic print, 11 x 7 cm. State Library of Victoria H29509

B. The first game of Australian Rules football was played between students of  Scotch College and  Melbourne Grammar.

Image: A Football Match: Carlton v Melbourne, The Australasian Sketcher, 18 June 1881. State Library of Victoria A/S18/06/81/193

C. 13 European wild rabbits were imported into Australia in 1859

Image: Lorry-load of Rabbits, Braidwood, New South Wales, early 20th century, photograph on material paper, 14 x 8 cm. National Museum of Australia

A. The first stock exchange in Australia was in Melbourne

Image: The New Melbourne Stock Exchange, 1892. State Library of Victoria H2001.60/44

C. The winner of the first Melbourne Cup was Archer

Image: Archer, with Jockey, J Cutts, in EL de Mestre’s Colours, by Frederick Woodhouse Snr, 1862, oil painting, dimensions unknown. Australian Dictionary of Biography

A. In 1867, Prince Alfred the first British royal to visit Australia was almost assassinated.

Image: HRH Prince Alfred, KG, Duke of Edinburgh, by HS Sadd, 1868. National Library of Australia obj-135977024

Updated: 30 January 2020
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