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Learn more about each key event and check the answers for our quiz on Australian environmental history.

B. The Cactoblastis cactorum moth was introduced to control prickly pear

Image: Explorer and author Michael Terry standing in a patch of prickly pear after crossing the Gwydir River at Bingara, New South Wales, 1921. National Library of Australia obj-149017445

A. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was created by the Australian Government in 1975

Image: Coral outcrop on Flynn Reef. Photo: Toby Hudson. Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0

C. Activism around the Franklin Dam resulted in the eventual formation of the Australian Greens political party

Image: Protesters at the Franklin River. National Archives of Australia A6135, K16/2/83/4

A. Research suggests the dingo was introduced to Australia about 5000 years ago

Image: A dingo on Fraser Island, Queensland. Photo: Glen Fergus, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.5

A. Merino sheep originated from Spain

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

B. Flood struck Gundagai in 1852

Image: The Gundagai flour mill surrounded by water during a flood in 1900, by Charles Gabriel. National Library of Australia obj-139763356

D. Silver was discovered in Broken Hill in 1885, leading to the founding of BHP

Image: View of Broken Hill, 1888–91, by George Jenkinson. State Library of New South Wales image 446151

B. Murray River irrigation work began at Renmark and Mildura in 1884

Image: Mildura Orchards, by JW Lindt, 1890. State Library of Victoria H96.160/1915

A. The Federation Drought lasted eight years

Image: The Drought, Sheep at a Dry Creek by Samuel Calvert, 1879, engraving, 22 x 34 cm. National Library of Australia 1579178

C. Cyclone Mahina was Australia's deadliest cyclone, causing over 300 deaths

Image: Tropical Cyclone Yasi off the Queensland coast, February 2011. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

B. The first life saving club in Australia was established at Bondi in 1907

Image: Surf lifesavers, Mollymook, New South Wales, 2006. Photo: Dean McNicoll

C. Douglas Mawson led expeditions that claimed 42 per cent of Antarctica for Australia

Image: Interior of Commonwealth Bay living hut, from left Mertz, McLean, Madigan, Hunter and Hodgeman, Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 8 June 1912. National Library of Australia obj 141769718

C. CSIRO stands for Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Image: CSIRO’s marine research vessel, RV Investigator. CSIRO, Australia

B. Toads were introduced to control beetle infestation in sugar cane crops

Image: Cane fields at Jungara, south of Cairns in 1935. Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 1226

A. Water was used to generate power from the Snowy Mountains

Image: Workers pose before going on shift in the Tooma–Tumut tunnel. National Archives of Australia 1/1960/16/55

D. Plutonium contamination occurred at Maralinga during the testing of nuclear weapons

Image: A man in protective clothing at Maralinga with a camera also protected by a plastic cover. National Archives of Australia A6457, P214

B. The export ban on iron ore was partially lifted

Image: A giant power shovel and 95-ton trucks working on the Hamersley railway, May 1966. National Library of Australia obj-137443783

B. The Black Saturday bushfires ravaged Victoria in 2009

Image: The Kinglake National Park after the Black Saturday bushfires, 2009. CSIRO

C. Dark purple is used to represent temperatures between 50 and 54 degrees

Image: Sunset over Sydney, 2011. Photo: Alex Proimos, Creative Commons, CC BY-NC 2.0

C. Tasmania was separated from the mainland due to sea level rises

Image: Residence of the Aborigines, Flinders Island by John Skinner Prout, 1846. Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office

Updated: 30 January 2020
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