Short History of Australia

Indigenous Australia

Exploration of Australia

Covers pre settlement of Australia by Europeans as well as interior exploration after settlement

European Exploration of Australia

1606 - 1788

Jansz lands on Cape York Penisula

February 26, 1606

The Dutch Captain Willem Jansz might have made landfall on Cape York, and charted 300 kms of the coast of a new continent without realising it.

de Torres sails through Torres Strait

October 2, 1606

Luís Vaz de Torres (Portuguese) -17th century maritime explorer serving the Spanish Crown, noted for the first recorded navigation of the strait which separates the continent of Australia from the island of New Guinea, and which now bears his name (Torres Strait).

Hartog reaches Western Australia

October 25, 1616

Dutch sailor Dirk Hartog sails to the West coast of Australia in the area now known as Shark Bay. An island named after him is located here.

Carstensz maps Cape York

April 12, 1623

Tasman claims Van Diemen's Land(Tasmania) for Holland

November 24, 1642

The Batavia (Jakarta) Governor-General Van Diemen sent Abel Tasman to search for the undiscovered continent, there being 'good reasons [to suppose that] many attractive and fruitful lands are located therein' as it was in a temperate climate. He was away for ten months and accidentally came upon Tasmania which he claimed and named Van Diemen's Land. He next found and named New Zealand.

Tasman charts the north of Australia

1644 - 1645

Two years later, on another voyage, Tasman sailed along the northern coast of Australia (which became known as New Holland) from North West Cape in WA to Cape York.

Dampier is first Englishman to land on Australian Soil


British Settlement of Australia

British Settlement from First Fleet to Federation

1788 - 1901

First Fleet Arrives in Australia

26 January 1788


Commonwealth of Australia

1901 - 2013

Commonwealth of Australia formed as an independent nation under the British Empire ( later Commonwealth

Officially becomes federation of six states - Commonwealth of Australia

1 January 1901


White Australia Policy

1901 - 1973