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History of Sydney: A Chronology


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Below is a short chronology of Sydney from her discovery in 1700s to the present date. To learn more about the indigenous people of Australia, see Aboriges: Indigenous People

c. 40,000 BC Recorded history of the Australian continent begins with the move of Aborigines from South East Asia to Australia.
1770 Captain James Cook reaches the eastern coast of Australia and claimed it in the name of England. The cove, known as Botany Bay was named by the botanist Joseph Banks who discovered a number of unknown species of plants and animals.
1783 The Treaty of Paris finalizes the American Independence forbading the sending of convicts from Britain to American soil. A new search begins for another land.
1787 Under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, ships bearing convicts, officers and their wives along with children set sail for the new land, known then as New Holland. The "First Fleet" arrives on the shores of Botany Bay.
1788 Botany Bay was abandon moments after the First Fleet landed due to lack of fresh water and fertile soil. The First Fleet settled in Sydney Cove where a penal colony known as The Albion is established. The British Flag is raised close to Circular Quay, thus establishing the presence of the settlers and the disposition of the Aborigines.
1793 The name Sydney is adopted in practise and rum has become the major currency of the colony.
1810 Population of Sydney grows to 10,000 and the current Governor General Lachlan Macquarie begins curbing the power of the Rum Corps which threaten to take hold of the colony. Macquarie's plans to transform Sydney into a modest looking town starts to take root.
1813 Explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson find a way to cross the Blue Mountains thus satisfying the need for more farming lands.
1817 Governor Macquarie along with ex-convicts and emancipists propose that New Holland be change to Australia.
1831 The independent newspaper, Sydney Morning Herald is first published in April 1831. The British government begins a scheme to invite citizens to settle in Sydney.
1837 The reign of Queen Victoria begins.
1840 The sending of convicts to the shores of Australia is called to an end following demonstrations by anti-transportation groups.
1842 Sydney becomes a city under British law. The following year saw the first elections for the Legistive Council of New South Wales.
1850s The Gold Rush era begins with the discovery of gold in Bathurst in 1851 drawing people from all around the world to Sydney. Melbourne becomes the largest city in Australia and remained so until the Great Depression.
1861-1891 The population reaches to 383,300 before the Great Depression struck. Relationship between the white Australians and Chinese deteriorate. Ugly clashes between the two groups are recorded across New South Wales, notably Lambing Flats.
1901 The Commonwealth of Australia unites all 6 colonies thus forming states in Australia. The outbreak of bulbonic plaque spreads in The Rocks causes widespread alarm hence the immediate cleasing of the area.
1902 Daylight bathing is allowed on the beaches. 4 years later the first Surf Bather's Life Saving Club is established. One year later, women are given the right to vote. English social restrictions gradually loses ground.
1923 Construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge begins and on the 19th August 1930, the two arcs of the harbour finally meets in the middle. Two years later, (August) the bridge is completed and opened to the public.
1939-1949 The period of World War I brings Australia to international eyes and introduces American culture into the mainstream. Immigrates from Europe arrive in Sydney leading to a gradual change in Sydney's identity as a nation.
1952 Queen Elizabeth II takes the throne after the death of George IV.
1962 After 174 long years, the Aborigines are finally given the right to vote.
1973 This year marks the completion of the Sdyney Opera House by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first reigning monarch to visit the country.
1988 The re-enactment of the First Fleet's arrival to celebrate the Bicentenary of European Settlement is marred by the controvesy debate about Aboriginal Land Rights. To the Indigenous People, this day is forever marked as 'Invasion Day.'
1993 Sydney explodes in one giant party after hearing the announcement that the Olympic Games will be held in the city in the year 2000.
1994 January 1994 saw a devastating bush fire that raged out of control in the Royal National Park. Preparations for Homebush Olympic Site begins. Plans unveiled for a facelift in Darling Harbour with designs for Sega World and Cockle Bay Wharf.
1997 Star City Casino moves from the old pier site to Prymont Street. It becomes one of the largest casino built in New South Wales.
1998 Completion of Cockle Bay Wharf on Darling Harbour in preparation for the Olympic.

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