This Month In Australian History

This Month In Australian History

It’s December already! Christmas and New Year’s Eve just around the corner.

Today at Ozzies Abroad we take a quick glance at interesting events this month in Australian history. Get in touch with your routes and become the most knowledgeable Aussie abroad. Australia has a very interesting history that’s not as immortalized in popular film and books as other countries. So, it’s up to us to spread the knowledge about our country and culture. We have many great stories that you can share with your friends overseas. Remember it’s all about bragging rights.

This Month in Australian History is December.

Cyclone Tracy

On the 24th-25th of December 1974, Darwin was devastated by Cyclone Tracy. Tracy formed over the Arafura Sea and made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane. Tracy killed 46 people on land and 16 people at sea and caused almost 1 billion dollars in damages. The storm left 90% of the cities inhabitants homeless and only 10,000 people remained after evacuating the city. By May 1975, 30,000 people returned to Darwin living mostly in caravans, hotels and the ocean liner Mu Patris. Remarkably, in the following years Darwin was rebuilt and is completely different to the Darwin of December 1974.

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

The famous Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was first held on 26th of December 1945. The race has since been an annual event with international recognition and participation. The race has yachts battle it out over 1,170 km of the worlds most difficult waters. In 1998, the international sailing competition was met by a super strength storm that sank five yachts and sadly claimed the lives of six competitors, of the 115 yachts that left Sydney only 44 made it to Hobart. The record time is held by Nokia, in 1999, with 1 day 19 hours 48 minutes and 22 seconds.

This Month In Australian History

The Prime Minister Disappears

Our Prime Minister Harold Holt, disappeared while swimming near Portsea, Victoria on 17th December 1967 and his body was never recovered. Reasons for his disappearance have ranged from suicide allegations to conspiracy theories. Some of these theories claim that Holt was assassinated by the CIA because he wanted to pull Australia out of the Vietnam war. Other theories say he was captured by the North Vietnamese, he wanted to be with his lover so faked his death and that he was a spy for the Chinese government so defected to China on a Chinese submarine. Truth is he probably just drowned and his wife said that he didn’t like Chinese food.

This Month In Australian History


On the 31st of December 1789, almost one year after the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay an Aboriginal man named Arabanoo was forcibly captured at Manly Cove. The purpose of  holding the man in captivity was to improve the relationship between Aboriginals and the Europeans by learning their language and teaching him English. However, their effort failed because convicts continued to raid Aboriginal camps. Arabanoo made slow progress in learning English and sadly died of smallpox in 1789 aged 30, he was buried in the garden of the Government Building.

Racial Riots

In December 2005, there was the outbreak of mob riots in the beach suburb of Cronulla, Sydney. The riots have been tagged as race riots because they were sparked by tensions between Sydney’s Lebanese and European populations. Travel warnings were issued against Australia by some countries as over 5000 Caucasian Australians congregated early at Cronulla beach and chants such as “Fuck off Wogs” filled the air, soon the mob mentality took over and ethnic groups of people were attacked. The police used batons to protect people from Middle Eastern heritage as the attacks raged into the night. Two ambulance drivers were among the 26 people who were treated for injuries and police made over 16 arrests. Not a proud day for Australia, a country that prides itself on peaceful multiculturalism.

This Month In Australian History

The Eureka Stockade

On the 3rd of January 1854, the battle of the Eureka Stockade broke out between miners and the Colonial Forces of Australia. During the gold rush in Ballarat, Victoria, the miners formed a rebellion in defiance of a miners tax. They built a stockade and raised the flag of the stars which is the Southern Cross on our flag today. The battle resulted in the death of 27 people but resulted in an Act that mandated the right to vote for male colonist in the lower house of the Victorian parliament, women followed 5 years later. Many Australians identify the battle as the birth of Australian democracy. The mate ship that defined the miners or “diggers” helped define a national identity and Australian soldiers in World War 1 were referred to with the term Diggers’. The gold rush saw over 150,000 people from all over the world including China, England, America, Italy and Germany search for riches in the Victorian goldfields.

This Month In Australian History

Interesting Facts:

  • A stockade is a defensive barrier built with upright wooden posts.
  • The Southern Cross on the Australian flag is a symbol of republicanism and solidarity in defiance.
  • Australia was the second country to give woman the right to vote in 1894. New Zealand was the first in 1893.

There You Have It

We hope you enjoyed our article about this month in Australian history. Now you are wiser, more Australian and equipped with some a good yarn or two. If you wish to add more facts about our history then get vocal in the comments below. For more on Australian history Click Here.

See ya Later!



2 Replies to “This Month In Australian History”

  1. You have surely presented some very interesting Australian historical facts about that country down under!

    A lot sure did happen in December as you pointed out.

    I am a Vietnam Veteran and I remember all the conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance of Prime Minister Harold Holt. One particularly interesting was that he drank something laced with a delayed-effect drug that was designed to wear off quickly so as not to be detected during an autopsy if and when his body was found.

    I spent a week in Sydney…back in the Vietnam days. I was the typical tourist, frequenting some of the local pubs in and around Kings Cross. And, I thoroughly enjoyed a visit to Taronga Zoo!

    Great article, mate!


    1. Hi Jim. The theory you mentioned is interesting so thanks for your comment. Wow, Sydney would have been a different place back in the Vietnam days. My parents had a restaurant in Kings Cross back then and all the American soldiers would come there for their week of rest and recreation. Taronga Zoo is still there and going strong. Thanks again Jim.

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