This Month In Australian History

This Month In Australian History

February is a huge month in Australian History.

After doing some research, I discovered that so many things happened in this month.

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 and somewhat brutal history that’s not well known 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.

The Dutch Find Australia

The year was 1606, the month was February and the first Europeans to find Australia were actually the Dutch. They were almost 200 years earlier than the Brits. It was a fella by the name of Willem Janszoon who captained the ship Duyflken (meaning “Little Dove”).

Janszoon made landfall in Cape York, Queensland and managed to map 320 Km of the coastline. He ran into a bit of trouble with the locals and 10 of his men were killed. He named the land he discovered “Nieu Zeland” but the name did stick and was later used in New Zealand. So, Queenslanders were the first Kiwis?

This Month In Australian History

Black Saturday Bush Fires

On February 7th, 2009, across the state of Victoria, Australia experienced its worst all time bush fire in its long history of bush fires. The fire, made up of over 400 individual fires burnt almost 450,000 hectares of land and claimed the lives of 173 people and more than 1,000,000 wild and domesticated animals.

The cause of the fire has been attributed to various sources such as power lines, arson, lightning and machinery. This date marked one of the hottest days on Victorian records with Melbourne hitting 46.4 C (115.5 F).

Our Prime Minister Apologizes

On February the 13th 2008, Prime Minister Kevin issued an apology to the Aboriginal people of Australia for the stolen generation. Rudd was the first Prime Minister to publicly apologize to the stolen generations on behalf of the Australian Government.

The stolen generation were Aboriginal people that were removed from their parents. This came about due to the Aborigines Protection Act of 1909, that was enacted in February of that year. The Act gave the board the power to remove any indigenous children at any time for any reason.

The Aussie Dollar Is Floated

On Valentines day 1966, the Pounds, Shillings and Pence used in Australia was replaced with the Dollar. At first, they didn’t know what to name our new currency and such names as the Royal, Austral, Koala, Emu, Boomer, Roo, Kanga, Oz, Digger, Zac, Dinkum and Ming were suggested. In the end, parliament decided to call our currency the Australian Dollar.

This Month In Australian History

So who are the people on Australian money? For another good read CLICK HERE

First Life Saving Club

The worlds first life saving club was opened at Bondi Beach in February 1907. Surf lifesaving clubs were shortly opened all over Australia and have saved over 600,000 people. The Australian surf lifesaver has evolved to become an Australian icon. The movement has spread to other countries including New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom. There are over 300 clubs patrolling over 400 beaches in Australia.

This Month In Australian History

Gold Rushes

The Australian colonies were changed forever during the gold rushes of the 1850s. Gold-seekers poured in from around the world spurring a huge migration that lead in many cases to permanent settlement. Between 1851 and 1861, Australia produced one third of the worlds gold. The gold rush led to our national identity known as the “Diggers” due to the mate ship and their collective resistance to authority.

This Month In Australian Hiatory

James Freeman Public Executioner

The interesting but brutal story of convict James Freeman saw the tender 16-year old being transported to New South Wales for stealing. One in Australia, it was a February day when he was caught stealing food and subsequently sentenced to be executed by hanging.

The previous day, Australia had executed it’s first convict and they botched the job. His name was Thomas Garrett and he was hung in front of his fellow convicts. The gruesome execution saw him hanging for some time before he died.

With this botched hanging fresh in the mind of James Freeman, he was offered a pardon at the last minute, literally with the noose around his neck. The pardon was offered on the condition that he become public executioner and never leave Australia. Freeman agreed to the task and became the “finisher of the law”. With every death sentenced handed down to his fellow convicts he had to hang or be hung himself. He was eventually pardoned and died homeless in 1840.

This Month In Australian History

There You Have It

We hope you enjoyed our article about this month in Australian history. Let’s face it, February was a pretty brutal month in our history but 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





2 Replies to “This Month In Australian History”

  1. Hey.
    This was very interesting! Thank you!
    It amazes me every time again the unbearable cruelty of the British people towards the locals wherever they arrived. In America, Africa or Australia. It’s horrible. It just blows my mind.
    This is nice of the prime minister to apologize, and it’s good he did so, but unfortunately, it will not help the poor parents and the poor kids that were so unfortunate to meet this cruelty.

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