Australia - Country history and economic development

1770. Captain James Cook claims Australia for Great Britain.

1788. Australia is settled as a British penal colony.

1793. The first free settlers arrive.

1817. Australia's first bank, the Bank of New South Wales, is established.

1851. Gold is discovered in New South Wales and Victoria.

1883. Silver is discovered at Broken Hill, New South Wales.

1901. The Commonwealth of Australia, a federation of the colonies, is proclaimed. Australia adopts a federal system similar to the United States.

1914-18. Australia sends troops to fight for Great Britain in World War I.

1917. Transcontinental railroad opens.

1920. Qantas, the national airline, is founded.

1927. The national capital is moved from Melbourne to Canberra.

1940-45. Australian troops serve in World War II.

1942. Japanese planes bomb the Northern Territory capital of Darwin. Japanese midget submarines penetrate Sydney harbor.

1952. Uranium is discovered in the Northern Territory.

1960. Aboriginal people are granted Australian citizenship. The Reserve Bank of Australia is established.

1961. Iron ore deposits are discovered in Western Australia.

1966. Australia changes its currency from the British pound to the Australian dollar.

1992. The Mabo decision in the High Court allows Aboriginal people to claim title to their traditional lands.

1997. The Asian financial crisis weakens Australia's economy.

1999. A referendum to change Australia from a constitutional monarchy to an independent republic is defeated.

2000. The Summer Olympics in Sydney lead to a boom in tourism.

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