A South Australian railway history

South Australia was one of Australia’s youngest colonies, and the only colony for which the British made meticulous settlement plans – including a master infrastructure plan – before arrival. When South Australia’s first Governor, Sir John Hindmarsh, was appointed in 1836, global advancements in agriculture, transport and technology were helping the colony to thrive on … Read on

No swimming allowed: when Sydney banned swimming

Today, Australia is known throughout the world for its warm sunny climate, pristine beaches and coastal cities. But, in an episode that has become an integral piece of national folklore, between 1838 and 1902, swimming during the day was declared an illegal activity by New South Wales authorities, for fear that it raised ‘morality concerns’. … Read on

Death and Freedom in the Queensland Times

While it’s no surprise that monumental events like wars, accidents and assassinations often make the history books, there is something immensely satisfying about trawling through the archives for the histories of everyday people and events – those at risk of becoming lost in stacks of archives and quiet corners of the internet. One such event … Read on

Australia’s country within a country: the Principality of Hutt River

When the Western Australian Government introduced stringent wheat production quotas in 1970, they came as a harsh blow to the Casley family who, at the time, had 9,900 acres of wheat ready to harvest. Under the new quotas, the family was permitted to sell only a measly 99 acres of their produce. The Casleys have … Read on

When Western Australia fined NASA

In 1979, headlines were made around the world when NASA’s first attempt at a manned space station, Skylab, came crashing back down towards the earth. When fragments of the colossal experiment landed on the eastern coast of Western Australia, the parks authority issued NASA with a $400 littering fine for leaving a trail of space … Read on

The pillars of coin collecting

For as long as coins have circulated, collectors have coveted them. In Renaissance Europe, coin collecting was the ‘hobby of kings’, because it was a favourite pastime of royalty and those with hefty disposable incomes. Nowadays, just about anyone with an interest in coins can start a collection, but it’s a good idea to stick … Read on

Australia and the secret ballot

Even a cursory look at the history of voting in Australia will reveal that truly equal voting was a reality slow in coming: women in South Australia were barred from voting until 1895, and it took until 1908 for Victorian women to gain the vote. Indigenous Australians were barred from voting in federal elections until … Read on

Flinders Street Station through the ages

Flinders Street Station has been both the focal point of Melbourne’s railway network and an icon in the city skyline since 1854. The station has become emblematic of Melbourne for its architecture, bold and grand aesthetic, technical innovation and social significance. Although it occupies one of Melbourne’s busiest and most prominent street corners, its walls … Read on

115-million year old dinosaur footprints damaged by vandals

A dinosaur footprint frozen in time on the coast near Inverloch, south­east of Melbourne, has recently been partially destroyed by vandals. Found in 2006 by palaeontologists from Museums Victoria and Monash University, the theropod footprint is internationally recognised as a site of great importance. The impressive print captures Australia’s dinosaur past, a time when meat­eating … Read on

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