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by Bill Beatty


A weekly series  

1850 Birth of Charles Cameron Kingston, South Australian politican. Kingston was admitted to the South Australian Bar in 1873, but was attracted to political life and in 1881 was elected to the House of Assembly. In 1893, he became Premier, and held the post for seven years. Kingston was considered one of the best parliamentary draftsmen in Australia, and was responsible for the franchise for women, the establish- ment of a State bank, a protective tariff, "progressive" taxation of land, industrial conciliation, and other measures. An early advocate of Federation, he became Minister for Trade and Customs in the first Com- monwealth Government. A statue of him stands in Victoria Square, Adelaide.

1872 First cable message from Sydney to London, via Adelaide and Darwin.

1874 The first sod turned of the first government railway in Western Australia. The line was to connect the port of Gerald- ton with Northampton, a distance of 33 miles. Three years earlier two privately owned timber lines had been built. One of the steam locomotives — the first in the colony— has been preserved as a relic  

in the town of Busselton.

1894 Martha Needle executed, aged 31. Martha Needle was hanged in Melbourne after having murdered her husband, her three children, a man named Louis Yunc- ken, and having attempted to murder Yuncken's brother. She did it for the in- surance money.

She administered arsenic methodically to all her victims, but during a visit to Mrs. Needle, Yuncken's brother, Hermann, be- came suspicious of a cup of tea she gave him. It made him ill, but he recovered and laid a trap for her. On his next visit he was offered tea again, but instead of drink- ing it he summoned waiting detectives. The tea was found to be heavily poisoned. Bodies of all the victims were exhumed, and found to contain arsenic.


1803 The first church service in Victoria, taken by the Rev. Robert Knopwood, chap- lain to the short-lived convict establish- ment at Sullivan Bay, near the present site of Sorrento. Three weeks later the chaplain preached his first sermon and, be- fore the settlement moved to Tasmania, solemnised his first wedding and conducted the first baptism in Victoria. The baby was the son of a marine sergeant, and was given the names William James Hobart Thorn.

Among the convicts and their families was a wild 11-year-old youngster named Johnny Fawkner, who later founded a colony where this present company of marines, soldiers, and convicts had failed. No permanent buildings were begun, and the

settlement was abandoned two months later.

1813 Birth of explorer Ludwig Leichhardt. 1887 Queensland immigrants denounce

misrepresentations of the immigration authorities in England. In 1887 the Quetta brought hundreds of British immigrants to Rockhampton. Some, after tramping many miles in search of work, found it months later cutting and clearing burr and prickly pear from station properties at $2 a week.

In those days there was no "week's notice or week's pay" given in the pastoral industry. Men could be put off hundreds

of miles from the next chance of work

without a shilling to their names. The Quetta workers got this raw deal, and at a camp meeting passed a resolution (cabled to

London) denouncing the misrepresentations of the immigration authorities.

STATUE of Charles Cameron Kingston in Victoria Square, Adelaide. Kingston became Premier of South Australia in 1893, and brought about many progressive parliamentary measures, including franchise

for women and the establishment of a State bank.


1856 First responsible ministry in South Australia formed, with Boyle T. Finniss as Premier. Boyle Finniss arrived in the colony as assistant surveyor under Colonel Light, was made Colonial Treasurer and Registrar-General in 1847, and four years later was nominated to the Legislative Coun- cil by the Governor, Sir Henry Young. In his short term as Premier and Chief Secre- tary of South Australia he passed measures dealing with waterworks for Adelaide and the first railway in South Australia.

The rank of lieutenant-colonel was con- ferred on Finniss by an act of the local council in 1854, when through fear of Russian privateers the colony was raising a volunteer defence force of 2000 men. The unsettled state of the world in 1860 caused this force to be revived, and Finniss (who raised a company known as the Adelaide Marksmen) was given command of the 1st Adelaide Regiment.

1857 Wreck of the Aberdeen clipper Cath- erine Adamson at the entrance to Sydney Harbor, on Inner North Head. Having no steerage way, she anchored inside the harbor, but drifted ashore and sank. Those lost numbered 21.

1889 Sir Henry Parkes delivered his "Ten- terfield" speech on Federation. Parkes, then aged 74, devoted the rest of his life to

Federation. The Federal Council he felt

was inadequate, and nothing short of a federal parliament would achieve the end, "One People, One Destiny."

When Major-General Edwards, a British officer brought to Australia to report on defence, recommended the federalisation of colonial troops, Parkes seized the oppor- tunity to seek political union on a federal basis. His speech at Tenterfield, N.S.W., brought about a premiers' conference and the calling of a national convention to

draft a federal constitution.


1616 Hartog landed on the island now named after him. The spelling varies of the name of this Dutch merchant seaman who was the first European known to have set foot on the Australian west coast. The Dutch have decided upon Dirck Hartog, but in the title of the island named after him the christian name is spelt Dirk.

A party from Hartog's vessel Eendracht landed on the island and affixed an in- scribed pewter plate on a post on the northernmost point, which was named Cape Inscription by the French in 1801.

1794 Arrival of the Scottish Martyrs. As a group, these were probably the most notable men ever sent to New South Wales.

They were five political reformers — Thomas Muir, Thomas Palmer, William Skirving, Joseph Gerrald, and Maurice Mar- garot — sentenced to transportation at the celebrated trials for sedition held in Scot- land in 1793-4. The reforms they advocated have long since been attained, and a monu- ment to their memory has been erected on Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

1911 Launching of HMAS Australia, first battleship of the Australian Navy. The Aus- tralia was a battle-cruiser of 19,500 tons, with a speed of 26 knots. Her armor was 10in. thick on the turrets, and she carried eight 12in. guns, 16 4in. guns, and three submerged torpedo tubes. In World War I she covered some 100,000 miles, more than half of them in the North Sea, where she was flagship of the second Battle-Cruiser Squadron. She returned to Australia in June, 1919, but under the Washington dis- armament treaty of 1922 was sunk with naval honors 24 miles east of Sydney Heads. 1938 The DC2 aircraft Kyeema crashed at Mt. Dandenong, Vic, with a death roll

of 18.


1793 William Charles Wentworth born.

1832 First cargo consigned from Australia to America. The Boston trader Tybee took back with her from Port Jackson the first consignment of cargo to the United States — hides, horns, and skins. A regular ex- change of commodities did not follow, mainly because of the prohibitive American tariff, but an American business firm, Kenworthy and Co., founded a branch in Sydney in 1836 to handle imports and exports, the first U.S. firm to establish in Australia. Three years later the first Ameri- can Consul landed in Sydney.

The discovery of gold in California in 1848 suddenly opened a market for Aus- tralian grain, flour, timber, etc., between San Francisco and Sydney, Melbourne, and Tasmanian ports. This trade was reversed

when gold was found in Australia three years later, and this country clamored for American picks, shovels, stoves, carriages, liquors, tobacco, preserved foods, and general manufactured products.

1835 Five hundred sheep and 50 Hereford cattle landed at Williamstown, Port Phillip, from Launceston, for Batman's Association. Williamstown, at "the anchorage" on the western shores of Hobson's Bay, was the first suburb of the capital, founded at the

same time as Melbourne.

1859 Passenger ship Royal Charter

wrecked off Wales. The vessel was on her way from Melbourne to Liverpool with 500 people aboard. Only 41 were saved.


1728 Birth of Captain James Cook.

1837 Police station and jail erected in Melbourne near the site now occupied by the Bourke Street West police station.

At that time there were seven constables to guard Melbourne, but Captain William Lonsdale, the police magistrate, considered this inadequate and procured several mounted men from Sydney. Melbourne's first police had no uniform, or any sign of office, except a bludgeon and a pair of hand- cuffs dangling from a leather belt. In 1840 they were provided with a colorful costume — a blue jacket with a red stripe round the left wrist, white canvas trousers, and a yellow waistcoat. They could wear any shape or kind of hat they fancied.

Like the police of Sydney, they were obliged to call out the time of night every half-hour of their patrol, to interrogate people found out of doors after curfew, see to the good behaviour of licensed victual- lers, keep a strict eye upon houses of ill fame, apprehend drunkards, suspects, and sly-grog sellers. But there is no record of wheelbarrows being issued to them.

In 1837 wheelbarrows were issued to the police of Sydney for conveying drunken persons to the lock-ups. The legs of restive prisoners could be fastened to the barrow by means of buckles and straps. A "Sydney Gazette" of November, 1837, mentions that the police on wheelbarrow duty resembled a muster of coachmen on a street stand.

1848 The convict ship Governor Phillip wrecked on a sandbank off Cape Barren Island, Bass Strait. Nearly all the con- victs were saved through the bravery of Lieut. Griffiths, who was in charge of them. He died while trying to save the last four convicts as the vessel sank.


1788 Sinking of the Friendship. The con- vict ship Friendship, a vessel of the First Fleet, left Sydney for England in company with the ship Alexander. So many of the Friendship's crew died from fevers that the survivors were taken aboard the Alex- ander, and the Friendship sunk off Borneo. 1883 Death of William Bede Dalley.

1895 Birth of Les Darcy, champion boxer. James Leslie Darcy was born of poor parents near Maitland, N.S.W., and had to leave school at an early age. Always keen on boxing, he won his first professional fight at the age of 16. In Sydney, he was quickly recognised as a potential champion, and the greatest night of his career came in December, 1915, when he knocked out the American Eddie McGoorty, a contender for the world middleweight championship. The following year he won every match.

Darcy enlisted in the Army, but his mother insisted on his discharge as a minor. Meanwhile, there was an urgent demand for his appearance in America, and he was persuaded to cross to New York in con- travention of the War Precautions Act. He was given a spectacular welcome, but soon afterward newspapers accused him of being a deserter from military service. Although cleared of all charges, he became run down in health, developed pneumonia, and died,

aged 21.

The "Denver Post" said of Darcy: "He took all that came to him with the ever present smile. His body was perfect — his heart immune to cowardice, but even the strongest cannot endure the tongue of criticism. So it was with Les Darcy. His physical self could not repel the onslaughts — the charge that he ran away when his country called him . . . He died of a broken heart and because his fellow men had forgotten that six feet of earth makes

us all of one size."