2000 The Sydney Olympic Games. Swimmer Eric “the eel” Moussambani achieves international fame for his time of 1m52.72s in the 100m freestyle, over a minute slower than the winner.
1979 First Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras party. It is now one of the world’s largest LGBT festivals.
1975 Saigon becomes communist and a large number of Vietnamese immigrants settle in Sydney.
1973 The Sydney Opera House opens. Architect Jørn Utzon’s iconic design was reputedly rescued from a pile of discarded entries for the design competition.
1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge opens, joining the north and south sides of the harbour. It is affectionately known as the “coathanger” by locals because of its shape.
1901 Australia becomes a Commonwealth on Jan 1st. The new nation celebrates.
1854 First recorded game of cricket played at Sydney Cricket Ground between the Garrison Club and Royal Victoria Club. Garrison win.
1851 Edward Hargraves finds gold near Bathurst, 170 km west of Sydney. The Australian Gold Rush begins, followed by a sharp increase in highway robbery. Australia quickly becomes a major destination for immigration from all over the world.
1842 Sydney becomes a city. Merchant and contractor John Hosking becomes the first elected Mayor of Sydney but has to resign a year later when he goes bankrupt.
1840 After pressure from the Sydneysiders, England stops transporting prisoners.
1808 Governor William Bligh is overthrown. Australia’s first (and so far only) military coup has been called the “Rum Rebellion” because discontent over the sale of spirits was one of the triggers... along with terrible oppression from incompetent tyrants.
1789 A large number of the local aborigine population is killed by smallpox.
1788 When the fleet arrives in Botany Bay, no fresh water can be found, so Port Jackson (now Sydney Harbour) is chosen instead. The Penal Colony of New South Wales is established; among the first prisoners is a 70 year old woman convicted of stealing cheese.
1787 The First Fleet, commissioned by Thomas Townshend (Baron Sydney), sets sail for Botany Bay on May 13 from the Isle of Wight in England.
1770 Australia’s east coast is first charted by Captain James Cook. On April 29 he claims the whole east coast for “Mad” King George III of Britain and calls it New South Wales.
c. 50,000BC First known human activity in the area known by local aborigines as Warrane.