1770 - The period of European discovery and settlement began on August 23, 1770, when Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy took possession of the eastern coast of Australia in the name of George III.
1783 American Loyalist James Matra, who had also travelled with Cook, produced "A Proposal for Establishing a Settlement in New South Wales" , proposing the establishment of a colony composed of American Loyalists, Chinese and South Sea Islanders (but not convicts).
1814 - John Pascoe Fawkner received 500 lashes and three years' gaol in Newcastle for helping convicts to escape from Hobart. After his release he worked as a baker, wood merchant, and sawyer. He later became a founder of Melbourne in his spare time.
1818 - The Sydney Gazette reported the death in Sydney of ‘the elder 'Maroot’, chief of the Kameygal on the north shore of Botany Bay, who was hit on the head with a stone.
1822 - Gov Brisbane dismissed Rev. Samuel Marsden, Hannibal Macarthur and other Parramatta magistrates, remitted Ann Rumsby's sentence to Port Macquarie and granted her a free pardon.
1831 - Just after breakfast on a collecting trip near Amity Point on Stradbroke Island, William Holmes, 'Zoologist' or 'Keeper' at the new Colonial Museum, accidentally shot himself in his right chest with his own double-barrelled fowling gun whilst collecting a cockatoo. He died there before his companion, Samuel Saunders, returned with help. Saunders stated that Holmes' final words were, "Oh, my God, I'm dead."
1836 William Hobson, later the first Governor of New Zealand, arrives in New South Wales, Australia.
1855 - The Municipality of Glenelg was proclaimed.
1872 - The Queensland Government passed laws extending the Queensland area of responsibility 100km north of Cape York to the Torres Strait. This move was prompted by an increasing lawlessness in the Straits, and was proposed by Queensland Premier Palmer.
1894 When the Adult Suffrage Bill was read in the South Australian Parliament the women presented a petition which had 11,600 signatures and was 122 metres long. It was a success. On 18 December, 1894 women were granted the right to vote and stand for Parliament - this was the first legislation in the world of its kind. South Australian women were able to participate in the general elections of 1896.
1895 – Bushranger James Alpin McPherson, known as The Wild Scotchman, died aged 53.
1909 - Sydney's Long Bay Gaol opened originally as a Women's Reformatory, the first purpose-built institution of its kind in Australia.
1912 - Miss Anna Lock, a missionary who had established a school for Aboriginals, wrote to Charles Frederick Gale, Chief Protector of Aborigines, on behalf of the Australian Aborigines Mission seeking his assistance to secure a large area of land for an Aboriginal settlement. She estimated there were 130 natives in the southern district, ‘60 of them are children & about 70 half and quarter cast (sic)’. The site Miss Lock proposed was Government Reserve 9089, located about 30 kilometres west of Katanning near the confluence of the Carrolup and Carlecatup Rivers.
*This was not approved until 21st Dec, 1914*
*This was not approved until 21st Dec, 1914*
1914 - While serving with the 1st Gordon Highlanders Lieutenant Leslie Richmond, born in Victoria, died at the Battle of Mons, and was the first Australian-born casualty of World War I.
1919 - The Moruya Examiner reported , "On Friday night last Pte. Frank Stewart was the recipient of the usual Shire address and a presentation from the Bay to honor [sic] him as a returned Australian soldier. The occasion was rather unique, in as much as the ceremony took place during the interval of a picture show. To this entertainment about 50 of Private Stewart’s friends and relatives from the Aboriginal Reserve had been invited. The presentation was made by Mr D F Mackay and was received by much acclamation and to the accompaniment of the indispensable leaf strains of music from the darkies [sic].”
1920: The Friends of Irish Freedom condemned the British government and Prime Minister David Lloyd for its alleged mistreatment of the Australian Archbishop Mannix . In the middle of the high seas, the British navy arrested the archbishop aboard an ocean liner. The FIF declared that Britain and Ireland were in a state of war.
1921 - Brisbane, Qld, was hit by an epidemic of the Bubonic plague.
1927 - The Federal Government imposed a tariff on imported rice to protect the local industry.
1934 - Victoria established a Section of the A.A.M.S (Australian Aerial Medical Service aka The Royal Flying Doctor).
1937 - All the island councillors gathered together formally for the first time in an historic meeting at Masig (Yorke Island) where they made a series of demands on the Queensland Government, including improved services, an end to unpopular regulations and the transfer of power from superintendent-teachers to local councils. Many of the Islanders’ demands were met.
1969 - After the shortest reopening of a railway line in the world of 13 days (for the filming of Mick Jagger's Ned Kelly) the Captains Flat branch line (NSW) between Bungendore Junction - Captains Flat was again closed.
1972 - NSW Director-General of Education approved the removal of the section of the teachers’ handbook that allowed school principals to refuse enrollment to Aboriginal children because of home conditions or substantial opposition from the community.
1973 - Federal Education Minister Kim Beazley Snr told parliament that agreement had been reached with the states for the federal government to take over the funding of universities and colleges of advanced education from 1 January 1974. The agreement also signaled the abolition of tuition fees for university courses and the introduction of a federally-funded student allowance of $1600 per annum.
1978 - The Anti-Discrimination Board released a 5 volume report on NSW laws and called for the decriminalisation of homosexual behaviour and the repeal of the Act.
1989 – One thousand six hundred forty-five Australian domestic airline pilots resigned after the airlines threatened to fire them and sue them over a dispute.
1992 saw West Coast go three quarters without kicking a goal against Footscray at Western Oval. The Eagles recovered to kick three last-quarter goals but that wasn't enough to avoid registering the lowest score ever recorded on August 23rd, 3.5.23.
1996 - Margaret Tucker, Australian activist and author, founding member of the Australian Aborigines’ League, died on this day. Founder of the United Council of Aboriginal and Islander women, first appointee to the Victorian Aborigines Welfare Board; her autobiography is titled If Everyone Cared.
1996 - The Djomi Museum of Cultural Keeping Place of the Maningrida Aboriginal community, Arnhem Land, was officially opened.
1996 - Thirty years ago after Aboriginal stockmen and station hands went on strike at remote Wave Hill station and captured world headlines, it was announced the places associated with their walk-off were being considered for national heritage listing.
1998 - The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission welcomed the Australian Olympic Committee‘s decision to allow athletes to display the Aboriginal flag if they were to win a medal at the Sydney Olympics.
2000 - Julie Regan was elected President of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
2003 - Controversy over Australian Aboriginal history entered a new stage with the launch in Melbourne at the Melbourne Writers Festival "Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle's Fabrication of Aboriginal History"; Robert Manne commissioned 18 historians and other academics to answer Windschuttle’s accusations.
2005 - Australians who take drugs into Asia are stupid and should not expect to be bailed out by the Australian government, PM John Howard said after another two Australians were detained in Indonesia over drugs.
2005 - Australia’s government and moderate Muslim leaders pledged to join forces in the fight against terrorism and blend Australian values with Islamic teachings at mosques and schools.
2008 - In Somalia 2 Western reporters were kidnapped near Mogadishu. The next day the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) named them as Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian reporter based in Baghdad but freelancing for French television and Canada's Global National News, and Nigel Brennan, a freelance Australian photojournalist. Both were released after 15 months and arrived in Kenya on Nov 25, 2009. Brennan’s family mortgaged their house to raise his ransom.
2012 - In line with the Expert Panel’s recommendations, the Australian Government announced that the Refugee and Humanitarian Program would be increased to 20,000 places annually.