What happened in Australia in 1874?

If Social Media existed back then, what would our ancestors have been talking about? Taken from year books, Almanacs and newspapers, follows is a list of notable events that occurred in this year. Includes disasters, severe weather, notable people, milestones, construction, inaugurations and other significant events. Obviously, this list references recorded events only and is not exhaustive.


1st — Notice of termination Border Duties arrangement, NSW and Victoria — Abolition of ad valorem duties takes effect, NSW.
2nd — Strike of cabmen at Sydney.
6th — New Parliament opened, Queensland.
15th — Branch mail service ended, King George’s Sound and Adelaide.
27th — Match AE Eleven v 18 NSW, latter won.
28th — First NSW and Queensland Wesleyan Conference met, Sydney — Dr. Gosse returned from exploring expedition, S Australia — “James Patterson,” str, wrecked near Keppel Bay — Disastrous floods in the Hunter.


1st — New Roman Catholic college opened, Goulburn, NSW.
3rd — Third Church of England Synod opened, Sydney.
6th — Church of England cathedral, Hobart Town, consecrated.
7th — Match between AE Eleven and United Fifteen of NSW and Victoria.
9th — Mr Maxwell Reynolds killed by explosion in his office, Melbourne.
13th — “Mongol” str reached Port Chalmers, 49 days, 14 hours, from Plymouth.
18th — Meeting of settlers, Levuka, with HM Special Commissioners, Commodore Goodenough and Consul Layard.
22nd — Attack on Barrow’s Creek telegraph station, Sth Australia, by blacks.
27th — Rt Rev Bishop Perry leaves Melbourne for England — Hume brings report of discovery of survival of Classen, second in command of Leichhardt’s last expedition — Earthquakes at Tauranga, N Zealand — Woollen factory formed at Christchurch.

MARCH 1874

2nd — HMS “Nelson” entered Alfred Graving Dock, Melbourne.
9th — Dissolution of Victorian Assembly.
13th — Resolution for payment of members, NSW, defeated in Assembly, by 26 to 13.
15th — German frigate “Arcona ” arrived, Melbourne.
17th — HMS “Challenger” reached Melbourne.
18th — Toorak vacated by Sir George Bowen.
21st — Offer of cession of Fiji, with conditions, made by Cacobau. Interim Government appointed.
23rd — All England Eleven played at Yorke’s Peninsula.
24th — Testimonial from the legal profession to Sir Alfred Stephens, CB, late CJ NSW.
27th — Rochefort and five other Communists reached Newcastle, NSW, escaped from New Caledonia — Hurricane at Norfolk Island. Suffering amongst diggers at the Palmer.

APRIL 1874

5th — Colonel Warburton arrived at Adelaide from King George’s Sound.
11th — Rochefort left Sydney by Californian mail.
16th — Col Warburton entertained in public at Adelaide — Meeting at Sydney of persons interested in silk cultivation.
21st — Dispatch sent from Victoria complaining of convict establishments, New Caledonia.
30th — Mr Justice Williams retired from Victorian Bench after 22 years’ service, succeeded by Mr Wilberforce Stephen.

MAY 1874

1st — General reduction railway fares, Victoria, return tickets abolished.
5th — Great fire at Auckland, N Zealand.
9th — Foundation stone of St Andrew’s Presbyterian College laid, Sydney.
14th — Second season Victorian Coursing Club opened, Mr Warwick present as judge.
17th — St Stephen’s R C Cathedral opened, Brisbane, in presence of seven bishops.
19th — Earl Donoughmore married at Hobart Town to Miss Stephens, a native of Tasmania. — Victorian new Assembly met.
23rd — “British Admiral” wrecked off King’s Island, 79 out of 88 lost.
24th — Pilot cutter “Corsair” wrecked off Point Nepean.
25th — Volunteer encampment three days, NSW, at Campbellfield. Mr WH Archer, Registrar-General, appointed permanent Under Secretary Lands, Victoria. — Tenders accepted, at £150,000 for new public offices, Eastern Hill, Melbourne.
30th — Great gale at Auckland.

JUNE 1874

17th — Second reading of Constitution Act Amendment Bill passed, Victoria. Bill subsequently abandoned by Government.
22nd — “Flintshire” steamer struck on rock off Cape Cleveland. First portion Trades Hall, Melbourne, completed. NSW Supreme Court refuses leave to Sir J O’Shannassy to appeal in Joachim v O’Shannassy.

JULY 1874

3rd — Parliament opened, Wellington, N Zealand.
7th — Opening railway Ballarat to Creswick, and Castlemaine to Maryborough, Victoria — Meeting, Sydney, to protest against injurious operation of Imperial Kidnapping Act of 1872.
22nd — Captain Douglas left Singapore with 200 coolies for Northern Territory, S Australia.
25th — Blondin’s first appearance at Brisbane.
29th — Marriage of Commodore Stirling, RN, to Miss Deas Thomson, at Sydney.


13th — Abolition of Provincialism proposed by Mr Vogel, in Northern Island, N Zealand.
14th — Commander Gowlland, RN, drowned, Port Jackson.
20th — The body of Rawera, the Tauranga rebel, publicly interred at a large funeral in Auckland cemetery.
27th — Mr Service makes his financial statement, Melbourne.
28th — Farewell dinner to Sir J Fergusson, Governor of N. Zealand at Wellington.
31st — N Zealand Parliament prorogued. £15,000 voted by W Australia for telegraphic communication with S Australia — Californian mail service temporarily undertaken by ASN Co. — Great fire at Dunedin, N Zealand, £35,000 damage — Mr Vogel’s Polynesian Scheme introduced. — Dissolution of W Australian Parliament.

1st — Opening of New Post Office, Sydney.
5th — Australian Derby, Sydney, won by Sir H. Robinson’s Kingsborough.
7th — Mr Parkes, CS, NSW, entertained at Albury.
15th — Twenty-eighth Session Church of England General Assembly opened, Melbourne.
16th — Supreme Court NSW delivered judgment, Rev JR Thackeray v Bishop of Newcastle.
19th — New steamer “Durham” arrived at Melbourne, after 54 days passage.
23rd — Sir H. Robinson arrived at Fiji.
30th — King Cacobau signed unconditional cession of Fiji — lntercolonial conference at Sydney, NSW, Queensland, and N Zealand


October 9th — Sir J McCulloch’s motion against New Customs Bill defeated in Victoria Assembly. — Capt McLerie, Inspector-General of Police, Sydney, died.


3rd — NSW Parliament opened by Sir H Robinson.
4th — Blondin’s first appearance in Melbourne.
5th — Melbourne Cup won by Haricot.
6th — Public reception of Forrest, the Explorer, in Adelaide, SA.
9th — Mr Gatehouse installed Mayor of Melbourne.
9th — Victorians won Intercolonial Rifle Match in Sydney.
16th — Railway from Creswick to Clunes opened.
20th — Waitangi arrived Auckland, NZ with 400 emigrants.
22nd — First sod of West Australian Railway turned by Governor Weld at Geraldton.
23rd — Hon JG Francis, Chief Secretary of Victoria, left for England.
21st — Cacobau, ex-King of Fiji, arrived in Sydney.
30th — News arrived from Queensland that Huma and O’Hea, explorers, had died in the Warrego district.


3rd — Typhoid fever reported at Yorke’s Peninsula S Australia.
5th — Townsville coach upset near Millchester, Queensland, Mr. Whitehead, Manager National Bank, killed.
12th — Reception of Rt Rev Dr Goold, RC Bishop of Melbourne, at Williamstown.
14th — Steam Saw Mills, Balmain, NSW, burnt.
15th — Banquet given to Sir H Robinson, Sydney, to celebrate annexation of Fiji — Sir S Wilson of Ercildoun near Ballaarat, presented £36,000 for the building of hall at the Melbourne University.
19th — Prince Alfred Yacht Club Race, Sydney, won by lone.
20th — King Cacobau left Sydney for Fiji, in HMS Dido.
23rd — Hot wind and destructive fire at Windsor, NSW, 40 buildings burnt.
26th — Communists escaped from Noumea, landed in Queensland. — International Cricket Match NSW v Victoria commenced Melbourne Cricket ground, won by NSW, with six wickets to spare.
27th — Public holiday, Adelaide, 38th anniversary of foundation of colony – 16,000 persons travelled on Glenelg Railway and 10,000 on Port Railway.