What happened in Australia in 1875?

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 these years. Includes disasters, severe weather, notable people, milestones, construction, inaugurations and other significant events. Obviously, this list references recorded events only and is not exhaustive.


  • 5th – Furnace, Mount Bischoff Tin Mines, Tasmania, started; 1500 lbs. tin of fine quality obtained from 14 tons of ore.
  • 6th – Heat in Adelaide 104° in the shade.
  • 7th – Sir Geo. Bowen, Governor of Victoria left for England by the P. and O. Steamer, Ceylon.
  • 9th – Sir W. F. Stawell, Deputy Governor of Victoria. Mr. Cairns, Governor of Queensland, and Mr. Weld, Governor of Tasmania, visited Adelaide.
  • 11th – Governor Weld landed in Launceston, T.
  • 16th – Sailors’ Home opened in Adelaide, S. A.
  • 19th – Extensive fire at Emerald Hill, Melbourne. — Ten prominent members of Anglican Communion prosecuted for forcibly entering St. Paul’s Church, Maitland, N. S. Wales closed by order of the , Bisbop of Newcastle.
  • 22nd – Exhibition Melbourne School of Painting and Design opened.
  • 24th – Victoria Ministry visited Hobart Town
  • 27th – Leg. Assembly met in Sydney. — Mercantile Marine Insurance Company of Adelaide showed a balance of credit of £4900.
  • 28th – Annual Regatta and Cricket Match, Sydney v. Tasmania, held at Hobart Town; latter won by Sydney, with seven wickets to spare.


  • 1st – Archibald Chisholm, son of the promoter of emigration, died in Sydney of rheumatic fever after a short illness.
  • 3rd – Ship, Blencuthra wrecked on King’s Island. — N.S. Wales Ministry resigned, Sir W. Manning failed to form a Ministry, Mr. Robertson succeeded. — Ballaarat and Maryborough Railway opened; first passenger train run.
  • 13th – Prince Alfred Yacht Club Match, Sydney, won by Australian.
  • 20th – Madame Anne Bishop reappeared in Melbourne.
  • 21st – Parish’s blasting powder factory, Brisbane, blew up; proprietor killed.
  • 22nd – Burdon’s Coach factory, Hobart Town, burnt.
  • 24th – Steamer Gothenburg wrecked on coast of Queensland; 115 lives lost.
  • 25th – Heavy floods in Queensland. — Whampoa arrived Hobson’s Bay; 52 days from London.

MARCH 1875

  • 1st – U.S.S Swatara, with American Transit of Venus observation party, left Hobson’s Bay for New York.
  • 2nd – Heavy floods on the Hunter River, N S W; the Hon. W. M. Arnold, President of the Legislative Assembly, drowned; a vast amount of property destroyed.
  • 8th – A rich quartz reef struck at Ophir, near where gold was first found in Australia.
  • 10th – Autumn flower show, Melbourne, held at the Town Hall. — Great rush of New Zealand diggers to the Ohinemuri goldfields, which turned out a failure.
  • 11th – First sod of the Gipps Land Railway turned. — V. R. Corps meeting at Flemington; Australian Cup won by Lurline.
  • 13th – Earthquake felt in Wellington.
  • 20th – Destructive fires in Nelson and Wellington.— Annual commemoration, University of Sydney.
  • 21st – Mr. Ellery, Government astronomer, Victoria, left for England.
  • 23rd – Great fire in Invercargill, N.Z. Also destructive fires in Nelson and Wellington.
  • 27th – Inauguration stone, Auckland Waterworks, laid. — Exhibition N. S. Wales Academy of Art opened.
  • 28th – Melbourne and Williamstown Road opened.

APRIL 1875

  • 1st – Coursing season commenced, Ballaarat. — Sydney Cup won by Imperial.
  • 3rd – Annual commencement Melbourne University.
  • 6th – N. S. Wales Exhibition opened in Sydney by Sir H. Robinson.
  • 7th – St. John’s R. C. College, Sydney, opened.
  • 13th – Exhibition cattle sales, Sydney, realized £9,000, showing an average for cattle of £90. — Train on main Tasmanian railway ran off line: killed inspector of platelayers, and wounded several others.
  • 14th – Giles, the explorer, telegraphed from Finnis Spring, S. A. — Albert Park Reserve, Emerald Hill, sold in face of protest by Municipal authorities.
  • 15th – Carroll, M. L. A., Victoria, committed for forgery at Ararta. — Jerusalem arrived at Sydney, with 360 Government emigrants.
  • 19th – Ballaarat and Ararat Railway opened; celebrated by banquet and ball.
  • 20th – Church of England Synod opened in Sydney; attendance large.
  • 21st – Mdme. Jenny Claus’ last appearance in Melbourne.
  • 25th – Swarms of Chinese immigrants reported arriving at Cooktown (Northern diggings of Queensland). — Fitzroy river, Queensland, flooded; much damage done.
  • 27th – Queensland Parliament opened. — Rebuilding of Opera House, Sydney, commenced.

MAY 1875

  • 3rd – Intense heat and terrible gale in Sydney, N.S.W.
  • 4th – Presbyterian Assembly commenced: sittings in Melbourne.
  • 6th – S. Australian Parliament opened; Sir George Kingston elected Speaker.
  • 7th – Seventy-eight ton of tin received in Brisbane from the Stanhope mines.
  • 10th – Large and influential meeting in Sydney, in favour of the annexation of New Guinea. — Floods in Adelaide; Glenelg Railway line injured; also botanic and other gardens, and racecourse submerged.
  • 13th – Right Rev. Dr. Crane, K.C. Bishop of Sandhurst, received by his clergy and laity.
  • 18th – Mr. W. Macleay’s barque Chevert sailed, with the owner and other members of the New Guinea Exploring Scientific Expedition.
  • 19th – The rush to the Forbes’ goldfields turned out a failure. — Encouraging reports of the finds of gold on the Cooktown and Palmer diggings. — The Chinese reported to be taking the best ground.
  • 20th – Meeting of Sir Moses Montefiore Memorial in Melbourne.
  • 22nd – Sir Arthur Gordon, Governor of Fiji, arrived at Brisbane.
  • 21st – First trees planted in Collins’ Street, Melbourne by James Gatehouse, mayor. — Volunteer fire brigade demonstration at Sandhurst. —New picture gallery opened in Melbourne.
  • 28th – Str. New England went ashore at Clarence Heads.
  • 30th – Gold to the amount of 7,000 oz. arrived in Brisbane from the Palmer.

JUNE 1875

  • 1st – Wm. Hyde sentenced to seven years imprisonment for garotting in Sydney.
  • 3rd – Mr. Woods moved in Victorian Parliament for all libraries, museums, picture galleries, &c., to be opened on Sundays.
  • 7th – Floods at Windsor, N.S W.; water rose 40 ft., and inundated country for miles. — Captain Clinch, the well-known commander of the str. Southern Cross, dropped dead on the bridge of his vessel when leaving Sydney. — Sandridge sugar works destroyed by fire: £1000 damage, covered by insurance.
  • 9th – Heavy floods on the Campaspe river, Victoria, much damage done.
  • 15th – An auriferous reef discovered at Mount Cameron. Tasmania.
  • 16th – Pleuro-pneumonia reported as having broken out amongst the cattle in the N. of Queensland.
  • 18th – J. P. Barrett sentenced to death for the mur der of his wife in Melbourne.
  • 22nd – Large fire in King-street, Melbourne; insurance covered £13,000. — Gas explosion at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne; one man killed instantly, another died in a few days from injuries received.
  • 25th – Annual Exhibition, Victorian Academy of Arts opened.
  • 28th – Very heavy storms on the N. S. Wales coast.

JULY 1875

  • 2nd – Gothenburg relief fund (Adelaide). £8,375 10s. appropriated to relief of families of those lost, and of survivors.
  • 3rd – Flexman’s fellmongery, Dunedin, totally destroyed by fire. — Ship Ben Neris totally wrecked at Newcastle, N. S. Wales.
  • 5th – Derwent Ironworks, Tasmania, produced first smelted iron.
  • 11th – An earthquake felt at Bega and Eden, N.S. Wales. — Emigrant ships Collingwood and Lammershagen arrived in New Zealand, bringing 630 emigrants.
  • 13th – P and O Mail steamer stuck on sandbank in Hobson’s Bay until next day, got off without injury.
  • 11th – Report received of the spearing of Mr. Johnson, station master of Daly Waters, by the blacks. — Victoria Woollen Company, Geelong, declared a dividend of 8 per cent.
  • 16th – Ruby Tin Mining Company, Tasmania, commenced operations.
  • 20th – New Zealand Parliament opened: Sir G. Grey took position of leader of the Opposition.
  • 22nd – Argus gave full telegram of English news – 28,000 words, filling 19 columns.
  • 26th – Madame Ristori and company appeared at the Victoria Theatre, Sydney, in “ Medea.”— The Governor of South Australia presented Messrs. Brazil, Fitzgerald, and Cleland, gold medals for their gallantry at the wreck of the Gothenburg.


  • 1st – Ship Natal Brigade wrecked at Bowen, Queensland.
  • 3rd – Kerferd Ministry resigned (Victoria). — Large fire on premises of Lane, Chester and Co , Sydnev, £10,000 worth of stock destroyed.
  • 5th – O’Connell centenary celebration, commenced by banquet at Town Hall, also celebrated in the other colonies.—Right Rev. Dr. Thornton, Bishop of Ballaarat, arrived in Melbourne.
  • 7th – The Graham Berry Ministry (Victoria) formed.
  • 11th – Destructive fire at Cooktown: loss estimated at £1450.
  • 12th – Commodore Goodenough of H.M.S. Peart, and two seamen, murdered by the natives of Santa Cruz Islands, South Seas.
  • 16th – White sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for attempt to bribe a member’of N. S. Wales Leg, Assembly.
  • 22nd – Duke’s Dry Dock, Melbourne, opened.


  • 2nd – Opening of Victorian Exhibition, comprising goods for the Philadelphia Exhibition; general holiday.
  • 4th – N. S. Wales Derby, won by Richmond.


  • 13th – Graham Berry Ministry resigned (Victoria).
  • 18th – Sir James McCulloch formed Ministry.
  • 20th – Tasmanian Parliament met.
  • 27th – Austrian vessel Stephana, wrecked near N. West Cape, West Australia: 15 lives lost.
  • 28th – Foundation stone of Licensed Victuallers Asylum, Melbourne, laid by acting Governor of Victoria, Sir W. Stawell.
  • 30th – Sir James McCulloch delivered address Warrnambool, stating that Government intended proposing land and property taxes.
  • 31st – Sunday, performance of an Oratorio in Melbourne Town Hall. Scarlet fever prevalent in Victoria. Blacks very troublesome in Northern Queensland.


  • 2nd – Railway opened from Goulburn to Gunning, N.S.W. — Land sale at Adelaide, largest ever held in Australia, 5,500 acres brought £100,000.
  • 8th – First Polo match ever played in Melbourne. Sir H. Robinson, Governor of N. S. Wales took part. — Sale of Mr. W. McCulloch’s Shorthorns at Essendon. Six horses, 11 bulls, and 57 cows realized £19,000.
  • 9th – Foundation stone of Protestant Hall, Sydney, laid by Bishop Barker. — Melbourne Cup won by Wollomai. 100,000 persons said to be present. — Boat accident, Hobart town. Six persons drowned.
  • 10th – South Australian Parliament met.
  • 16th – New South Wales Legislature assembled.
  • 17th – Victorian Parliament met.
  • 19th – Giles’ Exploring Party reached Perth, from S. Australia, having left Beltana on 5th May.
  • 22nd – Fatal railway accident on Minme line, Newcastle, N.S.W.
  • 28th – Particulars of Maria Heller’s German settlement at Hill Plains made public.
  • 30th – Five Communists landed near Maryborough,Queensland, from New Caledonia.


  • 3rd – First train run on Gipps’ Land railway, from Sale to Thompson river.
  • 6th – Weechurch hanged at Melbourne, for attempting to murder a warder at Pentridge. — New Zealand Parliament dissolved.
  • 9th – Attempt to throw a train off the line, between Geelong and Melbourne.
  • 22nd – First train crossed the Murray, from Echuca to Moama.
  • 26th – Fire at Mort’s Freezing Establishment, Darling Harbour, Sydney.
  • 27th – Intercolonial Cricket Match between Victoria and NSWales commenced.
  • 29th – Hurricane at Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia. Several of the Pearl fishery vessels lost, and 61 lives.
  • 31st – National Labour Bureau, Melbourne, closed. — Cable connecting Kangaroo island with Mainland, S. Australia, successfully laid. — Expedition of the Ellengowan steamer up the Fly River, New Guinea.