What happened in Australia in 1876?

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.


  • 5th – Queen’s Hotel, Sydney, destroyed by fire.
  • 13th – Great fire at Horsham, Victoria.
  • 22nd – Survivors of the Strathmore, wrecked on Crozet islands in July 1875, rescued by American whaler, Young Phoenix.
  • 24th – Caledonian Society inaugurated in Sydney.
  • 28th – Telegraph station, Gilbert river, Queensland, stuck up by blacks.
  • 31st – Large fire at Maryborough, Queensland. Mr. Wm. Forster, appointed Agent General for New South Wales in London. Disturbances at Samoa.


  • 3rd – Foundation stone of the Indigent Blind Asylum laid in Sydney.
  • 4th – Zealandia steamer arrived at Melbourne, 46 days from Plymouth.
  • 10th – Large fire at Auckland, N. Zealand.
  • 11th – Resolution carried in Victorian Assembly, by Sir James McCulloch, for la Cloture.
  • 17th – Tornado at Bowen, Queensland.
  • 18th – Telegraphic communication established between New Zealand and Australia.
  • 24th – Destructive Tornado at Noumea, New Caledonia. — Severe shock of earthquake at Oamaru, New Zealand.
  • 25th – Conflagration at Gulgong, N. S. Wales. Great floods in New Zealand during the month. — Ladies Marriage Reform Association, formed at Dunedin. — Enquiries into charges against Brough Smyth, Secretary for mines, Victoria, and the New Lunatic Asylum, Melbourne.

MARCH 1876

  • 9th – Mr. McKeand, M.L.A., arrested on the Speaker’s Warrant, Melbourne.
  • 13th – Collision at Samoa, between the crew of H.M. ship Barracouta and the natives.
  • 20th – Smart shock of earthquake, South Australia.
  • 21st – Steamer Banshee wrecked at Hinchenbrook island, Queensland, 19 lives lost.
  • 23rd – Meeting at Sydney to promote New Guinea exploration.
  • 24th – First meeting of the Victoria Amateur Racing Club, Ballarat.
  • 25th – Heavy rains, Melbourne, flooding the streets. — Between August and March, 998 deaths took place from Scarlet fever in Melbourne and the suburbs.

APRIL 1876

  • 4th – Railway opened into Bathurst, N. S. W., from Kelso.
  • 5th – Rich country discovered by Rev. Mr. Macfarlane, 150 miles from Port Moresby, New Guinea.
  • 6th – Mr. Boucaut announced intention of S. Australia Government to introduce, through Bishop Bugnion 40,000 Mennonites into the Northern territory.
  • 7th – Greymouth and Brunnerton railway opened, New Zealand. — Stevenson’s stores taken possession of by Melbourne Custom House authorities.
  • 10th – Postal cards introduced into Victoria. Heavy floods in Southern island, New Zealand.
  • 12th – Ball given at Melbourne Town Hall, to officers of the German corvette Luise.
  • 17th – Escape of Fenians from West Australia, in the Catalpa.
  • 22nd – Commencement Melbourne University. — Massacre of crew of Dancing Wave by natives of Florida island, Solomon Group.
  • 24th – Foundation stone of new Alfred Hospital, Sydney, laid by Governor Sir Hercules Robinson. — Telegraphic communication interrupted between Port Darwin and Java.
  • 25th – Brough Smyth enquiry terminated.
  • 27th – Sir George Bowen turned first sod of Portland and Hamilton railway.
  • 28th – Daring robbery at Seymour Bank, Victoria. — Disturbances at Berlin, near Maryborough, Victoria, between Chinese and European miners. Disturbances in Viti Levu, Fiji.

MAY 1876

  • 2nd – Eighth annual International Exhibition opened in Sydney.
  • 8th – Trucanini, last Tasmanian aboriginal died.
  • 9th – Sir Chas. Gavan Duffy delivered lecture at Melbourne Town Hall, “Examples from Europe”.
  • 20th – First Life Boat of Victorian Humane Society, launched by Sir George Bowen.
  • 23rd – Foundation stone of the Academy of Music, laid by Sir G. Bowen at Melbourne. — Queensland Parliament opened. Fire brigade demonstration, Ballaarat.
  • 24th – Review of Volunteer force, Melbourne.
  • 25th – Three disastrous fires, Melbourne. — Railway extension opened from Ararat to Stawell, Victoria.
  • 26th – South Australian Parliament met.

JUNE 1876

  • 7th – Government forces, Fiji, attacked Koro Vatumna.
  • 8th – Exhibition of arts and manufactures, Marmam
  • 16th – New Ministry formed under Mr. Colton, South Australia.
  • 24th – Sir Donald McLean installed as Grand Master of the Freemasons in the Northern island, New Zealand.
  • 27th – Boat race between Sadler and Trickett, from Putney to Mortlake, won by Trickett.
  • 30th – Fourteen of the Fiji insurgents hanged. — Wreck of the Gelticood, near Rivoli Bay, South Australia, all lives lost.

JULY 1876

  • 4th – Formal opening of the Moama and Deniliquin railway.
  • 5th – Ministry reconstructed in Queensland. Mr. Thorn became Premier.
  • 9th – Steamer Whampoa arrived at Melbourne, in 42 days from Plymouth.
  • 11th – Victorian Parliament reassembled.
  • 12th – Tasmanian Ministry resigned.
  • 19th – Severe shock of earthquake at Wellington, New Zealand.
  • 21st – Attack by blacks on native police, near Creen Creek telegraph station, Queensland.
  • 27th – Mr. McKeand, M.L.A. expelled from the Victorian Assembly.
  • 28th – Fall of the Brunner Gorge Railway suspension bridge, New Zealand.


  • 3rd – Collision off Wilson’s Promontory between steamers Barrabool and Queensland.
  • 8th – Telegraphic cable between Java and Port Darwin restored.
  • 15th – Assault on Lady Bowen by a female at Melbourne Athenseum.
  • 18th – Influential meeting at Melbourne, in favor of Free-Trade.
  • 22nd – First Queensland exhibition opened by the Governor of Brisbane.
  • 28th – New Zealand Ministry resigned.


  • 5th – Sir Julius Vogel appointed Agent General for New Zealand in London.
  • 11th – Great hurricane on Coast of New South Wales. — The Dandenong steamer foundered near Jervis Bay, 57 lives lost.
  • 29th – Railway opened to Beechworth, Victoria.


  • 3rd – Meeting at Sydney of the General Synod of the Church of England in Australia and Tasmania.
  • 7th – Foundation stone laid of New Lands Office, Sydney.
  • 10th – New Hall of the R. C. Guild opened by Archbishop Vaughan, Sydney.
  • 13th – House of Representatives, N.Z., passed resolution for modification of Mail Service, via San Francisco.
  • 18th – Yanko Reserve, N.S.W, thrown open for selection.
  • 20th – Branch Railway between Maryborough and Avoca, Victoria, opened, by Sir Geo. Bowen.
  • 24th – Sir Hercules Robinson left Sydney for Melbourne, overland.
  • 28th – Great Entertainment to Sir Hercules Robinson and Sir Geo. Bowen, at Albury.
  • 30th – Public Meeting of the Free Trade League, at the Temperance Hall, Melbourne.
  • 22nd – Dr. Moorhouse consecrated Bishop of Melbourne by Archbishop of Canterbury, at Westminster Abbey.


  • 1st – Railway extension opened from Bowning to Binalong, and Bathurst to Blayney, N.S.W.
  • 6th – Academy of Music opened in Melbourne.
  • 7th – Melbourne Cup won by Briscis.
  • 8th – Report from Mr McMinn, to the S. A. Government, of the Daly and Katherine river being identical, having followed it for 240 miles.
  • 8th – Meeting of the Otago Convention, N. Z.
  • 9th – Inaugural Banquet given by Mr. Paterson, Mayor of Melbourne.
  • 9th – Ovation to Trickett on his return to Sydney.
  • 16,17,18th – First Match of all England Eleven, Adelaide; South Australians defeated in one innings.
  • 18th – Salmon Ova, brought from California, and deposited in the Maharewa Ponds, Invercargill, N.Z.
  • 21st – Rich Silver Mine discovered at Penguin creek. Tasmania.
  • 23rd – Foundation Stone laid at Adelaide of the Blind, and Deaf and Dumb Asylums.
  • 24th – Estate of the Sydney Corporation sequestrated by order of the Insolvency Commissioner.
  • 24th – Railway line Geelong to Winchelsea opened.
  • 29th – Arrival of the English Cricketers at Sydney.
  • 29th – Visit of the Governors of N. S Wales and Victoria to Deniliquin.


  • 1st – Presentation to Mr. D. C. MacArthur on his retirement from the superintendentship of the Bank of Australasia, after a connection of 41 years.
  • 4th – Wreck of Otago steamer at entrance of Foveaux Straits.
  • 5th – Proposal to purchase Hobson’s Bay Railway, by the Government, defeated in the Victoria Assembly.
  • 6th – Banquet at Sandhurst, to Mr. John Mclntyre.
  • 6th – Opening of the Railway at Port Pirie, S. A.
  • 7th – Public Meeting at Hall of Commerce, Melbourne, to hear Mr. J. G. Francis, on the Cape Route.
  • 7th – Earthquake at Port Darwin.
  • 7th – New Zealand Ministry re-constructed.
  • 9th – Signor D’Albertis returned to Sydney after a successful exploration in New Guinea.
  • 9th – Mr. Crawford, attached to the English Legation, China, arrived in New Zealand, to report on Chinese Immigration to Australia.
  • 14th – Border Duties Convention between S. Australia and N. S. Wales renewed for one year, for £35,000.
  • 15th – Mr David Buchanan’s motion in the N.S. Wales Assembly, condemning the English Government for their Eastern policy, negatived by a large majority.
  • 15th – Tobacco Manufactory started at Adelaide, by Mr. Dixon, of Sydney and Melbourne.
  • 16th – Schooner Postboy lost, with 6 hands, on the S. Australian Coast.
  • 16th – Hodgkinson exploration party reports discovery of a new port for the Cloncurry mines at Leichhardt river.
  • 18th – Half-yearly Meeting, Melbourne, of the Victoria Ladies Sericicultural Society.
  • 14th – Wreck of the barque William Akers, Foveaux Straits.
  • 24th – Serious Fire at Inglewood, Victoria.
  • 30th – Termination of the Match of the All England Eleven, against 15 of Victoria, the latter winning by 31 runs.