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Frank Gardiner, born in 1830 Scotland and shipped out to Australia as a child with his parents, made an illustrious career out of horse thievery and highway robbery. On 15 June 1862, Gardiner along with Ben Hall, John Gilbert and associates held up a gold escort travelling from Forbes to Bathurst. They stole over £14,000 worth of gold and bank notes – Australia’s biggest gold robbery. In February 1864, New South Wales police traced Gardiner to his hideout in Queensland. He was arrested and sentenced to 32 years of hard labour in July. Ten years later, Governor Hercules Robinson granted him mercy and released him, subject to exile. Gardiner lived in Hong Kong and Francisco before dying in Colorado in 1903. “Colonial rule was constantly challenged by bushrangers – it was a major threat to the central administration,” says Dr Hamish Maxwell-Stewart from the University of Tasmania. “They were turning the tables on the convict state.”

 

On this day …….. 4th of August 1860

The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ reports that gold has been found at Lambing Flat, later the scene of Australia’s largest anti-Chinese riots. The region surrounding present-day town of Young in the central southwest of New South Wales was first settled by pioneers seeking good grazing land for their stock. “Burrangong Station”, owned by J.White, was the first station beyond Sydney and the Bathurst area to be included on a colonial map. Burrangong Station included a large area for sheltering ewes during lambing: this became known as Lambing Flat. Towards the end of June 1870, a stockman camped at Lambing Flat noted how the countryside resembled the gold-bearing geography of established goldfields. Washing a few shovelfuls of dirt in a billy, he was rewarded with numerous gold flecks. The Lambing Flat goldfields were subsequently announced in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 August 1860. At the height of its popularity, the rich alluvial gold deposits attracted a population of around 20 000. While most of the diggers were from other parts of Australia, many migrants came from Europe and North America. Around 1000 miners were Chinese, and they soon became the target of violence from the “white” diggers. Due to unfounded suspicion and mistrust of the Chinese miners, within one year, Lambing Flat was to become infamous, not so much for the gold, but for being the scene of violent anti-Chinese riots.

On this day …….. 7th September 1986

The first road in Australia, outside of Sydney, was completed in 1815. William Cox was commissioned to build the road to Bathurst, using convict labour. The original Great Western Highway covered 161 km and incorporated twelve bridges. This road was just the first step in the highway network that would eventually extend across and around the entire continent. The National Highway Act was initiated in 1974 as a means to establish a fully sealed national highway around Australia. The Federal government funded the building of the highways, although construction and maintenance was the responsibility of the various State and Territory Governments. The final section of the sealed highway around Australia was opened on 7 September 1986. It had taken five years to widen and seal the 289 kilometre section of the Great Northern Highway between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek in Western Australia. Although other sections of the National Highway were rerouted in ensuing years, the Fitzroy Crossing-Halls Creek link was considered to be the last section to be sealed.

 

Frank Gardiner, born in 1830 Scotland and shipped out to Australia as a child with his parents, made an illustrious career out of horse thievery and highway robbery. On 15 June 1862, Gardiner along with Ben Hall, John Gilbert and associates held up a gold escort travelling from Forbes to Bathurst. They stole over £14,000 worth of gold and bank notes – Australia’s biggest gold robbery. In February 1864, New South Wales police traced Gardiner to his hideout in Queensland. He was arrested and sentenced to 32 years of hard labour in July. Ten years later, Governor Hercules Robinson granted him mercy and released him, subject to exile. Gardiner lived in Hong Kong and Francisco before dying in Colorado in 1903. “Colonial rule was constantly challenged by bushrangers – it was a major threat to the central administration,” says Dr Hamish Maxwell-Stewart from the University of Tasmania. “They were turning the tables on the convict state.”

 

On this day …….. 4th of August 1860

The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ reports that gold has been found at Lambing Flat, later the scene of Australia’s largest anti-Chinese riots. The region surrounding present-day town of Young in the central southwest of New South Wales was first settled by pioneers seeking good grazing land for their stock. “Burrangong Station”, owned by J.White, was the first station beyond Sydney and the Bathurst area to be included on a colonial map. Burrangong Station included a large area for sheltering ewes during lambing: this became known as Lambing Flat. Towards the end of June 1870, a stockman camped at Lambing Flat noted how the countryside resembled the gold-bearing geography of established goldfields. Washing a few shovelfuls of dirt in a billy, he was rewarded with numerous gold flecks. The Lambing Flat goldfields were subsequently announced in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 August 1860. At the height of its popularity, the rich alluvial gold deposits attracted a population of around 20 000. While most of the diggers were from other parts of Australia, many migrants came from Europe and North America. Around 1000 miners were Chinese, and they soon became the target of violence from the “white” diggers. Due to unfounded suspicion and mistrust of the Chinese miners, within one year, Lambing Flat was to become infamous, not so much for the gold, but for being the scene of violent anti-Chinese riots.

On this day ………… 19th February 1942

In 1942, Darwin, the town on the north coast of Australia’s Northern Territory, had an official population of about 2,000. It was a strategically-placed naval port and airbase. During World War II, on 19 February 1942, the Japanese attacked Darwin, launching two waves of planes comprising 242 bombers and fighters. The first wave of 188 Japanese planes was spotted at about 9.15am by civilians on Bathurst and Melville Islands, and Darwin was warned at least twice by radio. However, the warnings were not taken seriously, and the attackers arrived at their target just before 10.00am. Just before midday, there was a high altitude attack by land-based bombers, concentrated on the Darwin RAAF Airfield: this attack lasted around 20 minutes. Although it was a less significant target, a greater number of bombs were dropped than in the attack on Pearl Harbor. At least 250 civilians and military personnel were killed, but the real toll was probably much higher as the count did not include the many Indigenous Australians in the area; nor were the numbers among the crews in the merchant ships in the harbour fully known. Most of Darwin’s essential services were destroyed, and half of the town’s civilian population fled due to fears of imminent invasion. Darwin’s naval base was essentially abandoned following the attack, and ships were repositioned at Brisbane, Queensland, and Fremantle in Western Australia. Admiral Osami Nagano, the Chief of the Navy General Staff, was in favour of invading Australia, but the Japanese army lacked the resources for such an undertaking, and opted for the invasion of Midway Island instead. The attacks were the first of an estimated 64 air raids against Australia during 1942-43.

 

 

On this day ………… 12th February 1851

Gold was first officially discovered in Australia on 12 February 1851, not far from Bathurst, New South Wales. Edward Hammond Hargraves had carefully studied the geology of the area and, convinced that it was similar to that of the California goldfields, from where he had just returned, went prospecting. He enlisted the assistance of John Lister, a man who had already found gold in the region. Of particular note was the use of the cradle, or rocker, a technology which Hargraves had brought back from California. This device allowed prospectors to search a greater volume of soil at any given time. Lister, accompanied by William Tom and his brother James, found four ounces of gold using the cradle. They led Hargraves to the location at Summerhill Creek, at a site which Hargraves named “Ophir” after the Biblical city of gold. After reporting his discovery, he was appointed a ‘Commissioner of Land’, receiving a reward of £10,000 plus a life pension. The New South Wales government made the official announcement of the discovery of gold in May 1851. Lister and the Tom brothers, however, were not given any credit or reward for their part in the discovery.

 

 

On this day …….. 30th of January 1854

On this day in 1854, Cobb & Co’s horse drawn coaches made their first run, departing Melbourne for the Forest Creek diggings (now Castlemaine) and Bendigo. The network of routes was quickly expanded to deal with increased demand in the growing colony of Victoria. Initially a passenger service, Cobb & Co’s reputation for speed and reliable service soon saw it being used for mail delivery and gold escort as well. Headquarters were moved from Victoria to Bathurst in 1862. Workshops were built at Hay and Bourke in New South Wales and Castlemaine in Victoria, and the service was expanded to include Queensland. Horses were replaced at changing stations 25 to 40 kilometres apart, meaning that fresher horses improved travelling time. Today Cobb and co still run a net work of buses across Australia.

 

 

On this day …….. 7th September 1986

The first road in Australia, outside of Sydney, was completed in 1815. William Cox was commissioned to build the road to Bathurst, using convict labour. The original Great Western Highway covered 161 km and incorporated twelve bridges. This road was just the first step in the highway network that would eventually extend across and around the entire continent. The National Highway Act was initiated in 1974 as a means to establish a fully sealed national highway around Australia. The Federal government funded the building of the highways, although construction and maintenance was the responsibility of the various State and Territory Governments. The final section of the sealed highway around Australia was opened on 7 September 1986. It had taken five years to widen and seal the 289 kilometre section of the Great Northern Highway between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek in Western Australia. Although other sections of the National Highway were rerouted in ensuing years, the Fitzroy Crossing-Halls Creek link was considered to be the last section to be sealed.

 

Frank Gardiner, born in 1830 Scotland and shipped out to Australia as a child with his parents, made an illustrious career out of horse thievery and highway robbery. On 15 June 1862, Gardiner along with Ben Hall, John Gilbert and associates held up a gold escort travelling from Forbes to Bathurst. They stole over £14,000 worth of gold and bank notes – Australia’s biggest gold robbery. In February 1864, New South Wales police traced Gardiner to his hideout in Queensland. He was arrested and sentenced to 32 years of hard labour in July. Ten years later, Governor Hercules Robinson granted him mercy and released him, subject to exile. Gardiner lived in Hong Kong and Francisco before dying in Colorado in 1903. “Colonial rule was constantly challenged by bushrangers – it was a major threat to the central administration,” says Dr Hamish Maxwell-Stewart from the University of Tasmania. “They were turning the tables on the convict state.”

 

On this day …….. 4th of August 1860

The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ reports that gold has been found at Lambing Flat, later the scene of Australia’s largest anti-Chinese riots. The region surrounding present-day town of Young in the central southwest of New South Wales was first settled by pioneers seeking good grazing land for their stock. “Burrangong Station”, owned by J.White, was the first station beyond Sydney and the Bathurst area to be included on a colonial map. Burrangong Station included a large area for sheltering ewes during lambing: this became known as Lambing Flat. Towards the end of June 1870, a stockman camped at Lambing Flat noted how the countryside resembled the gold-bearing geography of established goldfields. Washing a few shovelfuls of dirt in a billy, he was rewarded with numerous gold flecks. The Lambing Flat goldfields were subsequently announced in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 August 1860. At the height of its popularity, the rich alluvial gold deposits attracted a population of around 20 000. While most of the diggers were from other parts of Australia, many migrants came from Europe and North America. Around 1000 miners were Chinese, and they soon became the target of violence from the “white” diggers. Due to unfounded suspicion and mistrust of the Chinese miners, within one year, Lambing Flat was to become infamous, not so much for the gold, but for being the scene of violent anti-Chinese riots.

On this day ………… 19th February 1942

In 1942, Darwin, the town on the north coast of Australia’s Northern Territory, had an official population of about 2,000. It was a strategically-placed naval port and airbase. During World War II, on 19 February 1942, the Japanese attacked Darwin, launching two waves of planes comprising 242 bombers and fighters. The first wave of 188 Japanese planes was spotted at about 9.15am by civilians on Bathurst and Melville Islands, and Darwin was warned at least twice by radio. However, the warnings were not taken seriously, and the attackers arrived at their target just before 10.00am. Just before midday, there was a high altitude attack by land-based bombers, concentrated on the Darwin RAAF Airfield: this attack lasted around 20 minutes. Although it was a less significant target, a greater number of bombs were dropped than in the attack on Pearl Harbor. At least 250 civilians and military personnel were killed, but the real toll was probably much higher as the count did not include the many Indigenous Australians in the area; nor were the numbers among the crews in the merchant ships in the harbour fully known. Most of Darwin’s essential services were destroyed, and half of the town’s civilian population fled due to fears of imminent invasion. Darwin’s naval base was essentially abandoned following the attack, and ships were repositioned at Brisbane, Queensland, and Fremantle in Western Australia. Admiral Osami Nagano, the Chief of the Navy General Staff, was in favour of invading Australia, but the Japanese army lacked the resources for such an undertaking, and opted for the invasion of Midway Island instead. The attacks were the first of an estimated 64 air raids against Australia during 1942-43.