free web hosting | free website | Web Hosting | Free Website Submission | shopping cart | php hosting
Free Domain Name with Hosting from Network Solutions®!



Prominent people

of Australian History




A selection of people, and iconic legends, of Australian history.
Many thousands could be listed here, however, here are a selected few:





The Barcaldine strike leaders

The Barcaldine strike leaders

The 1891 Shearers' Strike, centred around Barcaldine in Queensland, during the depression of the 1890s, was in response to the pastoralists' reaction to falling wool prices of intending to reduce the shearers' wages. During the unrest, the colonial administration ordered the arrest of the shearers' leaders on charges of sedition and conspiracy. The eventual failure of the strike broke worker militancy and led to the formation of a labour political movement to represent the interests of working people.



Arthur Calwell

Arthur Calwell

Born 28 August 1896, West Melbourne, Victoria
Died 8 July 1973
Arthur Calwell was Australia's first Minister for Immigration (1945 to 1949), and later became the leader of the Australian Labor Party (1960 to 1967). He was the chief architect of Australia's post-war immigration scheme, and popularised the slogan "populate or perish". Also well-known for his much-misquoted comment "Two Wongs don't make a White". His immigration program co-incided with a period when Australian industry was growing rapidly and suffering from shortages of skilled and semi-skilled labour. Although he was an advocate for the White Australia Policy, it is interesting to note that Calwell spoke Chinese and had a great respect for Asian cultures.
See: Arthur Calwell
http://www.encyclopedia4u.com/a/arthur-calwell.html
See: Arthur Calwell
http://www.fact-index.com/a/ar/arthur_calwell.html



Caroline Chisholm

Caroline Chisholm

Born 1808, England
Died 1877
Caroline Chisholm arrived in Australia in 1838 and set up a home for other women who had come to live here. She worked to improve life on the ships bringing people to Australia to start a new life and started a loans plan to bring poor children and families to Australia. She arranged free trips so that the families of convicts who were transported to Australia could come to join them.



Captain Cook

Captain Cook

Born 27 October 1728, Marton, Yorkshire, England
Died 14 February 1779, clubbed and stabbed to death by the not-so-friendly natives in Hawaii
James Cook was appointed in 1768 to command HM Bark Endeavour, to carry scientists to the South Seas on observe the transit of Venus across the sun (due to occur in 1769), and to explore the South Pacific for the Great South Land that was believed to exist (referred to as New Holland, as Dutch explorers had claimed to have sighted the west and north coasts). After the scientists' Venus observations were completed, Cook charted the New Zealand coastline, and then sailed westward to find the east coast of New Holland (Australia). Land was sighted on 20 April 1770 at what was named Point Hicks, then he sailed north, landing at Botany Bay, set sail again, and then landed on Possession Island on 22 August 1770 where he formally claimed the whole east coast for Britain, naming it New South Wales.



John Curtain

John Curtain

Born 1885, Creswick, Victoria
Died 5 July 1945, Canberra, ACT
Australia's wartime Prime Minister. Was elected secretary of the Timber-Worker's Union in Victoria in 1911. In 1916, when Billy Hughes was trying to introduce conscription, Curtin became secretary of the Victorian Anti-Conscription Campaign Committee and was sentenced to three months' jail for his speeches in opposition to conscription; although, after an appeal, he was released having served only three days of his sentence. Curtin entered Federal Parliament as the Member for Fremantle in 1928; and formed a Labor Government in 1941 that governed Australia through the rest of the Second World War. Curtin argued with Churchill for the sending of Australia's forces back to New Guinea to fight off successfully the Japanese thrust (until the United States could mobilise for the drive back to Japan), and he battled (unsuccessfully) with both Churchill and Roosevelt to have the Pacific war against the Japanese given the same priority as the European war against the Germans. While his Government reorganised the war effort and provided Australia with its own aircraft, guns, tanks, munitions and soldiers, they also arranged widows' pensions, unemployment benefits, as well as planning an Australian Government airline and a system of free hospitals. Curtin did not live to see the end of the war or to see his post-war reconstruction policies come to fulfilment, as he died in July 1945. Curtin is regarded as one of the greatest Australian Prime Ministers.



Daniel Deniehy

Daniel Deniehy

Born 16th August 1828, Sydney, NSW
Died 22nd October 1865, Bathurst, NSW
Daniel Henry Deniehy was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly in 1857 and 1860, with his main aim to open up public lands to the working class. He helped form the New South Wales Electoral Reform League, in order to push for greater democracy. He also founded his own newspaper in 1859, the Southern Cross, to review public affairs, foster national sentiment, and work towards the federation of the colonies.
See: Daniel Deniehy: Republican Patriot
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~natinfo/1deniehy.htm



C.J. Dennis

C.J. Dennis

Born 7 September 1876, Auburn, South Australia
Died 22 June 1938, Melbourne
C.J. Dennis, poet and journalist, was popular in Australia for his down-to-earth works, written in the vernacular of the times. In 1913 Dennis published a volume titled Backblock ballads and other verses, but it was not a financial success. Immediate success was achieved with The Songs of a sentimental bloke, a love story written in slang, which was published in October 1915; three editions were required in 1915, nine in 1916, and by 1976 fifty-seven editions had been published in Australia, England, Canada, and the USA.
See: Perry Middlemiss' site re. C.J. Dennis
http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/denniscj



Mary Gilmore

Mary Gilmore

Born 1864 (Mary Cameron), Cotta Walla (near Goulburn), New South Wales
Died 1962
Mary Gilmore was a teacher and writer. She was the editor of the women's pages of the Australian Worker newspaper for 23 years. She joined William Lane's "New Australia" utopian experiment settlement in Paraguay, and married William Gilmore there in 1897 (they both returned to Australia in 1902). A well-known Australian poet, her most popular piece is "No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest".



Ned Kelly

Ned Kelly

Birth date unknown, commonly believed to be between November 1854 and January 1855, at Beveridge (25 miles north of Melbourne), Victoria
Died on the 11th November 1880, hung at Melbourne Gaol, Victoria
Ned Kelly is Australia's most famous bushranger. Said to have been forced into bushranging by the police, who were looking to shoot him, he and his gang robbed banks rather than robbing common folk. The Kelly gang had many active supporters and a wide following, and he made plans for the establishing a Republic of North Eastern. Ned was captured at Glenrowan, and was tried at Melbourne, where he was sentenced to death by hanging.
See: Ned Kelly: Australian Iron Outlaw
http://www.ironoutlaw.com
incl. a history of the Kelly Gang
http://www.ironoutlaw.com/html/history_01.html



Kokoda

The men of Kokoda - the saviours of Australia

1942
The New Guinea campaign, which included Milne Bay and was typified by the Kododa Track, is seen as a defining moment in Australia's history. This was where the preceived invincibility of the Japanese Army was first seen to be broken. The courage and heroism of our troops on the Kokoda Track is one of the proudest and and most memorable episodes in Australia's wartime history.
See: The Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway
http://www.kokodawalkway.com.au
incl. an impressive map [& sectional diagram] of Kokoda Track
http://www.kokodawalkway.com.au/stations/map.html
See: Battle For Australia
http://www.battleforaustralia.org.au/kokoda1.html



Lambing Flat

The Lambing Flat Rebellion

1861
The Lambing Flat Rebellion was a series of violent anti-Chinese demonstrations that took place around the Lambing Flat (now Young) area of New South Wales. The Miners' Protective League demanded parliamentary representation, protection of industry, and the expulsion of the Chinese. It has been said that it was this rebellion that was the starting point for the eventual White Australia Policy at Federation.



Jack Lang

Jack Lang

Born 21 December 1876, Sydney, NSW
Died 27 September 1975, Auburn, NSW
John Thomas Lang (familiarly known as "Jack", and nicknamed "The Big Fella") was Treasurer in the NSW Labor government of 1920-21, and Premier and Treasurer of the State twice (1925-27 and 1930-32). His first term brought many significant innovations, including child endowment, widows' pensions, increased workers' compensation rates, reversion to the 44-hour week, abolition of secondary school fees, and votes for all in local government elections. Lang's second term, which coincided with the worst years of the Great Depression, ended with the dismissal of his government by the State Governor (Sir Philip Game). Lang's dismissal arose from his refusal to pay interest on government loans borrowed from financiers in the United Kingdom at the height of the Great Depression.



John Dunmore Lang

John Dunmore Lang

Born 1799
Died 1878
The Rev. John Dunmore Lang was, besides being a minister of religion, a republican orator, writer and political organizer, who campaigned for a republic in the 1840s and 1850s, putting forward his plan for a "United States of Australia, the great republic of the Southern Seas". Lang lobbied for the end of transportation, which he saw as an endless conduit of iniquity pouring into the Colony.
See: John Dunmore Lang - Patriot, Republican, Statesman, Evangelical, & Engima
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~gsmunro/TEXT/essays/Lang.html
See: John Dunmore Lang Bicentenary 1999
http://www.emmanuel.uq.edu.au/Lang/welcome.html



Henry Lawson

Henry Lawson

Born 17 June 1867, on the Grenfell goldfields (372 km west of Sydney), NSW
Died 2 September 1922, Abbotsford, Sydney, NSW
Henry Lawson was one of Australia's greatest writers. His interest in the republican movement was sparked by his exposure to the radicalism of friends of his mother, Louisa. In 1887 he became titular publisher of the Republican (in which his first writings appeared), and his first published verse, "Song of the Republic", appeared in The Bulletin. Lawson became one of Australia's most influential writers and showed his interest in the ordinary men and women of Australia, such as in his story "The Drover's Wife" about a woman living and subsisting off the land on an Australian selection. His writing was often taken from memories of his childhood, especially at Pipeclay/Eurunderee. Towards the end of 1892, he was unemployed, and J.F. Archibald (editor of The Bulletin) staked him for his famous Bourke journey; while there he found employment painting houses, and then, during a brutal drought, humped his bluey, there and back, to Hungerford. This revelation of the harshness of the outback was pivotal in Lawson's understanding of the country, leaving a deep mark on Lawson's psyche and validating his belief in the "horrors of bush life", and supplied the impetus for "The Union Buries Its Dead" and "Hungerford". Lawson was well known for his bush ballads "The Teams", "The Roaring Days", and "Andy's Gone with the Cattle", as well as his social and political works, such as "Watch on the Kerb", "Faces in the Street", "Freedom on the Wallaby", and "The Army of the Rear". In 1986, Lawson married Bertha Bredt (stepdaughter of the radical Sydney bookseller W.H. McNamara, and sister-in-law of Jack Lang). He tried his hand in New Zealand (1897), then in England (1900), and returned to Sydney in 1902. His alcoholism, dating from 1898, then became a major problem leading to separation from his wife in 1903. From 1907 to 1918 Lawson was often destitute, although he was later awarded a weekly pension from the Commonwealth Literary Fund in 1920. When he died in 1922, Lawson was given a state funeral at St. Andrew's Church.
See: Old Poetry
http://oldpoetry.com/authors/Henry_Lawson
See: The Poetry of Henry Lawson
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~natinfo/lawson



Ted Mack

Ted Mack

Ted Mack is the only Australian to ever have been elected and re-elected as an independent to local, state, and federal government. He was elected to the North Sydney City Council as an Alderman in 1974, where he served until 1988 (he was Mayor of North Sydney 1980-1988); while serving as mayor, he was elected to the New South Wales state parliament as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for North Shore 1981-1988; and was elected as the federal Member of Parliament for North Sydney from 1990 to 1996. He instituted democratic reforms in his local area and is well-respected as a man of democracy. Mack has been a staunch defender of electors' rights and a passionate supporter of peoples' right to a greater say in government. He was also elected as an independent Republican delegate to the 1998 Constitutional Convention, where he opposed the model favoured by the Australian Republican Movement, and argued that Australian voters should have a direct say in the process to decide their Head of State.
See: Ted Mack - The Independent
http://www.johnston-independent.com/ted_mack_a.html#tmp
See: The truly honorable Mr Mack
www.theissue.com.au/www_root/pdf/ti010402.pdf



Captain Moonlight

Captain Moonlight

Born 1842, north Ireland
Died 20 January 1880, hung in Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney, NSW
Andrew Scott, better known as Captain Moonlight, was a bushranger. He robbed the Mt. Egerton branch (Victoria) of the London Chartered Bank, on 20 December 1870, he was brought before the Sydney Quarter Sessions for passing bad cheques and and he was sentenced to twelve months in Maitland Gaol. On his release in March 1872 he was promptly arrested and extradited to Victoria to face a re-opening of the Mt. Egerton bank robbery case, Judge Redmond Barry (the same judge that tried Ned Kelly) sentenced him to ten years imprisonment for the robbery and gave him an additional twelve months for escaping from Ballarat Gaol for a few days whilst awaiting trial. He was released 18 March 1879, and was soon after strongly suspected of robbing the Lancefield bank, went to NSW, held up the Wantabadgery Station homestead (ending up with over 30 hostages); however, when the police were alerted, Scott and his partners-in-crime escaped, although they were later recaptured when they holed up in another homestead. He was tried in Sydney on 8 December 1879, and sentenced to death.
See: Andrew George Scott (alias "Captain Moonlight")
http://www.nedkellysworld.com.au/bushrangers/scott_a.htm



Breaker Morant

Breaker Morant

Born Christmas 1865, Bideford, Devon, England (according to him)
Died 27 February 1902, Pretoria, South Africa, shot by a firing squad
Harry "Breaker" Morant was a horse breaker of much repute, as well as being a writer for The Bulletin. His origins are shrouded in mystery, and seems to have appeared in Australia from nowhere (or, at least, no official trace of him arriving, or of his origins, has yet been found). He signed up for the Boer War, was alleged to have shot some Boer prisoners under orders from his superior officer, Captain Hunt, and was executed by the British Army. The film Breaker Morant is worthwhile watching.



Henry Parkes

Henry Parkes

Born in 1815, England
Died in1896
Sir Henry Parkes was a famous journalist and politician. He was an ex-chartist and he migrated to Sydney in 1839 and worked as a toymaker, a labourer and a journalist. He established the Empire Newspaper in 1850, which failed financially. He led public protests against re-introduction of convict labour. Elected to Legislative Council in 1854, he was a strong democrat and disagreed with William Wentworth's amended Constitution - he considered it a "squatter's constitution". He organised local government bodies, and initiated hospital reforms. He also introduced compulsory free education, withdrawing all state aid to church schools in 1880. He was appointed Colonial secretary (1866) and Premier of New South Wales in 1872; and remained a political giant until the final collapse of his government in 1891 which marked the end of his political career. He was a great advocate of Federation. In 1880 he called an Intercolonial Conference to discuss Chinese immigration, following which all states (except Western Australia) agreed to impose restrictions. He made a famous afterdinner speech at Tenterfield in 1889 which was a powerful emotional appeal on behalf of Federation. Later similar speeches throughout N.S.W. resulted in an unsuccessful Federal Conference in Melbourne (1890). Parkes was the president of 1891 National Convention but disapproved of the draft constitutions. The Australian Natives Association at Corowa (1893) adopted his suggestion that a convention be elected to draw up a constitution.



Banjo Paterson

Banjo Paterson

Born 17 February 1864, near Orange, New South Wales
Died 5 February 1941, Sydney, NSW
Andrew Barton Paterson is possibly Australia's most popular poet, with his compositions including Waltzing Matilda, The Man from Snowy River, Clancy of the Overflow, and The Geebung Polo Club. He used the pseudonym of "The Banjo" for his magazine writings (an alias derived from the name of a racehorse the family owned), and had a deep affection for horses, being a natural horseman, and, not surprisingly, many of his works have a "horse theme". Paterson was caught up in colonial Australia's commitment to the unfortunate Boer War, becoming a war correspondent. Before his death in 1941, he had provided a timeless literary legacy of Australia's unique cultural heritage and identity.
See: Old Poetry
http://oldpoetry.com/authors/A_B_Banjo_Paterson



W.G. Spence

W.G. Spence

Born 1846, in a village in the Orkney Islands, Scotland
Died 13 December 1926
William Guthrie Spence is well-known as a trade union leader. He came to Australia with his father hoping to find gold on the Ballarat goldfields in 1853. As a miner, Spence held several minor posts in the Amalgamated Miners' Association of Victoria until eventually being elected Secretary in 1882. In 1886, Spence became foundation president of the Amalgamated Shearers' Union of Australasia and guided the union through the turbulent industrial disputes in many of Australia's shearing sheds, particularly those in Queensland that became so prevalent in the early 1890s. By 1892, Spence had broken his ties with the Amalgamated Miners' Association in Victoria and went on to help combine several small bush unions with the Amalgamated Shearers' Union to form, in 1894, the Australian Workers' Union. Spence assumed the office of Secretary and four years later, President. In 1898, Spence was elected Federal Member for Darling but retained his office with the Australian Workers' Union. It wasn't until 1916, when he became embroiled in the conscription debate of that year, that he tendered his resignation. Spence died in 1926 and is buried in Coburg Cemetery.



Inky Stephensen, Percy Stephensen

"Inky" Stephensen

Born 1901, Biggenden, Queensland
Died May 1965, Sydney, NSW
P.R. (Percy Reginald) Stephensen was a giant of Australian letters. Stephensen's great intellectual achievement was to link together the vision of Australian political and economic independence (then from the old Empire) with the 'idea' of Australian cultural independence. He wrote The Foundations Of Culture In Australia about Australia's Identity and the struggle for national independence - an important book in the historical development of Australia's cultural independence.
See: The Percy Stephensen Collection
http://www.alphalink.com.au/~radnat/stephensen



Swagmen

Swagmen

The swagmen are an icon of Australian bush life. Roaming from town to town, homestead to homestead, in search of work, the swaggies were born in the Great Depression of the 1890s when there was little work to be had in the major cities around Australia.





The Association for the Advancement of Australian Culture