Australia in the 1880s


In 1882, HH Kingsbury returned from New York with several generators and illuminated the Sydney GPO and Circular Quay using Edison incandescent light bulbs.

In 1882, a government-run telephone exchange opened at Sydney General Post Office, a forerunner of Telecom and Telstra. By 1883, all Australian capital cities except Perth would have telephone exchanges.

In 1887, the introduction of refrigeration on ships meant Australia could sell its primary industry produce to the world.

The first cargo of cool-storage apples, about 1,300 cases, was shipped from Tasmania to England.

Circular Quay, Sydney

A snapshot of 1888

  • January
    • Non-Indigenous Australians celebrate 100 years of colonial settlement.

  • May
    • A demonstration against Chinese immigration takes place outside Sydney Town Hall and a month later an Intercolonial Conference on the Chinese question is held.
    • In Queensland, Thomas Glassey becomes the first trade union candidate in any colonial parliament.

  • December
    • The Centennial International Exhibition opens in Melbourne in the newly built Royal Exhibition Building.
    • Henry Lawson's first story, His Father's Mate, is published.
    • The women's magazine, The Dawn, begins publication with editorials by Louisa Lawson, mother of Henry Lawson, and advocates voting rights for women and divorce law reform.
    • It also included household hints, a short story and poetry as well as fashion news. Established by Louisa it was prepared and printed by women.


{tpl region name=footerbottom}