Australia in the 1890s


In 1890, Australian observatories began work on the Australian sections of the photographic works in the Great Star Catalogue.

In 1896, a doctor in Albury used newly discovered X-rays to treat cancer.

In the same year the first cinema opened in Sydney. Soon after, the first Australian films began to be made and shown, the most notable being Passengers alighting from ferry Brighton at Manly.

In 1897, the Australasian Horseless Carriage Syndicate of Melbourne exhibited its motor buggy at the cycle show at the Royal Exhibition Building. Driven by an engine using kerosene, its speed reached 10 miles an hour (16 km/h). In Armadale, Victoria, Herbert Thomson built a successful steam-driven motor car, and called it the 'Thomson Motor Phaeton'.

The Royal Exhibition Building, 1880

A snapshot of 1898

  • April
    • The Eighth Intercolonial Trades Union Congress is held in Adelaide.

  • June
    • A referendum is held in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria to approve the draft Constitution of Australia.
    • The constitution is accepted by the required majority in South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, but not in New South Wales.

  • October
    • The Perth Zoo opens with two lions and a tiger in its collection.
    • The Queen Victoria Building in Sydney is completed.
    • Hobart is lit by electricity.


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