Australia

Do You Speak Polish… Or Maybe Reverse Polish?

Do You Speak Polish… Or Maybe Reverse Polish?

I guess almost nobody except a few mathematicians and computer scientists have ever heard of the Australian computer scientist Charles Leonard Hamblin, who passed away on May 14, 1985. And also most of my fellow computer scientists might not have heard of him. But, one of his major contributions to computer science was the introduction of the so-called Reverse Polish Notation. Does that ring a bell? Interrupted by the Second World War…
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John McDouall Stuart and the Exploration of Australia’s Mainland

John McDouall Stuart and the Exploration of Australia’s Mainland

On September 7, 1815, Scottish explorer John McDouall Stuart was born. McDouall Stuart became known as one of the most accomplished of all Australia‘s inland explorers. He led the first successful expedition to traverse the Australian mainland from south to north and return, through the centre of the continent. John McDouall Stuart graduated from the Scottish Naval and Military Academy as a civil engineer before emigrating to Australia at the age of 23.…
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Sir Ferdinand von Mueller – Government Botanist

Sir Ferdinand von Mueller – Government Botanist

On June 30, 1825, German-Australian physician, geographer, and botanist Baron Sir Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller was born. Von Mueller migrated to Australia in 1848 for health reasons, and there became the country’s greatest 19th-century scientist as a great botanical collector and writer. His contributions covered a wide field of sciences such as geography, pharmacy, horticulture, agriculture, forestry, paleontology, and zoology. His activity as a botanist is shown by hundreds of Australian…
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John Tebbutt and the Great Comet of 1861

John Tebbutt and the Great Comet of 1861

On May 13, 1861, Australian astronomer John Tebbutt discovered C/1861 J1, the Great Comet of 1861. C/1861 J1 is a long-period comet that was visible to the naked eye for approximately 3 months. It was categorized as a Great Comet, one of the eight greatest comets of the 19th century. John Tebbutt was first educated at the Church of England parish school and later at a private school. After his retirement, his father purchased some…
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Jules Dumont d’Urville and his South-Pacific Voyages

Jules Dumont d’Urville and his South-Pacific Voyages

On May 8, 1842, French explorer, naval officer and rear admiral Jules Sébastien César Dumont d’Urville passed away. D’Urville commanded voyages of exploration to the South Pacific (1826–29) and the Antarctic (1837–40), resulting in extensive revisions of existing charts and discovery or redesignation of island groups. As a botanist and cartographer he left his mark, giving his name to several seaweeds, plants and shrubs, and places such as D’Urville Island. Dumont was born…
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Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kite

Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kite

On January 29, 1850, Australian engineer, explorer, astronomer, inventor and aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave was born. Hargrave “flew” on 12 Nov 1894, by attaching himself to a huge four kite construction attached to the ground by piano wire. Due to their abilities to carry heavy payloads, steady flight, and capacity for high altitude flight, these kites have had many industrial and military uses. Hargrave was born in Greenwich, England, the second son…
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Ludwig Leichhardt’s Australian Expeditions

Ludwig Leichhardt’s Australian Expeditions

On October 23, 1813, Prussian explorer and naturalist Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt was born. He is most famous for his exploration of northern and central Australia. Leichhardt went to Australia in 1842 to study the rocks and wildlife in Queensland and the Northern Territory. In 1846 he left on an expedition with nine men to find a route from Moreton Bay (Brisbane) to Perth, rather poorly equipped. The party disappeared, leaving a mystery as to…
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The Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House

On October 20, 1973, the Sydney Opera House was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II. It is identified as one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in a modern expressionist design, it features a series of large precast concrete roof “shells”, each composed of sections of a sphere of 75.2 metres radius. Planning for the opera house started in the 1940s when the director of…
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George Shaw and the Platypus

George Shaw and the Platypus

On July 22, 1813, English botanist and zoologist George Shaw passed away. Shaw published one of the first English descriptions with scientific names of several Australian animals including the very first scientific description of the platypus. Shaw was born at Bierton, Buckinghamshire and was educated by his father until 1765 when he entered Magdalen College, Oxford, receiving his B.A. in 1769 and his M.A. in 1772. He was ordained deacon in 1774.…
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Arthur Phillip – Commander of the First Fleet

Arthur Phillip – Commander of the First Fleet

On May 13, 1787, the First Fleet commanded by Captain (later Admiral) Arthur Phillip, left Portsmouth, England, to found a penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia. Arthur Phillip was born in the parish of London in 1738 and enrolled at Greenwich School for the sons of seamen. After two years at sea his apprenticeship in the mercantile service was completed and afterwards, he remained aboard as Fortune undertook…
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