Australia

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 – Becoming an Astronomer John Tebbutt Tebbutt was born at Windsor, New South Wales, the only son of John Tebbutt, then a prosperous store…
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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. Jules Dumont d’Urville…
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The Nimrod Expedition and the Magnetic South Pole

The Nimrod Expedition and the Magnetic South Pole

On January 16, 1907, Australian geologists Tannatt William Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson together with Scottish physician Alistair Mackay, being part of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09, otherwise known as the Nimrod Expedition, led by Ernest Shackleton, reached the magnetic southpole. The major goal of the famous Nimrod Expedition was to be the first to reach the South Pole. Even though this goal was not fulfilled completely, the expedition’s southern march reached a…
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From Ambition to Obsession – Jane Franklin and the Lost Franklin Expedition

From Ambition to Obsession – Jane Franklin and the Lost Franklin Expedition

On December 4, 1791, Lady Jane Franklin, Tasmanian pioneer, traveler and second wife of the explorer Sir John Franklin, was born. She was the first woman to climb Mount Wellington and to travel overland from Melbourne to Sydney. Above all Lady Franklin is remembered for the search she organized from 1850 to 1857 for Sir John Franklin‘s lost Arctic expedition. Early Years Jane Franklin was born as Jane Griffin, the second daughter…
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George Shaw and the unique Mammal Platypus

George Shaw and the unique Mammal 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. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Kearsley Shaw, as quoted in [9]…
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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 – Early Years 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…
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Australian Aviation Pioneer Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kites

Australian Aviation Pioneer Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kites

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 kite construction connected 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. “I am using kites, and find perfect stability can be got by…
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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 – Early Years McDouall Stuart was born in Dysart near Kirkcaldy on the north side of the Firth of Forth, the…
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William Dampier – The Buccanneer who became Explorer of Australia

William Dampier – The Buccanneer who became Explorer of Australia

On September 5, 1651, British explorer and natural historian William Dampier was probably born. He was the first Englishman to explore parts of what is today Australia, and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. He has also been described as Australia‘s first natural historian. “Typhoons are a sort of violent whirlwinds. Before these whirlwinds come on… there appears a heavy cloud to the northeast which is very black near the…
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The Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

On March 19, 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened, which connects the Sydney central business district and the North Shore. It is the sixth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world, and it is the tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 m from top to water level. “To get on in Australia, you must make two observations. Say, “You have the most beautiful bridge in the world” and “They tell me you trounced…
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