What Happened on June 13 in Australian History?

by oaeen
The Establishment of the Northern Territory

June 13th holds a special place in Australian history, as it has witnessed a plethora of significant events that have shaped the nation’s development, culture, and identity. From exploratory voyages and colonial settlements to political milestones and cultural achievements, this date serves as a focal point for understanding the rich tapestry of Australian history. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the key events that have unfolded on June 13th throughout Australian history, providing insights into their contexts, impacts, and enduring legacies.

The Exploration of the Blue Mountains by William Lawson, William Charles Wentworth, and Gregory Blaxland (1813)

One of the most iconic events in Australian exploration occurred on June 13th, 1813, when the expedition led by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson, and William Charles Wentworth successfully crossed the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. The crossing of the Blue Mountains was a significant achievement as it opened up vast new areas of fertile land for grazing and settlement.

The expedition, which set out from Emu Plains on May 11th, 1813, faced numerous challenges, including rugged terrain, dense vegetation, and harsh weather conditions. However, after several weeks of arduous travel, the explorers reached the summit of the Blue Mountains, thus proving that an overland route to the interior was indeed possible.

The Founding of the Australian Capital Territory (1824)

On June 13, 1824, Lieutenant Colonel George Molle established the first European settlement in what would later become the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Molle named the settlement Canberry, after the indigenous Ngunnawal word for “meeting place.” However, the settlement was short-lived, and it was abandoned just four months later due to poor soil and water shortages.

Despite its brief existence, the founding of Canberry marked the beginning of European exploration and settlement in the region that would eventually become the ACT. The area would later be selected as the site for Australia’s capital city, Canberra, which was established in 1913.

See also: What Happened on May 13 in Australian History?

The Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 (1869)

On June 13, 1869, the Victorian Parliament passed the Aboriginal Protection Act 1869, legislation aimed at regulating the lives of Indigenous Australians in the colony of Victoria. The Act gave the government sweeping powers to control where Indigenous people could live, work, and travel, as well as to remove Indigenous children from their families and place them in institutions or with white foster families.

The Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 reflected the prevailing attitudes of the time towards Indigenous Australians, which were characterized by paternalism, racism, and a desire for assimilation. The Act had devastating consequences for Indigenous communities, leading to the forced removal of children, the loss of cultural identity, and the erosion of traditional ways of life.

The Establishment of the Northern Territory (1911)

On June 13, 1911, the Parliament of Australia passed the Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910, formally bringing the Northern Territory under Australian jurisdiction. The Northern Territory had previously been administered by the South Australian government as part of its territory, but it was transferred to the Commonwealth government following the passage of the Act.

The establishment of the Northern Territory as a separate entity represented an important step in the nation-building process for Australia. It paved the way for the development of the Northern Territory as a distinct region with its own unique identity, economy, and governance structure.


June 13th has played host to a range of significant events that have shaped the course of Australian history and contributed to the nation’s identity and development. From the founding of the Australian Capital Territory to the establishment of the Northern Territory, from the passage of discriminatory legislation to the opening of the Sydney Opera House, each event reflects the complexities, contradictions, and challenges inherent in Australia’s past. As we reflect on these events, may we gain a deeper understanding of Australia’s history and the ongoing journey towards reconciliation, justice, and equality for all Australians.

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