Australian Bicentenary

Australian Bicentenary

Australian Bicentenary

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The bicentenary of Australia was celebrated in 1970 on the 200th anniversary of Captain James Cook landing and claiming the land, and again in 1988 to celebrate 200 years of permanent European settlement.


The bicentenary of Captain James Cook's arrival and claiming of the east coast of Australia in 1770. The name of the place on which he is believed to have made first landfall was renamed from Cape Everard back to the name Cook had given it, Point Hicks.


The bicentennial year of Captain Arthur Phillip's arrival with the 11 ships of the First Fleet in Sydney Harbour in 1788, and the founding of the city of Sydney and the colony of New South Wales.

The Australian Bicentennial Authority (ABA) was setup to plan, fund and coordinate projects that emphasized the nation's cultural heritage. State Councils were also created to ensure cooperation between the federal and state governments. The result was a national programme of events and celebrations to commemorate the Bicentenary, including,

  • World Expo 88 in Brisbane the largest event of these celebrations.
  • the arrival of the First Fleet Re-enactment Voyage in Sydney Harbour
  • Australian Bicentennial Exhibition, toured throughout Australia
  • Australia Live, a television special
  • all Australian schoolchildren were presented with a Bicentennial "Heritage Medallion"
  • the issue by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (from late 1987 to the end of 1988) of over 160,000 commemorative Bicentennial number plates......
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