Queensland's history—1900s


  • The first electric service runs from Brisbane to Rockhampton. With a top  speed of 165km/h, and the ability to tilt five degrees in each direction, the  Tilt Train is the fastest train in Australia.


  • Queensland-born and educated immunologist shares the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with his Swiss  colleague Professor Rolf Zinkernagel for discovery of how the immune system  recognises virus-infected cells.
  • The first high speed service begins in Brisbane.


  • Queensland wins the for the first time—68 years after joining the national cricket  competition.
  • Just outside Cairns, stretching 7.5km, is one of the state's top tourist attractions.


  • carries both the Australian and  Aboriginal flags at the Commonwealth Games in Canada after winning two events.


  • The landmark High Court case, v  Queensland () on 3 June overturns the concept of . This lawsuit achieved victory  as Queensland’s first successful land rights case.
  • in Brisbane open.


  • The first (car race) outside the United States is held at Surfers  Paradise on the Gold Coast.
  • opens at Oxenford.


  • The Australian Labor Party (ALP) returns to power after 32 years,  led by .
  • A trial begins. In 1992, the  majority of Queensland voters reject daylight saving in a referendum and it is  abolished.


  • Queen Elizabeth II  officially opens as a central  feature of the national bicentennial celebrations.
  • The is World Heritage listed.
  • opens at Longreach.


  • The starts. It reforms the public  service, the police service, electoral processes and government accountability  over several years. Some politicians and the Police Commissioner are convicted  and jailed.
  • Queensland's largest dam, the (south-west of Ayr) is completed, with a capacity four times that  of Sydney Harbour.


  • The , the largest major sporting  event held in Queensland. Australia wins the overall gold medal tally.
  • The iconic at Bowen Hills is demolished  overnight, following the demolition of Brisbane's historic Bellevue Hotel three  years earlier. These events changed the way Queenslanders saw and valued their  heritage.


  • The is World Heritage listed.


  • Queensland beats New South Wales 20–10 in the first State of Origin game in front of a packed Lang  Park (now Suncorp Stadium).


  • Queensland’s  Great Barrier Reef is recognised as .


  • Protests  against uranium mining during Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s reign as Premier  provides a pretext for the government to in Queensland for the first time  in September. The legislation is met with strong opposition from church  leaders, trade unionists, civil libertarians and academics.


  • The is established.


  • The – the worst flood since 1893 – leads to major flood mitigation  works. The Wivenhoe Dam is built.


  • Surf clothing company Billabong is founded on the Gold Coast by  surfer and surfboard shaper Gordon Merchant and his partner.
  • Arsonists James Finch and John Stuart are jailed for fire-bombing  the on St Pauls Terrace in  Brisbane—the worst mass murder in Australia until the Port Arthur massacre in  1996.


  • Queenslander becomes the first Indigenous person to be elected to Federal  Parliament as a Senator for Queensland.


  • is abolished.


  • starts his premiership, which  lasts until 1987 (19 years), making him the longest serving premier in  Queensland history.


  • happens after Prime Minister  Harold Holt invites US President Lyndon B. Johnson to Australia.


  • to protest against men-only bars  in Queensland pubs (the law changed in 1970).


  • On 29 June . Over the  course of two nights, they perform to a crowd of almost 12,000 people at  Festival Hall.


  • The linking Brisbane and Cairns is  completed. This encourages growth in tourism as Queenslanders take advantage of  shorter travel times to places such as the Whitsunday Islands.
  • Rockhampton-born ‘Rocket’ Rod Laver wins the tennis Grand Slam  (the only man to win it twice—again in 1969).


  • Brisbane changes forever under the leadership of Lord Mayor Clem  Jones (until 1975), whose city council introduces town planning and massive  development programs.


  • The becomes the first to begin  broadcasting in Queensland.


  • Queensland celebrates the in December. Highlights of the  celebrations include the presentation of Miss Queensland to the Deputy Premier  and re-enactments of Governor Bowen’s arrival at the Botanical Gardens.
  • The Cooktown Orchid becomes Queensland's floral emblem.


  • Queen Elizabeth II is met by hysterical crowds on  her visit to Queensland .


  • Best known for house calls to the sick and elderly, becomes the Blue Nursing Service, an initiative of members  of the Methodist Mission at West End.


  • Free public hospital treatment is available to Queenslanders for  the first time.


  • Rhodes Scholar, , becomes the first and only member  of a Communist party ever to be elected to parliament in Australia.


  • Japanese flying boats bomb Townsville (26 to 29 July) and Mossman  (31 July). There are no fatalities and only one minor injury is recorded.


  • American  troops are in March to the reception of  enthusiastic crowds, and later in December following simultaneous attacks on  Pearl Harbour and the Philippines.


  • The , Brisbane's most iconic bridge,  first opens and is named after John Douglas Story.


  • World War II starts with Germany's invasion of Poland (the war  ends in 1945).
  • Dr James Mayne and sister Mary Emilia give their entire estate to The University of Queensland for medical education.


  • are deliberately introduced to Queensland from Hawaii to  reduce the number of French’s Cane and Greyback Cane beetles that were  destroying the roots of sugar cane plants.


  • is built due to the need for a  more substantial and consistent water supply to meet future demands.


  • , with  Ellen O’Donnell and Zara Dare becoming the first female police officers,  commencing duty on 16 March at the Roma Street police station.


  • A preparatory year of schooling is added to state primary schools.  Abolished in 1953, it is re-introduced in 2007.
  • breaks Bert  Hinkler's solo record from England to Australia and lands at Eagle Farm,  Brisbane.


  • Irene Longman ,  winning the Brisbane seat of Bulimba for the Country National Party.
  • First 'talkies' screen at the Tivoli in Brisbane.


  • The Royal Flying  Doctor Service is  founded by Reverend John Flynn in response to an emergency call. John Flynn is  today commemorated on the Australian $20 note.
  • Brisbane-born pioneer aviator Charles Kingsford Smith and his colleagues completed the first air crossing of the Pacific, from San Francisco to Brisbane, in 1928.


  • at  Fig Tree Pocket is the world's first koala sanctuary and the first to breed  captive koalas.


  • Dors Hassell stars in Charles Chauvel's first movie, , made by Australian Film  Production, and shot mainly in the Brisbane bush (released January 1926).


  • The winking , atop the Milton brewery in Brisbane, makes his first  appearance.


  • , becoming the only state  parliament in Australia to have one house.


  • – Australia’s first airline is established  on 16 November by four World War I veterans at Winton.


  • Prime Minister Billy Hughes forms the Australian Federal Police  after local police refuse to arrest the men responsible for throwing eggs at  him during a pro-conscription rally in Warwick.
  • In  March, the Queensland Patriotic Fund requests permission to hold an inaugural  art union to raise money for the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Fund. Termed  the , the first prize was equivalent  to 30 years of a skilled tradesman’s wage.


  • The divided government opinion  throughout Australia. Queensland’s Labor Government remained committed to a  volunteer army. The weight of public opinion resulted in Queensland and New  South Wales voting against conscription in the 1916 referendum.


  • Premier TJ Ryan leads the first Queensland ALP government to govern without  the need of non-Labor Members of Parliament (MPs). Labor is in power from  1915–1957 (except during 1929–1932).


  • World War I is declared (the war ends in 1918).
  • Yatala Pie Shop opens.


  • A  dispute, concerning union badges on Brisbane tramway workers’ uniforms, spreads  across 43 unions with the Strike Bulletin describing it as “”.


  • The are pioneered in Queensland and  remain in use across the world today.


  • is the first university in the state, officially founded  on April 16. Teaching starts in 1911 in Old Government House in George Street,  Brisbane.


  • Queensland surf lifesavers rescue a group of young women in the  first recorded rescue, at Greenmount Beach, Coolangatta.


  • Witches Falls at Mt Tamborine is proclaimed .
  • Rugby League is established as a separate sport from Rugby Union.


  • On 18 May 1907, women voted for the first time in a Queensland state election.


  • Pacific  Islanders who had arrived to work as servants in Queensland due to the adoption of White  Australia Policy legislation adopted in 1901.


  • Queensland women are .


  • is painted by R. Godfrey Rivers,  a leading Queensland artist. This is a popular painting among visitors to the  Queensland Art Gallery.


  • The colony of Queensland becomes a state of the new Commonwealth  of Australia on 1 January.


  • Between 1900 and 1909, 499 , resulting in 219 deaths.