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A timeline from 1860 - 1883 covering some important discoveries, inventions and constructions which occurred before and after the building of the Zig Zag Railway. The purpose is to show what was happening both in Australia and worldwide.

Information mostly from Encyclopedia Britannica 2000 DVD, Webster's encyclopedia of Australia 1996 and Hutchinson's Multimedia Encyclopedia 2000.

Englishman Isambard Kingdom Brunel died, builder of the Great Western Railway and the ships Great Western and Great Eastern.
Englishman Charles Darwin published The Origin of the Species.

Kerosene lamps introduced into Australia by American Thomas W. Stanford.
Frenchman Louis Pasteur discovered the process of heating foods to kill microorganisms, called pasteurisation in his honour. Englishwoman Florence Nightingale established Nightingale School for Nurses, the first school for nurses, at St. Thomas' Hospital, London.
Pony Express started in USA, soon render obsolete by transcontinental telegraph.
Burke and Wills expedition to cross Australia south to north.

Brisbane, Queensland and Sydney, New South Wales (NSW) linked by telegraph.
German born English engineer and inventor William Siemens patented the open hearth furnace process for steelmaking. First used in 1864.
Belgian chemist Ernest Solvay patented a method for the economic production of sodium carbonate (washing soda) from sodium chloride, ammonia, and carbon dioxide. Used to make paper, glass, and bleach, and to treat water and refine petroleum, it is a key development in the Industrial Revolution.
Isabella Beeton wrote her Book of Household Management.

Railway from Melbourne, Victoria to Bendigo, Victoria completed.
American inventor Richard J Gatling invented the Gatling gun, the first practical machine gun.
Belgian inventor Etienne Lenoir constructed the first car with an internal combustion engine.
English philosopher John Stuart Mill published Utilitarianism , an influential work on moral philosophy.
Swedish - born US engineer John Ericsson's ironclad warship Monitor was launched.

Railway from Sydney, NSW to Penrith, NSW completed.
Electric light publicly demonstrated in Sydney, NSW.
Frenchmen Pierre Michaux and his son Ernest developed the velocipede, the first mass produced pedal-powered bicycle.
First underground line, the Metropolitan Railway, opened in London, using steam locomotives.
British government passed the Revenue Act, which aimed to encourage the drinking of beer, rather than spirits.

Railway line Bendigo, Victoria to Echuca, Victoria on the River Murray completed.
American diplomat, scholar and conservationist, George Perkins Marsh published 'Man & Nature'. This classic of conservation thinking lamented the damaged perpetrated by human action in the Mediterranean world and the United States.
French engineers Pierre and Emile Martin, and British engineer William Siemens, simultaneously developed the open - hearth process for making steel.

Scottish physician Joseph Lister began developing techniques for antiseptic surgery, including sterilisation of instruments.
Austrian biologist Gregor Mendel announced his laws of heredity based on experiments with plant hybrids.
British Parliament passes the British Locomotives on Highways Act, or `Red Flag Act´ . It reduced the speed limit for steam - powered carriages to two miles per hour in cities and four in the country, and required men on foot carrying red flags to precede them.

Construction of the Zig Zag section of the NSW Government Railways began.
Australia legislated the protection of the Jenolan Caves.
English Physician Thomas Clifford Arbutt invents the short clinical thermometer replacing older models a foot long.
After several years' effort the first permanent transatlantic telegraph cable was laid, linking America and Europe.
US scientist Mahlon Loomis transmitted the first telegraph message over radio waves.

First use of refrigerated freight cars allowed long distance transport of perishables.
French physician Villemin demonstrated that tuberculosis was an infectious rather than an hereditary disease.
Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and engineer, was awarded a patent for dynamite. Nobel later endowed the Nobel Prizes.

J.A.B.Higham patented the first machine for shearing sheep.
Railway from Sydney over the Blue Mountains reached Mount Victoria.
German doctor Karl August Winderlich's Body Temperature and Disease popularised the practice of using thermometers to determine patients' body temperature.
American inventor Christopher Latham Sholes, building on work by earlier engineers, patented the first modern typewriter, sold in 1873 as the Remington Typewriter.

Zig Zag Railway, New South Wales, Australia was opened.
First USA Transcontinental Railroad opened, built by Central Pacific Railroad east from Sacramento, California, and by Union Pacific Railroad west from Omaha, Nebraska. They met at Promonotory Summit, Utah, 1,472m (4,905').
Railway from Sydney to Goulbourn opened.
Australia Post introduced postcards.
Tasmania linked to Mainland by telegraphic cable.
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, established as Palmerston, later the name was changed to Darwin.
Clipper Ship, Thermopylae, arrived in Sydney from England after a voyage of only 64 days. Twenty years earlier the usual time was 140 days.
Suez Canal completed after 11 years construction under the leadership of French engineer, Ferdinand de Lesseps. This dramatically reduced the sailing times between Europe and Asia and triggered a switch from sail to steam power. The travel time from England to Australia was reduced to about 30 days.
Russian chemist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev pronounced the periodic law of elements, one of the basic laws of modern chemistry.
American Inventor George Westinghouse patented the railroad air brake. He later became the leading advocate of alternating current for power systems in USA.
French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés patented margarine.
Perkins Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, produced the first novel in raised type for blind people.
US scientist John Wesley Hyatt invented (independently of Alexander Parkes) celluloid - the first artificial plastic,

Telegraph link between Britain and India opened.
English inventor James Starley made the first `pennyfarthing´ bicycle.
English scientist William Henry Fox Talbot reduced photographic exposure time to one - hundredth of a second, making moving pictures feasible.
Vatican Council issued the `Declaration of Papal Infallibility ´.

German pioneer archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann began excavating Troy.
English writer and mathematician Lewis Carroll (pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) wrote the children's classic Through the Looking Glass.

Overland telegraph completed to Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
James Harrison invented a process for freezing carcasses for export.
Thomas Mort built freezing works in Sydney and Lithgow, NSW.
The Times became the first national newspaper in Britain to be set using a mechanical type composing machine.

Railway from Melbourne to Wodonga on the River Murray completed.

Thomas Edison patented the quadruplex telegraph, allowing four messages to be sent over a single telegraph wire.
English inventor H J Lawson developed the `safety bicycle´ with two equal - sized wheels.
US inventor Joseph Glidden designs a machine for making barbed wire.

British confectionery company Fry's introduces chocolate Easter eggs.
First canned baked beans are produced, for fishermen in Portland, Maine

Railway line beyond Zig Zag to Bathurst NSW opened.
German engineer, Nikolaus August Otto invented the four-stroke internal combustion engine. Its development marked the beginning of the end of the age of steam.
Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.
German engineer Karl von Linde developed the first efficient refrigerator, replacing the potentially explosive methyl ether with ammonia.
Scottish physicist William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), developed the first analogue computer. Called the `Harmonic Analyser´,

South Australian farmer Robert Bowyer Smith invented the jump-stump plough.
Louis Brennan of Melbourne invented the self propelling torpedo , later taken up by the British government.
American inventor Thomas Edison patented the phonograph.
English surgeon Joseph Lister performed the first operation to repair a fractured kneecap. Conducted under antiseptic conditions, its success convinced other surgeons of the value of antisepsis.

First Telephone line in Australia opened in Melbourne.
Railway line from Sydney to Wagga Wagga opened.
German - born British inventor Charles William Siemens invents the electric arc furnace, the first to use electricity to make steel
First The first commercial telephone exchange opened in New Haven, Connecticut.

Thomas Edison demonstrated his electric light bulb - a carbon filament lamp.
First successful cargo of frozen meat left Sydney for London.
German electrical engineer Werner von Siemens demonstrated an electric tram at the Berlin Exhibition in Germany. The first electrically powered locomotive, it ran on a track 500 m / 1,640 ft. long.
Bell Telephone Company and the Edison Telephone Company Ltd opened the first telephone exchanges in London, England.

Cities in North and South America and Europe began to build electric railways and subways.
Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan displayed practical incandescent light bulbs.
Greenwich Mean Time is established as the legal time in the British Isles.
Railway mileage in operation stands at 140,481 km / 87,801 mi in the USA, 28,696 km / 17,935 mi in Britain, 26,288 km / 16,430 mi in France, and 19,520 km / 12,200 mi in Russia.
First telephone directory in Britain published by the London Telephone Company in England, containing 255 listings.

Lithgow Zig Zag Reserve gazetted by New South Wales Government.
Railway from Sydney to Albury opened.
Sydney's first telephone line opened, from Royal Exchange to Darling Harbour.
French microbiologist Louis Pasteur vaccinated sheep against anthrax. It was the first infectious disease to be treated effectively with an antibacterial vaccine, laying the foundations of immunology.
US inventor David Henderson Houston patented a camera that takes roll film.

First major use of refrigerated ships encourages ranching in regions remote from big markets.
US inventor Thomas Alva Edison opened the Pearl Street electric generating station in New York.

Railway between Sydney NSW and Melbourne, Victoria completed.
Luxury train the Orient Express left on its first trip. Europe's first transcontinental express train, it ran 2,740 km / 1,700 mi from Paris, France, to Varna, Bulgaria, where passengers disembarked to be ferried to Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey.

Parsons steam turbine invented by Charles Parsons.

Short History | Lineside Guide | John Whitton | Zig Zag Railway Builders | Zig Zag Reserve | Zig Zag Railways Worldwide | Bushfire 1997 | Timeline | Bibliography

Updated 16 November 2008