On This Day: 26th of January

On this day in 1788:

Australia Day
Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor. The event is commemorated each year as Australia Day, when Australians are encouraged to come together as a nation to celebrate what's great about Australia and being Australian.

At the beginning of 19th century Australia was a hard place in which to live, the end of the line for those sentenced to transportation. Its prospects improved as the economy was transformed through sheep farming and its way of life was changed by new emigrants. Transportation was stopped in 1867 and by the 1880s Australia had the fastest growing economy and the highest per capita income in the world. Scots were active in every major aspect of Australian life including business, education, religion, and farming. Many of these Scots were alumni or graduates of the University of Glasgow.

One such man was the Rev Dr John Dunmore Lang (1799-1878) who studied arts and theology at Glasgow University, graduating MA in 1822. His brother George, also an alumnus of the University, had gone to Australia in 1821, and John decided to follow him to minister to the Scottish Presbyterians in the colony. He built the Scots Church in Sydney in 1826 and opened the Caledonian Academy, a primary school. He returned to Britain in 1830 and brought back with him sixty skilled mechanics who secured their passage with an interest-free loan which they later repaid from their wages. These were the first skilled workers introduced into the country.

Lang organised several migration schemes, making nine voyages back to Britain in all. By 1832, he had built, and was the Principal of, the Australian College, the first higher education institution in Australia. Several hundreds were educated in this College, many becoming prominent citizens of the country. He was an elected member of the New South Wales Parliament for various periods between 1843 and 1869 and urged self-government for Australia. Sir Henry Parkes, 'the father of the Federation', said in his memorial tribute of Lang, "The colony owes more to him than to any other man. We may look to vain for his equal ... He has always been one of the boldest advocates for the political rights and liberties of the colonists."

Some of the early farmers among the Glasgow alumni included John M'Intyre (matriculated 1817) who farmed at Glengalmadale, Kingairloch; Robert Farie, a medical student of the 1850s who owned sheep and cattle runs at Boort and Dunmore, Victoria; the brothers John and James Donald, sheep farmers in Victoria; and Daniel Mackinnon, who was a very successful cattle man. Many Glasgow medical students subsequently practised in Australia and some founded townships like Daniel Curdie (MA 1832) a pioneer who established Tandrabrook (Lovely Banks) in the 1840s, the present day Cobden in Victoria.

The business men included Andrew Anderson (matriculated 1850), chairman of the Union Mortgage and Agency Company of Australia. Of the many thousands who emigrated was Lord Kelvin's brother, Robert Thomson, who joined the Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society in Melbourne in the 1850s.

On this day in 1926:

Television is successfully demonstrated for the first time
John Logie BairdJohn Logie Baird successfully demonstrated his 'Televisor' to an audience of Royal Institution members in London. The Times of 28 January concluded that "It has yet to be seen to what extent further developments will carry Mr Baird's system towards practical use."

On this day in 1932:

Unveiling of bust of Sir Daniel M Stevenson
A bust of Sir Daniel M Stevenson was unveiled in a ceremony in the Hunterian Museum at which afternoon tea was served.

On this day in 2007:

Adam Smith Research Foundation
The Adam Smith Research Foundation was launched. Housed at 66 Oakfield Avenue, the Foundation's mission is to enhance links between the different disciplines in the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Sciences and support the development of interdisciplinary research outwith the University.

Births and Deaths

Francis JeffreyOn this day in 1850
Francis Jeffrey died.

Sir John McNeeOn this day in 1984
Sir John McNee died.

On this day in 1862
Neil Downie was born.

On this day in 1863
David Bisset was born.

On this day in 1812
Le Baron Botsford was born.

On this day in 1869
George Douglas Brown was born.

On this day in 1864
Hugh Jones was born.

On this day in 1865
John Roderick Marshall was born.

On this day in 1869
Alexander Pollock was born.

George Alexander Turner, MD 1870On this day in 1900
George Alexander Turner died.

On this day in 1888
Harriet Evelyn Allison was born.

On this day in 1869
William Brown was born.

On this day in 1876
James Austin Dickie was born.

On this day in 1888
Allan Byars Hamilton was born.

On this day in 1878
Lesley Charles Broughton Head was born.

On this day in 1873
James Alexander Johnston was born.

On this day in 1890
John McCallum Lang was born.

On this day in 1869
Archibald Livingston was born.

On this day in 1882
James McArthur was born.

On this day in 1880
James Muirhead was born.

On this day in 1883
George Waugh Scott OBE was born.

William SnodgrassOn this day in 1890
William Robertson Snodgrass was born.

On this day in 1884
John Steedman was born.

On this day in 1890
Archibald Stewart was born.

On this day in 1882
Mary Isabelle Moody Stuart was born.

On this day in 1878
James Cameron Turnbull was born.

On this day in 1888
John Hutcheon Williams was born.

On this day in 1891
Alfred Drummond Duff was born.

On this day in 1891
Annie Russell Millar was born.

On this day in 1890
Charlotte Patience was born.

On this day in 1897
William Anderson died.

On this day in 1875
George Finlay died.

On this day in 1974
Helen Isobel Winifred Kerr-Taylor died.

On this day in 1891
Jessie Orr Hamilton was born.

On this day in 1891
Elizabeth Marion Geddes Jeffrey was born.

On this day in 1893
Andrew Lochhead was born.

Gabriel Oluwole EsuruosoOn this day in 2013
Gabriel Oluwole Esuruoso died.