1871 in Australia
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- Governor of New South Wales - Somerset Lowry-Corry, 4th Earl Belmore
- Governor of Queensland - George Phipps, 2nd Marquess of Normanby
- Governor of South Australia - Sir James Fergusson
- Governor of Tasmania - Charles Du Cane
- Governor of Victoria - John Manners-Sutton, 3rd Viscount Canterbury
- Premier of New South Wales - Sir James Martin
- Premier of Queensland - Arthur Hunter Palmer
- Premier of South Australia - John Hart until 10 November, then Arthur Blyth
- Premier of Tasmania - James Milne Wilson
- Premier of Victoria - Sir James McCulloch until 19 June, then Charles Gavan Duffy
- 15 March - Australia's first synagogue opens in Adelaide, South Australia.
- 5 May - The Prince Alfred Hospital opens in Melbourne.
- 19 June - Charles Gavan Duffy assumes office as Premier of Victoria.
- 24 September - Mother Mary MacKillop is excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church after refusing to disband the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart order.
Exploration and settlement
- 10 January - Miles Evergood (died 1939), artist
- 26 January - Oscar Asche (died 1936), actor and director
- 22 February - Hayden Starke (died 1958), High Court judge
- 3 April - John Wren (died 1953), businessman
- 20 August - Sydney Long (died 1955), artist
- 23 November - William Watt (died 1946), 24th Premier of Victoria
- 2 January - Sir Samuel Blackall (born 1809), Governor of Queensland
- 19 January - Sir William Denison (born 1804), Governor of Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales
- 23 April - James Frederick Palmer (born 1803), Victorian politician