1872 in Australia
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- Governor of New South Wales — Somerset Lowry-Corry, 4th Earl Belmore, then Hercules Robinson, 1st Baron Rosmead
- Governor of Queensland — George Phipps, 2nd Marquess of Normanby
- Governor of South Australia — Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet
- Governor of Tasmania — Charles Du Cane
- Governor of Victoria — John Manners-Sutton, 3rd Viscount Canterbury
- Premier of New South Wales — Sir James Martin, until 14 May then Henry Parkes
- Premier of Queensland — Arthur Hunter Palmer
- Premier of South Australia — Arthur Blyth, until 22 January then Henry Ayers (5th time)
- Premier of Tasmania — James Milne Wilson, until 4 November then Frederick Innes
- Premier of Victoria — Charles Gavan Duffy, until 10 June then James Francis
- 13 February to 28 March — An election is held in New South Wales.
- 19 February — The Municipal District of Dubbo is established, following the approval of the Colonial Secretary.
- 26 February — The brig Maria is wrecked when it strikes a reef near Cardwell off the coast of Queensland, killing 39 people.
- 12 June — A Victorian branch of the Royal Australian Mint opens in Melbourne.
- 22 August — The Australian Overland Telegraph Line is completed when two telegraph lines are joined at Frew's Ponds in the Northern Territory (then South Australia).
- 24 September — The General Post Office opens in Brisbane, Queensland.
- The Quack wins the Melbourne Cup
- 1 January — Arthur Manning, politician (died 1947)
- 22 February — Shaw Neilson, poet (died 1942)
- 26 February — John Holman, politician (died 1925)
- 28 September — David Unaipon, writer and inventor (died 1967)
- 14 October — John Leckie, politician (died 1947)
- 4 January – Edward Macarthur, Administrator of Victoria (b. 1789)
- 15 January — John King (born 1838), explorer
- 12 February — George Herbert Rogers (born 1820), actor
- 20 February — Andrew Petrie (born 1798), architect
- 20 March – William Wentworth, explorer and politician (b. 1790)
- 28 April — Caroline Calvert (born 1834), writer and naturalist
- 19 May — John Baker (born 1813), Premier of South Australia
- 11 June — John Davies (born 1814), founder of The Mercury newspaper
- 31 December — John McKinlay (born 1819), explorer
- date unknown