1886 in Australia
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- Premier of New South Wales — John Robertson (until 26 February) then Patrick Jenning
- Premier of Queensland — Samuel Griffith
- Premier of South Australia — John Downer
- Premier of Tasmania — Adye Douglas (til 8 March) then James Agnew
- Premier of Victoria — James Service (til 18 February) then Duncan Gillies
- Governor of New South Wales — Robert Wynn Carrington, 1st Marquess of Lincolnshire
- Governor of Queensland — Anthony Musgrave
- Governor of South Australia — William Robinson
- Governor of Tasmania — George Strahan
- Governor of Victoria — Henry Brougham Loch, 1st Baron Loch
- Governor of the Crown Colony of Western Australia — Sir Frederick Broome
- 25 January — The first assembly of the Federal Council of Australasia is held in Hobart.
- 31 May — The SS Ly-Ee-Moon sinks off Green Cape, New South Wales, with the loss of 71 persons
- 12 June — William Spence chairs a meeting of shearers in Ballarat, Victoria at which the Amalgamated Shearers' Union is formed, later part of the Australian Workers' Union.
Arts and literature
Main article: 1886 in Australian literature
- 3 January — Arthur Mailey (died 1967), cricketer and journalist
- 28 November — Margaret McIntyre (died 1948), politician
- 28 October — William Bede Dalley, Australia's first member of the Privy Council.
- 4 November — James Martin (born 1820), Premier of New South Wales