1889 in Australia
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- Premier of New South Wales – Henry Parkes (until 16 January), then George Dibbs (until 7 March), then Henry Parkes
- Premier of Queensland – Boyd Dunlop Morehead
- Premier of South Australia – Thomas Playford II (until 27 June), then John Cockburn
- Premier of Tasmania – Philip Fysh
- Premier of Victoria – Duncan Gillies
- Governor of New South Wales – Lord Carrington
- Governor of Queensland – Sir Henry Norman (from 1 May)
- Governor of South Australia – Sir William Robinson (until 5 March), then The Earl of Kintore (from 11 April)
- Governor of Tasmania – Sir Robert Hamilton
- Governor of Victoria – Lord Loch
- Governor of Western Australia – Sir Frederick Broome
- 1 February – Foster's Lager, brewed by the Foster brothers, goes on sale for the first time.
- 23 May – Louisa Lawson founded the Dawn Club, which became the hub of the women's suffrage movement in Sydney.
- 30 September – The Palmerston and Pine Creek Railway narrow gauge railway in the Northern Territory is officially opened.
- 24 October – The Tenterfield Oration is delivered by Henry Parkes, calling for the Federation of the states.
- 27 November – The Sydney Town Hall is officially opened.
Arts and literature
- 17 August - The 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition, featuring works by Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Charles Conder, was opened in Melbourne.
- 21 December – The poem Clancy of the Overflow, by Banjo Paterson, is first published in The Bulletin magazine.
- Bravo wins the Melbourne Cup
- 18 April - Jessie Street, feminist and suffragette (died 1970)
- 18 September - Doris Blackburn, politician (died 1970)
- 27 October - Fanny Durack, swimmer (died 1956)
- 9 February - Peter Lalor, Eureka Stockade leader (born 1827)
- 5 November - Peter Warburton, explorer (born 1813)