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Governors of the Australian colonies:
- 26 January – John Macarthur is arrested sparking the Rum Rebellion. Military officers supporting Macarthur arrest Governor Bligh.
- 2 February – William Paterson sails to Sydney from Port Dalrymple, Van Diemen's Land to take over the administration of New South Wales following the removal of Bligh.
Exploration and settlement
- First settlement at Kingston, Van Diemen's Land.
- 19 June – Alexander Dalrymple, who had strongly opposed the establishment of New South Wales in A Serious Admonition to the Public on the Intended Thief-Colony at Botany Bay (London, 1786).
- 3 September – Philip Gidley King, third Governor of New South Wales.