Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Drifting Australia A Timeline  

1.1 Ga Australia first joined to Antarctica. At this time the the MacDonnell Ranges, Porongurup Ranges and East Mount Barren were formed, probably as a shock-absorbing mechanism of the weaker parts of the crust as the Australian continent slammed into Antarctica at the start of the formation of Rodinia.
750 Ma Rodinia broke
700 Ma The time that the controversial glacial phase called by some  "snowball Earth" began that some believe was so widespread and intense that it may have come close to extermination life.
600 Ma Pannotia, a supercontinent that is believed to have formed about 300 Ma and lasted for about 30 million years.
525 Ma. Early Cambrian. Australia was at the northern end of Gondwana, as its eastern coast was facing north.
490 Ma Tremadocian. Australia is still at the northern end of Gondwana, but has moved slightly south, its western coast now touches the Equator.
458 Ma Middle Ordovician. Australia has moved a bit further south. The west coast is now south of the Equator.
435 Ma Middle Silurian. About 1/3 of the continent is south of the Equator, which is on the north-south axis of the continent. The west coast still facing south.
400 Ma Early Devonian. Australia is now south of the Equator in the orientation of the present with the tip of Cape York touching the Equator.
370 Ma Late Devonian. Australia is now half way between the Equator and 45oS latitude. It has a similar orientation to the present.
355 Ma Early Carboniferous. Australia straddles the 45oS latitude, the present north coast facing north.
306 Ma Late Carboniferous. Australia is now south of the 45o S
280 Ma Sakmarian-Artinskian. Australia is still south of 45oS close to the South Pole, on the eastern end of Gondwana.
255 Ma Kazanian. Australia is still near the South Pole. The present north coast is tending to face north east.
235 Ma Early Triassic. Partly above the 45oS latitude, on the eastern end of Gondwana.
225 Ma Pangaea formed
215 Ma Late Triassic. The 45oS latitude passes through about the middle of the continent along the north-south axis.
195 Ma Early Jurassic. Australia hasn't changed position much, but has rotated slightly to the east.
180 Ma Pangaea broke up.
160 Ma Middle Jurassic. Australia has moved further south.
132 Ma Valanginian. Australia has returned to near the South Pole.
110 Ma Early Cretaceous-Sea level rose, reached a maximum level at about 110 million years ago as continents separated from Gondwana, then dropped again by the end of the Late Cretaceous
102 Ma Albian. Australia has moved north so that the tips of northern Australia are just north of the 45oS latitude.
70 Ma Maastrichtian. Australia has moved further north so that northern Australia is north of  45oS latitude. The break from Antarctica has begun.
43 Ma Middle Eocene. Australia has moved further north, the 45oS latitude now passes through the top 1/3 of the continent along the east-west axis. Has separated from Antarctica.
15 Ma Middle Miocene. Has moved further north. Only Tasmania and parts of Victoria are south of the 45oS latitude.

see Australia Drifting - Changes on the continent, a timeline

Sources & Further reading

  1. White, Mary E., 1994, After the Greening, The Browning of Australia, Kangaroo Press,


Australia Through Time


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 17/08/2011


Adventure Tracks
Glacial Maximum
Central Australia
Eastern Australia
Cape York Peninsula
Drifting - Changes to drainage systems resulting from rifting
Drifting - direction change in the Middle Cretaceous and Middle Eocene
Nullarbor Plain
The Great Journey North
   Stages on the Way
The Great Journey South
Gawler Craton
Precambrian Ice Age
Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
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