1941: Australia turns to the US for help in its defence after the Japanese take Singapore. Australia allows the US to base its supreme command for the Pacific war on its territory.

1975: The Gough Whitlam government is dismissed.

The British Queen declines to intervene, saying it is not proper for her to do so.

The CIA had apparently encouraged Whitlam's dismissal, because he was raising issues about the US running a control centre for spy satellites in the Australian outback, amongst other things.

1986: Australian law becomes fully independent of the British parliament and legal system.

1992: The Citizenship Act is amended to remove swearing an oath of allegiance to the British Crown.

2001: Churches rebuke Prime Minister John Howard for failing properly to acknowledge suffering of thousands of Aborigines under past assimilation policy.

2003: Australia deploys troops to the Gulf ahead of a possible war. The move sparks public protests.