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This Day in History

Australian History

Friday, October 13, 1933. :   Australia's first traffic lights begin operating in Sydney.

     The world's first traffic light was operating in London, England, even before the advent of the automobile. Installed at a London intersection in 1868, it was a revolving gas-lit lantern with red and green signals. However, on 2 January 1869, the light exploded, injuring the policeman who was operating it. It was not until the early 1900s that Garrett Morgan, an African-American living in Cleveland, Ohio, developed the electric automatic traffic light. Originally based on a semaphore-system, traffic lights gradually evolved through the years to become the red-amber-green lights they are today.

Sydney's first set of traffic lights was installed on 13 October 1933. It was another 32 years before the nation's capital, Canberra, received its first two sets of traffic lights, on 23 October 1965.

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