1797 in Australia
- 9 February – Sydney Cove wrecked, but some of the crew managed to travel to Sydney more than 600 km away, leading to the rescue of other members of the crew.
- 26 June – HMS Reliance arrives in Sydney from the Cape of Good Hope, carrying stores ordered by Governor Hunter and merino sheep imported by John Macarthur.
- 3 July – Following Aboriginal attacks on farms in the Hawkesbury region, Hunter dispatches a party of soldiers from the New South Wales Corps to protect settlers there.
- 1 August – Following advice from the master of the Sydney Cove who observed currents and tides while wrecked on Preservation Island, Governor Hunter writes to Joseph Banks that it seems certain that the yet-to-be-discovered Bass Strait exists.
- 19 September – John Shortland is the first European to enter the port of Newcastle. On the 9th he discovered the Hunter River estuary and coal.
- 3 December – George Bass sets out from Sydney in a whaleboat with six oarsmen to explore south along the coast. He discovers the Kiama Blowhole (6 December) and the Shoalhaven River (7 December), he also visits Jervis Bay, and named Twofold Bay on 19 December, Wilson's Promontory (2 January 1798) and Western Port (5 January). He returns to Sydney two months later, having greatly increased the settlers' knowledge of the geography of Australia.