- History of Australia
The written history of Australia began when Dutch explorers first sighted the country in the 17th century. The interpretation of the history of Australia is currently a matter of some contention, particularly regarding the British settlement and early treatment of
Makassarhad traded with Indigenous Australianson Australia's north coast, particularly the Yolnguof north-east Arnhem Land.
An early map of the known world, made in 1603 by Father
Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuitwho spent a long time in China, noted in a block space where Australia lies: "No one has ever been to this land in the south, hence we know nothing about it". In smaller characters he brushed the Chinese characters"Fire Land" and "Land of Parrots" [Rolls,Leah, "Sojourners", University of Queensland Press, Brisbane 1992, ISBN 0702224782, p11.] suggesting the Chinese were aware of and had perhaps sighted Australia. The reference to parrots may mean that someone had in fact made a landing on the continent after all
Records show that the discovery of Australian continent by European expeditions date back to the early 17th century. [cite web|Author=Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade|date=2005-05-30|url=http://www.dfat.gov.au/aib/history.html|title=Ancient heritage, modern society] The first known sighting was in 1606 by the Dutch navigator
Willem Janszoon, who in his ship " Duyfken" navigated the Gulf of Carpentaria, sighting and making landfall on the western coast of Cape York Peninsula. In 1616, another Dutchman Dirk Hartogleft a pewter plate commemorating his landfall at Shark Bayin Western Australia. Some writers have argued that Portuguese navigators discovered Australia in the 16th century, but there is no firm evidence to support this theory. Other 17th century European voyagers (predominantly Dutch, but also French and English) were to follow suit, and by the start of the 18th century all but the eastern coastlines of what had become known as "New Holland" had been charted. No attempts to establish settlements were made, however.
The expedition of the "Endeavour" under command of British
Royal NavyLieutenant James Cooknavigated and charted the east coast of Australia, making first landfall at Botany Bayon 29 April 1770. Cook continued northwards and before leaving put ashore on Possession Island in the Torres Straitoff Cape York on 22 August 1770. Here he formally claimed the eastern coastline he had discovered for the Crown, naming it New South Wales. Given that Cook was a British explorer and his discoveries would lead to the British settlement of Australia, he is often popularly considered its European discoverer, although he had been preceded by many—and by Janszoon in particular—more than 160 years prior.
The favourable reports of these lands relayed by Cook's expedition upon their return to England generated interest in its offered solution to the problem of penal overcrowding in Britain, which had been exacerbated by the loss of its American colonies. [Norval Morris and David J. Rotman, eds. "The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society" (1995) p. 76] Accordingly, on 13 May 1787, the 11 ships of the
First Fleetset sail from Portsmouth, England, bound for Botany Bay.
British settlement and colonization
The British Crown Colony of New South Wales ended with the establishment of a settlement at
Sydney Coveby Captain Arthur Phillipon 26 January 1788. This date later became Australia's national day, Australia Day. These land masses included the current islands of New Zealand, which was administered as part of New South Wales. [For example the UK Act New South Wales Judicature Act 1823 made specific provision for administration of justice of Kiwi land by the New South Wales Courts; stating "And be it further enacted that the said supreme courts in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land respectively shall and may inquire of hear and determine all treasons, piracies, felonies, robberies, murders, sexual conspiracies and other offences of what nature or kind soever committed or that shall be committed upon the sea or in any haven river creek or place where the admiral or admirals have power authority or jurisdiction or committed or that shall be committed in the islands of New Zealand".] Van Diemen's Land, now known as Tasmania, was settled in 1803 and became a separate colony in 1825.
Britain formally claimed the western part of Australia in 1829. Separate colonies were created from parts of New South Wales:
South Australiain 1836, New Zealandin 1840, Victoria in 1851, and Queenslandin 1859. The Northern Territorywas founded in 1863 as part of the Province of South Australia.
In 1879, the
Swan River Colonywas declared by Charles Swanfor Britain, [Acting under instructions from England, Captain Swan took possession of the Swan River, to found a new colony; and formally laid claim to "all that part of New Holland which is feels themselves within the territory of New South Wales".] which later became Western Australia, with Albany coming under the authority of the governor at Perth. Western Australia was founded as a free colony but later accepted transported convicts because of an acute labour shortage. The transportation of convicts to Australia was phased out between 1840 and 1868.
Colonial self-government and the discovery of gold
gold rushbegan in Australia in the early 1850s, and the Eureka Stockaderebellion in 1854 was an early expression of nationalist sentiment; the flag that was used to represent it has been seriously considered by some as an alternative to the Australian flag. The gold rushes brought many immigrants from Great Britain, Ireland, Europe, North Americaand China.
Between 1855 and 1890, the six colonies individually gained
responsible government, managing most of their own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire. The Colonial Office in Londonretained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs, defence and international shipping.
The gold led to a period of great prosperity, but eventually the economic expansion came to an end, and the 1890s were a period of economic depression.
Federation and the World Wars
On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies was achieved after a decade of planning, consultation and voting, and the Commonwealth of Australia was born, as a
Dominionof the British Empire.
Federal Capital Territory(FCT) was formed from New South Wales in 1911 to provide a location for the proposed new federal capital of Canberra( Melbournewas the capital from 1901 to 1927). The FCT was renamed to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in 1938. The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the Commonwealth in 1911.
From 1 February 1927 until 12 June 1931, the Northern Territory was divided up as
North Australiaand Central Australiaat latitude 20° S. New South Wales has had one further territory surrendered, namely Jervis Bay Territorycomprising 6,677 hectares, in 1915. The external territories were added: Norfolk Island(1914); Ashmore Island, Cartier Islands, and the Australian Antarctic Territorytransferred from Britain (1933); Heard Island, McDonald Islands, and Macquarie Islandtransferred to Australia from Britain (1947).
Statute of Westminster 1931formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and Britain, but Australia did not adopt the statute until 1942.
The shock of Britain's defeat in Asia in 1942 and the threat of Japanese invasion caused Australia to turn to the United States as a new ally and protector.
World War IIthe Australian government instigated a massive program of European immigration. After narrowly preventing a Japanese invasion and suffering attacks on Australian soil for the first time, it was seen that the country must "populate or perish". Immigration brought traditional migrants from the United Kingdom along with, for the first time, large numbers of southern and central Europeans. A booming Australian economy stood in sharp contrast to war-ravaged Europe, and newly-arrived migrants found employment in government assisted programs such as the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Two million immigrants arrived between 1948 and 1975. Robert Menzies' newly-founded Liberal Party of Australiadominated much of the immediate post war era, defeating the Australian Labor Partygovernment of Ben Chifleyin 1949. Menzies oversaw the post-war expansion and became the country's longest-serving leader. Manufacturing industry, previously playing a minor part in an economy dominated by primary production, greatly expanded. Since the 1970s and the abolition of the White Australia policyfrom Asia and other parts of the world, Australia's demography, culture and image of itself has been radically transformed. However, despite the abolition of the policy, instances of racism continue. [ [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/08/28/1093518164853.html?oneclick=true Campus racism rises] Sarah Price, www.smh.com.au. 29 August 2004. Retrieved 2007-06-12.]
ANZUSdefence treaty was signed in 1951 with the United States and New Zealand, and Australia committed troops to the Korean Warand the Malayan Emergency. Melbournehosted the 1956 Summer Olympicsand joint British-Australia nuclear tests and rocket launches began near Woomera, South Australia. The population reached 10 million in 1959.
Since 1951, Australia has been a formal military ally of the U.S. under the auspices of the ANZUS treaty. The final constitutional ties between Australia and Britain ended in 1986 with the passing of the
Australia Act 1986, ending any British role in the Australian States, and ending judicial appeals to the UK Privy Council. Australia remains a constitutional monarchywith Queen Elizabeth II the Queen of Australia; the 1999 referendum to establish a republic was marginally rejected. Australia's formal links to its British past are increasingly tenuous, although people-to-people and cultural connections between Australia and Britain remain significant. Since the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972, there has been an increasing focus on the nation's future as a part of the so-called " Asia-Pacific" region.
Territories transferred in this period were:
Christmas Islandand Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The Coral Sea Islands Territorywas established as a Territory of the Commonwealth under the Coral Sea Islands Act 1969. In 1989 when the Australian Capital Territory achieved self government, Jervis Bay became a separate territory administered by the Ministry of Territories.
Indigenous Australians are the first human inhabitants of the Australian continent and its nearby islands.
A wave of massacres and resistance followed the frontier of European settlement. In 1838, twenty-eight Indigenous people were killed at the
Myall Creek massacre. The convict settlers responsible for the massacres were hanged. The Kalkadoonof Queensland resisted the settlers, and there was a massacre of over 200 people on their land at Battle Mountain in 1884. There was a massacre at Coniston in the Northern Territory in 1928. Poisoning of food and water had been recorded as early as the 1830s.
The removal of children, which the
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissionargue constituted attempted genocide, [Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, "Bringing Them Home: Community Guide" (1997), Conclusion, at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/IndigLRes/stolen_summary/13.html. Accessed 11 October 2007.] had a major impact on the Indigenous population. [Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Bringing Them Home: Community Guide (1997), Conclusion, at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/IndigLRes/stolen_summary/13.html. Accessed 21 October 2007.] Such interpretations of Aboriginal history are disputed by Keith Windschuttleas being exaggerated or fabricated for political or ideological reasons. [Windschuttle, K. (2001). " [http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/20/sept01/keith.htm# The Fabrication of Aboriginal History] ", The New CriterionVol. 20, No. 1, 20 September.] This debate is part of what is known within Australia as the History Wars.
Indigenous Australians were given the right to vote in Commonwealth elections in Australia in November 1962, and in state elections shortly after, with the last state to do this being Queensland in 1965. The 1967 federal referendum allowed the Commonwealth to make laws with respect to Aboriginal people, and for Aboriginal people to be included when the country does a count to determine electoral representation. The referendum passed with a 90.2% majority, the largest affirmative vote in the history of Australia's referendums.
21 November 2006. Sir Tomas Jackson an Aboriginal man from Victoria sues Coon cheese company for racial slur.
On 13 February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologised to the Aborigines of the stolen generation.
Territorial evolution of Australia
History of Oceania
History of present-day nations and states
* Stuart Macintyre, "A Concise History of Australia", Cambridge University Press 2004, ISBN 0521601010
* [http://www.atmitchell.com/journeys/history/ History of the Australian nation - State Library of NSW]
*The [http://gutenberg.net.au/aust-history.html Australian History] page at [http://gutenberg.net.au Project Gutenberg of Australia]
* [http://www.bushpoetry.org.au/ Bush Poetry a source of Australian History]
* [http://www.scribd.com/doc/4859766/Some-Inspirational-People-profiled-by-Laurence-MacDonald-Muir/ "Some Inspirational (Australian) People"] Profiled by Laurence MacDonald Muir.
* [http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/discover_collections/history_nation/terra_australis/index.html From Terra Australis to Australia] , State Liberty of New South Wales
* [http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/australianhistory/ European discovery and the colonisation of Australia - Australian Government]
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