A Brief Look at the Amazing History of Australia

For those who study English in Australia and want to know more about the history of this Great Land, below is a brief summary.

 

Australia is a diverse and fascinating country in every way — in culture, population, geography, climate and history. Let’s have a brief look at the nation’s history, including aboriginal history, British settlers, Australian history during World War and new arrivals to a post-war boom. For an in-depth understanding of the nation’s background, you can visit Australian Government website.

 

Aboriginal Australia

 

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Image: Tourism Australia

 

Aboriginal Australians are believed to have first arrived on the Australian mainland by boat and lived there for at least 50,000 years. According to the DNA research, they are the oldest living culture in the world.

 

1788 — Britain’s colonisation of Australia

 

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Image: National Geographic

 

Dutch navigators were the first Europeans known to have landed in Australia. The first landing was that of Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon, in 1606. Other European explorers followed until, in 1770, Captain Cook claimed the land for Great Britain. The First Fleet of 11 British ships arrived at Botany Bay in January 1788 to establish New South Wales (NSW) as a Penal Colony. Over 162,000 convicts were sent to Australia from Great Britain, the majority to NSW and Tasmania. The number of Aboriginal Australians greatly diminished by introduced diseases and conflict with the colonists.

 

The 1850s — The Gold Rush

 

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Image: National Geographic

 

The discovery of gold and flourishing farms brought prosperity and created the idea of Australia as a desirable location. The violent, anti-authoritarian struggle of the Eureka Stockade against taxation in 1854 is regarded as a crucial event in the evolution of Australian democracy. Also, in the 1850s as part of the Australian Gold Rush, 50,000 Chinese immigrants first arrived in Australia and established many Chinatowns in urban areas.

 

1901 — Australia came into being

 

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Image: National Library of Australia

 

Australia became an independent nation on 1 January 1901 under a single constitution passed by the British Parliament allowing the six Australian colonies (six states) to govern in their own right as part of the Commonwealth of Australia. It was agreed that the capital would be in NSW but 100 miles from Sydney. This led to the creation of Canberra, with the nation’s temporary seat of government set up in Melbourne for 27 years.

 

1915 — World War 1

 

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Image: The Australian

 

In April 1915, the Australian and New Zealand Anzac Corps (ANZACs) took part in the World War One Gallipoli Campaign. While the Landing at Gallipoli (Turkey) and subsequent battles were a tragedy for Australia, they are also Australians’ source of national pride. Australia lost over 8,000 soldiers that time. But the Anzac forces were greatly admired for their bravery.  April 25th, the date of the first landing at Gallipoli, was officially named ANZAC day in 1916. It has been a public holiday in Australia since 1927.

 

1945 — New arrivals and multiculturalism

 

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When World War Two ended in 1945, the Chifley Labor government instigated a massive program of European immigration. Hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Australia. More than 100,000 people from over 30 different nations worked on the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme (1949–1974). Steady Asian migration began during the 1970s, as a direct result of the close proximity of Australia to Asian nations and significant world events. Today people from over 200 countries make up the Australian community, and over 300 languages are spoken in Australian homes. Australia’s sustained immigration policy does not discriminate on racial, cultural or religious grounds.