A Brief History of Australia

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Australia ‘“ amusingly called the land of Kangaroos is the only country which is also a continent. However given the huge land mass of the country, the country is still under populated. Given the comparatively high employment possibility ‘“ which is higher than UK and US ‘“ and the moderate rate of living, the life expectancy of the Australian population is said to increase by 2.5 years. It’s funny though how little we know about this reasonable stretch of land. The most intriguing question though is if the entire population here have true Australian roots or a Diaspora travelled and settled through generations

The Aboriginals – A Time Before Time

Though to map the history of a blended culture as such is difficult, scientists have their theories of how the primitive inhabitants occupied this country. According to some scientists, the primitive beings go back to the Ice Age where the ‘˜wandering population’ migrated from the South East through land bridges. Though in literal sense these aboriginals or aborigines were never settlers as they kept wandering inside the boundaries also to fulfil their basic needs like food; thus were around 300 different clans who spoke about 250 languages with over 700 dialects.

Captain Cook’s ‘˜Famous Discovery’

The region was mapped out in the early 17th centuries by Dutch and French navigators but it was not before 22nd August, 1770 that Englishman Lieutenant James Cook chartered across the east strip of now Australia under the instructions of King George III, and like every ‘˜discovered land’ in those times, this was also claimed by the ‘˜founder’ which here was Great Britain. The whole premise of Captain Cook discovering Australia is highly contested now by many thinkers stating that the piece of land was always there with a reasonable population of about a million aboriginals already living there.

British and Penal Colonies

As British found the soil in this region to be unsuitable for settlement, they colonised this region making it their penal colonies to ward off the convicts. On 26th January, 1788, under the command of Arthur Philip, the First Fleet landed on the Australian soil at Sydney Cove, comprising of 759 convicts from England. These convicts; who were sentenced and shipped off miserably to penal colonies for crimes as small as stealing cheese; were used as labours and also slaves to develop these colonies. They were indulged in labour like making the road ways, bridges and so on. Besides the aboriginals were forced to leave their ways of lives and thus were coerced into the western ways. Given the oppression, the country was infested with slave trade. Sadism by guards on duty, violent abuse and deplorable conditions of the convicts marks the most gored era in the Australian history.

The Gold Rush

Discovery of Gold in New South Wales and Victoria in the 1850s is marked with the vast percentage of overseas population settled in Australia even today. This particular period called the Gold Rush attracted immigrants from all over the world, so much so that in the 2012 census, around 25% of the total population of the 23 million were found to be settled immigrants with their ancestral history of migrants.

Identity Through War

World War I saw 40,000 volunteers from Australia and 9000 of them never made back alive. This commemoration however made way for an identity of the country in the international community. The Treaty of Versailles, which marked the end of World War I in 1919 was the first ever international treaty signed by Australia. Then on Australia gained recognition, developed its economy and ushered into world politics; note the alliance with the United States in the Japan War and being the founding member of the United Nations in 1945.

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