History of Australia

History of Australia
Australia has a rich and fascinating history – from the Aboriginal inhabitants to first European immigrants to current modern nation.

Although on paper, Australia seems like a fairly new country without much incredible history like Egypt, China, and more – Australia is an ancient country with many historic tales to tell. Australia was first inhabited between 40,000 to 50,000 years ago, but researchers also believe that it may have been first inhabited a whopping 70,000 years ago by Indigenous Australians Later in the 1600's, Australia was discovered by Europeans, creating written history.

Australian Aborigines mostly spread history down from generation to generation in oral myths and songs. At present, the earliest human remains found are at Lake Mungo in New South Wales. These human remains were carbon dated back to 40,000 years ago. The myths spread were called “dreamtime” and were about how the Spirit Beings formed how the universe and human beings were created, and how the Creator intended humans to act within the cosmos. Many of these dreamtime stories were etched into cave walls, and can be seen at many Indigenous Australian sites such as Uluru.

The Dutch first discovered Australia in 1606. Willem Janszoon first encountered the Australian mainland while he was commanding the Duyfken, however some Historians say that the Portuguese had secretly discovered Australia and had labelled the island as Jave la Grand on the Dieppe maps. After this, many European Mariners, mostly Dutchmen, chartered the area such as Abel Tasman and Dirk Hartog.

Many proposals for colonisation were made, however most of them failed because the Indigenous Australians were not that interested in trade unlike the Indians, Japanese, Chinese, and those in the East Indies. The French first formally claimed sovereignty over west Australia in 1772, but no follow ups were made in terms of colonisation. After this, King Gustav III of Sweden wanted to establish the Swan River as a Swedish colony in 1786, however this was not possible.

It was only in 1788 when the right political, economic, and technological factors made Great Britain the first nation to make the large-scale effort worthwhile of sending the First Fleet over to New South Wales. The British Government established the first colony at Botany Bay. During 1788 to 1868, over 160,000 convicts were transported to Australia. Free settlers were also encouraged to come to Australia to live, and unfortunately many Indigenous Australians suffered through to the laws passed that inflicted negatively on what was rightly theirs. They were also sadly classified until recently as “flora and fauna” - as in, they were not classified as human beings.

By the 1880's, 90% of the people living in Australia were native born and more than 90% of these were originally from Britain and Ireland. The famous bushranger, Ned Kelly, represented one of the attitudes of native born Australians. These people identified strongly with family and friends, and were opposed to the oppression by the powerful Squatters and the Police.

In 1895, the Australian national movement had begun. Many famous poets began emerging, such as Banjo Patterson who wrote Waltzing Matilda. Many other nationalistic music, writing, and art emerged began to emerge. On January 1, 1901, Australia became a federation. However, it was only until 1942 that Australia ratified the Statute of Westminster and by 1986, the Australia Act removed all of the remaining links between Australia and the British Parliament.

Since then, Australia has become a stronger and stronger nation. In 2000, Sydney was the host for the Olympic Games. Many actors, actresses, and directors are making their mark in Hollywood. In addition, it has become a stronger player in the world's economy. Not bad for a “young” country!