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Travel Guide 2   >   Australia   >   History

   
 

Australian History


The first humans are believed to have arrived in Australia over 40,000 years ago. These people arrived via land-bridges and/or sea crossings from Southeast Asia, and became the indigenous people known as "aborigines". An additional and distinct group of early settlers, ethnically Melanesian, settled in the Torres Strait Islands (the Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea) and the far North of Queensland.

Replica of James Cook's ship, HMB Endeavour, in Cooktown Harbour, 1988 Europeans first began to reach the area at the aroud the beginning of the 17th century. The first undisputed sighting of the Australian mainland was by the Dutch sea captain, William Janszoon in 1606. The Dutch are known to have chartered the western and northern shorelines of the continent during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement of what they called at the time "New Holland". In 1770, British navigator, James Cook mapped parts of the East coast of Australia: the region today known as New South Wales. Cook claimed the area for Great Britain.

The first British colony was established in New South Wales on January 26th, a day that is now remembered as "Australia Day". The British formerly claimed the western portions of Australia in 1859, and during the 19th century a whole series of separate British colonies were established around the continent. Much of this British colonization was based upon the transportation of convicts to penal colonies, and it was only in 1848 that the transportation of convicts to New South Wales stopped.

The arrival of Europeans had a drastic effect on the indigenous aboriginal population. This fell dramaticly from a high of 350,000 due to the infectious diseases, forced resettlements, and other factors. Indeed, although the issues remain highly controversial and disputed, some historians have characterized the events of the period as genocide.

In 1850s, the European population increased further thanks to a gold rush, and between 1855 and 1890, each of the six British colonies was separately granted responsible government - while the the colonies were autonomous in their internal affairs, they Britain retained control of foreign affairs and defense. In 1901, the six colonies were united in a federation known as the Commonwealth of Australia.

Australia participated in both World War I and World War II as part of the British Empire. To many Australians the events of the world wars, especially the Gallipoli campaign in World War I, and the Kokoda Track Campaign in World War II, were important milestones in Australia's path to independent nationhood.

Legally, Australia first moved towards independence from Britain with the Statue of Westminister in 1931 (although Australia did not ratify it until 1942, but then back dated its effect to 1939), which granted effective independence in most matters. Australia however did retain some constitutional ties with Britain for another 40 years, these only finally be severed with the passing of the Australia Act in 1986. It should be noted that the British Queen Elizabeth II is also Queen of Australia, and a 1999 national referendum rejected becoming a republic.

Here are some books about the history of Australia:


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Books about Australian History


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Australian History for Dummies

By Alex McDermott

For Dummies
Released: 2011-05-06
Paperback (448 pages)

Australian History for Dummies
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Product Description:
Created especially for the Australian customer!

Exciting and informative history of the land down under

Australian History For Dummies is your tour guide through the important events of Australia's past, introducing you to the people and events that have shaped modern Australia. Be there as British colonists explore Australia's harsh terrain with varying degrees of success. In this informative guide you'll

  • Find out about Australia's infamous bushrangers
  • Learn how the discovery of gold caused a tidal wave of immigration from all over the world
  • Understand how Australia took two steps forward to become a nation in its own right in 1901, and two steps back when the government was dismissed by the Crown in 1975

Discover the fascinating details that made Australia the country it is today!





Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia

By David Hunt

Black Inc.
Paperback (286 pages)

Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia
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Girt. No word could better capture the essence of Australia ...

In this hilarious history, David Hunt reveals the truth of Australia's past, from megafauna to Macquarie - the cock-ups and curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.

Girt introduces forgotten heroes like Mary McLoghlin, transported for the crime of "felony of sock", and Trim the cat, who beat a French monkey to become the first animal to circumnavigate Australia.

It recounts the misfortunes of the escaped Irish convicts who set out to walk from Sydney to China, guided only by a hand-drawn paper compass, and explains the role of the coconut in Australia's only military coup.

Our nation's beginnings are steeped in the strange, the ridiculous and the frankly bizarre. Girt proudly reclaims these stories for all of us.

Not to read it would be un-Australian.

About the author: David Hunt is an unusually tall and handsome man who likes writing his own biographical notes for all the books he has written (one). He has worked as an historical consultant and comedy writer for television, and also has a proper job.

"A sneaky, sometimes shocking peek under the dirty rug of Australian history."
John Birmingham

"Hilarious and insightful -- Hunt has found the deep wells of humour in Australia's history."
Chris Taylor, The Chaser

The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding

By Robert Hughes

Vintage Books
Released: 1988-02-12
Paperback (628 pages)

The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia s Founding
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  • Great product!
Product Description:
In this bestselling account of the colonization of Australia, Robert Hughes explores how the convict transportation system created the country we know today.

Digging deep into the dark history of England's infamous efforts to move 160,000 men and women thousands of miles to the other side of the world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Hughes has crafted a groundbreaking, definitive account of the settling of Australia.

Tracing the European presence in Australia from early explorations through the rise and fall of the penal colonies, and featuring 16 pages of illustrations and 3 maps, The Fatal Shore brings to life the incredible true history of a country we thought we knew.

Aboriginal Australians: A History Since 1788

By Richard Broome

Brand: Allen Unwin
Paperback (336 pages)

Aboriginal Australians: A History Since 1788
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A powerful history of black and white encounters in Australia since colonization, this fully updated edition remains the only concise survey of Aboriginal history since 1788
 
In the creation of any new society, there are winners and losers. So it was with Australia as it grew from a colonial outpost to an affluent society. Richard Broome tells the history of Australia from the standpoint of the original Australians: those who lost most in the early colonial struggle for power. Surveying two centuries of Aboriginal-European encounters, he shows how white settlers steadily supplanted the original inhabitants, from the shining coasts to inland deserts, by sheer force of numbers, disease, technology, and violence. He also tells the story of Aboriginal survival through resistance and accommodation, and traces the continuing Aboriginal struggle to move from the margins of a settler society to a more central place in modern. Since its first edition in 1982, Broome's Aboriginal Australians has won acclaim as a classic account of race relations in Australia. This fully rewritten fourth edition continues the story, covering the uneven implementation of native title, the plight of remote Aboriginal communities, the "Intervention," and the landmark apology to the "stolen generations" by Federal Parliament.

The Great Mistakes of Australian History

University of New South Wales Press
Paperback (256 pages)

The Great Mistakes of Australian History
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Blunders, stuff-ups and misjudgements are a part of any country's history. Dwelling on what might have been isn't always helpful, but recognising our mistakes and learning from them is important. In this highly original and provocative book leading Australian historians attempt to do just that. Many stories, scenarios and situations are explored with verve, compassion and insight. The Great Mistakes of Australian History is a lively and provocative account of where we might have got it wrong, written so that next time we can get it right.

True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia

By David Hunt

Black Inc.
Paperback (450 pages)

True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia
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First there was Girt. Now comes ...

True Girt

In this side-splitting sequel to his best-selling history, David Hunt takes us to the Australian frontier. 

This was the Wild South, home to hardy pioneers, gun-slinging bushrangers, directionally challenged explorers, nervous indigenous people, Caroline Chisholm and sheep. Lots of sheep.

True Girt introduces Thomas Davey, the hard-drinking Tasmanian governor who invented the Blow My Skull cocktail, and Captain Moonlite, Australia’s most infamous LGBTI bushranger.  Meet William Nicholson, the Melbourne hipster who gave Australia the steam-powered coffee roaster and the world the secret ballot. And say hello to Harry, the first camel used in Australian exploration, who shot dead his owner, the explorer John Horrocks.

Learn how Truganini’s death inspired the Martian invasion of Earth. Discover the role of Hall and Oates in the Myall Creek Massacre. And be reminded why you should never ever smoke with the Wild Colonial Boy and Mad Dan Morgan.

Australia and the War in the Air: Volume I - The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War

By Michael Molkentin

Oxford University Press
Hardcover (288 pages)

Australia and the War in the Air: Volume I - The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War
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Drawing on archival records in Australasia, Europe and North America, Australia and the War in the Air provides a fresh perspective on Australia's involvement in the Great War and a revaluation of air power's early influence on warfare.

From the earliest days of the Great War, Australians volunteered to fight in the air - warfare's newest arena, and one that would transform the nature of military operations. In the squadrons of the Australian Flying Corps and with Britain's flying services, Australian airmen fought in campaigns that spanned the length and breadth of the First World War; between 1914 and 1918 they served in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and on the Western Front. By 1919 over 4000 Australians had served with the empire's flying units. Though modest compared to some of the other British dominions, Australia's part had been the most conspicuous. Whereas the other dominions had opted to provide manpower to serve in Britain's flying services, the Commonwealth's insistence on a distinctly national contribution ensured recognition for Australia's support to the empire's effort in the air.

This book examines Australia's role in history's first major air war. Unlike previous accounts, which focus on the airmen of the Australian Flying Corps in isolation, this study conceives the Australian part as one of an imperial - and international - whole. In addition to using Australian involvement as a case study to analyse the impact air power had on military operations, this study also addresses aspects of organisation, training, administration and command, as well as the imperial politics and strategic issues that contextualised dominion participation in the war.

Australia's Most Unbelievable True Stories

By Jim Haynes

Bolinda Audio
Released: 2017-06-13
Audio CD

Australia s Most Unbelievable True Stories
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Did you know that in 1932 the Australian army was called out to wage war on an invading army of 20,000... emus? Or that the first royal personage to arrive in Australia was the King of Iceland and he came as a convict? And how about the spooky phenomenon of the mischief-making Guyra Ghost?

From Jim Haynes, one of our most successful and prolific tellers of yarns and bush tales, comes this ultimate collection of unbelievable true Australian stories: the unknown, the forgotten, the surprising, the truly weird and the completely inexplicable.

Told with a refreshing understatement, Australia's Most Unbelievable True Stories vividly evokes a vanishing Australia when anything was possible, when characters were larger than life and the bizarre and strange were normal.

Australian Cuisine: A Cookbook with Recipes from Down Under and the Outback

By J.R. Stevens

Independently published
Paperback (69 pages)

Australian Cuisine: A Cookbook with Recipes from Down Under and the Outback
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Experience the uniqueness of Australian Cuisine. With over 50 recipes, you'll be able to discover a new world of foods that represents the country of Australia. Given its history, you'll see influences from British and other cultures in these recipes. Find dishes using chicken, shrimp, lamb and even kangaroo. And, find something to prepare for breakfast, dinner, and dessert. Grab your copy of Australian Cuisine: A Cookbook with Recipes from Down Under and the Outback today!/b>

Australian Heroes and Adventurers (Classic Reprint)

By William Thomas Pyke

Forgotten Books
Paperback

Australian Heroes and Adventurers (Classic Reprint)
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Excerpt from Australian Heroes and Adventurers
In the succeeding volumes of the series I propose to give Buckley, the Runaway Convict, and his Black Friends, John Batman, the Founder of Melbourne, Fawkner, the Pioneer, Early Days of Tasmania, Botany Bay Tales, Remarkable Convicts, Notorious Bushrangers, Brave Deeds.
About the Publisher
Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com
This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.


 
 
 

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