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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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Australians: A short history

By Thomas Keneally

Allen & Unwin
Released: 2016-10-26
Kindle Edition (992 pages)

Australians: A short history
 
Product Description:
Australians, Thomas Keneally's widely acclaimed three volume history of the Australian people from origins to Vietnam, gave us a robust, vibrant and page-turning narrative that brought to life the vast range of characters who have formed our national story.

Australians: a short history brings these three volumes together and reintroduces us to the rich assortment of contradictory, inspiring and surprising characters who made a young and cocky Australia.

It is the story of the original Australians and European occupation of their land through the convict era to pastoralists, bushrangers and gold seekers, working men, pioneering women, the rifts wrought by World War I, the rise of hard-nosed radicals from the Left and the Right, the social upheavals of the Great Crash and World War II, the Menzies era, the nation changing period of post-war migration and Australia's engagement with Asia. This is a truly masterly history of Australia and its people by an author of outstanding literary skill whose own humanity permeates every page.

Praise for Australians, the three volume history

'... giving us what Australian history has desperately needed for years.' Canberra Times

'Keneally evokes these distant lives with concrete detail and vivid sympathy ... his people inhabit the same world we do - we meet them without the hesitation of reaching across voids of space and time.' Sydney Morning Herald

'When it comes to writing page-turning narrative no one does it better than Thomas Keneally ... no doubt about it, Australians is a corker.' Weekend Australian

'Reading this book is like listening to a witty raconteur.' Adelaide Advertiser

'This new perspective on Australia's founding fathers is truly fascinating.' Courier Mail

'... what this book does is populate the blankness of our collective memory with lots of characters from all parts of the continent and all walks of life.' Saturday Age

A Source Book of Australian History

By Gwendolen Swinburne

Released: 2013-10-23
Kindle Edition (222 pages)

A Source Book of Australian History
 
Product Description:
A Source Book of Australian History by Gwendolen Swinburne

Australia: A Cultural History (Third Edition) (Australian History)

By John Rickard

Monash University Publishing
Paperback (320 pages)

Australia: A Cultural History (Third Edition) (Australian History)
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"A perceptive, balanced, wide-ranging interpretation of the evolution of modern Australia which is both erudite and well-written."--Duncan Bythell ***John Rickard's Australia: A Cultural History, first published in 1988, is still the only short history of Australia from a cultural perspective. It has also acquired a unique reputation as an introduction to the development of Australian society and was listed by the historian and public intellectual John Hirst in his First XI: The Best Australian History Books. Although arranged chronologically, this book is not a chronicle; rather, it focuses on the transmission of values, beliefs, and customs amongst the diverse mix of peoples who are today's Australians. The story begins with the sixty thousand years of the Aboriginal presence and their continuing material and spiritual relationship with the land. The reader is led through the turbulent years of British colonisation and the emergence-through prosperity, war, and depression-of the cultural accommodations which have been distinctively Australian. The third edition concludes with a critical review of the challenges facing contemporary Australia and warns that 'we may get the future we deserve.' (Series: Australian History) [Subject: History, Sociology]

Indigenous Australian Cultures (Global Cultures)

By Mary Colson

Heinemann
Released: 2014-10-01
Kindle Edition (48 pages)

Indigenous Australian Cultures (Global Cultures)
 
Product Description:
Indigenous Australian Culture covers a vast array of subjects on Indigenous Australian culture -- from fine arts to ceremonies, from legends to the culture's global influence.

The Dogs that Made Australia: The Story of the Dogs that Brought about Australia's Transformation from Starving Colony to Pastoral Powerhouse

By Guy Hull

HarperCollins
Released: 2018-06-18
Kindle Edition

The Dogs that Made Australia: The Story of the Dogs that Brought about Australia s Transformation from Starving Colony to Pastoral Powerhouse
 
Product Description:
Hunter. Worker. Legend. The untold story of the dog's role in building our nation.

The Dogs That Made Australia pays tribute to the dogs that gave their all for our prosperity: the fearless hounds that saved fledgling colonies from famine; the courageous heelers and tireless collies that powered the rise of beef and wool; the tough little home-grown terriers that protected the homestead and garden; and the extraordinary police dogs, ahead of their time, loved by the nation. The selfless exploits of our heroic dogs are writ indelibly in our nation's heritage and identity. The Dogs That Made Australia is a vivid and meticulously researched history of Australia told from the perspectives of the dingo and of the dogs that were imported and developed here, as well as the humans who loved, feared and worked them.

PRAISE

'A highly readable book about Australia's dog heroes and their contribution to Australia's development. This is a book for the ages. I loved every page!' Tony Parsons, OAM, author of The Kelpie

'This should be on every school list for every primary school. It is a fantastic Australian history reference' Narelle Hammond, Secretary, Australian Cattle Dog Society of NSW

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

By J.R. Stevens

Encore Publishing
Released: 2017-02-11
Kindle Edition (69 pages)

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

The European Settlement of Australia: The History and Legacy of Early Expeditions and British Settlements on the Australian Continent

By Charles River Editors

Charles River Editors
Released: 2018-05-30
Kindle Edition

The European Settlement of Australia: The History and Legacy of Early Expeditions and British Settlements on the Australian Continent
 
Product Description:
*Includes pictures
*Includes contemporary accounts
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

“It is quite time that our children were taught a little more about their country, for shame’s sake.” – Henry Lawson, Australian poet

A land of almost 3 million square miles has lain since time immemorial on the southern flank of the planet, so isolated that it remained entirely outside of European knowledge until 1770. However, the first human footprints on this vast territory were felt 70,000 years earlier, as people began to cross the periodic land bridges and the short sea crossings from Southeast Asia.
The history of the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, known in contemporary anthropology as the “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia,” is a complex and continually evolving field of study, and it has been colored by politics. For generations after the arrival of whites in Australia, the Aboriginal people were disregarded and marginalized, largely because they offered little in the way of a labor resource, and they occupied land required for European settlement.

At the same time, it is a misconception that indigenous Australians meekly accepted the invasion of their country by the British, for they did not. They certainly resisted, but as far as colonial wars during that era went, the frontier conflicts of Australia did not warrant a great deal of attention. Indigenous Australians were hardly a warlike people, and without central organization, or political cohesion beyond scattered family groups, they succumbed to the orchestrated advance of white settlement with passionate, but futile resistance. In many instances, aggressive clashes between the two groups simply gave the white colonists reasonable cause to inflict a style of genocide on the Aborigines that stood in the way of progress.

In any case, their fate had largely been sealed by the first European sneeze in the Terra Australis, which preceded the importation of the two signature mediums of social destruction. The first was a collection of alien diseases, chief among smallpox, but also cholera, influenza, measles, tuberculosis, syphilis and the common cold. The second was alcohol. Smallpox alone killed more than 50% of the aboriginal population, and once the fabric of indigenous society had crumbled, alcohol provided emotional relief, but relegated huge numbers of Aborigines to the margins of a robust and emerging colonial society.

The European Settlement of Australia: The History and Legacy of Early Expeditions and British Settlements on the Australian Continent analyzes the expeditions that discovered Australia and the subsequent settlements over the course of about 150 years. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the European settlement of Australia like never before.

Australian History for Dummies

By Alex McDermott

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

Australian History for Dummies
List Price: $19.99*
Lowest New Price: $5.00*
Lowest Used Price: $4.29*
Usually ships in 24 hours*
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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 throughthe important events of Australia's past, introducing you to thepeople and events that have shaped modern Australia. Be there asBritish colonists explore Australia's harsh terrain with varyingdegrees 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 ofimmigration from all over the world
  • Understand how Australia took two steps forward to become anation in its own right in 1901, and two steps back when thegovernment was dismissed by the Crown in 1975

Discover the fascinating details that made Australia the countryit is today!





History of the Australian Bushrangers

By George E Boxall

Released: 2013-10-23
Kindle Edition (246 pages)

History of the Australian Bushrangers
 
Product Description:
History of the Australian Bushrangers by George E Boxall. Originally published in 1908


 
 
 

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