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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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White Spirit (A novel based on a true story)

By Lance Morcan

Sterling Gate Books
Released: 2016-09-12
Kindle Edition (682 pages)

White Spirit (A novel based on a true story)
 
Product Description:
Based on the remarkable true story of Irish convict John Graham, WHITE SPIRIT is an epic historical adventure set in 19th Century Australia.

After escaping from the notorious Moreton Bay Penal Settlement, Graham finds refuge with the Kabi, a tribe of Aborigines who eventually accept him as one of their own.

Attempts to recapture Graham are orchestrated by a variety of contrasting characters working for the all-pervasive British Empire. They include Moreton Bay's tyrannical, opium-addicted commandant Lord Cheetham, the dashing yet warlike Lieutenant Hogan, native tracker Barega and the penal settlement's captain, Tom Marsden.

Marsden's young daughter Helen, a progressive lady ahead of her time who is both an egalitarian and a feminist, boldly inserts herself into the clash between the Irish convict, her father and Moreton Bay's other iron-fisted rulers. Helen complicates things further when she finds herself in a Pride and Prejudice-style love triangle with men on opposite sides of the conflict.

When Scottish woman Eliza Fraser is found shipwrecked and close to death in Kabi territory, Graham and his legion of pursuers, as well as the Irishman's adopted Aboriginal family, are all forced to navigate a multi-faceted rescue mission. The precarious rendezvous is made all the more dangerous by Helen Marsden's ethically-driven meddling that often outwits the men involved.

WHITE SPIRIT is not only based on arguably the great Australian (true) story, a sweeping tale that encapsulates all the nuances of the southern continent's unique history, it also provides readers with detailed insights into the tribal life of First Australian (Aboriginal) peoples.

Australia: History of Australia: Discover the major events that shaped the history of Australia

By James Walker

Independently published
Paperback (184 pages)

Australia: History of Australia: Discover the major events that shaped the history of Australia
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Australia is the land where opportunity knocks for everyone, no matter who you are, Australia is open and ready for you to create your own lifestyle and live your dreams.

Although Australia may appear as a hostile, arid chunk of land at first glance, the truth is that this mystical, faraway land is rich in more ways than one. Apart from kangaroos and other iconic, endemic species that roam the Australian landscape, the Land Down Under is also home to a vibrant and diverse culture, as well as some of the oldest surviving folk traditions maintained by Aboriginal Australians. Being incredibly diverse themselves, the indigenous people of Australia are made up of a wide range of tribes that speak many languages and maintain countless ancient customs. While the British certainly played a decisive role in Australia’s development, they weren’t quite the first to arrive, which is just one of the misconceptions that are all too common. How and when the Dutch got there first will become abundantly clear in the early chapters of this book where we will delve deeper into these defining historical events. As we proceed through the chapters, we will explore the entire journey that Australia has had to make to arrive at the point where it is today. Like many other former colonies, Australia gives off the illusion of having a short and uneventful past, which could not be further from the truth. Apart from the indigenous people and their stories, even the relatively brief colonial period is enough of a tale to fill out several volumes.

This book aims to put that information and more into a comprehensive and accessible read for all of those who wish to acquaint themselves with this unique country.

In addition to history, we will also delve into the life and structure of contemporary Australian society and state. This will provide insight into what exactly it means to be Australian and how the country’s past has defined this modern, developed land, which 25 million people now call their home. You will find that, as always, there is more than meets the eye, and that Australia not only has a rich history but has also contributed a great deal to the world as a whole. Let's explore Australia History today

Australian History for Dummies

By Alex McDermott

For Dummies
Released: 2011-05-16
Paperback (448 pages)

Australian History for Dummies
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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!





Australians: A short history

By Thomas Keneally

Allen & Unwin
Released: 2016-10-26
Kindle Edition (953 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

Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia

By David Hunt

Black Inc.
Released: 2013-07-24
Kindle Edition (286 pages)

Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia
 
Product Description:
Winner, 2014 Indie Award for Non-Fiction

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.

Shortlisted, 2014 ABA Nielsen BookData Bookseller's Choice Award, 2014 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, 2014 Australian Book Industry Awards.

Girt … cuts an irreverent swath through the facts, fools, fantasies and frauds that made this country what it is today, hoisting sacred cows on their own petards and otherwise sawing the legs off Lady Macquarie’s chair. I was transported.’ —Shane Maloney, the Age Best Books of 2013

Girt is a ripping read… a humorous history that is accessible enough to share with the eight-year-old. Hunt’s writing interests span comedy, politics and history, a happy triumvirate when your subject is Australia.’ —Stephen Romei in the Australian

David Hunt is an unusually tall and handsome man who likes writing his own bios for all the books he has written. David is the author of Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, which won the 2014 Indie Award for non-fiction and was shortlisted in both the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Australian Book Industry Awards. True Girt, the sequel, was published in 2016, as was a book for children, The Nose Pixies. David has a birthmark that looks like Tasmania, only smaller and not as far south.

Aboriginal Australians: A History Since 1788

By Richard Broome

Allen & Unwin
Released: 2010-05-01
Kindle Edition (410 pages)

Aboriginal Australians: A History Since 1788
 
Product Description:
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 United States of Australia: An Aussie Bloke Explains Australia to Americans

By Cameron Jamieson

Cameron Jamieson
Released: 2014-11-29
Kindle Edition (96 pages)

The United States of Australia: An Aussie Bloke Explains Australia to Americans
 
Product Description:
The United States of Australia is a hilarious and educational introduction to Australia and its quirky inhabitants. Written for Americans, but equally amusing to anyone visiting the shores of the Great Southern Land, this book examines the relationship between Australia and the U.S., including how Australians view their American cousins.
The author has plenty of experience of working and dealing with Americans. He is married to an American nurse and has lived his life within the massive cultural influence that America has shared with Australia since the Second World War. The author’s stories are brimming with empathy and jokes for his American audience. The book is written from the opinion of an Aussie Bloke and the easy-to-digest chapters are just long enough to leave the reader smiling and well informed.
Topics include Blokes and Sheilas, Bloody Foster’s, Dangerous Creatures, Talking to Dogs, The GAFA, Speaking Strail-yun and Working for the Queen. Confused? You won’t be after reading this book!

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]

A Concise History of Australia (Cambridge Concise Histories)

By Stuart Macintyre

Cambridge Univ Pr
Paperback (396 pages)

A Concise History of Australia (Cambridge Concise Histories)
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  • Cambridge Univ Pr
Product Description:
Australia is the last continent to be settled by Europeans, but it also sustains a people and a culture tens of thousands years old. For much of the past 225 years the newcomers have sought to replace the old with the new. This book tells how they imposed themselves on the land, and describes how they brought technology, institutions and ideas to make it their own. The fourth edition incorporates the far-reaching effects of an export and investment boom in the early years of the twenty-first century that lifted Australia to unprecedented prosperity. The sale of minerals and energy enabled the economy to withstand the global financial crisis of 2007-08 but there was no agreement on how the wealth was to be managed and its benefits distributed. The book describes a continuing search for solutions to climate change, the unauthorised arrival of refugees, Indigenous disadvantage and generational change.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book: An Introduction to Indigenous Australia

By Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Brand: Aboriginal Studies Press
Paperback (144 pages)

The Little Red Yellow Black Book: An Introduction to Indigenous Australia
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An introduction to Australia’s rich, indigenous culture, this pocket-sized guide is an invaluable resource for learning about the 60,000-year-old history of the country. Containing everything from history and rarely seen photographs to information on traveling respectfully, the content is written by indigenous people and follows their cultural protocols and ethics. Presented in a nonchronological approach, the guide is as much a reference as it is the story of identity and continuity.



 
 
 

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