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The history of Australia


The history of Australia  The history of Australia



                         The history of Australia



                                - 102


                                   1999 .


General information about Australia3
     National anthem, flag and the coat-of-arms3
Terra Incognita (Unknown land)..4
First European settlement.4
Creation of the Commonwealth of Australia5
New crown colonies.5
Australias ties with Great Britain and the USA..6

                     General Information about Australia

   Australia is situated in the south-west of the Pacific Ocean. The area
   of this country is 7,7 million square kilometres. The population of the
      country is about 20 million people. The capital is  Canberra. The
 population of Canberra is about 300 thousand  people. Official language is
    English.  Australia is the largest island in the world and it is the
                             smallest continent.
     The Commonwealth of Australia is a self-governing federal state. It
  has got 6 states: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia,
                    Tasmania and 2 internal territories.

                 National  Anthem, Flag and the Coat-of-Arms

      Australian national flag consists of 5 white  stars  of  the  Southern
Cross  and the white Commonwealth star  (the large seven pointed star) on  a
blue background with a Union Jack in  canton.  The  Southern  Cross  is  the
southern Crux, whose four chief stars are in the form of cross.
      The flag of Australia is the only one to fly over a  whole  continent.
The small Union Jack represents the historical link with  Britain,  and  the
large seven-pointed star represents the six states and the Territories,  and
the small stars form the  Southern  Cross    a  prominent  feature  of  the
southern hemisphere night sky.
      A distinctive Australia flora and fauna is reflected in the  countrys
coat-of-arms by the symbols of Australias  endemic  animals;  kangaroo  and
emu and twig of wattle (a kind of acacia).
      Australia officially adopted green and gold as its national colours in
      The Australia national anthem was adopted in the 1970ties. It is  used
on the all official and ceremonial occasions.

                               Terra Incognita
                               (Unknown Land)

      It is supposed that Australias native inhabitants,   the  Aborigines,
arrived in Australia   at  least  40,000  years  ago.  The  first  Europeans
visited the shores of Australia in 1606. The Spanish ship of  Luis  Vaes  de
Torres sailed through the strait which now bears  his  name   and  separates
Australia and Papua New Guinea. In the same  year  the  Dutch  ship  Duyfken
(Little Dove) sailed into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Among later  voyagers  is
Dirk Hartog (1616), who left an inscribed  pewter  plate  (Australias  most
famous early European relic, now in Amsterdam) in Western Australia.
      Abel Tasman, Dutch navigator, visited Tasmania,  which  he  named  Van
Diemens Land, in 1642.
      The first Englishman to visit the continent was a  buccaneer,  William
Dampier, who landed near King Sound on the northwest coast in 1699.
      A second wave of immigration began in 1770, when Captain  James  Cook,
of the British Navy, sighted the east coast of the continent.
       Cook had been sent to Tahiti to make  astronomical  observations  and
when  his  mission  was   completed,   he   sailed   south   in   Endeavour,
circumnavigated New Zealand and headed due west. On  April  20,  1770,  Cook
sighted land near Cape Everard, in the southeast corner  of  Australia.   He
turned north, charting the coastline as he went and, 9  days  later,  landed
at Botany Bay, which he named for the  variety  of  botanic  specimen  found
there. He raised the British flag and claimed New South Wales as a   British

                          First European Settlement

      It is probably due  to its geographical position  that  Australia  was
the last continent to be inhabited by the white man. It was  just  a  little
over 390 years that the Australian continent was discovered.
      The first landing by Europeans took place in 1606. More than a century
and a half later an expedition headed by the  British  explorer  James  Cook
added the land to the possessions of the British crown.
      Until the name Australia (meaning  South  Land)  became  generally
accepted for the continent, it had been referred  to  as  New  Holland,  New
South Wales, or Botany Bay.  During  the  War  of  Independence  (1776)  the
former  British  colonies  in  America  declared   themselves   independent.
Britain tried to make up for this loss  by the seizure of  new  territories.
Besides, the convicts  could  no  longer  be  transported  to  the  American
colonies (which had served  this  purpose  for  over    hundred  years)  and
British jails were more than badly overcrowded.
      The first contingent of the convicts and  their  guards  landed  where
Sydney stands today, on January 26,  1788.  It  was  the  so-called   First
Fleet and these people were called first  fleeters  Now,  Australia  Day,
January 26,  commemorates  the  landing.  Gradually  more  and  more  people
arrived (they were convicts as well  as  free  settlers)  and  a  number  of
settlements were founded along the southern  and  eastern  coasts.  For  the
first few years, the colonists  were   almost  entirely  dependent  on  food
supplies from overseas but gradually the land  around  the  settlements  was
brought under cultivation. Soils were generally poor and  crop  yields  low,
but better agricultural land was soon found near Parramatta,  to  the  west.
Exploratory voyages were also made along the east  coast.  The  boldest  was
that of Captain Matthew  Flinders  who,  in  1802-1803  circumnavigated  the
      Australia Day is a very important holiday for the Australians, another
equally important holiday is called Anzac Day.

                  Creation of The Commonwealth of Australia

      In 1901 the separate colonies in Australia merged together and  became
the States of the Commonwealth of Australia, which acquired  the  status  of
dominion of Great Britain.  The Commonwealth of Australia  a federation  of
the 6 former colonies as states    was  declared  to  come  into  being  on
January 1, 1901.  The first  Governor    General,  the  Earl  of  Hopetoun,
convened  the first Parliament of the Commonwealth  of  Australia  on  April
29, 1901. It was opened in Melbourne on May 9 by Duke of Cornwall and  York,
son of King Edward VII. Sir Edmund Barton was the first Prime Minister.
      The constitution provided for Federal Parliament to sit  in  Melbourne
until a federal capital territory was selected and established. The  present
Australian Capital Territory was  ceded  from  New  South  Wales  to  become
federal territory in 1911, and the future  capital  was  named  Canberra  in
1913. The first Federal  Parliament to meet in Canberra was  opened  by  the
Duke of York, later King George VI, on May 9, 1927.
      Though Australia  now  is  an  independent  state,  according  to  the
Constitution the head  of  the  state  is  the  Monarch  of  Great  Britain,
represented by the Governor-General. His duties include assenting to  bills,
opening, proroguing and dissolving Parliament and  commissioning  the  Prime
Minister to form  a government. Governor-Generals residence  Jarralumla  is
in Canberra.
      The  Commonwealth  of  Australia  is  composed  of  6  states  and   2
territories: the State of New South Wales with its capital  in  Sydney,  the
State of Victoria with its capital in  Melbourne,  the  State  of  Queenland
with its capital in  Brisbane,  the  Sate  of  Western  Australia  with  its
capital in Perth,  the  State  of  Tasmania  with  its  capital  in  Hobart,
Australian Capital Territory with  its  Federal  Capital  in  Canberra,  and
Northern Territory with its capital in Darwin.

                             New Crown Colonies

      Great Britain  was on the verge  of  loosing  13  rebellious  American
Colonies in 1770. At that time Captain  James  Cook  who  led  a  scientific
voyager planted the British ensign on a continent that would soon provide  a
vast new colony: Australia.
      The will to establish new crown colonies was insistent even before the
old ones mere lost. The Parliament debated  the site as early as 1779.  Only
18 years after Captain James Cook had landed in Botany Bay,  Captain  Arthur
Philip arrived  in Sydney Cove to begin the first settlement.
      In many ways, America and Australia have had  corresponding  histories
of exploration, colonization,  immigration,  and  growth.  Both  began  with
settlements on the fringes of huge continents, gradually pushing  inward  to
cultivate a wilderness interior. And both  developed  a  frontier  ethos  of
      As the convicts earned their freedom, they went into the  outback  and
staked claims on land. These  men,  known  as  Squatters,  raised  sheep  or
cattle, depending on the type of land they found for themselves.
      Other convicts however reverted to  their  criminal  ways  and  became
outlaws, raiding the towns and stealing from the squatters. The  early  part
of Australian history is filled  with  the  tales  of  the  settlers.  These
bushrangers often became folk-heroes in the  tradition  of  Robin  Hood  and
Dick Turpin in England, and Jesse James in the United  States.   Many  poems
and songs were written about them  and  at  one  time   it  was  a  criminal
offence  to  sing  or  recite  these   ballads    which   glorified   crime.
Nonetheless,  every  Australian  today  knows  the  stories  of  the  famous
bushrangers. These ballads and songs started  the  tradition  of  Australian
yarn and its heroes, Dads Dave among them.
      The hard rough life in  the  outback  was  no  place  for  women.  The
Squatters searched the towns for wives to take to their stations. It  wasnt
very pleasant prospect for a new bride, but some girls were lucky enough  to
undertake the adventure.  The image of a  typical  Australian  was  a  tall,
thin and blond man  who  was  called  a  Cornstalk,  sometimes  wearing  a
cabbage tree hat.
      Australians celebrated their bicentennial beginning Jan. 26, 1988  and
continuing all next year. On that date  in  1788,  11  ships  arrived   from
Britain, and 1.030 settlers, including 776 convicts, began  their  new  life
in waterfront section of Sydney called the Rocks.

               Australias Ties With Great Britain And The USA

      Initially, Britain and the Commonwealth  countries  were  the  central
elements  of  Australias  foreign  policy  and  activity.   Later,   closer
relations were also developed with the USA,  partly  because  of  the  vital
role it played in the Pacific during and after World War II.
      Australia can seem quite British at times  and  somewhat  American  at
others. Political, legal, and educational institutions derive from  Britain.
Each state capital is named after a colonial  politician  (Perth,  Brisbane,
Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne) or  British  royal  figure  (Adelaide).  Dry  and
witheringly hot towns bear names from Englands  green  and  pleasant  land.
The  representative  of  the  England  queen  is  the  formal  head  of  the
governmental structure. Only since 1984 has required that  a  civil  servant
in Australia be an Australian  previously it was sufficient to be British.
      American    influence   comes   in   culture,   technology,    defense
arrangements, and business. Books from USA have  made  a  major  advance  in
Australian  intellectual  circles  since  the  1960s.  American   ideas   of
management and problem-solving are becoming more and more popular.
      Significantly, Australian dollar was introduced in 1966.
      In the past some  Australians  often  felt  that  Australian  culture,
products, accents, lifestyles compared  unfavorably  with  Britain  and  the
USA. This attitude has  changed.  A  strong  sense  of  distinct  Australian
identity has grown with the growing recognition in the world  of  Australian
films, literature and arts.


1. Australia and New Zealand in brief,  ,    ,  1998
   ., .223
2. .. .  55     .,  ,  
    , 1997 ., . 160
3.  .  . , -, 1998 ., . 95
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