The one minute summary on Australia

This is it: one minute to the best info on Australia. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Australia, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.

Prehistoric settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia at least 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James Cook took possession of the east coast in the name of Great Britain (all of Australia was claimed as British territory in 1829 with the creation of the colony of Western Australia). Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the Allied effort in World Wars I and II. In recent decades, Australia has become an internationally competitive, advanced market economy due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s and its location in one of the fastest growing regions of the world economy.

Long-term concerns include aging of the population, pressure on infrastructure, and environmental issues such as floods, droughts, and bushfires. Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, making it particularly vulnerable to the challenges of climate change. Australia is home to 10 per cent of the world’s biodiversity, and a great number of its flora and fauna exist nowhere else in the world. In January 2013, Australia assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2013-14 term.

That was it. I promised one minute.

australia  photo

Photo by Travis_Simon

For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.

  1. Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in  Australia
  2. Does my current phone work in  Australia ? Tips to cell phone usage in  Australia
  3. Local food you should try in  Australia and No miss drinks in  Australia

Now, cheers to the most Australia aware person at the cocktail party.

What are the key history moments for Australia?

Based upon scientific evidence and theory, the island of Australia was most likely first settled more than 50,000 years ago with successive waves of immigration of people from south and south-east Asia. With rising sea levels after the last Ice Age, Australia became largely isolated from the rest of the world and tribes developed a variety of cultures, based on a close spiritual relationship with the land and nature, and extended kinship. Australian people maintained a hunter-gatherer culture for thousands of years in association with a complex artistic and cultural life – including a very rich ‘story-telling’ tradition.

While the modern impression of Australian people is largely built around an image of the ‘aboriginal desert people’ who have adapted to some of the harshest conditions on the planet (equivalent to the bushmen of the Kalahari), Australia provided a comfortable living for the people amongst the bountiful flora and fauna on the Australian coast – until the arrival of Europeans. Although a lucrative Chinese market for shells and beche de mer had encouraged Indonesian fishermen to visit Northern Australia for centuries, it was unknown to Europeans until the 1600s, when Dutch traders to Asia began to ‘bump’ into the Northwestern Coast.

Early Dutch impressions of this extremely harsh, dry country were unfavourable, and Australia remained for them a symbolic road sign pointing north to the much richer (and lucrative) East Indies (modern Indonesia). Deliberate exploration of the Australian coast was then largely taken over by the French and the British. Consequently place names of bays, headlands and rivers around the coastline reflect a range of Dutch, French, British, and Aboriginal languages.

australia ship photo

Photo by jwbenwell

In 1770, the expion of the Endeavour under the command of Captain James Cook navigated and charted the east coast of Australia, making first landfall at Botany Bay on 29 Apr 1770. Cook continued northwards, and before leaving put ashore on Possession Island in the Torres Strait off Cape York on 22 Aug 1770. Here he formally claimed the eastern coastline he had discovered for the British Crown, naming it New South Wales. Given that Cook’s discoveries would lead to the first European settlement of Australia, he is often popularly conceived as its European discoverer, although other European nations preceded his arrival by more than 160 years. Following the exploration period, the first British settlement in Australia was founded in 1788 at what is today Sydney, led by Captain Arthur Philip who became the first governor of the colony of New South Wales. This started a process of colonisation that almost entirely displaced the Aboriginal people who inhabited the land.

This reduced the indigenous population drastically and marginalised them to the fringes of society. Originally comprising the eastern two-thirds of the island, the colony of New South Wales was later split into several separate colonies, with Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen’s Land) becoming a separate colony in 1825, followed by South Australia in 1836, New Zealand in 1841, Victoria in 1851 and Queensland in 1859. The western third of the island was not settled by Europeans until the British establised a naval base in Albany, then known as King George Sound in 1826. The Swan River Colony was formally established in 1829 at what is today Perth. The Swan River Colony was officially renamed Western Australia in 1832.

While Australia began its modern history as a British penal colony, the vast majority of people who came to Australia after 1788 were free settlers, mainly from Britain and Ireland, but also from other European countries. Convict settlements were mostly along the east coast, with scattered pockets of convict settlements in Western Australia. The state of South Australia was settled entirely by free settlers. Many Asian and Eastern European people also came to Australia in the 1850s, during the Gold Rush that started Australia’s first resource boom. Although such diverse immigration diminished greatly during the xenophobic years of the White Australia policy, Australia welcomed a successive series of immigrants from Europe, the Merranean and later Asia to form a highly diverse and multicultural society by the late 20th century.

The system of separate colonies federated to form the self-governing British dominion of Australia in 1901, each colony became a state of Australia, with New Zealand opting out of the federation. The new country rapidly developed its natural resources including agricultural and manufacturing industries. This development resulted in a large contribution (in relation to size of the population) to the Allied war effort in World Wars I and II. Australian troops made a valuable, and sometimes controversial, contribution to the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.

Australian Diggers retain a reputation as some of the hardest fighting troops along with a great social spirit. Australia and Britain passed the Australia Act in 1986, ending the official power that the British parliament may have had to pass laws for Australia, and ended appeals by Australia to British courts. While the parliament lost that power, the Queen of England and her appointees retained full rights to exercise all power.

Best places to see in Australia

There is much to see in Australia that you can’t see easily in its natural setting anywhere else. Check my post on best places to visit in Australia.