Brief History of Australia
The Discovery: An interesting fact about the discovery of Australia is that it was only discovered in 1642, as opposed to North and South America, and some other parts of the world. Before that nobody wanted it (except the real owners, the Aborigines). Before 1600, both the Portuguese and Spanish had sailed past the Australian Coast acknowledged the others' presence with a wave and went home. That means that both Portugal and Spain lost the chance to have an Oceania branch and gave it for free to a Dutch navigator called Abel Tasman. Tasman spotted an island south of the main continent and called it Abelmania, I mean, Tasmania. (There are many jokes about Tassie, all of them totally unfair!!!!)
In reality, the first Englishman to spot the continent was an ex-pirate called William Dampier, who almost lost his boat on the reefs of Australia's West Coast. He landed - and all he saw was an arid land with no fresh water to drink or to re-supply his ship. According to legend, the heat was cracking his pirate flag on the top of the mast, and he couldn't see any blonde females to rejuvenate his tired body, so after meeting some natives and having a look around to see how he could make some money, he decided he was in the wrong place and sailed back to the Indian Ocean. Some records say that before leaving land he commented to his crew that he never imagined he would meet such miserable people. Once again Australia-to-be was left alone.
Only 100 years later in 1768, the intrepid Capitan James Cook found Australia again. He was sent to Tahiti to study the transit of Venus in the skies of the South Pacific and on the way back, sailing at a lower latitude than usual, he found the land that he thought was mentioned by the Portuguese and Spanish (now very aimed by both rival nations). It was New Zealand, not Australia yet. Continuing his sail west, in 1770, he finally landed on Terras Australis, or Australia for the intimates.
Note: Some books suggest that when Capitan Cook landed, he met an Aborigine with a kangaroo at his side. Cook pointed to the animal and asked its name. The Aborigine answered kangaroo. On arrival back in England, he told everybody that in Australia there lived a big rat that natives called a kangaroo, which could stand up and jump very well. Many years later, some people told him that kangaroo in the local dialect means " I don't understand you".
By 1779, Americans were tired of receiving convicts, thieves, and other bad people from England, and told the Crown..." No more". England, without a place to send these criminals, decided that Australia could be a great place for a no return vacation. By 1787, 750 convicts had entered Australian waters. All arrived well except the ships; some masts, ropes rudders and anchors mysteriously disappeared during the trip. By1868, more than 168,000 convicts arrived in Australia.
The Colonization: With so many skilled hands forced to cut trees and build houses, things grew really fast and in the blink of an eye, villages, cities and farms were settled. Sheep were imported for wool and food, and because there was nothing else to do, convicts started exploring Australia and her vast, unknown land known today as the "outback". The explorers left the coast to travel into the interior, but they didn't know how deserted Australia was, so many of these expeditions finished in tragedy with deaths and lost people, starving and thirsty under a 50 degree Celsius sun. Some of them completed the 6000
kilometer journey to the other side. By 1830, the transportation of convicts was suspended and substituted by free settlers. Much empty land was available to anyone who wished to work on it. These English farmers were very simple people, but determined to construct a new life in Australia. They worked really hard to achieve their goals and construct the Australia
From 1830 on, the most important facts are:
1851 - Lots of Gold was found in New South Wales and later in the state of Victoria . Other Gold mines were discovered in many different towns and places. This attracted people from all over the world, mostly from China.
1854 - The only battle ever fought on Australian soil occurred this year. Miners wanted to abolish mining taxes and faced Australian military. Chinese were attacked and killed for accepting less money for their workmanship.
1880 - The first refrigerated ship allowing the exportation of Australia Sheep, Cattle and perishable products. Australia became one of the top exporting countries in the world losing only to United States.
1901 - Australia officially became an independent federation from England. Devotion, loyalty and friendship with the commonwealth still goes on.
1931 - Australia entered the great economic depression with one third of the population unemployed. The other 2/3 lived in semi-poor conditions.
1914 - 1945 - Australia participated in both world wars. During the second war, the Japanese attacked it. Big loss of human life in both wars.
1948 - 1968 - Operation Populate or Perish attracts 800,000 migrants from all parts of the world. Changes to the measurement system introduced the Metric -decimal system and The Pound was changed into the Australian Dollar.
1974 - Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas day flattening the city. Darwin was totally rebuilt in 3 years.
1991 - Recession hit Australia, with unemployment at its' highest since 1931.
2003 - 2004 - Smallest unemployment rate in 20 years (5.6%). A Boom on the housing market raised prices by up to 80% in less than a year. Australia joined United States and England to attack Iraq.