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The artistic , musical and spiritual traditions they established are among the longest surviving such traditions in human history.
Macassan trepangers visited Australia's northern coasts after , possibly earlier. He returned to London with accounts favouring colonization at Botany Bay now in Sydney.
A First Fleet of British ships arrived at Botany Bay in January  to establish a penal colony , the first colony on the Australian mainland.
In the century that followed, the British established other colonies on the continent, and European explorers ventured into its interior.
Indigenous Australians were greatly weakened and their numbers diminished by introduced diseases and conflict with the colonists during this period.
Gold rushes and agricultural industries brought prosperity. Autonomous parliamentary democracies began to be established throughout the six British colonies from the midth century.
The colonies voted by referendum to unite in a federation in , and modern Australia came into being. Australia fought on the side of Britain in the two world wars and became a long-standing ally of the United States when threatened by Imperial Japan during World War II.
Trade with Asia increased and a post-war immigration program received more than 6. Indigenous Australians are believed to have arrived in Australia 40, to 50, years ago, and possibly as early as 65, years ago.
At the time of first European contact, it has been estimated the existing population was at least ,,   while recent archaeological finds suggest that a population of , could have been sustained.
There is considerable archaeological discussion as to the route taken by the first colonisers. People appear to have arrived by sea during a period of glaciation, when New Guinea and Tasmania were joined to the continent ; however, the journey still required sea travel, making them among the world's earlier mariners.
If they arrived around 70, years ago, they could have crossed the water from Timor, when the sea level was low, but if they came later, around 50, years ago, a more likely route would have been through the Moluccas to New Guinea.
Given that the likely landfall regions have been under around 50 metres of water for the last 15, years, it is unlikely that the timing will ever be established with certainty.
The earliest known human remains were found at Lake Mungo , a dry lake in the southwest of New South Wales. The Dreaming established the laws and structures of society and the ceremonies performed to ensure continuity of life and land.
It remains a prominent feature of Australian Aboriginal art. Aboriginal art is believed to be the oldest continuing tradition of art in the world.
Manning Clark wrote that the ancestors of the Aborigines were slow to reach Tasmania, probably owing to an ice barrier existing across the South East of the continent.
The Aborigines, he noted, did not develop agriculture, probably owing to a lack of seed bearing plants and animals suitable for domestication.
Thus, the population remained low. Clark considered that the three potential pre-European colonising powers and traders of East Asia—the Hindu-Buddhists of southern India, the Muslims of Northern India and the Chinese—each petered out in their southward advance and did not attempt a settlement across the straits separating Indonesia from Australia.
But trepang fisherman did reach the north coast, which they called "Marege" or "land of the trepang". The greatest population density for Aborigines developed in the southern and eastern regions, the River Murray valley in particular.
The arrival of Australia's first people affected the continent significantly, and, along with climate change , may have contributed to the extinction of Australia's megafauna.
One genetic study in by Irina Pugach and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has suggested that about 4, years before the First Fleet landed, some Indian explorers settled in Australia and assimilated into the local population in roughly BC.
Despite considerable cultural continuity, life was not without significant changes. Some 10—12, years ago, Tasmania became isolated from the mainland, and some stone technologies failed to reach the Tasmanian people such as the hafting of stone tools and the use of the Boomerang.
The early wave of European observers like William Dampier described the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of the Aborigines of the West Coast as arduous and "miserable".
Lieutenant James Cook on the other hand, speculated in his journal that the "Natives of New Holland" the East Coast Aborigines whom he encountered might in fact be far happier than Europeans.
By , the population existed as individual nations, many of which were in alliance with one another, and within each nation there existed several clans, from as few as five or six to as many as 30 or Each nation had its own language and a few had multiple, thus over languages existed, around of which are now extinct.
Permanent European settlers arrived at Sydney in and came to control most of the continent by end of the 19th century. Bastions of largely unaltered Aboriginal societies survived, particularly in Northern and Western Australia into the 20th century, until finally, a group of Pintupi people of the Gibson Desert became the last people to be contacted by outsider ways in Twenty-nine other Dutch navigators explored the western and southern coasts in the 17th century, and dubbed the continent New Holland.
No European Nation has a right to occupy any part of their country, or settle among them without their voluntary consent.
Conquest over such people can give no just title: because they could never be the aggressors. The first governor , Arthur Phillip , was instructed explicitly to establish friendship and good relations with the Aborigines, and interactions between the early newcomers and the ancient landowners varied considerably throughout the colonial period—from the curiosity displayed by the early interlocutors Bennelong and Bungaree of Sydney to the outright hostility of Pemulwuy and Windradyne of the Sydney region  and Yagan around Perth.
Bungaree accompanied the explorer Matthew Flinders on the first circumnavigation of Australia. Pemulwuy was accused of the first killing of a white settler in , and Windradyne resisted early British expansion beyond the Blue Mountains.
According to the historian Geoffrey Blainey , in Australia during the colonial period: "In a thousand isolated places there were occasional shootings and spearings.
Even worse, smallpox, measles, influenza and other new diseases swept from one Aboriginal camp to another The main conqueror of Aborigines was to be disease and its ally, demoralisation".
Conflict in the Hawkesbury Nepean river district near the settlement at Sydney continued from to , [ citation needed ] including Pemulwuy's War — , Tedbury's War — and the Nepean War — , as well as the interwar violence of the — Conflict.
It was fought using mostly guerrilla-warfare tactics; however, several conventional battles also took place.
The wars resulted in the defeat of the Hawkesbury and Nepean Indigenous clans who were subsequently dispossessed of their lands.
Even before the arrival of European settlers in local districts beyond coastal New South Wales, Eurasian disease often preceded them.
A smallpox epidemic was recorded near Sydney in , which wiped out about half the Aborigines around Sydney. Opinion is divided as to the source of the smallpox.
Some researchers argue that the smallpox was acquired through contact with Indonesian fishermen in the far north and then spread across the continent, reaching the Sydney area in The impact of Europeans was profoundly disruptive to Aboriginal life and, though the extent of violence is debated, there was considerable conflict on the frontier.
At the same time, some settlers were quite aware they were usurping the Aborigines place in Australia. In , settler Charles Griffiths sought to justify this, writing; "The question comes to this; which has the better right—the savage, born in a country, which he runs over but can scarcely be said to occupy In , anthropologist W.
Stanner described the lack of historical accounts of relations between Europeans and Aborigines as "the great Australian silence".
William Westgarth 's book on the colony of Victoria observed: "the case of the Aborigines of Victoria confirms Many events illustrate violence and resistance as Aborigines sought to protect their lands from settlers and pastoralists who attempted to establish their presence.
Although Tasmanian history is amongst the most contested by modern historians, conflict between colonists and Aborigines was referred to in some contemporary accounts as the Black War.
Estimates of how many people were killed during the period begin at around , though verification of the true figure is now impossible.
The effort failed and George Augustus Robinson proposed to set out unarmed to mediate with the remaining tribespeople in In , at least twenty-eight Aborigines were killed at Myall Creek in New South Wales, resulting in the unprecedented conviction and hanging of six white and one African convict settlers by the colonial courts.
Palmer wrote in "the nature of the blacks was so treacherous that they were only guided by fear—in fact it was only possible to rule There are numerous other massacre sites in Australia, although supporting documentation varies.
From the s, colonial governments established the now controversial offices of the Protector of Aborigines in an effort to avoid mistreatment of Indigenous peoples and conduct government policy towards them.
Christian churches in Australia sought to convert Aborigines, and were often used by government to carry out welfare and assimilation policies.
Colonial churchmen such as Sydney's first Catholic archbishop, John Polding strongly advocated for Aboriginal rights and dignity  and prominent Aboriginal activist Noel Pearson born , who was raised at a Lutheran mission in Cape York , has written that Christian missions throughout Australia's colonial history "provided a haven from the hell of life on the Australian frontier while at the same time facilitating colonisation".
The Caledon Bay crisis of —34 was one of the last incidents of violent interaction on the 'frontier' of indigenous and non-indigenous Australia, which began when the spearing of Japanese poachers who had been molesting Yolngu women was followed by the killing of a policeman.
As the crisis unfolded, national opinion swung behind the Aboriginal people involved, and the first appeal on behalf of an Indigenous Australian to the High Court of Australia was launched.
Following the crisis, the anthropologist Donald Thomson was dispatched by the government to live among the Yolngu.
Frontier encounters in Australia were not universally negative. Positive accounts of Aboriginal customs and encounters are also recorded in the journals of early European explorers, who often relied on Aboriginal guides and assistance: Charles Sturt employed Aboriginal envoys to explore the Murray-Darling ; the lone survivor of the Burke and Wills expedition was nursed by local Aborigines, and the famous Aboriginal explorer Jackey Jackey loyally accompanied his ill-fated friend Edmund Kennedy to Cape York.
In inland Australia, the skills of Aboriginal stockmen became highly regarded and in the 20th century, Aboriginal stockmen like Vincent Lingiari became national figures in their campaigns for better pay and improved working conditions.
The removal of indigenous children , by which mixed-race children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent were removed from their families by Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, was a policy actively conducted in the period between approximately and The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission argued that these removals constituted attempted genocide  and had a major impact on the Indigenous population.
Although a theory of Portuguese discovery in the s exists, it lacks definitive evidence. The Dutch, following shipping routes to the Dutch East Indies , or in search of gold, spices or Christian converts, proceeded to contribute a great deal to Europe's knowledge of Australia's coast.
These ships made extensive examinations, particularly in the Gulf of Carpentaria , named in honour of de Carpentier.
On his second voyage of , he also contributed significantly to the mapping of Australia proper, making observations on the land and people of the north coast below New Guinea.
A map of the world inlaid into the floor of the Burgerzaal " Burger 's Hall" of the new Amsterdam Stadhuis "Town Hall" in revealed the extent of Dutch charts of much of Australia's coast.
One inscription said:. It lies precisely in the richest climates of the World Although various proposals for colonisation were made, notably by Pierre Purry from to , none was officially attempted.
The Dutch East India Company concluded that there was "no good to be done there". They turned down Purry's scheme with the comment that, "There is no prospect of use or benefit to the Company in it, but rather very certain and heavy costs".
With the exception of further Dutch visits to the west, Australia remained largely unvisited by Europeans until the first British explorations.
John Callander put forward a proposal in for Britain to found a colony of banished convicts in the South Sea or in Terra Australis to enable the mother country to exploit the riches of those regions.
He said: "this world must present us with many things entirely new, as hitherto we have had little more knowledge of it, than if it had lain in another planet".
Cook also carried secret Admiralty instructions to locate the supposed Southern Continent : "There is reason to imagine that a continent, or land of great extent, may be found to the southward of the track of former navigators.
On 19 April the Endeavour sighted the east coast of Australia and ten days later landed at Botany Bay. Cook charted the coast to its northern extent and, along with the ship's naturalist, Joseph Banks , who subsequently reported favourably on the possibilities of establishing a colony at Botany Bay.
In , a French expedition led by Louis Aleno de St Aloüarn , became the first Europeans to formally claim sovereignty over the west coast of Australia , but no attempt was made to follow this with colonisation.
Seventeen years after Cook's landfall on the east coast of Australia, the British government decided to establish a colony at Botany Bay.
The American Revolutionary War — saw Britain lose most of its North American colonies and consider establishing replacement territories.
In Sir Joseph Banks , the eminent scientist who had accompanied James Cook on his voyage, recommended Botany Bay as a suitable site for settlement, saying that "it was not to be doubted that a Tract of Land such as New Holland, which was larger than the whole of Europe, would furnish Matter of advantageous Return".
Matra reasoned that the country was suitable for plantations of sugar, cotton and tobacco; New Zealand timber and hemp or flax could prove valuable commodities; it could form a base for Pacific trade; and it could be a suitable compensation for displaced American Loyalists.
Matra's plan provided the original blueprint for settlement. In this vast tract of land At the same time, humanitarians and reformers were campaigning in Britain against the appalling conditions in British prisons and hulks.
In prison reformer John Howard wrote The State of Prisons in England and Wales , exposing the harsh conditions of the prison system to "genteel society".
According to historian David Hill, "Europeans knew little about the geography of the globe" and to "convicts in England, transportation to Botany Bay was a frightening prospect".
Echoing John Callander, he said Australia "might as well have been another planet". In , Sir Ernest Scott , stated the traditional view of the reasons for colonisation: "It is clear that the only consideration which weighed seriously with the Pitt Government was the immediately pressing and practical one of finding a suitable place for a convict settlement".
His book The Tyranny of Distance  suggested ensuring supplies of flax and timber after the loss of the American colonies may have also been motivations, and Norfolk Island was the key to the British decision.
A number of historians responded and debate brought to light a large amount of additional source material on the reasons for settlement.
The decision to settle was taken when it seemed the outbreak of civil war in the Netherlands might precipitate a war in which Britain would be again confronted with the alliance of the three naval Powers, France, Holland and Spain, which had brought her to defeat in Under these circumstances, the strategic advantages of a colony in New South Wales described in James Matra's proposal were attractive.
On subsequent occasions into the early 19th century when war threatened or broke out between Britain and Spain, these plans were revived and only the short length of the period of hostilities in each case prevented them from being put into effect.
Georg Forster , who had sailed under Lieutenant James Cook in the voyage of the Resolution — , wrote in on the future prospects of the British colony: "New Holland, an island of enormous extent or it might be said, a third continent, is the future homeland of a new civilized society which, however mean its beginning may seem to be, nevertheless promises within a short time to become very important.
From their definition it covers, in its greatest extent from East to West, virtually a fourth of the whole circumference of the Globe.
The extension of dominion, mercantile speculations and the discovery of mines were the real object. How can it be conceived that Spain, who had previously raised so many objections opposing the occupation of the Malouines Falkland Islands , meekly allowed a formidable empire to arise to facing her richest possessions, an empire which must either invade or liberate them?
The colony included the current islands of New Zealand. In , the British government withdrew the extensive territorial claim over the South Pacific.
In practice, the governors' writ had been shown not to run in the islands of the South Pacific. It consisted of over a thousand settlers, including convicts women and men.
The colony was formally proclaimed by Governor Phillip on 7 February at Sydney. Sydney Cove offered a fresh water supply and a safe harbour, which Philip described as being, 'with out exception the finest Harbour in the World [ Governor Phillip was vested with complete authority over the inhabitants of the colony.
His personal intent was to establish harmonious relations with local Aboriginal people and try to reform as well as discipline the convicts of the colony.
Phillip and several of his officers—most notably Watkin Tench —left behind journals and accounts of which tell of immense hardships during the first years of settlement.
Often Phillip's officers despaired for the future of New South Wales. Early efforts at agriculture were fraught and supplies from overseas were scarce.
Between and about male and female convicts were landed at Sydney—many "professional criminals" with few of the skills required for the establishment of a colony.
Many new arrivals were also sick or unfit for work and the conditions of healthy convicts only deteriorated with hard labour and poor sustenance in the settlement.
The food situation reached crisis point in and the Second Fleet which finally arrived in June had lost a quarter of its 'passengers' through sickness, while the condition of the convicts of the Third Fleet appalled Phillip; however, from the more regular arrival of ships and the beginnings of trade lessened the feeling of isolation and improved supplies.
Phillip sent exploratory missions in search of better soils, fixed on the Parramatta region as a promising area for expansion, and moved many of the convicts from late to establish a small township, which became the main centre of the colony's economic life.
This left Sydney Cove only as an important port and focus of social life. Poor equipment and unfamiliar soils and climate continued to hamper the expansion of farming from Farm Cove to Parramatta and Toongabbie , but a building programme, assisted by convict labour, advanced steadily.
Between and , convicts and their gaolers made up the majority of the population—but after this, a population of emancipated convicts began to grow who could be granted land and these people pioneered a non-government private sector economy and were later joined by soldiers whose military service had expired—and finally, free settlers who began arriving from Britain.
Governor Phillip departed the colony for England on 11 December , with the new settlement having survived near starvation and immense isolation for four years.
After the founding of the colony of New South Wales in , Australia was divided into an eastern half, named New South Wales, under the administration of the colonial government in Sydney, and a western half named New Holland.
This division, reproduced in Bowen's map, provided a convenient western boundary for the British claim because, as Watkin Tench subsequently commented in A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay , "By this partition, it may be fairly presumed, that every source of future litigation between the Dutch and us, will be for ever cut off, as the discoveries of English navigators only are comprized in this territory".
Romantic descriptions of the beauty, mild climate, and fertile soil of Norfolk Island in the South Pacific led the British government to establish a subsidiary settlement of the New South Wales colony there in It was hoped that the giant Norfolk Island pine trees and flax plants growing wild on the island might provide the basis for a local industry which, particularly in the case of flax, would provide an alternative source of supply to Russia for an article which was essential for making cordage and sails for the ships of the British navy; however, the island had no safe harbour, which led the colony to be abandoned and the settlers evacuated to Tasmania in In , Flinders successfully circumnavigated Australia for the first time.
Van Diemen's Land , now known as Tasmania , was settled in , following a failed attempt to settle at Sullivan Bay in what is now Victoria.
Other British settlements followed, at various points around the continent, many of them unsuccessful. The East India Trade Committee recommended in that a settlement be established on the coast of northern Australia to forestall the Dutch, and Captain J.
The new boundary included Melville and Bathurst Islands, and the adjacent mainland. In , a penal colony was established near the mouth of the Brisbane River the basis of the later colony of Queensland.
In , the Swan River Colony and its capital of Perth were founded on the west coast proper and also assumed control of King George Sound.
Initially a free colony, Western Australia later accepted British convicts, because of an acute labour shortage. Between and , approximately , convicts of whom 25, were women were transported to the Australian colonies of New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land and Western Australia.
The majority were repeat offenders. A few went on to have successful lives as emancipists, having been pardoned at the end of their sentence.
Female convicts had fewer opportunities. Some convicts, particularly Irish convicts, had been transported to Australia for political crimes or social rebellion, so authorities were consequently suspicious of the Irish and restricted the practice of Catholicism in Australia.
The Irish-led Castle Hill Rebellion of served to increase suspicions and repression. Officers of the Corps soon became involved in the corrupt and lucrative rum trade in the colony.
In the Rum Rebellion of , the Corps, working closely with the newly established wool trader John Macarthur , staged the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history, deposing Governor William Bligh and instigating a brief period of military rule in the colony prior to the arrival from Britain of Governor Lachlan Macquarie in Macquarie served as the last autocratic Governor of New South Wales , from to and had a leading role in the social and economic development of New South Wales which saw it transition from a penal colony to a budding free society.
He established public works, a bank , churches, and charitable institutions and sought good relations with the Aborigines.
In he sent Blaxland , Wentworth and Lawson across the Blue Mountains , where they found the great plains of the interior; however, central to Macquarie's policy was his treatment of the emancipists , whom he decreed should be treated as social equals to free-settlers in the colony.
London judged his public works to be too expensive and society was scandalised by his treatment of emancipists. The first five Governors of New South Wales realised the urgent need to encourage free settlers, but the British government remained largely indifferent.
As early as , Governor Arthur Phillip wrote: "Your lordship will see by my At present this settlement only affords one person that I can employ in cultivating the lands Land grants of crown land were made by Governors, and settlement schemes such as those of Edward Gibbon Wakefield carried some weight in encouraging migrants to make the long voyage to Australia, as opposed to the United States or Canada.
Early colonial administrations were anxious to address the gender imbalance in the population brought about by the importation of large numbers of convict men.
Between and , around male to female convicts were landed at Sydney. Governor Macquarie's wife, Elizabeth Macquarie took an interest in convict women's welfare.
Her humanitarian efforts later won her fame in England and great influence in achieving support for families in the colony.
From the s, increasing numbers of squatters  occupied land beyond the fringes of European settlement. Often running sheep on large stations with relatively few overheads, squatters could make considerable profits.
By , nearly 2 million kilograms of wool were being exported to Britain from Australia. In , the British Colonial Office issued the Proclamation of Governor Bourke reinforcing the notion that the land belonged to no one prior to the British Crown taking possession of it and quashing any likelihood of treaties with Aboriginal peoples, including that signed by John Batman.
Its publication meant that from then, all people found occupying land without the authority of the government would be considered illegal trespassers.
Separate settlements and later, colonies, were created from parts of New South Wales: South Australia in , New Zealand in , Port Phillip District in , later becoming the colony of Victoria in , and Queensland in The Northern Territory was founded in as part of South Australia.
The transportation of convicts to Australia was phased out between and Massive areas of land were cleared for agriculture and various other purposes in the first years of European settlement.
In addition to the obvious impacts this early clearing of land and importation of hard-hoofed animals had on the ecology of particular regions, it severely affected indigenous Australians, by reducing the resources they relied on for food, shelter and other essentials.
This progressively forced them into smaller areas and reduced their numbers as the majority died of newly introduced diseases and lack of resources.
Indigenous resistance against the settlers was widespread, and prolonged fighting between and the s led to the deaths of at least 20, indigenous people and between 2, and 2, Europeans.
The nature of many of these institutions enabled disease to spread quickly and many were closed as their populations fell.
A group in Britain led by Edward Gibbon Wakefield sought to start a colony based on free settlement rather than convict labour.
In the South Australian Land Company was formed amid a campaign for a royal charter which would provide for the establishment of a privately financed "free" colony in Australia—giving the city of Adelaide an air of prosperity and class not afforded to the other settlements, which had been smeared with the undesirable convict stain.
While New South Wales, Tasmania and although not initially Western Australia were established as convict settlements, the founders of South Australia had a vision of a colony with political and religious freedoms, together with opportunities for wealth through business and pastoral investments.
The South Australia Act , passed by the British Government to establish the colony, reflected these desires and included a promise of representative government when the population reached 50, people.
South Australia thus became the only colony authorised by an Act of Parliament , and which was intended to be developed at no cost to the British government.
Transportation of convicts was forbidden, and 'poor Emigrants', assisted by an Emigration Fund, were required to bring their families with them.
The foundation of South Australia is now generally commemorated as Governor John Hindmarsh 's Proclamation of the new Province at Glenelg , on the mainland, on 28 December Land development and settlement was the basis of the Wakefield vision, so land law and regulations governing it were fundamental to the foundation of the Province and allowed for land to be bought at a uniform price per acre regardless of quality , with auctions for land desired by more than one buyer, and leases made available on unused land.
Proceeds from land were to fund the Emigration Fund to assist poor settlers to come as tradesmen and labourers. By the colony was experimenting with a partially elected council.
In —99 George Bass and Matthew Flinders set out from Sydney in a sloop and circumnavigated Tasmania , thus proving it to be an island.
Aboard ship was the Aboriginal explorer Bungaree , of the Sydney district, who became the first person born on the Australian continent to circumnavigate the Australian continent.
In , Gregory Blaxland , William Lawson and William Wentworth succeeded in crossing the formidable barrier of forested gulleys and sheer cliffs presented by the Blue Mountains , west of Sydney.
At Mount Blaxland they looked out over "enough grass to support the stock of the colony for thirty years", and expansion of the British settlement into the interior could begin.
In the Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane , commissioned Hamilton Hume and former Royal Navy Captain William Hovell to lead an expedition to find new grazing land in the south of the colony, and also to find an answer to the mystery of where New South Wales' western rivers flowed.
Over 16 weeks in —25, Hume and Hovell journeyed to Port Phillip and back. They made many important discoveries including the Murray River which they named the Hume , many of its tributaries, and good agricultural and grazing lands between Gunning, New South Wales and Corio Bay , Port Phillip.
A theory had developed that the inland rivers of New South Wales were draining into an inland sea.
Leading a second expedition in , Sturt followed the Murrumbidgee River into a 'broad and noble river', the Murray River, which he named after Sir George Murray, secretary of state for the colonies.
His party then followed this river to its junction with the Darling River , facing two threatening encounters with local Aboriginal people along the way.
Sturt continued down river on to Lake Alexandrina , where the Murray meets the sea in South Australia. Suffering greatly, the party had to row hundreds of kilometres back upstream for the return journey.
Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell conducted a series of expeditions from the s to 'fill in the gaps' left by these previous expeditions.
He was meticulous in seeking to record the original Aboriginal place names around the colony, for which reason the majority of place names to this day retain their Aboriginal titles.
European explorers made their last great, often arduous and sometimes tragic expeditions into the interior of Australia during the second half of the 19th century—some with the official sponsorship of the colonial authorities and others commissioned by private investors.
By , large areas of the inland were still unknown to Europeans. Trailblazers like Edmund Kennedy and the Prussian naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt , had met tragic ends attempting to fill in the gaps during the s, but explorers remained ambitious to discover new lands for agriculture or answer scientific enquiries.
Surveyors also acted as explorers and the colonies sent out expeditions to discover the best routes for lines of communication.
The size of expeditions varied considerably from small parties of just two or three to large, well-equipped teams led by gentlemen explorers assisted by smiths, carpenters, labourers and Aboriginal guides accompanied by horses, camels or bullocks.
In , the ill-fated Burke and Wills led the first north-south crossing of the continent from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Lacking bushcraft and unwilling to learn from the local Aboriginal people, Burke and Wills died in , having returned from the Gulf to their rendezvous point at Coopers Creek only to discover the rest of their party had departed the location only a matter of hours previously.
Though an impressive feat of navigation, the expedition was an organisational disaster which continues to fascinate the Australian public.
His expedition mapped out the route which was later followed by the Australian Overland Telegraph Line. Uluru and Kata Tjuta were first mapped by Europeans in during the expeditionary period made possible by the construction of the Australian Overland Telegraph Line.
In separate expeditions, Ernest Giles and William Gosse were the first European explorers to this area. These barren desert lands of Central Australia disappointed the Europeans as unpromising for pastoral expansion, but would later come to be appreciated as emblematic of Australia.
As by English law all minerals belonged to the Crown, there was at first, "little to stimulate a search for really rich goldfields in a colony prospering under a pastoral economy".
The Colony of Victoria 's population grew rapidly, from 76, in to , by The causes of this were the colonial government's administration of the diggings and the gold licence system.
Following a number of protests and petitions for reform , violence erupted at Ballarat in late Early on the morning of Sunday 3 December , British soldiers and Police attacked a stockade built on the Eureka lead holding some of the aggrieved diggers.
In a short fight, at least 30 miners were killed and an unknown number wounded. But a few months later, a Royal commission made sweeping changes to the administration of Victoria's goldfields.
Its recommendations included the abolition of the licence, reforms to the police force and voting rights for miners holding a Miner's Right.
In the s, visiting author Mark Twain characterised the battle at Eureka as "The finest thing in Australasian history.
It was a revolution-small in size, but great politically; it was a strike for liberty, a struggle for principle, a stand against injustice and oppression The Melbourne Trades Hall was opened in with trades and labour councils and trades halls opening in all cities and most regional towns in the following 40 years.
During the s trade unions developed among shearers , miners and stevedores wharf workers , but soon spread to cover almost all blue-collar jobs.
Shortages of labour led to high wages for a prosperous skilled working class, whose unions demanded and got an eight-hour day and other benefits unheard of in Europe.
Australia gained a reputation as "the working man's paradise". Some employers tried to undercut the unions by importing Chinese labour.
This produced a reaction which led to all the colonies restricting Chinese and other Asian immigration. This led to the enactment of the White Australia Policy.
New South Wales in was the first colony to gain responsible government , managing most of its own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire.
Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia followed in ; Queensland, from its foundation in ; and Western Australia, in The Colonial Office in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs, defence and international shipping.
The gold era led to a long period of prosperity, sometimes called "the long boom". By , the sheep population of Australia was estimated at million.
During the boom, Melbourne had reputedly become the richest city in the world, . The late 19th century had seen a great growth in the cities of south eastern Australia.
Australia's population not including Aborigines, who were excluded from census calculations in was 3. The word " bushrangers " originally referred to runaway convicts in the early years of the British settlement of Australia who had the survival skills necessary to use the Australian bush as a refuge to hide from the authorities.
The term then evolved to refer to those who abandoned social rights and privileges to take up " robbery under arms " as a way of life, using the bush as their base.
More than 2, bushrangers are believed to have roamed the Australian countryside, beginning with the convict bolters and ending after Ned Kelly 's last stand at Glenrowan.
Bold Jack Donahue is recorded as the last convict bushranger. Throughout the s he was regarded as the most notorious bushranger in the colony.
Bushranging was common on the mainland, but Van Diemen's Land Tasmania produced the most violent and serious outbreaks of convict bushrangers.
Indigenous outlaw Musquito defied colonial law and led attacks on settlers. The bushrangers' heyday was the gold rush years of the s and s.
The increasing push of settlement, increased police efficiency, improvements in rail transport and communications technology, such as telegraphy , made it increasingly difficult for bushrangers to evade capture.
Among the last bushrangers were the Kelly Gang, led by Ned Kelly , who were captured at Glenrowan in , two years after they were outlawed.
Kelly was born in Victoria to an Irish convict father, and as a young man he clashed with the Victoria Police. Following an incident at his home in , police parties searched for him in the bush.
After he killed three policemen, the colony proclaimed Kelly and his gang wanted outlaws. A final violent confrontation with police took place at Glenrowan on 28 June Kelly, dressed in home-made plate metal armour and helmet, was captured and sent to jail.
He was hanged for murder at Old Melbourne Gaol in November His daring and notoriety made him an iconic figure in Australian history, folklore, literature, art and film.
Some bushrangers, most notably Ned Kelly in his Jerilderie Letter , and in his final raid on Glenrowan, explicitly represented themselves as political rebels.
Attitudes to Kelly, by far the most well-known bushranger, exemplify the ambivalent views of Australians regarding bushranging. Traditional Aboriginal society had been governed by councils of elders and a corporate decision making process, but the first European-style governments established after were autocratic and run by appointed governors —although English law was transplanted into the Australian colonies by virtue of the doctrine of reception , thus notions of the rights and processes established by the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights were brought from Britain by the colonists.
Agitation for representative government began soon after the settlement of the colonies. William Wentworth established the Australian Patriotic Association Australia's first political party in to demand democratic government for New South Wales.
The reformist attorney general , John Plunkett , sought to apply Enlightenment principles to governance in the colony, pursuing the establishment of equality before the law, first by extending jury rights to emancipists , then by extending legal protections to convicts, assigned servants and Aborigines.
Plunkett twice charged the colonist perpetrators of the Myall Creek massacre of Aborigines with murder, resulting in a conviction and his landmark Church Act of disestablished the Church of England and established legal equality between Anglicans , Catholics , Presbyterians and later Methodists.
Men who possessed 1, pounds worth of property were able to stand for election and wealthy landowners were permitted up to four votes each in elections.
Australia's first parliamentary elections were conducted for the New South Wales Legislative Council in , again with voting rights for males only tied to property ownership or financial capacity.
Voter rights were extended further in New South Wales in and elections for legislative councils were held in the colonies of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
By the midth century, there was a strong desire for representative and responsible government in the colonies of Australia, fed by the democratic spirit of the goldfields evident at the Eureka Stockade and the ideas of the great reform movements sweeping Europe , the United States and the British Empire.
The end of convict transportation accelerated reform in the s and s. The Australian Colonies Government Act  was a landmark development which granted representative constitutions to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and the colonies enthusiastically set about writing constitutions which produced democratically progressive parliaments—though the constitutions generally maintained the role of the colonial upper houses as representative of social and economic "interests" and all established constitutional monarchies with the British monarch as the symbolic head of state.
An innovative secret ballot was introduced in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia in , in which the government supplied voting paper containing the names of candidates and voters could select in private.
This system was adopted around the world, becoming known as the " Australian Ballot ". This right was extended to Victoria in and New South Wales the following year.
The other colonies followed until, in , Tasmania became the last colony to grant universal male suffrage. Propertied women in the colony of South Australia were granted the vote in local elections but not parliamentary elections in Henrietta Dugdale formed the first Australian women's suffrage society in Melbourne in This was the first legislation in the world permitting women also to stand for election to political office and, in , Catherine Helen Spence became the first female political candidate for political office, unsuccessfully standing for election as a delegate to the Federal Convention on Australian Federation.
Western Australia granted voting rights to women in Legally, indigenous Australian males generally gained the right to vote during this period when Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia gave voting rights to all male British subjects over Only Queensland and Western Australia barred Aboriginal people from voting.
Thus, Aboriginal men and women voted in some jurisdictions for the first Commonwealth Parliament in ; however, early federal parliamentary reform and judicial interpretation sought to limit Aboriginal voting in practice—a situation which endured until rights activists began campaigning in the s.
Though the various parliaments of Australia have been constantly evolving, the key foundations for elected parliamentary government have maintained an historical continuity in Australia from the s into the 21st century.
By the late s, a majority of people living in the Australian colonies were native born, although over 90 per cent were of British and Irish heritage.
Identifying strongly with family and mates , Kelly was opposed to what he regarded as oppression by Police and powerful Squatters.
Almost mirroring the Australian stereotype later defined by historian Russel Ward , Kelly became "a skilled bushman, adept with guns, horses and fists and winning admiration from his peers in the district".
The origins of distinctly Australian painting is often associated with this period and the Heidelberg School of the s—s. Like the European Impressionists, they painted in the open air.
These artists found inspiration in the unique light and colour which characterises the Australian bush.
Their most recognised work involves scenes of pastoral and wild Australia, featuring the vibrant, even harsh colours of Australian summers.
Australian literature was equally developing a distinct voice. Views of Australia at times conflicted—Lawson and Paterson contributed a series of verses to The Bulletin magazine in which they engaged in a literary debate about the nature of life in Australia: Lawson a republican socialist derided Paterson as a romantic, while Paterson a country born city lawyer thought Lawson full of doom and gloom.
Paterson wrote the lyrics of the much-loved folksong Waltzing Matilda in Dennis wrote of laconic heroes in the Australian vernacular, while McKellar rejected a love of England's pleasant pastures in favour of what she termed a "Sunburnt Country" in her iconic poem: My Country A common theme throughout the nationalist art, music and writing of the late 19th century was the romantic rural or bush myth , ironically produced by one of the most urbanised societies in the world.
While bush ballads evidenced distinctively Australian popular medium of music and of literature, Australian artists of a more classical mould—such as the opera singer Dame Nellie Melba , and painters John Peter Russell and Rupert Bunny —prefigured the 20th-century expatriate Australians who knew little of 'stockyard and rails' but would travel abroad to influence Western art and culture.
Despite suspicion from some sections of the colonial community especially in smaller colonies about the value of nationhood, improvements in inter-colonial transport and communication, including the linking of Perth to the south eastern cities by telegraph in ,  helped break down inter-colonial rivalries.
Amid calls from London for the establishment of an intercolonial Australian army, and with the various colonies independently constructing railway lines, New South Wales Premier Henry Parkes addressed a rural audience in his Tenterfield Oration , stating that the time had come to form a national executive government: "Australia [now has] a population of three and a half millions, and the American people numbered only between three and four millions when they formed the great commonwealth of the United States.
The numbers were about the same, and surely what the Americans had done by war, the Australians could bring about in peace, without breaking the ties that held them to the mother country.
Though Parkes would not live to see it, his vision would be achieved within a little over a decade, and he is remembered as the "father of federation".
Increasing nationalism, a growing sense of national identity, improvements in transport and communications, as well as fears about immigration and defence all combined to encourage the movement, spurred on by organisations like the Australian Natives' Association.
Despite the growing calls for unification, loyalties to the British Empire remained strong. At a Federation Conference banquet in , Henry Parkes spoke of blood-kinship linking the colonies to Britain and a "race" for whom "the purpose of settling new countries has never had its equal on the face of the earth" .
In , representatives of the six colonies and New Zealand had met in Melbourne and called for the union of the colonies and for the colonial legislatures to nominate representatives to attend a constitutional convention.
The following year, the National Australasian Convention was held in Sydney, with all the future states and New Zealand represented.
The delegates returned to their parliaments with the Bill, but progress was slow, as Australia faced its s economic Depression. Nevertheless, by five of the colonies elected representatives for a second Convention , which was conducted in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne over the space of a year, allowing time for consultation.
Queensland and Western Australia later moved to do the same, though New Zealand did not participate in the Convention. In July , the Bill was put to a series of referenda in four colonies, but New South Wales rejected the proposal.
In , a second referendum put an amended Bill to the voters of the four colonies and Queensland, and the Bill was endorsed.
In March , delegates were dispatched to London, where approval for the Bill was sought from the Imperial Parliament.
The Bill was put to the House of Commons and passed on 5 July and, soon after, was signed into law by Queen Victoria. Lord Hopetoun was dispatched from London, tasked with appointing an interim Cabinet to oversee the foundation of the Commonwealth and conduct of the first elections.
There was a more radical vision for a separate Australia by some colonists, including writer Henry Lawson , trade unionist William Lane and as found in the pages of the Sydney Bulletin.
But by the end of , and after much colonial debate, the citizens of five of the six Australian colonies had voted in referendums in favour of a constitution to form a Federation.
Western Australia voted to join in July From that point a system of federalism in Australia came into operation, entailing the establishment of an entirely new national government the Commonwealth government and an ongoing division of powers between that government and the States.
Labor declared it would offer support to the party which offered concessions and Edmund Barton 's Protectionists formed a government, with Alfred Deakin as Attorney-General.
Barton promised to "create a high court, He proposed to extend conciliation and arbitration, create a uniform railway gauge between the eastern capitals,  to introduce female federal franchise, to establish a The Labor Party the spelling "Labour" was dropped in had been established in the s, after the failure of the Maritime and Shearer's strikes.
Its strength was in the Australian Trade Union movement "which grew from a membership of just under , in to more than half a million in ".
As noted by the historian Ross McMullin , "In the national sphere Labor had taken the Protectionists as far in the direction of progressive legislation as possible.
In Western Australia, Forrest introduced a conciliation and arbitration bill in which brought trade unions into the state's social fabric for the first time.
In addition, WA Labor scored another victory with the passage of legislation which extended workers' compensation. Under the premierships of Storey and Dooley in New South Wales, various reforms were carried out such as the establishment of the Rural Bank and the elimination of high school fees.
The Labor Party's rising support at elections, together with its formation of federal government in under Chris Watson , and again in , helped to unify competing conservative, free market and liberal anti-socialists into the Commonwealth Liberal Party in Although this party dissolved in , a successor to its version of "liberalism" in Australia which in some respects comprises an alliance of Millsian liberals and Burkian conservatives united in support for individualism and opposition to socialism can be found in the modern Liberal Party.
The Immigration Restriction Act was one of the first laws passed by the new Australian parliament. This centrepiece of the 'White Australia Policy' aimed to restrict immigration from Asia especially China , where the population was vastly greater and the standard of living vastly lower and was similar to measures taken in other settler societies such as the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
While the law allowed for the use of any European language, the English version was standardised and became known as the "Stewart" test after the Federal MP Stewart Parnaby who originally penned the exam.
A few politicians spoke of the need to avoid hysterical treatment of the question. But there is obligation The law passed both houses of Parliament and remained a central feature of Australia's immigration laws until abandoned in the s.
In the s, the Lyons government unsuccessfully attempted to exclude Egon Erwin Kisch , a German Czechoslovakian communist author from entering Australia, by means of a 'dictation test' in Scottish Gaelic.
Concerns emerged that the law could be used for such political purposes. By , units of soldiers from all six Australian colonies had been active as part of British forces in the Boer War , which was very popular in Australia.
Some 16, men had volunteered for service by the war's end in June Australians saw themselves in time of war a lonely, sparsely populated outpost.
The Defence Act of reinforced the importance of Australian defence, and in February , Lord Kitchener provided further advice on a defence scheme based on conscription.
By , the battlecruiser Australia led the fledgling Royal Australian Navy. Historian Bill Gammage estimates that on the eve of war, Australia had , men "under arms of some sort".
Historian Humphrey McQueen has it that working and living conditions for Australia's working classes in the early 20th century were of "frugal comfort".
The Harvester Judgment of recognised the concept of a basic wage and in the Federal government also began an old age pension scheme.
Together with the White Australia Policy and pioneering social policy, these developments have since been dubbed the Australian settlement.
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