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History of Australia

Australia was first inhabited around 42,000 years ago by the indigenous Australians, which are known today as the Aborigines. The Aborigines were considered a hunter-gatherer society, and used tools such as wooden spears, stones, bone blades and nets. They hunted many different types of game such as mammals, birds and even reptiles! These natives lived and prospered well until Captain Cook sailed into Botany Bay in 1770. Ignoring the Aborigines, England's Captain Cook claimed all of Australia. After the American War of Independence, the United States was no longer a place where England could transport convicts. So in 1786, they chose to ship new convicts off to Botany Bay. Two years later came the colonists, who set foot on Australian soil on January 26th, 1788. The colony began to grow as the land came into the 19th century. New settlements were founded throughout the territory as new forms of transportation began to pick up.




The population grew to 150,000 by 1840, and 430,000 by 1851. There were several rebellions and an Aborigine resistance, but they were all overcome by the greatly expanding population. The population boomed around 1851 due to the gold rush in Victoria. By 1861, Australia was home to around 1.2 million people. Education and industrialization developed as Australia headed into the 20th century. Railways and universities boomed as well as a new gold rush erupted in Western Australia in 1882. Around the late 1890's, the states agreed into forming a federation. So on January 1st, 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was formed, designating Canberra as its capitol. By this year, the population had grown to over 3,370,000 people. The new country was an active participant in both world wars and teamed up specifically with New Zealand to form the ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). Australia continued to prosper into the 20th and 21st centuries. Australia is now home to an estimated 20 million people, a large portion of which are immigrants.


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Send comments to Emily Pietrzak. Last Modified Wednesday, June 11, 2008 12:54 PM