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Travel Guide 2   >   Australia   >   History

   
 

Australian History


The first humans are believed to have arrived in Australia over 40,000 years ago. These people arrived via land-bridges and/or sea crossings from Southeast Asia, and became the indigenous people known as "aborigines". An additional and distinct group of early settlers, ethnically Melanesian, settled in the Torres Strait Islands (the Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea) and the far North of Queensland.

Replica of James Cook's ship, HMB Endeavour, in Cooktown Harbour, 1988 Europeans first began to reach the area at the aroud the beginning of the 17th century. The first undisputed sighting of the Australian mainland was by the Dutch sea captain, William Janszoon in 1606. The Dutch are known to have chartered the western and northern shorelines of the continent during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement of what they called at the time "New Holland". In 1770, British navigator, James Cook mapped parts of the East coast of Australia: the region today known as New South Wales. Cook claimed the area for Great Britain.

The first British colony was established in New South Wales on January 26th, a day that is now remembered as "Australia Day". The British formerly claimed the western portions of Australia in 1859, and during the 19th century a whole series of separate British colonies were established around the continent. Much of this British colonization was based upon the transportation of convicts to penal colonies, and it was only in 1848 that the transportation of convicts to New South Wales stopped.

The arrival of Europeans had a drastic effect on the indigenous aboriginal population. This fell dramaticly from a high of 350,000 due to the infectious diseases, forced resettlements, and other factors. Indeed, although the issues remain highly controversial and disputed, some historians have characterized the events of the period as genocide.

In 1850s, the European population increased further thanks to a gold rush, and between 1855 and 1890, each of the six British colonies was separately granted responsible government - while the the colonies were autonomous in their internal affairs, they Britain retained control of foreign affairs and defense. In 1901, the six colonies were united in a federation known as the Commonwealth of Australia.

Australia participated in both World War I and World War II as part of the British Empire. To many Australians the events of the world wars, especially the Gallipoli campaign in World War I, and the Kokoda Track Campaign in World War II, were important milestones in Australia's path to independent nationhood.

Legally, Australia first moved towards independence from Britain with the Statue of Westminister in 1931 (although Australia did not ratify it until 1942, but then back dated its effect to 1939), which granted effective independence in most matters. Australia however did retain some constitutional ties with Britain for another 40 years, these only finally be severed with the passing of the Australia Act in 1986. It should be noted that the British Queen Elizabeth II is also Queen of Australia, and a 1999 national referendum rejected becoming a republic.

Here are some books about the history of Australia:


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Books about Australian History


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Australian History for Dummies

By Alex McDermott

For Dummies
Released: 2011-05-16
Paperback (448 pages)

Australian History for Dummies
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Created especially for the Australian customer!

Exciting and informative history of the land down under

Australian History For Dummies is your tour guide through the important events of Australia's past, introducing you to the people and events that have shaped modern Australia. Be there as British colonists explore Australia's harsh terrain with varying degrees of success. In this informative guide you'll

  • Find out about Australia's infamous bushrangers
  • Learn how the discovery of gold caused a tidal wave of immigration from all over the world
  • Understand how Australia took two steps forward to become a nation in its own right in 1901, and two steps back when the government was dismissed by the Crown in 1975

Discover the fascinating details that made Australia the country it is today!





Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia

By David Hunt

Black Inc.
Released: 2013-07-24
Kindle Edition (286 pages)

Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia
 
Product Description:
Winner, 2014 Indie Award for Non-Fiction

Girt. No word could better capture the essence of Australia...

In this hilarious history, David Hunt reveals the truth of Australia’s past, from megafauna to Macquarie – the cock-ups and curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.

Girt introduces forgotten heroes like Mary McLoghlin, transported for the crime of “felony of sock”, and Trim the cat, who beat a French monkey to become the first animal to circumnavigate Australia. It recounts the misfortunes of the escaped Irish convicts who set out to walk from Sydney to China, guided only by a hand-drawn paper compass, and explains the role of the coconut in Australia’s only military coup.

Our nation’s beginnings are steeped in the strange, the ridiculous and the frankly bizarre. Girt proudly reclaims these stories for all of us.

Not to read it would be un-Australian.

Shortlisted, 2014 ABA Nielsen BookData Bookseller's Choice Award, 2014 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, 2014 Australian Book Industry Awards.

Girt … cuts an irreverent swath through the facts, fools, fantasies and frauds that made this country what it is today, hoisting sacred cows on their own petards and otherwise sawing the legs off Lady Macquarie’s chair. I was transported.’ —Shane Maloney, the Age Best Books of 2013

Girt is a ripping read… a humorous history that is accessible enough to share with the eight-year-old. Hunt’s writing interests span comedy, politics and history, a happy triumvirate when your subject is Australia.’ —Stephen Romei in the Australian

David Hunt is an unusually tall and handsome man who likes writing his own bios for all the books he has written. David is the author of Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, which won the 2014 Indie Award for non-fiction and was shortlisted in both the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Australian Book Industry Awards. True Girt, the sequel, was published in 2016, as was a book for children, The Nose Pixies. David has a birthmark that looks like Tasmania, only smaller and not as far south.

True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, Volume 2

By David Hunt

Black Inc.
Released: 2016-10-31
Kindle Edition (450 pages)

True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, Volume 2
 
Product Description:
First there was Girt. Now comes ...

True Girt


In this side-splitting sequel to his best-selling history, David Hunt transports us to the Australian frontier.

This was the Wild South, home to hardy pioneers, gun-slinging bushrangers, directionally challenged explorers, nervous Indigenous people, Caroline Chisholm and sheep. Lots of sheep.

True Girt introduces Thomas Davey, the hard-drinking Tasmanian governor who invented the Blow My Skull cocktail, and Captain Moonlite, Australia’s most notorious LGBTI bushranger. Meet William Nicholson, the Melbourne hipster who gave Australia the steam-powered coffee roaster and the world the secret ballot. And say hello to Harry, the first camel used in Australian exploration, who shot dead his owner, the adventurer John Horrocks.

Learn how Truganini’s death inspired the Martian invasion of Earth. Discover the role of Hall and Oates in the Myall Creek Massacre. And be reminded why you should never ever smoke with the Wild Colonial Boy and Mad Dan Morgan.

If Manning Clark and Bill Bryson were left on a desert island with only one pen, they would write True Girt.

‘An engaging, witty and utterly irreverent take on Australian history.’ Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

‘Astounding, gruesome and frequently hilarious, True Girt is riveting from beginning to end.’ Nick Earls

David Hunt is an unusually tall and handsome man who likes writing his own biographical notes. His first book, Girt, won the 2014 Indie Award for non-fiction and was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Australian Book Industry Awards. He has a birthmark that looks like Tasmania, only smaller and not as far south.

Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia

By Billy Griffiths

Black Inc.
Released: 2018-02-26
Paperback (394 pages)

Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia
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‘People would have known about Australia before they saw it. Smoke billowing above the sea spoke of a land that lay beyond the horizon. A dense cloud of migrating birds may have pointed the way. But the first Australians were voyaging into the unknown.’

Soon after Billy Griffiths joins his first archaeological dig as camp manager and cook, he is hooked. Equipped with a historian’s inquiring mind, he embarks on a journey through time, seeking to understand the extraordinary deep history of the Australian continent.

Deep Time Dreaming is the passionate product of that journey. It investigates a twin revolution: the reassertion of Aboriginal identity in the second half of the twentieth century, and the uncovering of the traces of ancient Australia. It explores what it means to live in a place of great antiquity, with its complex questions of ownership

History of the Australian Bushrangers

By George E Boxall

Released: 2013-10-23
Kindle Edition (246 pages)

History of the Australian Bushrangers
 
Product Description:
History of the Australian Bushrangers by George E Boxall. Originally published in 1908

Lonely Planet Australian Language & Culture (Phrasebook)

By Lonely Planet, Peter Austin, Susan Butler, Alan Dench & Dana Ober

imusti
Paperback (248 pages)

Lonely Planet Australian Language & Culture (Phrasebook)
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  • Lonely Planet
Product Description:

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Toss another shrimp on the barbie, crack open a tinny or pour yourself a chardy while you traverse Australia's vast expanse of true blue, fair dinkum Aussie lingo - from cosmopolitan communique to surf slang, outback jargon and some of the world's oldest indigenous languages. C'mon, avagoyermug!

Features a comprehensive section on Australia's impressive array of indigenous languages.

Lonely Planet's Language & Culture series goes behind the scenes of languages you thought you knew. Get into the culture and humour behind common - and not so common - English expressions and learn about the local languages that inspired them.

Lonely Planet gets you to the heart of a place. Our job is to make amazing travel experiences happen. We visit the places we write about each and every edition. We never take freebies for positive coverage, so you can always rely on us to tell it like it is.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Denise Angelo, Peter Austin, Barry Blake, Susan Butler, Carolyn Coleman, Jane Curtain, Alan Dench, Mark Newbrook, Dana Ober, Paul Smitz, Jenny Tindale, Dana Ober, and Melanie Wilkinson.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

Top 10 Sydney (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide)

By DK Travel

DK Eyewitness Travel
Released: 2015-05-05
Paperback (160 pages)

Top 10 Sydney (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide)
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  • DK Eyewitness Travel
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DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Sydney is your pocket guide to the very best of the city of Sydney.

Make the most of your trip to Sydney with our Top 10 Travel Guide, packed with insider trips, the best hotels for every budget, and the most fun places to travel or to take children in the city. From must-see museums and galleries to the greatest beaches and pools, you'll find it all in our guide. Take scenic excursions to see architecture, check out venues for music, dance, and theater, and visit Sydney's sporting venues. Packed with culture and activities, our guide to Sydney will make your trip extraordinary and unforgettable.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Sydney

True to its name, this Top 10 guidebook covers all major sights and attractions in easy-to-use "top 10" lists that help you plan the vacation that's right for you.

  • "Don't miss" destination highlights.
  • Things to do and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.
  • Free, color pull-out map (print edition), plus maps and photographs throughout.
  • Walking tours and day-trip itineraries.
  • Traveler tips and recommendations.
  • Local drink and dining specialties to try.
  • Museums, festivals, outdoor activities.
  • Creative and quirky best-of lists and more.

The perfect pocket-size travel companion: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Sydney

Recommended: For an in-depth guidebook to Australia, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Australia, which offers the most complete cultural coverage of Australia; 3-D cross-section illustrations of major sights and attractions; thousands of photographs, illustrations, and maps; and more.

Australia: History of Australia: Discover the major events that shaped the history of Australia

By James Walker

Independently published
Paperback (184 pages)

Australia: History of Australia: Discover the major events that shaped the history of Australia
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Australia is the land where opportunity knocks for everyone, no matter who you are, Australia is open and ready for you to create your own lifestyle and live your dreams.

Although Australia may appear as a hostile, arid chunk of land at first glance, the truth is that this mystical, faraway land is rich in more ways than one. Apart from kangaroos and other iconic, endemic species that roam the Australian landscape, the Land Down Under is also home to a vibrant and diverse culture, as well as some of the oldest surviving folk traditions maintained by Aboriginal Australians. Being incredibly diverse themselves, the indigenous people of Australia are made up of a wide range of tribes that speak many languages and maintain countless ancient customs. While the British certainly played a decisive role in Australia’s development, they weren’t quite the first to arrive, which is just one of the misconceptions that are all too common. How and when the Dutch got there first will become abundantly clear in the early chapters of this book where we will delve deeper into these defining historical events. As we proceed through the chapters, we will explore the entire journey that Australia has had to make to arrive at the point where it is today. Like many other former colonies, Australia gives off the illusion of having a short and uneventful past, which could not be further from the truth. Apart from the indigenous people and their stories, even the relatively brief colonial period is enough of a tale to fill out several volumes.

This book aims to put that information and more into a comprehensive and accessible read for all of those who wish to acquaint themselves with this unique country.

In addition to history, we will also delve into the life and structure of contemporary Australian society and state. This will provide insight into what exactly it means to be Australian and how the country’s past has defined this modern, developed land, which 25 million people now call their home. You will find that, as always, there is more than meets the eye, and that Australia not only has a rich history but has also contributed a great deal to the world as a whole. Let's explore Australia History today

HMAS Sydney: Australia's Greatest Naval Tragedy

By Tom Frame (author)

Hachette Australia
Paperback

HMAS Sydney: Australia s Greatest Naval Tragedy
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The complete and authoritative account of the sinking of the HMAS Sydney, and the finding of her wreck in 2008. On 19 November 1941, the pride of the Australian Navy, the light cruiser Sydney, fought a close-quarters battle with the German armed raider HSK Kormoran off Carnarvon on the West Australian coast. Both ships sank - and not one of the 645 men on board the Sydney survived. Was Sydney's captain guilty of negligence by allowing his ship to manoeuvre within range of Kormoran's guns? Did the Germans feign surrender before firing a torpedo at the Sydney as she prepared to despatch a boarding party? This updated edition covers the discovery of the wreck - with the light this sheds on the events of that day in 1941, and the closure it has brought to so many grieving families. 'Tom Frame has produced the most comprehensive and compelling account of the loss of HMAS Sydney to date. His judgements are fair and his conclusions reasoned. If you only read one book on this tragic event in Australian naval history, and want all the facts and theories presented in a balanced way, Tom Frame's book is for you.' - Vice Admiral Russ Shalders AO CSC RANR Chief of Navy, 2005-08.

Aboriginal Australians: A History Since 1788

By Richard Broome

Brand: Allen Unwin
Paperback (336 pages)

Aboriginal Australians: A History Since 1788
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A powerful history of black and white encounters in Australia since colonization, this fully updated edition remains the only concise survey of Aboriginal history since 1788
 
In the creation of any new society, there are winners and losers. So it was with Australia as it grew from a colonial outpost to an affluent society. Richard Broome tells the history of Australia from the standpoint of the original Australians: those who lost most in the early colonial struggle for power. Surveying two centuries of Aboriginal-European encounters, he shows how white settlers steadily supplanted the original inhabitants, from the shining coasts to inland deserts, by sheer force of numbers, disease, technology, and violence. He also tells the story of Aboriginal survival through resistance and accommodation, and traces the continuing Aboriginal struggle to move from the margins of a settler society to a more central place in modern. Since its first edition in 1982, Broome's Aboriginal Australians has won acclaim as a classic account of race relations in Australia. This fully rewritten fourth edition continues the story, covering the uneven implementation of native title, the plight of remote Aboriginal communities, the "Intervention," and the landmark apology to the "stolen generations" by Federal Parliament.


 
 
 

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