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Australia's history has led to a rich and diverse culture. Here is an introduction to culture that defines Australia.

The History of Australia

It is thought that Aboriginal people migrated to Australia 50,000 years ago from Indonesia. For thousands of years they lived a nomadic, hunter-gatherer lifestyle until the 18th and 19th centuries when the British colonized Australia.

In 1770, the first explorer, Captain James Cook, sailed into Botany Bay on the east coast of Australia in his ship, Endeavour, and named the land New South Wales. Thirteen years later, after Britain lost its American colonies, the British government decided to establish a penal colony in New South Wales. The colony was used to dispose of England's convicts and prisoners. The convicts performed labour and built ships, among other things, for their mother country. Many were serving sentences for small offences, such as shoplifting, poaching wildlife on private land or causing political unrest.

The first convicts arrived in New South Wales on a fleet of ships under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788. Phillip named the place where his ships landed "Sydney", after Lord Sydney, the British Home Secretary. Many more fleets of ships followed until the transportation of convicts was abolished in 1852.

Initially, meetings between aborigines and European settlers were peaceful. However, they soon became violent and the Europeans, with their technologically superior warfare, killed many Aborigines. In all of the violent history between Aborigines and European settlers it is estimated that less than 1,000 Europeans were killed, while 10,000 Aboriginal people were slain.

In the late 1790s the promise of cheap land and convict labour attracted free settlers to Australia. Later, during the 1850s, gold discoveries brought immigrants from Europe, China and America.

As cities expanded and transportation routes were built in the 1800s, an Australian identity began to form. Australia became a commonwealth on January 1, 1901.

-- Australian History on the Internet -- National Library of Australia

   The Culture:


   Aboriginal culture


   Food & Drink

   Music, Art, Pop

   Wine Regions

   Food Companion

   The Land:


   States & Territories



   The People:



   Aussie Slang