Australia is a country, and continent, surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Its major cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide – are coastal, but its capital, Canberra, is inland and nicknamed the “Bush Capital.” The country is known for its Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef, the vast Outback (interior desert wilderness) and unique animal species including kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses.
The History of Australia refers to the history of the area and people of the Commonwealth of Australia and its preceding Indigenous and colonial societies. Aboriginal Australians are believed to have first arrived on the Australian mainland by sea from Maritime Southeast Asia between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago. The artistic, musical and spiritual traditions they established are among the longest surviving such traditions in human history.
The first known landing in Australia by Europeans was by Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606. Twenty – nine other Dutch navigators explored the western and southern coasts in the 17th century, and dubbed the continent New Holland. Macassan trepangers visited Australia’s northern coasts after 1720, possibly earlier. Other European explorers followed until, in 1770, Lieutenant James Cook charted the east coast of Australia for Great Britain and returned with accounts favoring colonization at Botany Bay (now in Sydney), New South Wales.
The First Fleet of British ships arrived at Botany Bay in January 1788 to establish a penal colony. 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.
The culture of Australia is essentially a Western culture influenced by the unique geography of the Australian continent, the diverse input of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other Oceanian people, the British colonization of Australia that began in 1788, and the various waves of multi-ethnic migration that followed.Evidence of a significant Anglo – Celtic heritage includes the predominance of the English language, the existence of a democratic system of government drawing upon the British traditions of Westminster Government, Parliamentarianism and constitutional monarchy, American constitutionalist and federalist traditions, Christianity as the dominant religion, and the popularity of sports originating in (or influenced by) the British Isles. Australian culture has diverged significantly since British settlement.
Aboriginal people are believed to have arrived as early as 60,000 years ago, and evidence of Aboriginal art in Australia dates back at least 30,000 years. Several states and territories had their origins as penal colonies, with the first British convicts arriving at Sydney Cove in 1788. Stories of outlaws like the bushranger Ned Kelly have endured in Australian music, cinema, and literature. The Australian gold rushes from the 1850s brought wealth as well as new social tensions to Australia, including the miners’ Eureka Stockade rebellion. The colonies established elected parliaments and rights for workers and women before most other Western nations.
5) Gold Coasts
8) Fraser Island
12) Port Douglas
13) Margaret River
14) Kangaroo Island
15) Sunshine Coast
17) Surfers Paradise
18) Hamilton Island
19) Kakadu National Park
20) Philip Island
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