- Travel and Places»
- Visiting Asia
Australia Knowledge and Quiz
Facts and Folklore
The country in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean regions is huge. Its terrain covers every type of landscape imaginable and its borders spread to Antarctica in the South to Christmas Island in the West, to Norfolk Island in the east and to Papua New Guinea in the North. It has a widely diverse population of just about all types and colors and its original indigenous population is far exceeded by the white settlers, many of whom are descended from British criminals who were transported because of starvation and poor living conditions in 18th, 19th Century Britain.
Its early history was, therefore, as a penal colony and then as a choice place of British and European migration. Its climate and the opportunities it has offered new migrants makes it a great place to settle. Its colorful past has created a lot of interesting history and mistakes by governments but, overall, it is now a rich, competent nation which holds its own on the world stage.
Early History of Australia
The first arrivals were the British who saw the country as a giant puzzle. Without understanding the native inhabitants or their culture they started to annihilate them. These people are not mentioned in the bible, as with the inbdigenous people of so many places that were devastated by white invaders. Before they ever understood the wild life many species were wiped out inluding the beautiful Tasmanian Tiger that once roamed the land.
Aboriginal culture was ignored and children fathered by white men from aboriginal mothers were taken by the government and placed in white homes. The idea was to destroy ithe culture and languages that once enriched the nation. Over 200 natve languages were once spoken from shore to shore. Now there are probably a dozen or so remaining.
The aborigines of Tasmania were targeted as it was a penal colony and land was required for homesteads and agriculture. In the end the last survivors were rounded up and transported to an island in Bass Strait where one by one they died in full view of their homeland. The last survivors were taken to Victoria and turned loose without any support. They also died.
The skulls of many of the dead were then sent to England, along with specimens of the wildlife where they are housed in the British Museum. Gradually the aborigine remains have been handed back to elders who have returned them to their rightful burial places. Meanwhile the convicts fared little better, They were cruelly treated, incarcerated in appalling conditions and punished severally for trying to escape.
The penal colonies ranged from Sydney, in New South Wales, up the coast to Queensland and south to Melbourne and Adelaide. Perth did not come under the convict spell as it was too far away from the early colonies to matter.
There are some interesting events that occurred in those early days and the quiz on its early history has engaged a few in these times. You might like to take on these quizzes and see how you go. They cover Australia's early days and its current situation. At the least you will learn more about this great and amazing country
There is some great folklore attached to this nation but probably none better than our most favorite song Waltzing Matilda. Listen to the lyrics and you get the feeling of what this great land is about.
Once a jolly swagman camped by a Billabong, under the shade of a Coollibah tree"
A billabong is a small lake adjacent to a river but cut off from it by a shift in the landscape, such as a sandbar or rock fall, and so on. A swagman is one who took to walking around Australia looking for work during the Great Depression. They carried a rolled up swag on their backs containing bedding and possibly a change of clothes.
They hung things like a billy can, used to make a cup of tea, and frying pan or pot. tied to string and slung over their shoulders. These would bang together as they walked making a clanging sound. After WW11 many men took to this lifestyle when they returned from fighting or just to make ends meet. Some had families to support while others deserted them and refused to ever make contact. Foe survival they would steal and a tasty lamb was a great find. Picture of a billabong courtesy of Wikipedia.
How it was developed on the sheep's back and why agriculture became our number one industry. You also gain an impression of how the rebellious nature of the convict has persisted in succeeding generations.
We had some notoriuos convicts as well. During the 19th Century Ned Kelly and his gang, mostly comprising his brothers and even his mother., Ben Hall and a few others come to mind.
But We Are Full Of Pride
Australia's Men and Women of Valour
And a nation to match.
We have never shied away from doing our bit to protect the world against dictators and evil. Although a young country of just a few million people we were into the wars and gave our all. The men and women who did this and the ones who stayed behind to continue to build the country are not only honored and remembered but out of our past has grown a great future.
There have been mistakes by governments and citizens alike and these lenses highlight some of those.
Health Care - People mean something
Still images from Dreamstime - click here