Neighbor Down Under
1500–1770 Portuguese, Spaniards, French, Dutch, and
British touch north and west coast but are glad to get away from this wasteland
of “sand, sorrow, and sore eyes.”
Captain James Cook discovers fertile southeast coast.
Penal settlement made at Sydney. Similar settlement in Tasmania soon afterward.
Discovery of vast grazing plains beyond coastal mountain range starts
westward movement. Sixty years of exploration of interior pave way for settlement
of inhabitable areas. Four other states—Victoria, Queensland, South Australia,
and Western Australia—founded.
Gold discovered in New South Wales and Victoria. $600,000,000 extracted
in ten years. Population nearly trebles.
Parliamentary government established in five states.
First cargo of frozen meat carried successfully to London.
The “Great Strike” in the ports.
Labor Party in New South Wales wins many seats at general election.
Discussions lead to federation in Commonwealth of Australia.
Australians take part in Boer War in South Africa.
First Labor government in New South Wales, followed quickly by similar
governments in other states and in federal sphere.
Anzacs take German New Guinea and fight in Near East,
Gallipoli, and on Western Front.
East-West Railway completed across continent. First steel mill goes into
1919 Australia given mandate over ex-German New Guinea and some islands.
Washington Disarmament Conference decrees scuttling of
Australia’s only battle cruiser.
The Great Depression. Australia organizes first “Brains
Trust” to make plans for recovery.
Australia declares war on Germany.
Japanese bomb Port Darwin—the first attack on Australian soil in
the country’s history.