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History of Australia

Australia's original inhabitants, known as Australian Aborigines, have the longest continuous cultural history in the world, with origins dating back to the last Ice age. Although mystery and debate shroud many aspects of Australian prehistory, it is generally accepted that the first humans travelled across the sea from Indonesia about 70,000 years ago. The first visitors, called 'Robust' by archaeologists because of their heavy-boned physique, were followed 20,000 years later by the more slender 'Gracile' people, the ancestors of Australian Aborigines.


Although Portuguese and Spanish mariners may have seen the east coast of Australia in the 16th century, they concentrate on India, East Africa, and Southeast Asia and explored these parts of the world. It were the Dutch, however, who began to explore the continent. Helped by better sailing ships and greater knowledge of global wind systems, it was the Dutchman Dirk Hartog, who landed on an offshore island of Western Australia.
He was the first known European, who set an foot on Australian soil.


In 1768, Captain James Cook left England on a three-year expedition to the Pacific. This expedition also took him to the unknown continent Australia. Cook landed at Botany Bay on the eastern coast and named it New South Wales. It was he and his staff, including the botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who later supported settlement in Australia. Cook made two more voyages, to add information on the Australian landmass and to certify Britain’s claims to the continent.


Britain moved quickly after American Revolution ended in 1783. Most important factor was Britain's need to relieve its overcrowded prisons. Several violent incidents at overcrowded prisons lead the Government to the decision, that certain prisoners should be removed from British Prisons.
Additionally, Australia was of strategic importance to Britain, and it provided a base for the Royal Navy ...

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