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Romantic descriptions of the beauty, mild climate, and fertile soil of Norfolk Island in the South Pacific led the British government to establish a subsidiary settlement of the New South Wales colony there in It was hoped that the giant Norfolk Island pine trees and flax plants growing wild on the island might provide the basis for a local industry which, particularly in the case of flax, would provide an alternative source of supply to Russia for an article which was essential for making cordage and sails for the ships of the British navy; however, the island had no safe harbour, which led the colony to be abandoned and the settlers evacuated to Tasmania in In , Flinders successfully circumnavigated Australia for the first time.

Van Diemen's Land , now known as Tasmania , was settled in , following a failed attempt to settle at Sullivan Bay in what is now Victoria.

Other British settlements followed, at various points around the continent, many of them unsuccessful.

The East India Trade Committee recommended in that a settlement be established on the coast of northern Australia to forestall the Dutch, and Captain J.

The new boundary included Melville and Bathurst Islands, and the adjacent mainland. In , a penal colony was established near the mouth of the Brisbane River the basis of the later colony of Queensland.

In , the Swan River Colony and its capital of Perth were founded on the west coast proper and also assumed control of King George Sound.

Initially a free colony, Western Australia later accepted British convicts, because of an acute labour shortage.

Between and , approximately , convicts of whom 25, were women were transported to the Australian colonies of New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land and Western Australia.

The majority were repeat offenders. A few went on to have successful lives as emancipists, having been pardoned at the end of their sentence.

Female convicts had fewer opportunities. Some convicts, particularly Irish convicts, had been transported to Australia for political crimes or social rebellion, so authorities were consequently suspicious of the Irish and restricted the practice of Catholicism in Australia.

The Irish-led Castle Hill Rebellion of served to increase suspicions and repression. Officers of the Corps soon became involved in the corrupt and lucrative rum trade in the colony.

In the Rum Rebellion of , the Corps, working closely with the newly established wool trader John Macarthur , staged the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history, deposing Governor William Bligh and instigating a brief period of military rule in the colony prior to the arrival from Britain of Governor Lachlan Macquarie in Macquarie served as the last autocratic Governor of New South Wales , from to and had a leading role in the social and economic development of New South Wales which saw it transition from a penal colony to a budding free society.

He established public works, a bank , churches, and charitable institutions and sought good relations with the Aborigines.

In he sent Blaxland , Wentworth and Lawson across the Blue Mountains , where they found the great plains of the interior; however, central to Macquarie's policy was his treatment of the emancipists , whom he decreed should be treated as social equals to free-settlers in the colony.

London judged his public works to be too expensive and society was scandalised by his treatment of emancipists. The first five Governors of New South Wales realised the urgent need to encourage free settlers, but the British government remained largely indifferent.

As early as , Governor Arthur Phillip wrote: "Your lordship will see by my At present this settlement only affords one person that I can employ in cultivating the lands Land grants of crown land were made by Governors, and settlement schemes such as those of Edward Gibbon Wakefield carried some weight in encouraging migrants to make the long voyage to Australia, as opposed to the United States or Canada.

Early colonial administrations were anxious to address the gender imbalance in the population brought about by the importation of large numbers of convict men.

Between and , around male to female convicts were landed at Sydney. Governor Macquarie's wife, Elizabeth Macquarie took an interest in convict women's welfare.

Her humanitarian efforts later won her fame in England and great influence in achieving support for families in the colony. From the s, increasing numbers of squatters [] occupied land beyond the fringes of European settlement.

Often running sheep on large stations with relatively few overheads, squatters could make considerable profits.

By , nearly 2 million kilograms of wool were being exported to Britain from Australia. In , the British Colonial Office issued the Proclamation of Governor Bourke reinforcing the notion that the land belonged to no one prior to the British Crown taking possession of it and quashing any likelihood of treaties with Aboriginal peoples, including that signed by John Batman.

Its publication meant that from then, all people found occupying land without the authority of the government would be considered illegal trespassers.

Separate settlements and later, colonies, were created from parts of New South Wales: South Australia in , New Zealand in , Port Phillip District in , later becoming the colony of Victoria in , and Queensland in The Northern Territory was founded in as part of South Australia.

The transportation of convicts to Australia was phased out between and Massive areas of land were cleared for agriculture and various other purposes in the first years of European settlement.

In addition to the obvious impacts this early clearing of land and importation of hard-hoofed animals had on the ecology of particular regions, it severely affected indigenous Australians, by reducing the resources they relied on for food, shelter and other essentials.

This progressively forced them into smaller areas and reduced their numbers as the majority died of newly introduced diseases and lack of resources.

Indigenous resistance against the settlers was widespread, and prolonged fighting between and the s led to the deaths of at least 20, indigenous people and between 2, and 2, Europeans.

The nature of many of these institutions enabled disease to spread quickly and many were closed as their populations fell.

A group in Britain led by Edward Gibbon Wakefield sought to start a colony based on free settlement rather than convict labour.

In the South Australian Land Company was formed amid a campaign for a royal charter which would provide for the establishment of a privately financed "free" colony in Australia—giving the city of Adelaide an air of prosperity and class not afforded to the other settlements, which had been smeared with the undesirable convict stain.

While New South Wales, Tasmania and although not initially Western Australia were established as convict settlements, the founders of South Australia had a vision of a colony with political and religious freedoms, together with opportunities for wealth through business and pastoral investments.

The South Australia Act , passed by the British Government to establish the colony, reflected these desires and included a promise of representative government when the population reached 50, people.

South Australia thus became the only colony authorised by an Act of Parliament , and which was intended to be developed at no cost to the British government.

Transportation of convicts was forbidden, and 'poor Emigrants', assisted by an Emigration Fund, were required to bring their families with them.

The foundation of South Australia is now generally commemorated as Governor John Hindmarsh 's Proclamation of the new Province at Glenelg , on the mainland, on 28 December Land development and settlement was the basis of the Wakefield vision, so land law and regulations governing it were fundamental to the foundation of the Province and allowed for land to be bought at a uniform price per acre regardless of quality , with auctions for land desired by more than one buyer, and leases made available on unused land.

Proceeds from land were to fund the Emigration Fund to assist poor settlers to come as tradesmen and labourers. By the colony was experimenting with a partially elected council.

In —99 George Bass and Matthew Flinders set out from Sydney in a sloop and circumnavigated Tasmania , thus proving it to be an island.

Aboard ship was the Aboriginal explorer Bungaree , of the Sydney district, who became the first person born on the Australian continent to circumnavigate the Australian continent.

In , Gregory Blaxland , William Lawson and William Wentworth succeeded in crossing the formidable barrier of forested gulleys and sheer cliffs presented by the Blue Mountains , west of Sydney.

At Mount Blaxland they looked out over "enough grass to support the stock of the colony for thirty years", and expansion of the British settlement into the interior could begin.

In the Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane , commissioned Hamilton Hume and former Royal Navy Captain William Hovell to lead an expedition to find new grazing land in the south of the colony, and also to find an answer to the mystery of where New South Wales' western rivers flowed.

Over 16 weeks in —25, Hume and Hovell journeyed to Port Phillip and back. They made many important discoveries including the Murray River which they named the Hume , many of its tributaries, and good agricultural and grazing lands between Gunning, New South Wales and Corio Bay , Port Phillip.

A theory had developed that the inland rivers of New South Wales were draining into an inland sea. Leading a second expedition in , Sturt followed the Murrumbidgee River into a 'broad and noble river', the Murray River, which he named after Sir George Murray, secretary of state for the colonies.

His party then followed this river to its junction with the Darling River , facing two threatening encounters with local Aboriginal people along the way.

Sturt continued down river on to Lake Alexandrina , where the Murray meets the sea in South Australia.

Suffering greatly, the party had to row hundreds of kilometres back upstream for the return journey. Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell conducted a series of expeditions from the s to 'fill in the gaps' left by these previous expeditions.

He was meticulous in seeking to record the original Aboriginal place names around the colony, for which reason the majority of place names to this day retain their Aboriginal titles.

European explorers made their last great, often arduous and sometimes tragic expeditions into the interior of Australia during the second half of the 19th century—some with the official sponsorship of the colonial authorities and others commissioned by private investors.

By , large areas of the inland were still unknown to Europeans. Trailblazers like Edmund Kennedy and the Prussian naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt , had met tragic ends attempting to fill in the gaps during the s, but explorers remained ambitious to discover new lands for agriculture or answer scientific enquiries.

Surveyors also acted as explorers and the colonies sent out expeditions to discover the best routes for lines of communication.

The size of expeditions varied considerably from small parties of just two or three to large, well-equipped teams led by gentlemen explorers assisted by smiths, carpenters, labourers and Aboriginal guides accompanied by horses, camels or bullocks.

In , the ill-fated Burke and Wills led the first north-south crossing of the continent from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Lacking bushcraft and unwilling to learn from the local Aboriginal people, Burke and Wills died in , having returned from the Gulf to their rendezvous point at Coopers Creek only to discover the rest of their party had departed the location only a matter of hours previously.

Though an impressive feat of navigation, the expedition was an organisational disaster which continues to fascinate the Australian public.

His expedition mapped out the route which was later followed by the Australian Overland Telegraph Line. Uluru and Kata Tjuta were first mapped by Europeans in during the expeditionary period made possible by the construction of the Australian Overland Telegraph Line.

In separate expeditions, Ernest Giles and William Gosse were the first European explorers to this area. These barren desert lands of Central Australia disappointed the Europeans as unpromising for pastoral expansion, but would later come to be appreciated as emblematic of Australia.

As by English law all minerals belonged to the Crown, there was at first, "little to stimulate a search for really rich goldfields in a colony prospering under a pastoral economy".

The Colony of Victoria 's population grew rapidly, from 76, in to , by The causes of this were the colonial government's administration of the diggings and the gold licence system.

Following a number of protests and petitions for reform , violence erupted at Ballarat in late Early on the morning of Sunday 3 December , British soldiers and Police attacked a stockade built on the Eureka lead holding some of the aggrieved diggers.

In a short fight, at least 30 miners were killed and an unknown number wounded. But a few months later, a Royal commission made sweeping changes to the administration of Victoria's goldfields.

Its recommendations included the abolition of the licence, reforms to the police force and voting rights for miners holding a Miner's Right.

In the s, visiting author Mark Twain characterised the battle at Eureka as "The finest thing in Australasian history.

It was a revolution-small in size, but great politically; it was a strike for liberty, a struggle for principle, a stand against injustice and oppression The Melbourne Trades Hall was opened in with trades and labour councils and trades halls opening in all cities and most regional towns in the following 40 years.

During the s trade unions developed among shearers , miners and stevedores wharf workers , but soon spread to cover almost all blue-collar jobs.

Shortages of labour led to high wages for a prosperous skilled working class, whose unions demanded and got an eight-hour day and other benefits unheard of in Europe.

Australia gained a reputation as "the working man's paradise". Some employers tried to undercut the unions by importing Chinese labour.

This produced a reaction which led to all the colonies restricting Chinese and other Asian immigration. This led to the enactment of the White Australia Policy.

New South Wales in was the first colony to gain responsible government , managing most of its own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire.

Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia followed in ; Queensland, from its foundation in ; and Western Australia, in The Colonial Office in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs, defence and international shipping.

The gold era led to a long period of prosperity, sometimes called "the long boom". By , the sheep population of Australia was estimated at million.

During the boom, Melbourne had reputedly become the richest city in the world, []. The late 19th century had seen a great growth in the cities of south eastern Australia.

Australia's population not including Aborigines, who were excluded from census calculations in was 3.

The word " bushrangers " originally referred to runaway convicts in the early years of the British settlement of Australia who had the survival skills necessary to use the Australian bush as a refuge to hide from the authorities.

The term then evolved to refer to those who abandoned social rights and privileges to take up " robbery under arms " as a way of life, using the bush as their base.

More than 2, bushrangers are believed to have roamed the Australian countryside, beginning with the convict bolters and ending after Ned Kelly 's last stand at Glenrowan.

Bold Jack Donahue is recorded as the last convict bushranger. Throughout the s he was regarded as the most notorious bushranger in the colony.

Bushranging was common on the mainland, but Van Diemen's Land Tasmania produced the most violent and serious outbreaks of convict bushrangers.

Indigenous outlaw Musquito defied colonial law and led attacks on settlers. The bushrangers' heyday was the gold rush years of the s and s.

The increasing push of settlement, increased police efficiency, improvements in rail transport and communications technology, such as telegraphy , made it increasingly difficult for bushrangers to evade capture.

Among the last bushrangers were the Kelly Gang, led by Ned Kelly , who were captured at Glenrowan in , two years after they were outlawed.

Kelly was born in Victoria to an Irish convict father, and as a young man he clashed with the Victoria Police. Following an incident at his home in , police parties searched for him in the bush.

After he killed three policemen, the colony proclaimed Kelly and his gang wanted outlaws. A final violent confrontation with police took place at Glenrowan on 28 June Kelly, dressed in home-made plate metal armour and helmet, was captured and sent to jail.

He was hanged for murder at Old Melbourne Gaol in November His daring and notoriety made him an iconic figure in Australian history, folklore, literature, art and film.

Some bushrangers, most notably Ned Kelly in his Jerilderie Letter , and in his final raid on Glenrowan, explicitly represented themselves as political rebels.

Attitudes to Kelly, by far the most well-known bushranger, exemplify the ambivalent views of Australians regarding bushranging.

Traditional Aboriginal society had been governed by councils of elders and a corporate decision making process, but the first European-style governments established after were autocratic and run by appointed governors —although English law was transplanted into the Australian colonies by virtue of the doctrine of reception , thus notions of the rights and processes established by the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights were brought from Britain by the colonists.

Agitation for representative government began soon after the settlement of the colonies. William Wentworth established the Australian Patriotic Association Australia's first political party in to demand democratic government for New South Wales.

The reformist attorney general , John Plunkett , sought to apply Enlightenment principles to governance in the colony, pursuing the establishment of equality before the law, first by extending jury rights to emancipists , then by extending legal protections to convicts, assigned servants and Aborigines.

Plunkett twice charged the colonist perpetrators of the Myall Creek massacre of Aborigines with murder, resulting in a conviction and his landmark Church Act of disestablished the Church of England and established legal equality between Anglicans , Catholics , Presbyterians and later Methodists.

Men who possessed 1, pounds worth of property were able to stand for election and wealthy landowners were permitted up to four votes each in elections.

Australia's first parliamentary elections were conducted for the New South Wales Legislative Council in , again with voting rights for males only tied to property ownership or financial capacity.

Voter rights were extended further in New South Wales in and elections for legislative councils were held in the colonies of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

By the midth century, there was a strong desire for representative and responsible government in the colonies of Australia, fed by the democratic spirit of the goldfields evident at the Eureka Stockade and the ideas of the great reform movements sweeping Europe , the United States and the British Empire.

The end of convict transportation accelerated reform in the s and s. The Australian Colonies Government Act [] was a landmark development which granted representative constitutions to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and the colonies enthusiastically set about writing constitutions which produced democratically progressive parliaments—though the constitutions generally maintained the role of the colonial upper houses as representative of social and economic "interests" and all established constitutional monarchies with the British monarch as the symbolic head of state.

An innovative secret ballot was introduced in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia in , in which the government supplied voting paper containing the names of candidates and voters could select in private.

This system was adopted around the world, becoming known as the " Australian Ballot ". This right was extended to Victoria in and New South Wales the following year.

The other colonies followed until, in , Tasmania became the last colony to grant universal male suffrage. Propertied women in the colony of South Australia were granted the vote in local elections but not parliamentary elections in Henrietta Dugdale formed the first Australian women's suffrage society in Melbourne in This was the first legislation in the world permitting women also to stand for election to political office and, in , Catherine Helen Spence became the first female political candidate for political office, unsuccessfully standing for election as a delegate to the Federal Convention on Australian Federation.

Western Australia granted voting rights to women in Legally, indigenous Australian males generally gained the right to vote during this period when Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia gave voting rights to all male British subjects over Only Queensland and Western Australia barred Aboriginal people from voting.

Thus, Aboriginal men and women voted in some jurisdictions for the first Commonwealth Parliament in ; however, early federal parliamentary reform and judicial interpretation sought to limit Aboriginal voting in practice—a situation which endured until rights activists began campaigning in the s.

Though the various parliaments of Australia have been constantly evolving, the key foundations for elected parliamentary government have maintained an historical continuity in Australia from the s into the 21st century.

By the late s, a majority of people living in the Australian colonies were native born, although over 90 per cent were of British and Irish heritage.

Identifying strongly with family and mates , Kelly was opposed to what he regarded as oppression by Police and powerful Squatters.

Almost mirroring the Australian stereotype later defined by historian Russel Ward , Kelly became "a skilled bushman, adept with guns, horses and fists and winning admiration from his peers in the district".

The origins of distinctly Australian painting is often associated with this period and the Heidelberg School of the s—s. Like the European Impressionists, they painted in the open air.

These artists found inspiration in the unique light and colour which characterises the Australian bush. Their most recognised work involves scenes of pastoral and wild Australia, featuring the vibrant, even harsh colours of Australian summers.

Australian literature was equally developing a distinct voice. Views of Australia at times conflicted—Lawson and Paterson contributed a series of verses to The Bulletin magazine in which they engaged in a literary debate about the nature of life in Australia: Lawson a republican socialist derided Paterson as a romantic, while Paterson a country born city lawyer thought Lawson full of doom and gloom.

Paterson wrote the lyrics of the much-loved folksong Waltzing Matilda in Dennis wrote of laconic heroes in the Australian vernacular, while McKellar rejected a love of England's pleasant pastures in favour of what she termed a "Sunburnt Country" in her iconic poem: My Country A common theme throughout the nationalist art, music and writing of the late 19th century was the romantic rural or bush myth , ironically produced by one of the most urbanised societies in the world.

While bush ballads evidenced distinctively Australian popular medium of music and of literature, Australian artists of a more classical mould—such as the opera singer Dame Nellie Melba , and painters John Peter Russell and Rupert Bunny —prefigured the 20th-century expatriate Australians who knew little of 'stockyard and rails' but would travel abroad to influence Western art and culture.

Despite suspicion from some sections of the colonial community especially in smaller colonies about the value of nationhood, improvements in inter-colonial transport and communication, including the linking of Perth to the south eastern cities by telegraph in , [] helped break down inter-colonial rivalries.

Amid calls from London for the establishment of an intercolonial Australian army, and with the various colonies independently constructing railway lines, New South Wales Premier Henry Parkes addressed a rural audience in his Tenterfield Oration , stating that the time had come to form a national executive government: "Australia [now has] a population of three and a half millions, and the American people numbered only between three and four millions when they formed the great commonwealth of the United States.

The numbers were about the same, and surely what the Americans had done by war, the Australians could bring about in peace, without breaking the ties that held them to the mother country.

Though Parkes would not live to see it, his vision would be achieved within a little over a decade, and he is remembered as the "father of federation".

Increasing nationalism, a growing sense of national identity, improvements in transport and communications, as well as fears about immigration and defence all combined to encourage the movement, spurred on by organisations like the Australian Natives' Association.

Despite the growing calls for unification, loyalties to the British Empire remained strong. At a Federation Conference banquet in , Henry Parkes spoke of blood-kinship linking the colonies to Britain and a "race" for whom "the purpose of settling new countries has never had its equal on the face of the earth" [].

In , representatives of the six colonies and New Zealand had met in Melbourne and called for the union of the colonies and for the colonial legislatures to nominate representatives to attend a constitutional convention.

The following year, the National Australasian Convention was held in Sydney, with all the future states and New Zealand represented.

The delegates returned to their parliaments with the Bill, but progress was slow, as Australia faced its s economic Depression. Nevertheless, by five of the colonies elected representatives for a second Convention , which was conducted in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne over the space of a year, allowing time for consultation.

Queensland and Western Australia later moved to do the same, though New Zealand did not participate in the Convention.

In July , the Bill was put to a series of referenda in four colonies, but New South Wales rejected the proposal.

In , a second referendum put an amended Bill to the voters of the four colonies and Queensland, and the Bill was endorsed.

In March , delegates were dispatched to London, where approval for the Bill was sought from the Imperial Parliament. The Bill was put to the House of Commons and passed on 5 July and, soon after, was signed into law by Queen Victoria.

Lord Hopetoun was dispatched from London, tasked with appointing an interim Cabinet to oversee the foundation of the Commonwealth and conduct of the first elections.

There was a more radical vision for a separate Australia by some colonists, including writer Henry Lawson , trade unionist William Lane and as found in the pages of the Sydney Bulletin.

But by the end of , and after much colonial debate, the citizens of five of the six Australian colonies had voted in referendums in favour of a constitution to form a Federation.

Western Australia voted to join in July From that point a system of federalism in Australia came into operation, entailing the establishment of an entirely new national government the Commonwealth government and an ongoing division of powers between that government and the States.

Labor declared it would offer support to the party which offered concessions and Edmund Barton 's Protectionists formed a government, with Alfred Deakin as Attorney-General.

Barton promised to "create a high court, He proposed to extend conciliation and arbitration, create a uniform railway gauge between the eastern capitals, [] to introduce female federal franchise, to establish a The Labor Party the spelling "Labour" was dropped in had been established in the s, after the failure of the Maritime and Shearer's strikes.

Its strength was in the Australian Trade Union movement "which grew from a membership of just under , in to more than half a million in ".

As noted by the historian Ross McMullin , "In the national sphere Labor had taken the Protectionists as far in the direction of progressive legislation as possible.

In Western Australia, Forrest introduced a conciliation and arbitration bill in which brought trade unions into the state's social fabric for the first time.

In addition, WA Labor scored another victory with the passage of legislation which extended workers' compensation. Under the premierships of Storey and Dooley in New South Wales, various reforms were carried out such as the establishment of the Rural Bank and the elimination of high school fees.

The Labor Party's rising support at elections, together with its formation of federal government in under Chris Watson , and again in , helped to unify competing conservative, free market and liberal anti-socialists into the Commonwealth Liberal Party in Although this party dissolved in , a successor to its version of "liberalism" in Australia which in some respects comprises an alliance of Millsian liberals and Burkian conservatives united in support for individualism and opposition to socialism can be found in the modern Liberal Party.

The Immigration Restriction Act was one of the first laws passed by the new Australian parliament. This centrepiece of the 'White Australia Policy' aimed to restrict immigration from Asia especially China , where the population was vastly greater and the standard of living vastly lower and was similar to measures taken in other settler societies such as the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

While the law allowed for the use of any European language, the English version was standardised and became known as the "Stewart" test after the Federal MP Stewart Parnaby who originally penned the exam.

A few politicians spoke of the need to avoid hysterical treatment of the question. But there is obligation The law passed both houses of Parliament and remained a central feature of Australia's immigration laws until abandoned in the s.

In the s, the Lyons government unsuccessfully attempted to exclude Egon Erwin Kisch , a German Czechoslovakian communist author from entering Australia, by means of a 'dictation test' in Scottish Gaelic.

Concerns emerged that the law could be used for such political purposes. By , units of soldiers from all six Australian colonies had been active as part of British forces in the Boer War , which was very popular in Australia.

Some 16, men had volunteered for service by the war's end in June Australians saw themselves in time of war a lonely, sparsely populated outpost.

The Defence Act of reinforced the importance of Australian defence, and in February , Lord Kitchener provided further advice on a defence scheme based on conscription.

By , the battlecruiser Australia led the fledgling Royal Australian Navy. Historian Bill Gammage estimates that on the eve of war, Australia had , men "under arms of some sort".

Historian Humphrey McQueen has it that working and living conditions for Australia's working classes in the early 20th century were of "frugal comfort".

The Harvester Judgment of recognised the concept of a basic wage and in the Federal government also began an old age pension scheme. Together with the White Australia Policy and pioneering social policy, these developments have since been dubbed the Australian settlement.

As a result of them, the new Commonwealth gained recognition as a laboratory for social experimentation and positive liberalism.

Catastrophic droughts plagued some regions in the late s and early 20th century and together with a growing rabbit plague , created great hardship in the rural area of Australia.

Despite this, a number of writers "imagined a time when Australia would outstrip Britain in wealth and importance, when its open spaces would support rolling acres of farms and factories to match those of the United States.

Some estimated the future population at million, million or more". Brady , whose book Australia Unlimited described Australia's inland as ripe for development and settlement, "destined one day to pulsate with life".

With the encouragement of Queensland, in , a British protectorate had been proclaimed over the southern coast of New Guinea and its adjacent islands.

British New Guinea , was annexed outright in The possession was placed under the authority of the newly federated Commonwealth of Australia in and with passage of the Papua Act of , British New Guinea became the Australian Territory of Papua , with formal Australian administration beginning in The world war marked a decisive moment in the history of Australia, remember to this day for the ANZAC story of the Army's sacrifices at Gallipoli, and the coming-of-age of a young nation.

The declaration of war by King George V in August automatically involved all of Britain's colonies and dominions. I sincerely hope that international arbitration will avail before Europe is convulsed in the greatest war of all time But should the worst happen Australians will stand beside our own to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling.

More than , Australian men volunteered to fight during the First World War between and [] from a total national population of 4.

After the Australian Imperial Forces AIF was withdrawn in late , and enlarged to five divisions, most were moved to France to serve under British command.

Light horsemen of the 4th and 12th Regiments captured heavily fortified Beersheba from Turk forces by means of a cavalry charge at full gallop on 31 October One of the last great cavalry charges in history, the attack opened a way for the allies to outflank the Gaza-Beersheba Line and drive the Ottomans back into Palestine.

The AIF's first experience of warfare on the Western Front was also the most costly single encounter in Australian military history.

In July , at Fromelles , in a diversionary attack during the Battle of the Somme , the AIF suffered 5, killed or wounded in 24 hours. Two bitterly fought and divisive conscription referendums were held in Australia in and Both failed, and Australia's army remained a volunteer force.

John Monash was appointed corps commander of the Australian forces in May and led some significant attacks in the final stages of the war.

British Field Marshal Montgomery later called him "the best general on the western front in Europe". Monash made the protection of infantry a priority and sought to fully integrate all the new technologies of warfare in both the planning and execution of battles, thus he wrote that infantry should not be sacrificed needlessly to enemy bayonets and machine guns—but rather should "advance under the maximum possible protection of the maximum possible array of mechanical resources, in the form of guns, machine-guns, tanks, mortars and aeroplanes".

His first operation at the relatively small Battle of Hamel demonstrated the validity of his approach and later actions before the Hindenburg Line in confirmed it.

The 8th of August put the decline of [German] fighting power beyond all doubt". Over 60, Australians had died during the conflict and , were wounded, a high proportion of the , who had fought overseas.

While the Gallipoli campaign was a total failure militarily and Australians died, its memory was all-important. Gallipoli transformed the Australian mind and became an iconic element of the Australian identity and the founding moment of nationhood.

Bill Gammage has suggested that the choice of 25 April has always meant much to Australians because at Gallipoli, "the great machines of modern war were few enough to allow ordinary citizens to show what they could do".

In France, between and , "where almost seven times as many Australians died At one point Hughes declared: "I speak for 60, [Australian] dead".

Hughes demanded that Australia have independent representation within the newly formed League of Nations and was the most prominent opponent of the inclusion of the Japanese racial equality proposal, which as a result of lobbying by him and others was not included in the final Treaty, deeply offending Japan.

Hughes was concerned by the rise of Japan. Though Japan occupied German possessions with the blessings of the British, Hughes was alarmed by this policy.

Japan obtained control over the South Pacific Mandate , north of the equator. After the war, Prime Minister Billy Hughes led a new conservative force, the Nationalist Party , formed from the old Liberal party and breakaway elements of Labor of which he was the most prominent , after the deep and bitter split over Conscription.

An estimated 12, Australians died as a result of the Spanish flu pandemic of , almost certainly brought home by returning soldiers.

The success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia posed a threat in the eyes of many Australians, although to a small group of socialists, it was an inspiration.

The Communist Party of Australia was formed in and, though remaining electorally insignificant, it obtained some influence in the trade union movement and was banned during World War II for its support for the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the Menzies Government unsuccessfully tried to ban it again during the Korean War.

Despite splits, the party remained active until its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. The Country Party today's National Party formed in to promulgate its version of agrarianism , which it called " Countrymindedness ".

The goal was to enhance the status of the graziers operators of big sheep ranches and small farmers, and secure subsidies for them. Other significant after-effects of the war included ongoing industrial unrest, which included the Victorian Police strike.

Other major strikes occurred on the waterfront, in the coalmining and timber industries in the late s. The union movement had established the Australian Council of Trade Unions ACTU in in response to the Nationalist government's efforts to change working conditions and reduce the power of the unions.

The consumerism, entertainment culture, and new technologies that characterised the s in the United States were also found in Australia.

The fledgling film industry declined through the decade, over 2 million Australians attending cinemas weekly at venues.

A Royal Commission in failed to assist and the industry that had begun so brightly with the release of the world's first feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang , atrophied until its revival in the s.

Speaking in early , Bruce summed up the priorities and optimism of many Australians, saying that "men, money and markets accurately defined the essential requirements of Australia" and that he was seeking such from Britain.

In Australia, the costs of major investment had traditionally been met by state and Federal governments and heavy borrowing from overseas was made by the governments in the s.

A Loan Council was set up in to co-ordinate loans, three-quarters of which came from overseas.

Wheat and wool made up more than two-thirds of all Australian exports", a dangerous reliance on just two export commodities. Australia embraced the new technologies of transport and communication.

Coastal sailing ships were finally abandoned in favour of steam, and improvements in rail and motor transport heralded dramatic changes in work and leisure.

In there were 50, cars and lorries in the whole of Australia. By there were , He went on to global fame and a series of aviation records before vanishing on a night flight to Singapore in This formalised the Balfour Declaration of , a report resulting from the Imperial Conference of British Empire leaders in London, which defined Dominions of the British empire in the following way: "They are autonomous Communities within the British Empire , equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown , and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

The Australia Act removed any remaining links between the British Parliament and the Australian states.

New South Wales has had one further territory surrendered, namely Jervis Bay Territory comprising 6, hectares, in The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the Commonwealth in Australia was deeply affected by the Great Depression of the s, particularly due to its heavy dependence on exports, especially primary products such as wool and wheat.

Australia's dependence of exports left her extraordinarily vulnerable to world market fluctuations", according to economic historian Geoff Spenceley.

The situation caused alarm amongst a few politicians and economists, notably Edward Shann of the University of Western Australia , but most political, union and business leaders were reluctant to admit to serious problems.

As the economy slowed in , so did manufacturing and the country slipped into recession as profits slumped and unemployment rose.

At elections held in October , the Labor Party was swept into power in a landslide victory ; Stanley Bruce , the former Prime Minister, lost his own seat.

The new Prime Minister, James Scullin , and his largely inexperienced government were almost immediately faced with a series of crises.

Hamstrung by their lack of control of the Senate, a lack of control over the banking system and divisions within their party over how best to deal with the situation, the government was forced to accept solutions that eventually split the party, as it had in Various "plans" to resolve the crisis were suggested; Sir Otto Niemeyer , a representative of the English banks who visited in mid, proposed a deflationary plan, involving cuts to government spending and wages.

Treasurer Ted Theodore proposed a mildly inflationary plan, while the Labor Premier of New South Wales , Jack Lang , proposed a radical plan which repudiated overseas debt.

The Melbourne Premiers' Conference agreed to cut wages and pensions as part of a severe deflationary policy but Lang renounced the plan.

The grand opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in provided little respite to the growing crisis straining the young federation.

With multimillion-pound debts mounting, public demonstrations and move and counter-move by Lang and then Scullin, then Lyons federal governments, the Governor of New South Wales , Philip Game , had been examining Lang's instruction not to pay money into the Federal Treasury.

Game judged it was illegal. Lang refused to withdraw his order and, on 13 May, he was dismissed by Governor Game.

At June elections, Lang Labor's seats collapsed. May had seen the creation of a new conservative political force, the United Australia Party formed by breakaway members of the Labor Party combining with the Nationalist Party.

They remained in power until September The Lyons government has often been credited with steering recovery from the depression, although just how much of this was owed to their policies remains contentious.

Australia recovered relatively quickly from the financial downturn of —, with recovery beginning around The Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, favoured the tough economic measures of the Premiers' Plan, pursued an orthodox fiscal policy and refused to accept the proposals of the Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, to default on overseas debt repayments.

According to author Anne Henderson of the Sydney Institute , Lyons held a steadfast belief in "the need to balance budgets, lower costs to business and restore confidence" and the Lyons period gave Australia "stability and eventual growth" between the drama of the Depression and the outbreak of the Second World War.

A lowering of wages was enforced and industry tariff protections maintained, which together with cheaper raw materials during the s saw a shift from agriculture to manufacturing as the chief employer of the Australian economy—a shift which was consolidated by increased investment by the commonwealth government into defence and armaments manufacture.

Lyons saw restoration of Australia's exports as the key to economic recovery. There is debate over the extent reached by unemployment in Australia, often cited as peaking at 29 per cent in Statistics collected by historian Peter Spearritt show This is not to say that In the working class suburb of Paddington , Extraordinary sporting successes did something to alleviate the spirits of Australians during the economic downturn.

In a Sheffield Shield cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in , Don Bradman , a young New South Welshman of just 21 years of age wrote his name into the record books by smashing the previous highest batting score in first-class cricket with runs not out in just minutes.

Between and the racehorse Phar Lap dominated Australia's racing industry, at one stage winning fourteen races in a row.

Soon after, on the cusp of US success, Phar Lap developed suspicious symptoms and died. Theories swirled that the champion race horse had been poisoned and a devoted Australian public went into shock.

Until the late s, defence was not a significant issue for Australians. At the elections, both political parties advocated increased defence spending, in the context of increased Japanese aggression in China and Germany's aggression in Europe; however, there was a difference in opinion over how the defence spending should be allocated.

The United Australia Party government emphasised co-operation with Britain in "a policy of imperial defence".

The lynchpin of this was the British naval base at Singapore and the Royal Navy battle fleet "which, it was hoped, would use it in time of need".

In , the Navy, which included two heavy cruisers and four light cruisers, was the service best equipped for war.

Fearing Japanese intentions in the Pacific, Menzies established independent embassies in Tokyo and Washington to receive independent advice about developments.

By September the Australian Army numbered 3, regulars. It is my melancholy duty to inform you, officially, that, in consequence of the persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland , Great Britain has declared war upon her, and that, as a result, Australia is also at war.

Thus began Australia's involvement in the six-year global conflict. Australians were to fight in an extraordinary variety of locations, from withstanding the advance of Hitler's Panzers in the Siege of Tobruk ; to turning back the advance of the Imperial Japanese Army in the New Guinea Campaign.

From bomber missions over Europe and Mediterranean naval engagements, to facing Japanese mini-sub raids on Sydney Harbour and devastating air raids on the city of Darwin.

The recruitment of a volunteer military force for service at home and abroad was announced, the 2nd Australian Imperial Force and a citizen militia organised for local defence.

Troubled by Britain's failure to increase defences at Singapore, Menzies was cautious in committing troops to Europe.

Britain stood alone with its dominions. Menzies called for "all-out war", increasing federal powers and introducing conscription.

Menzies' minority government came to rely on just two independents after the election. In January , Menzies flew to Britain to discuss the weakness of Singapore's defences.

Returning to Australia, with the threat of Japan imminent and with the Australian army suffering badly in the Greek and Crete campaigns, Menzies re-approached the Labor Party to form a War Cabinet.

Unable to secure their support, and with an unworkable parliamentary majority, Menzies resigned as prime minister. The Coalition held office for another month, before the independents switched allegiance and John Curtin was sworn in as prime minister.

The Nazi propagandist Lord Haw Haw derided the defenders as 'rats', a term the soldiers adopted as an ironic compliment: " The Rats of Tobruk ".

Australia was ill-prepared for an attack, lacking armaments, modern fighter aircraft, heavy bombers, and aircraft carriers.

While demanding reinforcements from Churchill, on 27 December Curtin published an historic announcement: [] "The Australian Government Without inhibitions of any kind, I make it clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom.

British Malaya quickly collapsed, shocking the Australian nation. British, Indian and Australian troops made a disorganised last stand at Singapore , before surrendering on 15 February Around 15, Australian soldiers became prisoners of war.

Curtin predicted that the "battle for Australia" would now follow. On 19 February, Darwin suffered a devastating air raid , the first time the Australian mainland had ever been attacked by enemy forces.

Over the following 19 months, Australia was attacked from the air almost times. Two battle-hardened Australian divisions were already steaming from the Middle East for Singapore.

Churchill wanted them diverted to Burma, but Curtin refused, and anxiously awaited their return to Australia.

US President Franklin D. Curtin had thus presided over a fundamental shift in Australia's foreign policy. MacArthur moved his headquarters to Melbourne in March and American troops began massing in Australia.

In late May , Japanese midget submarines sank an accommodation vessel in a daring raid on Sydney Harbour. On 8 June , two Japanese submarines briefly shelled Sydney's eastern suburbs and the city of Newcastle.

The Battle of Midway in June effectively defeated the Japanese navy and the Japanese army launched a land assault on Moresby from the north.

A turning point came between July and November , when Australia's 9th Division played a crucial role in some of the heaviest fighting of the First and Second Battle of El Alamein , which turned the North Africa Campaign in favour of the Allies.

The Battle of Buna—Gona , between November and January , set the tone for the bitter final stages of the New Guinea campaign , which persisted into The offensives in Papua and New Guinea of —44 were the single largest series of connected operations ever mounted by the Australian armed forces.

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Early efforts at agriculture were fraught and supplies from overseas were scarce. Between and about male and female convicts were landed at Sydney—many "professional criminals" with few of the skills required for the establishment of a colony.

Many new arrivals were also sick or unfit for work and the conditions of healthy convicts only deteriorated with hard labour and poor sustenance in the settlement.

The food situation reached crisis point in and the Second Fleet which finally arrived in June had lost a quarter of its 'passengers' through sickness, while the condition of the convicts of the Third Fleet appalled Phillip; however, from the more regular arrival of ships and the beginnings of trade lessened the feeling of isolation and improved supplies.

Phillip sent exploratory missions in search of better soils, fixed on the Parramatta region as a promising area for expansion, and moved many of the convicts from late to establish a small township, which became the main centre of the colony's economic life.

This left Sydney Cove only as an important port and focus of social life. Poor equipment and unfamiliar soils and climate continued to hamper the expansion of farming from Farm Cove to Parramatta and Toongabbie , but a building programme, assisted by convict labour, advanced steadily.

Between and , convicts and their gaolers made up the majority of the population—but after this, a population of emancipated convicts began to grow who could be granted land and these people pioneered a non-government private sector economy and were later joined by soldiers whose military service had expired—and finally, free settlers who began arriving from Britain.

Governor Phillip departed the colony for England on 11 December , with the new settlement having survived near starvation and immense isolation for four years.

After the founding of the colony of New South Wales in , Australia was divided into an eastern half, named New South Wales, under the administration of the colonial government in Sydney, and a western half named New Holland.

This division, reproduced in Bowen's map, provided a convenient western boundary for the British claim because, as Watkin Tench subsequently commented in A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay , "By this partition, it may be fairly presumed, that every source of future litigation between the Dutch and us, will be for ever cut off, as the discoveries of English navigators only are comprized in this territory".

Romantic descriptions of the beauty, mild climate, and fertile soil of Norfolk Island in the South Pacific led the British government to establish a subsidiary settlement of the New South Wales colony there in It was hoped that the giant Norfolk Island pine trees and flax plants growing wild on the island might provide the basis for a local industry which, particularly in the case of flax, would provide an alternative source of supply to Russia for an article which was essential for making cordage and sails for the ships of the British navy; however, the island had no safe harbour, which led the colony to be abandoned and the settlers evacuated to Tasmania in In , Flinders successfully circumnavigated Australia for the first time.

Van Diemen's Land , now known as Tasmania , was settled in , following a failed attempt to settle at Sullivan Bay in what is now Victoria.

Other British settlements followed, at various points around the continent, many of them unsuccessful. The East India Trade Committee recommended in that a settlement be established on the coast of northern Australia to forestall the Dutch, and Captain J.

The new boundary included Melville and Bathurst Islands, and the adjacent mainland. In , a penal colony was established near the mouth of the Brisbane River the basis of the later colony of Queensland.

In , the Swan River Colony and its capital of Perth were founded on the west coast proper and also assumed control of King George Sound. Initially a free colony, Western Australia later accepted British convicts, because of an acute labour shortage.

Between and , approximately , convicts of whom 25, were women were transported to the Australian colonies of New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land and Western Australia.

The majority were repeat offenders. A few went on to have successful lives as emancipists, having been pardoned at the end of their sentence.

Female convicts had fewer opportunities. Some convicts, particularly Irish convicts, had been transported to Australia for political crimes or social rebellion, so authorities were consequently suspicious of the Irish and restricted the practice of Catholicism in Australia.

The Irish-led Castle Hill Rebellion of served to increase suspicions and repression. Officers of the Corps soon became involved in the corrupt and lucrative rum trade in the colony.

In the Rum Rebellion of , the Corps, working closely with the newly established wool trader John Macarthur , staged the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history, deposing Governor William Bligh and instigating a brief period of military rule in the colony prior to the arrival from Britain of Governor Lachlan Macquarie in Macquarie served as the last autocratic Governor of New South Wales , from to and had a leading role in the social and economic development of New South Wales which saw it transition from a penal colony to a budding free society.

He established public works, a bank , churches, and charitable institutions and sought good relations with the Aborigines.

In he sent Blaxland , Wentworth and Lawson across the Blue Mountains , where they found the great plains of the interior; however, central to Macquarie's policy was his treatment of the emancipists , whom he decreed should be treated as social equals to free-settlers in the colony.

London judged his public works to be too expensive and society was scandalised by his treatment of emancipists. The first five Governors of New South Wales realised the urgent need to encourage free settlers, but the British government remained largely indifferent.

As early as , Governor Arthur Phillip wrote: "Your lordship will see by my At present this settlement only affords one person that I can employ in cultivating the lands Land grants of crown land were made by Governors, and settlement schemes such as those of Edward Gibbon Wakefield carried some weight in encouraging migrants to make the long voyage to Australia, as opposed to the United States or Canada.

Early colonial administrations were anxious to address the gender imbalance in the population brought about by the importation of large numbers of convict men.

Between and , around male to female convicts were landed at Sydney. Governor Macquarie's wife, Elizabeth Macquarie took an interest in convict women's welfare.

Her humanitarian efforts later won her fame in England and great influence in achieving support for families in the colony.

From the s, increasing numbers of squatters [] occupied land beyond the fringes of European settlement.

Often running sheep on large stations with relatively few overheads, squatters could make considerable profits. By , nearly 2 million kilograms of wool were being exported to Britain from Australia.

In , the British Colonial Office issued the Proclamation of Governor Bourke reinforcing the notion that the land belonged to no one prior to the British Crown taking possession of it and quashing any likelihood of treaties with Aboriginal peoples, including that signed by John Batman.

Its publication meant that from then, all people found occupying land without the authority of the government would be considered illegal trespassers.

Separate settlements and later, colonies, were created from parts of New South Wales: South Australia in , New Zealand in , Port Phillip District in , later becoming the colony of Victoria in , and Queensland in The Northern Territory was founded in as part of South Australia.

The transportation of convicts to Australia was phased out between and Massive areas of land were cleared for agriculture and various other purposes in the first years of European settlement.

In addition to the obvious impacts this early clearing of land and importation of hard-hoofed animals had on the ecology of particular regions, it severely affected indigenous Australians, by reducing the resources they relied on for food, shelter and other essentials.

This progressively forced them into smaller areas and reduced their numbers as the majority died of newly introduced diseases and lack of resources.

Indigenous resistance against the settlers was widespread, and prolonged fighting between and the s led to the deaths of at least 20, indigenous people and between 2, and 2, Europeans.

The nature of many of these institutions enabled disease to spread quickly and many were closed as their populations fell.

A group in Britain led by Edward Gibbon Wakefield sought to start a colony based on free settlement rather than convict labour.

In the South Australian Land Company was formed amid a campaign for a royal charter which would provide for the establishment of a privately financed "free" colony in Australia—giving the city of Adelaide an air of prosperity and class not afforded to the other settlements, which had been smeared with the undesirable convict stain.

While New South Wales, Tasmania and although not initially Western Australia were established as convict settlements, the founders of South Australia had a vision of a colony with political and religious freedoms, together with opportunities for wealth through business and pastoral investments.

The South Australia Act , passed by the British Government to establish the colony, reflected these desires and included a promise of representative government when the population reached 50, people.

South Australia thus became the only colony authorised by an Act of Parliament , and which was intended to be developed at no cost to the British government.

Transportation of convicts was forbidden, and 'poor Emigrants', assisted by an Emigration Fund, were required to bring their families with them.

The foundation of South Australia is now generally commemorated as Governor John Hindmarsh 's Proclamation of the new Province at Glenelg , on the mainland, on 28 December Land development and settlement was the basis of the Wakefield vision, so land law and regulations governing it were fundamental to the foundation of the Province and allowed for land to be bought at a uniform price per acre regardless of quality , with auctions for land desired by more than one buyer, and leases made available on unused land.

Proceeds from land were to fund the Emigration Fund to assist poor settlers to come as tradesmen and labourers.

By the colony was experimenting with a partially elected council. In —99 George Bass and Matthew Flinders set out from Sydney in a sloop and circumnavigated Tasmania , thus proving it to be an island.

Aboard ship was the Aboriginal explorer Bungaree , of the Sydney district, who became the first person born on the Australian continent to circumnavigate the Australian continent.

In , Gregory Blaxland , William Lawson and William Wentworth succeeded in crossing the formidable barrier of forested gulleys and sheer cliffs presented by the Blue Mountains , west of Sydney.

At Mount Blaxland they looked out over "enough grass to support the stock of the colony for thirty years", and expansion of the British settlement into the interior could begin.

In the Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane , commissioned Hamilton Hume and former Royal Navy Captain William Hovell to lead an expedition to find new grazing land in the south of the colony, and also to find an answer to the mystery of where New South Wales' western rivers flowed.

Over 16 weeks in —25, Hume and Hovell journeyed to Port Phillip and back. They made many important discoveries including the Murray River which they named the Hume , many of its tributaries, and good agricultural and grazing lands between Gunning, New South Wales and Corio Bay , Port Phillip.

A theory had developed that the inland rivers of New South Wales were draining into an inland sea. Leading a second expedition in , Sturt followed the Murrumbidgee River into a 'broad and noble river', the Murray River, which he named after Sir George Murray, secretary of state for the colonies.

His party then followed this river to its junction with the Darling River , facing two threatening encounters with local Aboriginal people along the way.

Sturt continued down river on to Lake Alexandrina , where the Murray meets the sea in South Australia. Suffering greatly, the party had to row hundreds of kilometres back upstream for the return journey.

Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell conducted a series of expeditions from the s to 'fill in the gaps' left by these previous expeditions.

He was meticulous in seeking to record the original Aboriginal place names around the colony, for which reason the majority of place names to this day retain their Aboriginal titles.

European explorers made their last great, often arduous and sometimes tragic expeditions into the interior of Australia during the second half of the 19th century—some with the official sponsorship of the colonial authorities and others commissioned by private investors.

By , large areas of the inland were still unknown to Europeans. Trailblazers like Edmund Kennedy and the Prussian naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt , had met tragic ends attempting to fill in the gaps during the s, but explorers remained ambitious to discover new lands for agriculture or answer scientific enquiries.

Surveyors also acted as explorers and the colonies sent out expeditions to discover the best routes for lines of communication.

The size of expeditions varied considerably from small parties of just two or three to large, well-equipped teams led by gentlemen explorers assisted by smiths, carpenters, labourers and Aboriginal guides accompanied by horses, camels or bullocks.

In , the ill-fated Burke and Wills led the first north-south crossing of the continent from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Lacking bushcraft and unwilling to learn from the local Aboriginal people, Burke and Wills died in , having returned from the Gulf to their rendezvous point at Coopers Creek only to discover the rest of their party had departed the location only a matter of hours previously.

Though an impressive feat of navigation, the expedition was an organisational disaster which continues to fascinate the Australian public.

His expedition mapped out the route which was later followed by the Australian Overland Telegraph Line. Uluru and Kata Tjuta were first mapped by Europeans in during the expeditionary period made possible by the construction of the Australian Overland Telegraph Line.

In separate expeditions, Ernest Giles and William Gosse were the first European explorers to this area. These barren desert lands of Central Australia disappointed the Europeans as unpromising for pastoral expansion, but would later come to be appreciated as emblematic of Australia.

As by English law all minerals belonged to the Crown, there was at first, "little to stimulate a search for really rich goldfields in a colony prospering under a pastoral economy".

The Colony of Victoria 's population grew rapidly, from 76, in to , by The causes of this were the colonial government's administration of the diggings and the gold licence system.

Following a number of protests and petitions for reform , violence erupted at Ballarat in late Early on the morning of Sunday 3 December , British soldiers and Police attacked a stockade built on the Eureka lead holding some of the aggrieved diggers.

In a short fight, at least 30 miners were killed and an unknown number wounded. But a few months later, a Royal commission made sweeping changes to the administration of Victoria's goldfields.

Its recommendations included the abolition of the licence, reforms to the police force and voting rights for miners holding a Miner's Right.

In the s, visiting author Mark Twain characterised the battle at Eureka as "The finest thing in Australasian history.

It was a revolution-small in size, but great politically; it was a strike for liberty, a struggle for principle, a stand against injustice and oppression The Melbourne Trades Hall was opened in with trades and labour councils and trades halls opening in all cities and most regional towns in the following 40 years.

During the s trade unions developed among shearers , miners and stevedores wharf workers , but soon spread to cover almost all blue-collar jobs.

Shortages of labour led to high wages for a prosperous skilled working class, whose unions demanded and got an eight-hour day and other benefits unheard of in Europe.

Australia gained a reputation as "the working man's paradise". Some employers tried to undercut the unions by importing Chinese labour.

This produced a reaction which led to all the colonies restricting Chinese and other Asian immigration.

This led to the enactment of the White Australia Policy. New South Wales in was the first colony to gain responsible government , managing most of its own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire.

Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia followed in ; Queensland, from its foundation in ; and Western Australia, in The Colonial Office in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs, defence and international shipping.

The gold era led to a long period of prosperity, sometimes called "the long boom". By , the sheep population of Australia was estimated at million.

During the boom, Melbourne had reputedly become the richest city in the world, []. The late 19th century had seen a great growth in the cities of south eastern Australia.

Australia's population not including Aborigines, who were excluded from census calculations in was 3.

The word " bushrangers " originally referred to runaway convicts in the early years of the British settlement of Australia who had the survival skills necessary to use the Australian bush as a refuge to hide from the authorities.

The term then evolved to refer to those who abandoned social rights and privileges to take up " robbery under arms " as a way of life, using the bush as their base.

More than 2, bushrangers are believed to have roamed the Australian countryside, beginning with the convict bolters and ending after Ned Kelly 's last stand at Glenrowan.

Bold Jack Donahue is recorded as the last convict bushranger. Throughout the s he was regarded as the most notorious bushranger in the colony.

Bushranging was common on the mainland, but Van Diemen's Land Tasmania produced the most violent and serious outbreaks of convict bushrangers.

Indigenous outlaw Musquito defied colonial law and led attacks on settlers. The bushrangers' heyday was the gold rush years of the s and s.

The increasing push of settlement, increased police efficiency, improvements in rail transport and communications technology, such as telegraphy , made it increasingly difficult for bushrangers to evade capture.

Among the last bushrangers were the Kelly Gang, led by Ned Kelly , who were captured at Glenrowan in , two years after they were outlawed.

Kelly was born in Victoria to an Irish convict father, and as a young man he clashed with the Victoria Police.

Following an incident at his home in , police parties searched for him in the bush. After he killed three policemen, the colony proclaimed Kelly and his gang wanted outlaws.

A final violent confrontation with police took place at Glenrowan on 28 June Kelly, dressed in home-made plate metal armour and helmet, was captured and sent to jail.

He was hanged for murder at Old Melbourne Gaol in November His daring and notoriety made him an iconic figure in Australian history, folklore, literature, art and film.

Some bushrangers, most notably Ned Kelly in his Jerilderie Letter , and in his final raid on Glenrowan, explicitly represented themselves as political rebels.

Attitudes to Kelly, by far the most well-known bushranger, exemplify the ambivalent views of Australians regarding bushranging.

Traditional Aboriginal society had been governed by councils of elders and a corporate decision making process, but the first European-style governments established after were autocratic and run by appointed governors —although English law was transplanted into the Australian colonies by virtue of the doctrine of reception , thus notions of the rights and processes established by the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights were brought from Britain by the colonists.

Agitation for representative government began soon after the settlement of the colonies. William Wentworth established the Australian Patriotic Association Australia's first political party in to demand democratic government for New South Wales.

The reformist attorney general , John Plunkett , sought to apply Enlightenment principles to governance in the colony, pursuing the establishment of equality before the law, first by extending jury rights to emancipists , then by extending legal protections to convicts, assigned servants and Aborigines.

Plunkett twice charged the colonist perpetrators of the Myall Creek massacre of Aborigines with murder, resulting in a conviction and his landmark Church Act of disestablished the Church of England and established legal equality between Anglicans , Catholics , Presbyterians and later Methodists.

Men who possessed 1, pounds worth of property were able to stand for election and wealthy landowners were permitted up to four votes each in elections.

Australia's first parliamentary elections were conducted for the New South Wales Legislative Council in , again with voting rights for males only tied to property ownership or financial capacity.

Voter rights were extended further in New South Wales in and elections for legislative councils were held in the colonies of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

By the midth century, there was a strong desire for representative and responsible government in the colonies of Australia, fed by the democratic spirit of the goldfields evident at the Eureka Stockade and the ideas of the great reform movements sweeping Europe , the United States and the British Empire.

The end of convict transportation accelerated reform in the s and s. The Australian Colonies Government Act [] was a landmark development which granted representative constitutions to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and the colonies enthusiastically set about writing constitutions which produced democratically progressive parliaments—though the constitutions generally maintained the role of the colonial upper houses as representative of social and economic "interests" and all established constitutional monarchies with the British monarch as the symbolic head of state.

An innovative secret ballot was introduced in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia in , in which the government supplied voting paper containing the names of candidates and voters could select in private.

This system was adopted around the world, becoming known as the " Australian Ballot ". This right was extended to Victoria in and New South Wales the following year.

The other colonies followed until, in , Tasmania became the last colony to grant universal male suffrage.

Propertied women in the colony of South Australia were granted the vote in local elections but not parliamentary elections in Henrietta Dugdale formed the first Australian women's suffrage society in Melbourne in This was the first legislation in the world permitting women also to stand for election to political office and, in , Catherine Helen Spence became the first female political candidate for political office, unsuccessfully standing for election as a delegate to the Federal Convention on Australian Federation.

Western Australia granted voting rights to women in Legally, indigenous Australian males generally gained the right to vote during this period when Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia gave voting rights to all male British subjects over Only Queensland and Western Australia barred Aboriginal people from voting.

Thus, Aboriginal men and women voted in some jurisdictions for the first Commonwealth Parliament in ; however, early federal parliamentary reform and judicial interpretation sought to limit Aboriginal voting in practice—a situation which endured until rights activists began campaigning in the s.

Though the various parliaments of Australia have been constantly evolving, the key foundations for elected parliamentary government have maintained an historical continuity in Australia from the s into the 21st century.

By the late s, a majority of people living in the Australian colonies were native born, although over 90 per cent were of British and Irish heritage.

Identifying strongly with family and mates , Kelly was opposed to what he regarded as oppression by Police and powerful Squatters.

Almost mirroring the Australian stereotype later defined by historian Russel Ward , Kelly became "a skilled bushman, adept with guns, horses and fists and winning admiration from his peers in the district".

The origins of distinctly Australian painting is often associated with this period and the Heidelberg School of the s—s.

Like the European Impressionists, they painted in the open air. These artists found inspiration in the unique light and colour which characterises the Australian bush.

Their most recognised work involves scenes of pastoral and wild Australia, featuring the vibrant, even harsh colours of Australian summers.

Australian literature was equally developing a distinct voice. Views of Australia at times conflicted—Lawson and Paterson contributed a series of verses to The Bulletin magazine in which they engaged in a literary debate about the nature of life in Australia: Lawson a republican socialist derided Paterson as a romantic, while Paterson a country born city lawyer thought Lawson full of doom and gloom.

Paterson wrote the lyrics of the much-loved folksong Waltzing Matilda in Dennis wrote of laconic heroes in the Australian vernacular, while McKellar rejected a love of England's pleasant pastures in favour of what she termed a "Sunburnt Country" in her iconic poem: My Country A common theme throughout the nationalist art, music and writing of the late 19th century was the romantic rural or bush myth , ironically produced by one of the most urbanised societies in the world.

While bush ballads evidenced distinctively Australian popular medium of music and of literature, Australian artists of a more classical mould—such as the opera singer Dame Nellie Melba , and painters John Peter Russell and Rupert Bunny —prefigured the 20th-century expatriate Australians who knew little of 'stockyard and rails' but would travel abroad to influence Western art and culture.

Despite suspicion from some sections of the colonial community especially in smaller colonies about the value of nationhood, improvements in inter-colonial transport and communication, including the linking of Perth to the south eastern cities by telegraph in , [] helped break down inter-colonial rivalries.

Amid calls from London for the establishment of an intercolonial Australian army, and with the various colonies independently constructing railway lines, New South Wales Premier Henry Parkes addressed a rural audience in his Tenterfield Oration , stating that the time had come to form a national executive government: "Australia [now has] a population of three and a half millions, and the American people numbered only between three and four millions when they formed the great commonwealth of the United States.

The numbers were about the same, and surely what the Americans had done by war, the Australians could bring about in peace, without breaking the ties that held them to the mother country.

Though Parkes would not live to see it, his vision would be achieved within a little over a decade, and he is remembered as the "father of federation".

Increasing nationalism, a growing sense of national identity, improvements in transport and communications, as well as fears about immigration and defence all combined to encourage the movement, spurred on by organisations like the Australian Natives' Association.

Despite the growing calls for unification, loyalties to the British Empire remained strong. At a Federation Conference banquet in , Henry Parkes spoke of blood-kinship linking the colonies to Britain and a "race" for whom "the purpose of settling new countries has never had its equal on the face of the earth" [].

In , representatives of the six colonies and New Zealand had met in Melbourne and called for the union of the colonies and for the colonial legislatures to nominate representatives to attend a constitutional convention.

The following year, the National Australasian Convention was held in Sydney, with all the future states and New Zealand represented. The delegates returned to their parliaments with the Bill, but progress was slow, as Australia faced its s economic Depression.

Nevertheless, by five of the colonies elected representatives for a second Convention , which was conducted in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne over the space of a year, allowing time for consultation.

Queensland and Western Australia later moved to do the same, though New Zealand did not participate in the Convention. In July , the Bill was put to a series of referenda in four colonies, but New South Wales rejected the proposal.

In , a second referendum put an amended Bill to the voters of the four colonies and Queensland, and the Bill was endorsed. In March , delegates were dispatched to London, where approval for the Bill was sought from the Imperial Parliament.

The Bill was put to the House of Commons and passed on 5 July and, soon after, was signed into law by Queen Victoria.

Lord Hopetoun was dispatched from London, tasked with appointing an interim Cabinet to oversee the foundation of the Commonwealth and conduct of the first elections.

There was a more radical vision for a separate Australia by some colonists, including writer Henry Lawson , trade unionist William Lane and as found in the pages of the Sydney Bulletin.

But by the end of , and after much colonial debate, the citizens of five of the six Australian colonies had voted in referendums in favour of a constitution to form a Federation.

Western Australia voted to join in July From that point a system of federalism in Australia came into operation, entailing the establishment of an entirely new national government the Commonwealth government and an ongoing division of powers between that government and the States.

Labor declared it would offer support to the party which offered concessions and Edmund Barton 's Protectionists formed a government, with Alfred Deakin as Attorney-General.

Barton promised to "create a high court, He proposed to extend conciliation and arbitration, create a uniform railway gauge between the eastern capitals, [] to introduce female federal franchise, to establish a The Labor Party the spelling "Labour" was dropped in had been established in the s, after the failure of the Maritime and Shearer's strikes.

Its strength was in the Australian Trade Union movement "which grew from a membership of just under , in to more than half a million in ".

As noted by the historian Ross McMullin , "In the national sphere Labor had taken the Protectionists as far in the direction of progressive legislation as possible.

In Western Australia, Forrest introduced a conciliation and arbitration bill in which brought trade unions into the state's social fabric for the first time.

In addition, WA Labor scored another victory with the passage of legislation which extended workers' compensation. Under the premierships of Storey and Dooley in New South Wales, various reforms were carried out such as the establishment of the Rural Bank and the elimination of high school fees.

The Labor Party's rising support at elections, together with its formation of federal government in under Chris Watson , and again in , helped to unify competing conservative, free market and liberal anti-socialists into the Commonwealth Liberal Party in Although this party dissolved in , a successor to its version of "liberalism" in Australia which in some respects comprises an alliance of Millsian liberals and Burkian conservatives united in support for individualism and opposition to socialism can be found in the modern Liberal Party.

The Immigration Restriction Act was one of the first laws passed by the new Australian parliament. This centrepiece of the 'White Australia Policy' aimed to restrict immigration from Asia especially China , where the population was vastly greater and the standard of living vastly lower and was similar to measures taken in other settler societies such as the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

While the law allowed for the use of any European language, the English version was standardised and became known as the "Stewart" test after the Federal MP Stewart Parnaby who originally penned the exam.

A few politicians spoke of the need to avoid hysterical treatment of the question. But there is obligation The law passed both houses of Parliament and remained a central feature of Australia's immigration laws until abandoned in the s.

In the s, the Lyons government unsuccessfully attempted to exclude Egon Erwin Kisch , a German Czechoslovakian communist author from entering Australia, by means of a 'dictation test' in Scottish Gaelic.

Concerns emerged that the law could be used for such political purposes. By , units of soldiers from all six Australian colonies had been active as part of British forces in the Boer War , which was very popular in Australia.

Some 16, men had volunteered for service by the war's end in June Australians saw themselves in time of war a lonely, sparsely populated outpost.

The Defence Act of reinforced the importance of Australian defence, and in February , Lord Kitchener provided further advice on a defence scheme based on conscription.

By , the battlecruiser Australia led the fledgling Royal Australian Navy. Historian Bill Gammage estimates that on the eve of war, Australia had , men "under arms of some sort".

Historian Humphrey McQueen has it that working and living conditions for Australia's working classes in the early 20th century were of "frugal comfort".

The Harvester Judgment of recognised the concept of a basic wage and in the Federal government also began an old age pension scheme.

Together with the White Australia Policy and pioneering social policy, these developments have since been dubbed the Australian settlement.

As a result of them, the new Commonwealth gained recognition as a laboratory for social experimentation and positive liberalism. Catastrophic droughts plagued some regions in the late s and early 20th century and together with a growing rabbit plague , created great hardship in the rural area of Australia.

Despite this, a number of writers "imagined a time when Australia would outstrip Britain in wealth and importance, when its open spaces would support rolling acres of farms and factories to match those of the United States.

Some estimated the future population at million, million or more". Brady , whose book Australia Unlimited described Australia's inland as ripe for development and settlement, "destined one day to pulsate with life".

With the encouragement of Queensland, in , a British protectorate had been proclaimed over the southern coast of New Guinea and its adjacent islands.

British New Guinea , was annexed outright in The possession was placed under the authority of the newly federated Commonwealth of Australia in and with passage of the Papua Act of , British New Guinea became the Australian Territory of Papua , with formal Australian administration beginning in The world war marked a decisive moment in the history of Australia, remember to this day for the ANZAC story of the Army's sacrifices at Gallipoli, and the coming-of-age of a young nation.

The declaration of war by King George V in August automatically involved all of Britain's colonies and dominions. I sincerely hope that international arbitration will avail before Europe is convulsed in the greatest war of all time But should the worst happen Australians will stand beside our own to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling.

More than , Australian men volunteered to fight during the First World War between and [] from a total national population of 4.

After the Australian Imperial Forces AIF was withdrawn in late , and enlarged to five divisions, most were moved to France to serve under British command.

Light horsemen of the 4th and 12th Regiments captured heavily fortified Beersheba from Turk forces by means of a cavalry charge at full gallop on 31 October One of the last great cavalry charges in history, the attack opened a way for the allies to outflank the Gaza-Beersheba Line and drive the Ottomans back into Palestine.

The AIF's first experience of warfare on the Western Front was also the most costly single encounter in Australian military history.

In July , at Fromelles , in a diversionary attack during the Battle of the Somme , the AIF suffered 5, killed or wounded in 24 hours.

Two bitterly fought and divisive conscription referendums were held in Australia in and Both failed, and Australia's army remained a volunteer force.

John Monash was appointed corps commander of the Australian forces in May and led some significant attacks in the final stages of the war.

British Field Marshal Montgomery later called him "the best general on the western front in Europe". Monash made the protection of infantry a priority and sought to fully integrate all the new technologies of warfare in both the planning and execution of battles, thus he wrote that infantry should not be sacrificed needlessly to enemy bayonets and machine guns—but rather should "advance under the maximum possible protection of the maximum possible array of mechanical resources, in the form of guns, machine-guns, tanks, mortars and aeroplanes".

His first operation at the relatively small Battle of Hamel demonstrated the validity of his approach and later actions before the Hindenburg Line in confirmed it.

The 8th of August put the decline of [German] fighting power beyond all doubt". Over 60, Australians had died during the conflict and , were wounded, a high proportion of the , who had fought overseas.

While the Gallipoli campaign was a total failure militarily and Australians died, its memory was all-important.

Gallipoli transformed the Australian mind and became an iconic element of the Australian identity and the founding moment of nationhood.

Bill Gammage has suggested that the choice of 25 April has always meant much to Australians because at Gallipoli, "the great machines of modern war were few enough to allow ordinary citizens to show what they could do".

In France, between and , "where almost seven times as many Australians died At one point Hughes declared: "I speak for 60, [Australian] dead".

Hughes demanded that Australia have independent representation within the newly formed League of Nations and was the most prominent opponent of the inclusion of the Japanese racial equality proposal, which as a result of lobbying by him and others was not included in the final Treaty, deeply offending Japan.

Hughes was concerned by the rise of Japan. Though Japan occupied German possessions with the blessings of the British, Hughes was alarmed by this policy.

Japan obtained control over the South Pacific Mandate , north of the equator. After the war, Prime Minister Billy Hughes led a new conservative force, the Nationalist Party , formed from the old Liberal party and breakaway elements of Labor of which he was the most prominent , after the deep and bitter split over Conscription.

An estimated 12, Australians died as a result of the Spanish flu pandemic of , almost certainly brought home by returning soldiers. The success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia posed a threat in the eyes of many Australians, although to a small group of socialists, it was an inspiration.

The Communist Party of Australia was formed in and, though remaining electorally insignificant, it obtained some influence in the trade union movement and was banned during World War II for its support for the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the Menzies Government unsuccessfully tried to ban it again during the Korean War.

Despite splits, the party remained active until its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. The Country Party today's National Party formed in to promulgate its version of agrarianism , which it called " Countrymindedness ".

The goal was to enhance the status of the graziers operators of big sheep ranches and small farmers, and secure subsidies for them.

Other significant after-effects of the war included ongoing industrial unrest, which included the Victorian Police strike. Other major strikes occurred on the waterfront, in the coalmining and timber industries in the late s.

The union movement had established the Australian Council of Trade Unions ACTU in in response to the Nationalist government's efforts to change working conditions and reduce the power of the unions.

The consumerism, entertainment culture, and new technologies that characterised the s in the United States were also found in Australia.

The fledgling film industry declined through the decade, over 2 million Australians attending cinemas weekly at venues. A Royal Commission in failed to assist and the industry that had begun so brightly with the release of the world's first feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang , atrophied until its revival in the s.

Speaking in early , Bruce summed up the priorities and optimism of many Australians, saying that "men, money and markets accurately defined the essential requirements of Australia" and that he was seeking such from Britain.

In Australia, the costs of major investment had traditionally been met by state and Federal governments and heavy borrowing from overseas was made by the governments in the s.

A Loan Council was set up in to co-ordinate loans, three-quarters of which came from overseas. Wheat and wool made up more than two-thirds of all Australian exports", a dangerous reliance on just two export commodities.

Australia embraced the new technologies of transport and communication. Coastal sailing ships were finally abandoned in favour of steam, and improvements in rail and motor transport heralded dramatic changes in work and leisure.

In there were 50, cars and lorries in the whole of Australia. By there were , He went on to global fame and a series of aviation records before vanishing on a night flight to Singapore in This formalised the Balfour Declaration of , a report resulting from the Imperial Conference of British Empire leaders in London, which defined Dominions of the British empire in the following way: "They are autonomous Communities within the British Empire , equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown , and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

The Australia Act removed any remaining links between the British Parliament and the Australian states.

New South Wales has had one further territory surrendered, namely Jervis Bay Territory comprising 6, hectares, in The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the Commonwealth in Australia was deeply affected by the Great Depression of the s, particularly due to its heavy dependence on exports, especially primary products such as wool and wheat.

Australia's dependence of exports left her extraordinarily vulnerable to world market fluctuations", according to economic historian Geoff Spenceley.

The situation caused alarm amongst a few politicians and economists, notably Edward Shann of the University of Western Australia , but most political, union and business leaders were reluctant to admit to serious problems.

As the economy slowed in , so did manufacturing and the country slipped into recession as profits slumped and unemployment rose. At elections held in October , the Labor Party was swept into power in a landslide victory ; Stanley Bruce , the former Prime Minister, lost his own seat.

The new Prime Minister, James Scullin , and his largely inexperienced government were almost immediately faced with a series of crises.

Hamstrung by their lack of control of the Senate, a lack of control over the banking system and divisions within their party over how best to deal with the situation, the government was forced to accept solutions that eventually split the party, as it had in Various "plans" to resolve the crisis were suggested; Sir Otto Niemeyer , a representative of the English banks who visited in mid, proposed a deflationary plan, involving cuts to government spending and wages.

Treasurer Ted Theodore proposed a mildly inflationary plan, while the Labor Premier of New South Wales , Jack Lang , proposed a radical plan which repudiated overseas debt.

The Melbourne Premiers' Conference agreed to cut wages and pensions as part of a severe deflationary policy but Lang renounced the plan.

The grand opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in provided little respite to the growing crisis straining the young federation.

With multimillion-pound debts mounting, public demonstrations and move and counter-move by Lang and then Scullin, then Lyons federal governments, the Governor of New South Wales , Philip Game , had been examining Lang's instruction not to pay money into the Federal Treasury.

Game judged it was illegal. Lang refused to withdraw his order and, on 13 May, he was dismissed by Governor Game. At June elections, Lang Labor's seats collapsed.

May had seen the creation of a new conservative political force, the United Australia Party formed by breakaway members of the Labor Party combining with the Nationalist Party.

They remained in power until September The Lyons government has often been credited with steering recovery from the depression, although just how much of this was owed to their policies remains contentious.

Australia recovered relatively quickly from the financial downturn of —, with recovery beginning around The Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, favoured the tough economic measures of the Premiers' Plan, pursued an orthodox fiscal policy and refused to accept the proposals of the Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, to default on overseas debt repayments.

According to author Anne Henderson of the Sydney Institute , Lyons held a steadfast belief in "the need to balance budgets, lower costs to business and restore confidence" and the Lyons period gave Australia "stability and eventual growth" between the drama of the Depression and the outbreak of the Second World War.

A lowering of wages was enforced and industry tariff protections maintained, which together with cheaper raw materials during the s saw a shift from agriculture to manufacturing as the chief employer of the Australian economy—a shift which was consolidated by increased investment by the commonwealth government into defence and armaments manufacture.

Lyons saw restoration of Australia's exports as the key to economic recovery. There is debate over the extent reached by unemployment in Australia, often cited as peaking at 29 per cent in Statistics collected by historian Peter Spearritt show This is not to say that In the working class suburb of Paddington , Extraordinary sporting successes did something to alleviate the spirits of Australians during the economic downturn.

In a Sheffield Shield cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in , Don Bradman , a young New South Welshman of just 21 years of age wrote his name into the record books by smashing the previous highest batting score in first-class cricket with runs not out in just minutes.

Between and the racehorse Phar Lap dominated Australia's racing industry, at one stage winning fourteen races in a row.

Soon after, on the cusp of US success, Phar Lap developed suspicious symptoms and died. Theories swirled that the champion race horse had been poisoned and a devoted Australian public went into shock.

Until the late s, defence was not a significant issue for Australians. At the elections, both political parties advocated increased defence spending, in the context of increased Japanese aggression in China and Germany's aggression in Europe; however, there was a difference in opinion over how the defence spending should be allocated.

The United Australia Party government emphasised co-operation with Britain in "a policy of imperial defence".

The lynchpin of this was the British naval base at Singapore and the Royal Navy battle fleet "which, it was hoped, would use it in time of need".

In , the Navy, which included two heavy cruisers and four light cruisers, was the service best equipped for war. Fearing Japanese intentions in the Pacific, Menzies established independent embassies in Tokyo and Washington to receive independent advice about developments.

By September the Australian Army numbered 3, regulars. It is my melancholy duty to inform you, officially, that, in consequence of the persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland , Great Britain has declared war upon her, and that, as a result, Australia is also at war.

Thus began Australia's involvement in the six-year global conflict. Australians were to fight in an extraordinary variety of locations, from withstanding the advance of Hitler's Panzers in the Siege of Tobruk ; to turning back the advance of the Imperial Japanese Army in the New Guinea Campaign.

From bomber missions over Europe and Mediterranean naval engagements, to facing Japanese mini-sub raids on Sydney Harbour and devastating air raids on the city of Darwin.

The recruitment of a volunteer military force for service at home and abroad was announced, the 2nd Australian Imperial Force and a citizen militia organised for local defence.

Troubled by Britain's failure to increase defences at Singapore, Menzies was cautious in committing troops to Europe. Britain stood alone with its dominions.

Menzies called for "all-out war", increasing federal powers and introducing conscription. Menzies' minority government came to rely on just two independents after the election.

In January , Menzies flew to Britain to discuss the weakness of Singapore's defences. Returning to Australia, with the threat of Japan imminent and with the Australian army suffering badly in the Greek and Crete campaigns, Menzies re-approached the Labor Party to form a War Cabinet.

Unable to secure their support, and with an unworkable parliamentary majority, Menzies resigned as prime minister.

The Coalition held office for another month, before the independents switched allegiance and John Curtin was sworn in as prime minister.

The Nazi propagandist Lord Haw Haw derided the defenders as 'rats', a term the soldiers adopted as an ironic compliment: " The Rats of Tobruk ".

Australia was ill-prepared for an attack, lacking armaments, modern fighter aircraft, heavy bombers, and aircraft carriers. While demanding reinforcements from Churchill, on 27 December Curtin published an historic announcement: [] "The Australian Government Without inhibitions of any kind, I make it clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom.

British Malaya quickly collapsed, shocking the Australian nation. British, Indian and Australian troops made a disorganised last stand at Singapore , before surrendering on 15 February Around 15, Australian soldiers became prisoners of war.

Curtin predicted that the "battle for Australia" would now follow. On 19 February, Darwin suffered a devastating air raid , the first time the Australian mainland had ever been attacked by enemy forces.

Over the following 19 months, Australia was attacked from the air almost times. Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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