A 'Littl' History
What comes to mind when you think of "Australia the land of Wonder." Do images of lush-green tropical rainforests infested with exotic birds and animal life, come to mind?
Or maybe white sandy beaches glistening against warm crystal blue water alive with rainbow colored fish and sea-vegetation?
Perhaps the more adventurous soul imagines him/herself tackling the "Great Australian Outback." Rugged desert scarred by millions of years of harsh heat, blowing wind, and flash flooding and hopping with Kangaroo and other funky desert going animal life. Australia truly is a unique place with a very unique history. It is more vast and beautiful than most people realize.
Who found Australia?
The first people to set foot on the huge island of Australia were the Aborigines about 30,000 years ago. Over the years they developed a remarkable relationship with their surroundings that led them to a nomadic existence. The seasons and the availability of food and water determined each day of life.
This relationship was expressed through dance, corroborees, and proliferate rock paintings called "Dreamtime." It was a time to reflect on the creation of this wondrous land before white man came.
In the sixteenth century some Europeans unwillingly stumbled on to this wilderness, which they called "Terra Australis Incognita," which means "The unknown land of Australia." Next the Dutch came searching for gold and spices to sell in Europe. They charted some of the western coastline, but were quickly discouraged because it was inhospitable and lacked any recognizable civilization.
Founded by Criminals!
Finally in 1770 Captain James Cook of the British ship "Endeavor" charted the more favorable East Coast. Even then it took the end of the American War of Independence in 1783 and the loss of Britains penal colonies in America before the decision was made to settle this new found land. Britain began sending boatloads of criminals to newly formed penal colonies in Australia.
Founded by Criminals! That is the big joke given to Australians. The truth is some were in fact hardened criminals, but most were poor fellas busted for stealing bread or framed and sent away to this supposed bad land. Imagine being sent to a tropical island with white sands, blue water, abundant food, and is warm all year around. Sounds like an awful punishment, doesn't it?
On January 26, 1788 the first permanent European settlement was born at Sydney Cove. In fact our great grandfather and his brother were sent across with an orphanage to help settle the land. They were ages 7 and 10 years old.
The hardships were constant and labor exhausting. Most convicts served out their sentence to become free settlers, however some rebelled and went their own way. Like the American old west notorious bushrangers were born.
Ned rebelled against "Pommie Authority" (English) after tolerating years of hostile treatment to both family and friend. He became the first "Darth Vader." He fashioned a helmet and full on body suit out of 100 pounds of sheet metal. With his bullet proof covering he would rob the rich, give to the poor, and make sure justice was done. For a time he became an invincible Aussie hero.
His demise came when fifty armed policemen faced him off. He killed most of them until they discovered the back of his knee wasn't covered with metal. One shot to the leg took him down enough to be captured. His last words were, "such is life." He was hung in his jail cell at dawn.
Like the 'old west' of America past their were many Jesse James' and Ned Kellys’ who wanted to preserve their country from tyranny and abuse of authority. At least in their point of view.
Well there you have a very brief history of the land "Down Under." We would like to dedicate this page to all those who want to know about the history of this great land.
Email us, tell us what you want to know about Aussie History.
Here are two great poems about Australia. The first Louise wrote for Australia's centennial celebration. The second we used on our second album.
They sent our fathers here
Across this savage sea
They sweat blood into this soil
They're my family
And maybe one day
When we're all together again
We'll see their faces
And know how they lived
So fly the flag high as you can
Let everyone know how proud I am
I love a sunburned country
A land of sweeping plains
Of rugged mountain ranges
Of drought and flooding rain
I love her far horizons
I love her jeweled sea
Her beauty and her terror
‘Tis the wide brown land for me
Listen to this poem used in a song from Save America.
E-mail email@example.com what do you want to know about Aussie History!
Copyright © 1997 Oz Static Inc.