serving in the “land down under”
History, Culture, and Land
- 1600’s—Europeans began exploring Australia, then populated by the aborigines.
- 1788—The first group of about 750 British prisoners with their guardians arrive in Australia. More groups came in their wake.
- 1851—The Australian gold rush to areas of New South Wales and Victoria attracts over 700,000 people.
- 1900—Australia, composed of 6 states, is officially recognized by Britain as a member of the British Commonwealth. Canberra is Australia’s capital.
- 1914—Australia supports Britain in the first World War.
- 1939—During the second World War, Australia sides with the Allies.
- 1953–1963—Significant oil and gas reserves are found in western Australia, and production greatly expands and continues through the century.
- 1998—Some Australian government leaders vote to make Australia a republic separate from Britain, but Australia has remained a British Commonwealth.
- 2003—Immigration to Australia continues: roughly 25 percent of Australians are first-generation immigrants.
As in America, early Australian pioneers were rough and tough heroic figures who had to fight to survive, often on their own. Australian people continue to experience similar circumstances, especially since many have personally immigrated to Australia. Aussies (pronounced “Ozzies”) are often noted as being the friendliest and most welcoming people in the world. Through Australians speak English, a few of their words and phrases differ from those in America. Aussies are not easily offended, and tend to be laid back and forgiving in nature.
Australia’s amazing terrain varies from lush forests to the outback’s rough deserts. Bordering the eastern and southeastern coast is the fertile mountain region. The forests there have the tall, breathtaking gum trees, some of which are over 250 feet tall. This region receives most of the rain and contains most of the Australian population: Melbourne and Canberra (the capital) being two of its main cities. West of the mountains is some farmland. The remaining western land, the renowned outback, is a wilderness beautiful in its desolation and immensity. The magnificent Uluru crowns the outback. This rock, also known as Ayers Rock, is about 1.5 miles long and 1,100 feet tall.