A Concise History of Australia (Cambridge Concise Histories) by Stuart Macintyre

By Stuart Macintyre

Australia is the final continent to be settled via Europeans, however it additionally sustains a humans and a tradition tens of millions years outdated. for far of the earlier two hundred years the rookies have sought to switch the previous with the recent. This ebook tells how they imposed themselves at the land, and taken expertise, associations and concepts to make it their very own. It relates the improvement from penal colony to a filthy rich loose kingdom and illustrates how, as a kingdom created via waves of newbies, the quest for binding traditions was once lengthy annoyed by means of the sensation of rootlessness, till it got here to phrases with its origins. The 3rd version of this acclaimed ebook recounts the foremost components - social, financial and political - that experience formed modern day Australia. It covers the increase and fall of the Howard govt, the 2007 election and the apology to the stolen new release. greater than ever ahead of, Australians draw at the prior to appreciate their destiny.

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By the turn of the century the rudiments of a permanent pres­ ence were evident. The 5000 British residents of New South Wales were divided equally between Sydney and the hinterland (with a further thousand on Norfolk Island), indicating the balance of mercantile and agricultural activity. The colony was approaching self-sufficiency in food, and the rapid growth of local enterprise supported a standard of living at least comparable with that of the parent country. This successful transplantation, achieved far more quickly than earlier colonial foundations in North America, was already straining the penal principles that had governed its foundation.

The lands to the east of the Mediter­ ranean became known as the Orient, the place from where the sun rose. The Orient came to stand for a whole way of life that was infe­ rior to that of the West and yet disturbingly threatening: indolent, irrational, despotic and decayed. Such typification of the alien other, which the critic Edward Said characterises as Orientalism, had a peculiar meaning in colonial Australia where geography contradicted history. Fascination and fear mingled in the colonists' apprehension of the zone that lay between them and the metropole.

He did not so much discover Australia as make it accessible to European travel, available for British settlement. The decision to settle was taken by the British government fifteen years after Cook and Banks returned with their reports of New South Wales. By this time Britain had lost its North American colonies and was no longer able to transport convicts there as it had done for most of the eighteenth century. A plan to establish a new penal colony was prepared. Initially it was to be in Africa, but when no suitable site was found there, Botany Bay was chosen in the 'Heads of a Plan' submitted to the Cabinet by Lord Sydney the minister for the Home Office who then had responsibility for colonial affairs - and adopted in 1 7 8 6.

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