Australia Recent History

A few years ago, bronze cannons were discovered buried in the sand on a beach in Western Australia. From the writings and drawings engraved on the metal it was clear that they were built in Portugal in the 16th century. And then, again, in Wellington in New Zealand, a Spanish helmet of the same era was extracted from the mud of the port. This showed, without a shadow of a doubt, that the first explorers of the area were Portuguese and Spanish. But nobody told us about it. Later two Dutch explorers arrived in Australia and were G. Janszoon, in 1606, and Dirk Hartog, in 1616.

Australia Recent History

Other explorers of Dutch and English nationality touched Australia; among them the one who remained most famous, Abel Tasman, who operated the circumnavigation of the entire continent in 1642.
But the real discovery of Australia occurred on April 29, 1770 thanks to the English captain James Cook, who had arrived in the South Seas to make some astronomical observations.
According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Australia, he landed in an inlet well sheltered from the winds: Botany Bay, on the south east coast. He described its beauties and riches but also penetrated the interior and continued for 5 months in his enterprise. Cook foresaw a great future for this land and, it must be said, was a true prophet.

But England thought of using this land only twenty years after its discovery, to bring its deportees there. And on January 18, 1788, three ships with a load of 750 deportees, farm animals, seeds and various agricultural tools landed in the bay where Sidney currently stands. Two years later another fleet arrived with other deportees, with a load of supplies and tools and a year later still a third group. For a long time, for this reason, Australia was called “the colony of deportees”. At the beginning it was very difficult to start colonization, but in 1793 the first free, English emigrants arrived, who joined the deportees and began the work of colonization of the whole country.

In the nineteenth century ship arrivals became more frequent as there were now many who wanted to try their luck here. Here there was work for everyone and in fact, while wars and revolutions broke out in Europe and in the colonies of America, in Australia only thought of working: many cities were founded both on the coast and inland, new crops were introduced, yes they raised local animals not too well known in other parts of the world, and with the discovery of deposits and mines, the extraction work continued. Gold deposits were discovered around 1850. Thousands and thousands of people rushed in search of the precious metal and with them there were roads, railways, cities, as well as a significant increase in the population. And that was more important for that land than any other political event. The history of Australia in practice begins with the colonization of whites because previously there were only two or three hundred thousand indigenous people on the territory, absolutely wild. They were among the most uncivilized peoples of the earth and their origin is unknown or where they came from.

The most important historical events in Australia concern the formation of the states into which the country was divided. In 1824 it was officially declared a “British colony” and was called “New South Wales”. This area included only the eastern half while the western half remained unexplored. In 1827, however, England declared complete sovereignty over the continent and therefore also the western part was the object of attention by the colonists, who founded Perth, the capital. Subsequently other areas detached themselves from New South Wales; southern Australia in 1836. The state of Victoria in 1851 and Queensland in 1859. Each of these areas became a colony in its own right.

Between 1862 and 1864 two other explorers attempted further research and so did Burke, who left Melbourne to arrive at the Gulf of Carpentaria, and Stuart who from Adelaide arrived at the Sea of ​​Timor, scarcely marking the road along which he stretched. in 1870/72 the first transcontinental telegraph line from Adelaide to Porto Darwin.

Western Australia was instead explored by Frank Gregory, by Giles who discovered the great salt lake Lago Amedeo and by Warburton who made a long crossing to the coast starting from the telegraph line. All explorers, however, encountered the steppe.
When the penal colonies ended, the free colonists automatically increased. In 1901 Australia formed an autonomous “Confederation” of the British Empire; collaborated in British politics; he participated in both world wars and in 1951 entered into a mutual defense treaty with the United States and New Zealand.

One of the first laws passed by the Australian Parliament was in 1950 that which declared the Communist Party illegal, then abolished in 1951 by the High Court.

In economics Australia then had to experience a large “boom”, especially with the beginning of the Korean War; in 1952, however, the sudden drop in the world price of wool forced Australia to a worrying deficit, given that the production of this material was practiced on a large scale, due to the overwhelming presence of sheep farms in the area. As a result, the government was forced to cut immigration. At the same time relations with Japan were restored, interrupted during the Second World War, and precise rules were established for the fishing of pearls off the Australian coast.

In April 1953, a movement of Soviet spies inside their embassy against the country was discovered, diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union were completely interrupted (after so many years they resumed in 1959).

In 1955 the Labor Party was divided into two groups: the Australian Labor Party, chaired by Erberto Evatt, and the Democratic Labor Party, headed by Robert Joshua.
Soon relations with the countries of Southeast Asia under a communist regime worsened more and more, towards which Australia always maintained the ban on immigration, while those with Indonesia improved.
Between 1956 and 1957, following another economic situation, Australia modified an old pact of customs privileges allowed to Great Britain.

On July 6, 1957, as a sign of political relaxation towards Japan, an economic integration trade agreement was signed between the two states for the changed situation of the Australian manufacturing industries. In this sense, a lot of pressure was put on Australia to recognize popular China. But foreign investment was mainly British and American.

The elections of 1966 were won by the liberals, led by Holt, while the Labor Party always operated an active but constructive opposition.
The important issues that in Australia’s foreign policy were more forced to face, were essentially two: Vietnam and British investments. In 1968 Holt died. Gorton replaced him. Whitlam was installed at the head of the opposition.

In 1969, the elections reduced the majority of liberals a little, but they remained in government.
A dialogue opened with the Soviet Union and the continuous confirmation of the economic boom widened the commercial partners, including Italy.

Meanwhile, the problem of Papua New Guinea, which had long been asking to be independent, worsened and Mac Mahon rose to power in 1971, with the end of the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, the recognition of popular China and the problem of conditions was faced. of the aborigines, always left in a worrying state of indigence and ignorance.
In 1972 the Labor Party won the election and Whitlam came to the government. He immediately began to develop a vast reform plan, including: collaboration with Indonesia, independence of Papua New Guinea, closer relations with both the West and the area of ​​socialist countries, withdrawal from Singapore and from Malaysia and the strengthening of relations with New Zealand.

In 1973, public and social expenses increased, causing inflation and internal political conflicts over Whitlam’s policy, which, however, was reconfirmed as prime minister in 1974.
But the economic situation did not improve; unemployment rose, prices continued to rise; thus proceeding to authorize entry to foreign investments and tax cuts.

In 1975, with the increase of unease and discontent, a change occurred at the top; instead of Whitlam his rival Fraser was called to preside over the government, which completely changed the economic program. At the head of the agrarian nationals was Fr Anthony who together with Fraser formed a liberal agrarian coalition government.

In economics a conservative neo-liberal policy was decreed. Facilitations were introduced in the private sector, tax cuts, decentralization of powers to the various states, devaluation of the dollar in December 1976, cuts in public spending, but strengthening of military spending.

The 1977 elections did not change the structure of the government; the Laborers earned two seats. But in the economic field, despite having registered some success, many difficulties remained which eventually led to early elections in 1980. These saw a notable increase in the number of Labor seats on the one hand and a consequent considerable decrease in the national agricultural seats. At the head of the Labor Party, W. Hayden had arrived since 1977.

For two more years Fraser was able to govern with some positive results, intertwining relations with all the countries of Southeast Asia and with New Zealand. But in 1982, following a severe international recession, Australia was hit hard by inflation and the marked rise in unemployment.

In this state of affairs, the 1983 political elections awarded the Labor victory led by R. Hawke.
He first devalued the currency to remedy the strong budget deficit; then he brought together the unions and agreed with them that wage increases were not requested, at least for a time. Entrepreneurs asked for more price controls and the reintegration of the escalator.
In foreign policy he renewed the alliance agreements with the United States, with the Asian countries, in particular with China, for a close collaboration in the field of metallurgy.

The political consultations of December 1984 confirmed the Labor government and in March 1986, during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II for the signing of the “Australian Act”, Australia had complete independence.
But after a brief two-year recovery, the problems returned and in May 1986 a huge general strike resulted in early political elections which took place in July 1987. Hawke was confirmed but his popularity had now taken a hit.

In January 1988, on the occasion of the bicentenary of the first landing of prisoner settlers in Australia, the Aborigines staged a large demonstration in Sidney.
First of all, they asked to be recognized as the true owners of the territory, and as such that all political, economic and social rights were recognized to them. Their living conditions, in fact, were miserable, so much so that their community was considerably reduced due to the diseases and hardships, due to their precarious conditions.

Hawke undertook to enter into negotiations by 1990 to make agreements to that effect. And in March 1990, despite all the difficulties, the Labor Party renewed their government presence for the fourth time. However, the Democratic Party and the Environmental Groups also had a good affirmation.

But the persistence of various difficulties and controversies within the Labor Party, and several financial scandals, forced Hawke to resign. He was replaced by the former treasury minister, P. Keating.
He developed an election campaign focused on regularizing the major Aboriginal issues, health care, reducing unemployment, creating new jobs and setting up in the Republic of Australia by 2001.

And the Labor Party not only won the March 1993 general election but added two more seats to the previous ones.
In foreign policy, while links with the United States and other Asian countries strengthened, links with Great Britain deteriorated, as a result of the “republic” project, confirmed by Keating, as well as with France following the government’s declaration French to resume nuclear tests on the continent by 1995.


The Australian economic situation persisted in the recession so that the March 1996 elections saw the return to government of the national liberal coalition. And after thirteen years of uninterrupted Labor rule, the new executive was formed chaired by liberal leader J. Howard, while leading the Labor Party K. Beazley replaced Keating.

The new government launched an economic recovery plan which, with its various reforms to the system, affected the lower classes, including the Aborigines, most. Regarding these people, the issue was debated in 1996 by Mrs. P. Hanson, an independent deputy, who in a speech in Parliament asked the government to stop any donation in their favor and at the same time close the borders to Asian immigration. although Hanson was branded as racist and greatly disfigured Australia’s image in the world, Hanson’s views proved to be shared by most of the population.

In May 1997, however, the Australian government chose to cut back the influx of immigration.

On October 3, 1998, the new elections confirmed the ruling coalition, and the defeat of both Labor and racists, followers of Hanson, who joined the “One Nation” party. And finally, in 1999, a referendum was called in which people were asked to join the constitution of the Republic of Australia. In November the referendum took place and the republican idea, although with a small margin of votes, was definitively shelved.

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