The aboriginals of Australia are the most ancient indigenous people in world. They settled Australia nearly 40,000 years ago. They had full reign of the massive island continent until Captain Cook sailed up the east coast of Oz and claimed it all for Britain in 1770. Australia formed into a Common Wealth of six states in 1901 and played a key part in U.K. success during WW 1 and WW2. The Aussie economy flourished in the 1980s and 1990s and it is still booming today.
My primary historical reading of Australia was Ion Idriess‘s book The Cattle King. It tells the story of the enterprising cowboy, Sid Kidman (1860-1940.) To me, Kidman’s life is a metaphor for Australia. As you read about his life, you are taken through the history of Australia. The growth of the small nation, creation of the commonwealth, linking the distant cities Australia, aboriginal relations, abundant natural resources and finally to a more complex society industrial society. Idriess really tells a full story of how the land and people changed over the time. It’s a great read and I definitely recommend it to anyone traveling to Oz. Especially if your thinking of doing some Jackaroo/Jillaroo work. If you don’t want to do the reading, here is a flash history of Australia.
Australia is the 6th largest country in the world and only a little smaller then the lower 48 states in the USA.
Mount Kosciuszko – 2,228 meters
About 22 million (about the population of Southern California)
Special notes to know before you travel:
- Australia is HUGE. Honestly, it’s difficult to fathom how big and empty the interior is.
- With the Working Holiday Visa program, you can travel Australia and save money while you do it.
- Everything is really expensive. This is bearable if you are working because minimum wage there is $17 AUD/Hr.
- Australians are some of the nicest, most down to earth people in the world.
- There is a vast history of living with drought. Over the past two years, Australia has been flooding.
- Aboriginals had been heavily marginalized for a long time. In 1997 parliament passed I’m Sorry Day as an apology for the mistreatment of the aboriginals.
- It’s the worlds smallest continent and the only continent nation in the world.
- There is great surf all around Australia from the north of Western Australia counterclockwise around the continent to Agnes Waters in Queensland (no surf in the North and in the shadow of the Great Barrier Reef)
- Prepare yourself for some amazing spiders, snakes and generally enormous insects.
Stories of Adventure Living in Australia:
I’ve got heaps of information for traveling to Australia. I kept a journal everyday and all I have to do is import the advice and cool stories into this internet format. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you are leaving soon.