Australia, or officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a continental country located in the Southern Hemisphere. It lies between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It is located in the continent of Oceania and occupies a very large part of the continent. Its neighbors are Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and New Zealand. Its capital is Canberra and its largest city is Sydney.
Australia is established on a total area of 8,698,850 km2, of which 8,617,930 km2 is on land and 80,920 km2 is in water. It has no land borders with any country. Being the 6th largest country in the world with this surface area, Australia has a coastline of 25,760 kilometers.
The island has been home to indigenous Aboriginal people for nearly 50,000 years, before European exploration and migration in the 18th century. The languages spoken by the Aborigines are divided into about 250 different groups according to the calculation made as a result of modern research. Forced immigration, initiated by the United Kingdom with criminal deportation, continued from 1788 to 1868 and concentrated around New South Wales. Since the first settlement years, the population has increased steadily and the entire island has been discovered in the middle of the 19th century, and 5 new Royal colonies have been established. On January 1, 1901, 6 colonies merged into a federal structure and formed the Commonwealth of Australia. Adopting the liberal-democratic political system since its establishment, Australia consists of 6 states and relative territories. The majority of the population of 24 million settled on the east coast and it is a country with a high urbanization rate.
According to the International Monetary Fund, while Australia is the 13th largest economy in the world, it ranks 9th in the world in terms of per capita income. The country also ranks second worldwide on the Human Development Index, after Norway, in many criteria such as standard of living, health, education, personal freedom and political rights. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, OECD, World Trade Organization, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and Pacific Islands Forum.
The name Australia is derived from the Latin word Australis, meaning belonging to the south. The meaning of an unknown country in the south (terra australis incognita), dating back to the time of Roman civilization, indicates that a similar place was also found in the Middle Ages. However, this information does not contain any known continent information. The Latin term Terra Australis Incognita; The Unknown (Incognita) in the south (Australis) means the piece of land (Terra).
On May 14, 1606, Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, who set foot in Vanuatu, claimed that all land ownership in the South Pole belonged to the Kingdom of Spain and named the continent Austrialía del Espíritu Santo.
The Dutch word Australische was used by the Dutch in Batavia before 1638 to designate new places discovered in the south. The first use of the word “Australia” in the English language was seen in the 1693 translation of the French novel Les Aventures de Jacques Sadeur dans la Découverte et le Voyage de la Terre Australe written by Gabriel de Foigny in 1692.
Later, in 1765, Alexander Dalrymple used the word when he translated into English a book by Luis Váez de Torres in which he described his 1606 voyage to the south coast of New Guinea. Dalrymple also used the word Australia to describe the entire Oceania region in his An Historical Collection of Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean (1771). In 1793, George Shaw and Sir James Smith published Zoology and Botany of New Holland, in which definitions of the large island, the great continent, Australia, Australasia and New Holland were made.
The name Australia was popularized by explorer Matthew Flinders’ A Voyage to Terra Australis (1814), the first known human to circumnavigate the continent by ship. Despite the name reflecting the perspective of the British Kingdom, he used the name Flinders Australia in his work, and this name became a widely spoken term. The governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, later used the name in written messages he sent to England. In 1817 Macquarie proposed the official adoption of this name, and in 1824 the British Kingdom approved the continent to be officially recognized as Australia.
It is estimated that the first human settlements in Australia appeared between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago. The first Australians were the ancestors of the present-day Aborigines. They settled on the island from Southeast Asia by crossing land links or short-distance waters.
Even when Europeans began arriving in the late 18th century, most of these people were naturalists. They lived by the Aboriginal mythology of dreamtime, which respected nature with a complex linguistic culture and spiritual value.
Torres Strait Indians, another indigenous people living on the island, are ethnically of Melanesian descent. These people settled in various areas on the Torres Strait Islands and the northern extremities of Queensland. Their cultural habits are markedly different from those of the Aborigines.
Arrival of the Europeans
The first European to see the Australian mainland according to official records was Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon. Janszoon saw the Cape York Peninsula in 1606. During the 17th century, the Dutch mapped the entire western and northern coastline and named it New Holland. However, they did not make any effort to establish a settlement. English explorer and pirate William Dampier landed on the north-west coast of New Holland in 1688 and returned in 1699. In 1770, James Cook traveled the east coast of Australia, mapped the area, and declared that he annexed what he called New South Wales to the territory of Great Britain. Expeditionary discoveries quickly led to the establishment of colonies where prisoners and detainees were employed as workers for the exploitation of the continent.
The British Overseas Colonies began with the colony of New South Wales for the first time on the continent, with the establishment of a settlement in Port Jackson by Captain Arthur Phillip on January 26, 1788. This date was later declared the national day of Australia (Australia Day). This first settlement opened the way to the founding of Sydney and the exploration of the environment, triggering subsequent settlements. Settlement in Van Diemen’s Land, now known as Tasmania, began in 1803. The explorer Abel Tasman, who discovered the place in 1642, named the island Anthoonij van Diemenslandt in honor of Anthony van Diemen, the governor and general of the Dutch South India Colonies, who sent him on this journey. Van Diemen’s Land became a separate colony in 1825. The Tasmanian Genocide was committed against the Tasmanian natives during the 1803-1847 colonial period. The United Kingdom controlled the western part of Australia in 1829. New and separate colonies were created in various parts of New South Wales; South Australia (1836), Victoria (1851) and Queensland (1859), respectively. The Northern Territory (NT) was established in 1863 as part of the state of South Australia. South Australia was established as a free state and has never been a penal colony, as in other colonies. The bringing of criminals to the island continued at intervals between 1840 and 1864. In New South Wales, as a result of the protests of the settlers, it ended the settlement of prisoners and detainees in 1848.
The native population of Australia is estimated to be around 350,000 at the time Europeans began to settle on the continent. Since then, their numbers have decreased rapidly over the past 150 years. The main reason for this is the combination of epidemic diseases with forcing them to migrate and cultural fragmentation. Thousands more died as a result of border wars with European (mostly British) settlers.
The process of “assimilation”, which began with the Aboriginal Protection Act of 1869, separated many Indigenous families from one another. The collection of Indigenous children from their families is termed by some historians and Australian aborigines as creating a “lost generation”. At the same time, these historians and native Australians argue that the indigenous communities were dispersed and depopulated, and that this should be considered a genocide. The act of devshirme, which is carried out with the aim of creating a peaceful and trouble-free society, is defined as a violation of human rights today. Some oppose these interpretations of the history of the Aborigines and state that they are exaggerated and fabricated for political and intellectual reasons. This debate is known in Australia as the History Wars. After the 1967 referendum, the federal government obtained executive power and the right to pass laws on Aboriginals. Ownership of the island’s indigenous people was not recognized until the Supreme Court of Australia’s case in Mabo v Queensland. After this case, the concept of ownership in Australia changed and it was stated that the island did not belong to anyone during the European invasion (Terra Nullius).
In the 1850s the Gold rush began in Australia, and in 1854 the first civil uprising against mining license fees, the Eureka Stockade uprising, took place. Between 1855 and 1890, six colonies individually gained the right to self-government and began to manage many of their personal affairs. The colonial office in London still held the management of important foreign affairs, defense matters, and international shipping and trade matters.
With the federation that took place on January 1, 1901, after a ten-year plan, they obtained the right to elect and be elected, to be represented. Thus, under the rule of the United Kingdom, the Crown of Australia was born. After Canberra was proposed as the new federal capital, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was established in 1911 in the New South Wales region, the capital region of Australia. (Melbourne was the capital from 1901 to 1927.) Again in 1911, the Northern Territory (NT) passed from the control of the South Australian (SA) government to the control of the Royal Australian State.
Australia voluntarily joined World War I. The strong support of the Federal Liberal Party and the Labor Party plays an important role behind this decision. Although they took part in many battles on the Western Front of World War I, the Battle of Çanakkale has a special importance for Australia. Many Australians remember with respect the defeat of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) after the Battle of Gallipoli and accept this date as the birth date of the nation. This date is also the country’s first major military event. Like the Battle of Gallipoli, World War II The Battle of the Kokoda Track, which took place during World War II, is also an event of national importance by many.
Many legal connections between Australia and the United Kingdom officially ended in 1942, when Australia passed the 1931 Westminster Act. The shock defeat of the United Kingdom in Asia in 1942 and the threat of Japan’s invasion of Australia brought Australia closer to the United States, which it saw as a new ally and protector. Since 1951, Australia has been an official military ally of the United States under the ANZUS treaty. II. After World War II, Australia supported all immigration from Europe. Immigrants from Asia and other parts of the world were also supported in the 1970s with the repeal of the White European Policy, which allowed only Europeans to immigrate. As a result, the population, culture and image of Australia has changed radically.
The last legal bond between Australia and the United Kingdom ended with the 1986 Australian Act. The UK domination over the Australian states and judicial applications to the UK Privy Council have been terminated. Despite this, Australian voters rejected the transition to republican rule with a 55% majority in the 1999 referendum. Since the 1972 Whitlam Government, a growing concept of Pacific-Asian affiliation has emerged in Australian foreign policy, while relations with traditional allies and trade partners continue.
Australia; It is a federal state with a constitution, governed by a parliamentary monarchy. It is one of the oldest federations in the world.
II. Elizabeth is the head of state of Australia in her capacity as Queen of Australia. In Australia it is represented by the governor-general. The prime minister is the head of government. The queen and viceroy are mostly symbolic in execution, the country is led by an elected prime minister. The Australian Parliament, the country’s legislature; It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The current ruling party in the country is the Liberal Party of Australia, while the current opposition party is the Australian Labor Party.
A referendum was held in the country in 1999, asking the public, “Should Australia be a republic?” It was proposed that Queen Elizabeth’s title of head of state be removed and an elected president should be replaced. With 54.87% of the votes against the referendum, Australia remained a monarchy.
Australia’s ethnic distribution; 37.13% native, 31.65% English, 9.08% Irish, 7.56% Scottish, 4.29% Italian, 4.09% German, 3.37% Chinese, 1.84% Greek.
The Australian States are located on the Indo-Australian plate with an area of 7,617,930 km2. It is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans and is separated from the Asian continent by the Arafura Sea and the Timor Sea. Along the Queensland coast in the Northeast lies the Coral Sea. Between Australia and New Zealand is the Tasman Sea. Australia, the 7th largest country in the world in terms of land size, is sometimes referred to as the “island continent”. The Australian mainland has 34,218 kilometers of coastline. Besides, it claims an Exclusive economic zone of 8,148,250 km2 in Antarctica. This area does not include the Australian Antarctic Territory. Except for Macquarie Island, Australia, between 9th south latitude and 44th south latitude; It is located between the 112th east longitude and the 154th east longitude. The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, is located just off the north-east coast, with a length of more than 2000 kilometers. Mount Augustus in Western Australia is the world’s largest monolith. Located on the Great Dividing Range, Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on mainland Australia at 2228 metres. Even taller, Mawson Peak, at 2745 meters, is located on Heard Island off the mainland, while Mount McClintock and Mount Menzies are located in the Australian Antarctic Territory, at 3492 and 3355 meters, respectively.
The size of Australia has given it a different climate and landscape over the same country. Tropical rainforests are found in the north-east, mountainous areas in the south-east and south-west regions, and arid plains in the center. Australia, where the oldest and most infertile lands are located, also has the distinction of being the flattest continent. Desert or semi-arid lands – also known as the Outback – make up the majority of the land. It is the driest inhabited continent in the world with an annual precipitation of 500 mm. 2.8 people per square kilometer puts it in the last place in terms of population density. A large part of the population lives in the south-east where the temperate climate prevails.
Eastern Australia is separated from each other by the Great Dividing Range. This mountain range runs parallel to the coastlines of the states of Quensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. Although its name is mountain range, in reality most of the terrain it passes consists of low hills and plateaus no higher than 1600 meters. The coastal highlands and Brigalow meadows are sandwiched between the coast and the mountain, while the interior of the mountain range consists of large grasslands. These grasslands include the western plains of New South Wales and the Queensland interior of the Einasleigh Uplands, Barkly Tableland and Mulga Lands. The northernmost point of the east coast is the Cape York Peninsula, covered with tropical rainforest.
Generally, there are high and not long plateaus and fertile plains in the southeast. The original mainland that emerged by erosion is more than 3 billion years old.
In terms of land area, it is the 6th largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the United States and Brazil. The Hamilton Island Eden in Australia is seen.
Australia has a free market economy. The per capita gross domestic product is high and the poverty rate is low. Australian dollar; It is the currency of all of Australia, including Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent islands of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu. After the 2006 merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney Futures Exchange, the Australian Securities Exchange has become the ninth largest stock exchange in the world.
Ranked third in the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, Australia is the thirteenth largest economy in the world and has the eleventh highest GDP per capita; this is higher than the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada and Japan and is in the same rank as the United States. It was ranked second in the 2010 Human Development Index, first in Legatum’s 2008 Welfare Index, and sixth in The Economist’s 2005 global Quality of Life rankings. All of Australia’s major cities score high in global comparative liveability surveys; The Economist’s 2008 list of the world’s most livable cities ranked Melbourne second, Perth fourth, Adelaide seventh and Sydney ninth.
Australia was colonized by the British but today people from all over the world live there. English is the main spoken language and although all religions are accepted, the main religion is Christianity. Australia is multicultural, which means that all people have different languages, religions and ways of life.
Famous contemporary writers include Peter Carey, Thomas Keneally, and Colleen McCullough. In 1973, Patrick White became the only Australian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Patrick White is considered one of the greatest English-language writers of the twentieth century.
There are many world-class stars in Australian music. For example, opera singers Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland, rock and roll bands Bee Gees, AC/DC, Airbourne and INXS, pop singer Kylie Minogue and Australian country music Slim Dusty and John Williamson. Australian Aboriginal music is very special and very ancient. His wind instruments called Didgeridoo are very famous.