About Australia

About Australia

Australia is the world’s sixth-largest country by total area and has a population of almost 23 million. Australia is made up of six states and two territories. The below map will give you an idea on just how large Australia is compared to Ireland.

Aboriginal settlers were the first known and documented arrivals to Australia; they came from South East Asia approximately 40,000 years before European explorers in the 17th century.  In 1770, Captain James Cook took possession of the continent on behalf of Great Britain. Over the late 18th and 19th centuries six colonies were created. In 1901 they federated and the Commonwealth of Australia was born.

Information on the Australian flag can be found here

Western Australia is one of the oldest lands on Earth with a rich Aboriginal history dating back more than 40,000 years. Captain James Stirling founded the Swan River Colony on the 1st of June, 1829. Unlike other Australian states, Western Australia was colonised as a free settlement and not a penal colony. The original state capital was to be the harbour town of Albany however this was moved to the fruitful Swan river valley, which is now the site of Perth and Fremantle.

It wasn’t until 1850 that convicts arrived and by then the basic structure of the settlement had been established. The early growth of the city was slow. By 1849 the population was 1148. In 1891 it had only grown to 8447 and in 1911 it was only a medium sized country town with a population of 31,300. To put that into perspective – just 100 years ago Perth was only about the size of Bray, Co. Wicklow.

The arrival of the Trans-Australian Railway in 1917 and the early success of the gold mining towns pushed the population to 272,528 in 1947 and the subsequent immigration from Britain meant that by 1981 there were 809,035 people living in Perth and its suburbs.

For more information, click on the following link: http://www.about-australia.com/facts/western-australia-history/

The population of Perth is now over 1.8 million and is growing by approximately 50,000 per year.

Visit here to read more about Western Australia.

Aboriginal Culture

Australian Aboriginals were the original inhabitants of Australia. They lived a nomadic existence, moving within fairly well-defined geographic regions, as they followed the seasons and food sources. Indigenous Australians survived in harsh climatic and environmental conditions which ranged from cold temperate to hot tropical, coping with arid conditions and torrential rains. They have lived for many thousands of years in ways that sustained their societies while conserving resources, protecting fragile soils and leaving a light footprint on the environment.

For more information, click on the following link: http://www.about-australia.com/facts/western-australia-history/

Nyoongar is the generic term for indigenous people of the south west of Western Australia. The area at the base of Kings Park in Perth, known as Goonininup, was an important ceremonial and dreaming area for Aboriginal males.

For more information, click on the following link: http://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/kings-park/visit/history/aboriginal-history

Rock Art and Ancient Culture

Australian Aboriginal culture believes that spirit ancestors breathe life and energy into traditional dance, song and design and play a very important role in indigenous culture throughout Western Australia. These ancestral spirits possessed supernatural powers enabling them during the Dreamtime of the world’s creation to change into human, animal or other forms.  Spirit ancestors govern and determine Aboriginal people’s ritual activity, imparting a specific meaning to every step of a dance, every verse of a song and each pattern in a painting.

For more information, click on the following link: http://www.westernaustralia.com/au/About_Western_Australia/History_and_Culture/Pages/Aboriginal_Culture.aspx

A collection of Australian Aboriginal rock art featuring distinctive stick-like images was discovered in Australia’s North West in the late 1990s. Archaeological dating placed the Gyorn Gyorn also called Bradshaw paintings among the oldest paintings on record.
History is reflected in art, which varies, including cave-paintings, rock art and bark paintings in the north, to the very detailed patterned dot-paintings throughout the central Golden Outback. And while the paintings are aesthetically beautiful, each one is unique and tells its own story.
Dance and body-painting is also a method of story-telling, so corroborees (traditional dancing) remain as important ceremonies portraying dream times stories of evolution, and how the world came to be.

To read more on Aboriginal culture go to

http://www.aboriginalculture.com.au

http://www.westernaustralia.com/au/About_Western_Australia/History_and_Culture/Pages/History_and_Culture.aspx

http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-indigenous-cultural-heritage

http://year3history.edublogs.org/indigenous-art-forms/

http://www.westernaustralia.com/au/About_Western_Australia/History_and_Culture/Pages/Aboriginal_Culture.aspx

http://www.aboriginalartonline.com/art/rock.php

Public Holidays

The 10 public holidays in Western Australia are New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Labour Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, ANZAC Day, Western Australia Day, Queen’s Birthday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

For more information, click on the following link: http://australia.gov.au/topics/australian-facts-and-figures/public-holidays

Australia Day is on January 26th and commemorates the establishment of the first European settlement at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788. It is an opportunity for Australians to come together to celebrate their country and culture. There are reflections on the achievements of the nation and explorations of way to make the country even better in the future.

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/australia/australia-day

Perth puts on a spectacular fireworks display every Australia Day.

ANZAC is an abbreviation for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces were known as ANZACs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day. ANZAC Day is celebrated on 25th April is probably Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

For more information, click on the following link: http://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac/anzac_tradition.asp

Australian Slang

Just as we have our own Irish slang, so do the Australians. Australian slang is also called Strine, and is considered a common way of speaking. Words and phrases handed down from their ancestors have become iconic to Australia.

There are certain words that have a completely different meaning. For example if someone compliments your ‘thongs’, they are referring to your flip-flops and not your underwear!

For more information, click on the following link: http://alldownunder.com/australian-slang