British Imperialism in Australia Timeline
A replica of Cook’s ship Endeavour, which helped him become the first European to sail to Australia. (3)
A replica of Cook’s ship Endeavour, which helped him become the first European to sail to Australia. (3)





1770: The British discover Australia

Australia was first inhabited by the Asian ancestors of the current Australian Aboriginal people at least 50,000 years ago, but was not discovered by Europeans until the late 18th century. In 1768, British captain James Cook made a voyage of discovery in his ship Endeavour. Cook reached Tahiti on June 3 1769, and first sighted Australia on April 20 1770. (1) Cook discovered the South Eastern part of Australia later known as New South Wales and took possession of the land in the name of Great Britain. (2) In 1771 Captain James Cook returned to England from his first voyage. On July 13, 1772 Captain James Cook embarked on a second voyage of discovery in the Resolution but bad weather drove him to Hawaii. On February 14 1779 Captain Cook was killed by the natives in Australia.


1809: The Boyd Massacre

The painting ‘The Boyd Incident’ by Louis Auguste Sainson (1839) (6)
The painting ‘The Boyd Incident’ by Louis Auguste Sainson (1839) (6)

In October 1809, the British trading ship Boyd sailed from Australia to New Zealand to trade with the indigenous Maori people. The intent was for the British to trade European goods in return for timber from the native kauri tree. However, this is not what happened; after the son of a Maori chief was whipped onboard the Boyd for reportedly refusing the crew’s orders, the Maori exacted their revenge by massacring nearly all the ship’s 70 passengers. (4) The incident was a result of the clashing beliefs and customs of the two peoples – whipping was a legal and common British punishment for disobeying a master’s orders, while such a punishment to a high-ranking Maori was considered shameful and met with severe violence. This is an important event in the history of British imperialism in Australia because it was one of the first to establish a need for a military presence in Australia and the neighboring land masses. Had there been a strong military force nearby, the Maori might not have dared massacring British
traders for fear of the harsh consequences. (5)


1901: The Immigration Restriction Act


In 1901 the Parliament of Australia passed the Immigration Restriction Act in accordance to the British colony’s “white Australia” policy. The Act restricted certain people from immigrating to Australia, including convicts, the diseased, and the mentally challenged, but more
Cover of “The New Australian” newspaper from 1929, which literally portrays the strengthening tie between Britain and Australia by ‘keeping Australia white’. (9)
Cover of “The New Australian” newspaper from 1929, which literally portrays the strengthening tie between Britain and Australia by ‘keeping Australia white’. (9)
importantly, people of non-white races. Non-whites were subjected to dictation tests, which forced them to read long, difficult passages in various European languages; such tests were intentionally designed to fail non-Europeans. (7) This discriminatory legislation was an important part of British imperialism in Australia because it was one of the first to emphasize and affirm Australia’s “British character” by undermining other races. Doing so strengthened the colony’s tie to its mother state, and prevented other races from getting a foothold on the colony. (8)

1986: The Australia Act

The Australia Act of 1986 refers to a pair of related acts: the Act of the Common Wealth Parliament of Australia, and also the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. These acts affected the Commonwealth from constitutional arrangements as a sovereign, an independent federal nation. These acts also freed Australia from Great Britain's political control. (10) The Australia Act prevented British parliament
from taking control of Australia’s constitution, and now the Constitution can only be changed within the agreement with the prescribed referendum procedures. (11)














Dimensions of Imperialism in Australia
A modern map of Australia outlining its six provinces, which were established during the time of British colonization. (12)
A modern map of Australia outlining its six provinces, which were established during the time of British colonization. (12)


Population -


Short term:
- The indigenous population, estimated at 750,000 to 1,000,000 at the time of European settlement, declined steeply for 150 years following settlement, mainly due to infectious diseases such as smallpox, measles, and tuberculosis.

Long term:
- The total population of Australia has grown over the years after British colonization, and today has reached a population of nearly 23 million people as of 2012.
- After World War II, large groups of European immigrants caused the Australian population to double in size.
- After the elimination of the White Australia Policy in the mid 1970s, there was a significant increase in non-European immigrants from all over the world, the vast majority being from Asia and the Middle East.
- The English population made up 29.62% out of the total population, they played an significant impact on the democratic quaternary economy.

Political autonomy-

Contact with British settlers was beginning in 1788, initially led to economic marginalization, a loss of political autonomy, and death by disease. So-called pacification by force culminated in the late 1880s, leading to a massive of removing population and becoming extinction for some groups. By the 1940s almost all aborigines were conduct as missionary work and assimilated into rural and urban Australian society as low-paid worker with limited rights. Many aborigine children were also taken from their natural parents and given to foster parents to promote assimilation.
In 1976 and 1993 the Australian government enacted land-rights laws that has returned to the aborigines a degree of independence or freedom, and court decisions in 1992, 1996, and 2006 have recognized aboriginal property and native title rights. The recent increase in aboriginal population reflects improved living conditions and a broad and inclusive definition of aboriginal identity on the part of the government. Their average standard of living and life expectancy, however they were not able to compare with that of most Australians. (1

Independence:

At the start of the twentieth century, many countries started clamoring for independence of british oppression. Joining the clamor was Australia, which became a semi-independent state in 1901. In some cases, the status of Australia is still regarded as being under british rule. The Australian Constitution - the legal document that established, and defines, the Commonwealth of Australia - states that the "colonies" (now the "states") of Australia "have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". The Commonwealth of Australia may be regarded as a "self-governing colony". Australia's status has changed from a collection of several colonies to the status of a self-governing dominion to the status of a basically independent country. However, the above law still exists, and - in a technical sense - the "form" of the constitutional structure is still somewhat colonial, in that Australia still comes under the "rule" of "the King or Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". Still to this day British laws still have "force and effect" in Australia. For example: the Act of Settlement 1701 and the Bill of Rights 1689 determine who shall take the British Throne - and therefore determine who will be Australia's Head of State.

Culture and language -


Short Term:
- Before the arrival of the Europeans, more than 250 languages were spoken by the Indigenous Australians. But after British colonization, many languages became either extinct or endangered. There are now only 15 indigenous languages being spoken around the country.
- The Australian culture became Anglo-Celtic due to the influence from British settlement.

Long term:
- Australia doesn’t have an official language due to the few minority Aboriginal languages, but English is the most common language spoken around the country, showing the long-lasting effect of British imperialism.
- Today, Australia is a very culturally diverse country because of the influence of immigrants from around the world, but like most advanced nations it is very Americanized.

Land and resources -


- Australia was originally used as penal colony for prisoners, a settlement for the British to separate prisoners from the outside of the world. (14)
- In 1792, the British government led the New South Wales Corps to become the farmers in the colony. Farming helped assist the growth of Australia's economy.
- The British treated the land very differently from the Aboriginal peoples - they exploited as many resources and people as possible due to the very competitive and individualistic European worldview.


References

(1) Australian history timeline. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://www.aushistorytimeline.com/

(2) Australia history timeline. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://www.history-timelines.org.uk/places-timelines/05-australia-history-timeline.htm

(3) Endeavour replica. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Endeavour_replica_in_Cooktown_harbour.jpg

(4) Boyd Massacre. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyd_massacre

(5) Robbers and spoilers: Australia and Britain in the 19th Century Pacific. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/interventions/empire.htm

(6) ‘The Boyd Incident’ by Louis Auguste Sainson (1839). Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://www.specialx.net/specialxdotnet/morgue_bedofnails.html

(7) Immigration Restriction Act 1901. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Restriction_Act_1901

(8) White Australia Policy. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Australia_policy

(9) Cover of ‘The New Australian’ (Jan. 1929). Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://intranet.cbhslewisham.nsw.edu.au:82/sor/concepta.asp?resource=12&conid=54

(10) Australia Acts 1986: Australia’s statutes of independence. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://www.federationpress.com.au/bookstore/book.asp?isbn=9781862878075

(11) Australia Act 1986. Retrieved April 3, 2012, from
http://foundingdocs.gov.au/item-sdid-103.html

(12) Political map of Australia. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from
http://www.travel-australia-online.com/political-map-of-australia.html

(13) Australian aborigines. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from
http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/society/A0805377.html

(14) Penal colony. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penal_colony