History of Australia
SS6H8 The student will describe the culture and development of Australia prior to contact with Europeans.
a. Describe the origins and culture of the Aborigines.
SS6H9 The student will explain the impact European exploration and colonization had on Australia.
a. Explain the reasons for British colonization of Australia; include the use of prisoners as colonists.
b. Explain the impact of European colonization of Australia in terms of diseases and weapons on the indigenous peoples of Australia.
The Aborigines
 Historians believe the first humans arrived in Australia between
forty thousand and sixty thousand years ago.
 They traveled from Southeast Asia.
 They first settled in northern Australia.
 They may have used boats or walked across land that once
connected Australia to Asia.
 Europeans later called these people Aborigines, which means
“from the very first”.
 Aborigines formed many different groups that lived in different
parts of Australia.
 They spoke different languages.
 They developed their own cultures.
Early Aboriginal Culture
Aborigines usually lived and traveled in
small groups called clans.
Clans included one to five families.
They shared a common language and
Neighboring clans often traded food, tools,
and other goods.
Hunters and Gatherers
 Early Aborigines were hunter-gatherers,
 They hunted kangaroos, possums, turtles and seals.
 They used bones, wood, and stones, to construct tools and
weapons for hunting.
 They used nets and harpoons to catch fish.
 In the Outback, Aborigines used spears and boomerangs to
 A boomerang is a piece of carved wood thrown by hunters at
their prey.
 Many Aboriginal tribes also gathered edible fruits and plants.
Religion and Art
 The religious beliefs of the Aborigines centered on the
 Their myths explained the creation of the world and the origin of
plants and animals.
 Aborigines used dances and songs to pass stories from generation
to generation.
 Early Aborigines valued art.
 They added charcoal and colored dirt to pint their bodies.
 They painted pictures on rocks, trees, and other surfaces too.
 Their ceremonies features dances, songs, and instruments.
 The Aborigines made baskets and necklaces.
 They also liked to tell stories to entertain and pass down their
beliefs and history.
European Exploration and
Captain James Cook
In 1770, an English explorer, Captain
James Cook, arrived in Australia.
He claimed the territory for Great Britain.
Most of the early European visitors only
stayed temporarily.
They traded with the native populations,
but did not try to take their land.
They tended to have peaceful relations
with the Aborigines.
Guns, Alcohol, and Disease
 Europeans traded many things in Australia.
 Sometimes they brought advanced European weapons.
 Advanced weapons made wars between Aboriginal peoples
deadlier than ever before.
 Europeans introduced another dangerous product to
Australia: alcohol.
 Alcohol became very popular among the Aborigines.
 Many abused the new product and fighting increased.
 European also brought diseases.
 During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, European
diseases killed thousands of Aborigines.
The Prison Colony
 In the late 1700’s, a new group of Europeans arrive.
 Unlike previous explorers and traders, these people came to
 In 1788, Britain sent one thousand people to settle in
 Most of these settlers were prisoners.
 As cities in Great Britain grew, so did crime.
 Great Britain decided to use Australia as a prison colony.
 Prisoners performed hard labor until they finished their
 Eventually, more than one hundred fifty thousand British
prisoners lived in Australia.
 Many remained in Australia after their release.
Colonial Conflict
 Australia’s usable land was limited.
 Colonists in Australia needed space to build prisons,
farms, and towns.
 In many cases, they simply took the land they
needed from the Aborigines.
 Hostility between the settlers and the Aborigines
increased between 1840 and 1860.
 A number of violent battles occurred.
 Because of their advanced weapons, the British
settlers usually won.
 For years, Europeans believed that large amounts
of gold existed in Australia.
 Some people sold all of their possessions to travel
to the continent in search of wealth.
 A gold rush began in the late 1850’s that brought
tens of thousands of foreigners to Australia and
surrounding islands.
 The growth in population caused by the gold rush
made Australia very wealthy.
 The Aborigines did not share in the prosperity.
Australian Independence
In 1931, Great Britain passed a law giving
Australia the right to be an independent
Australia became an independent country
in 1942 after it voted to accept the new
Question 1
Australia used to be a colony of
D.Great Britain
Question 2
Captain James Cook is famous
because he
A.Claimed Australia for Great Britain
B.Started a prison colony in Australia
C.Discovered gold in Australia
D.Led Australia to independence
Question 3
Native inhabitants of Australia
are known as
B.Native Americans
Question 4
Which of the following existed among
the Aborigines before Europeans
A.Guns and alcohol
C.Religion and art
Question 5
European weapons and diseases had which of the
following effects on native populations in Australia?
A. They allowed Aborigines to get rich
B. Wars became deadlier, and many natives died of
C. They helped natives increase their immunity to
diseases and defend their land against colonists
D. Diseases did not hurt native populations because
they were immune to them

History of Australia - Polk County School District