Friday, October 20, 2006

The Former Continent of Prisoners now the Land of Dreams?

It is safe to assume that Australia is one of the most sought after countries to live in in the world today. For almost 40,000 years, people have been migrating to Australia in search of a better future, life and lifestyle with their own families. And as of today, Australia has never failed these immigrants yet, thus the end result is more and more people are getting interested in the Land Down Under and the promises it offer.

Australia is now prospering, thanks to its great natural wonders and the steps they do to conserve everything they have. Now people are not only thinking of Australia as a tourist destination but also the place where they'd want to have their children grow up and spend the rest of their retirement years on. However, it has never been like this, in fact Australia was not known to the Western world in the 17th Century, it did exist in late medieval European logic and mythology: a "Great Southern Land", or Terra Australis, was thought necessary to balance the weight of the northern landmasses of Europe and Asia. Terra Australis often appeared on early European maps as a large, globe-shaped mass in about its correct location, although no actual discoveries were recorded by Europeans until much later. Indeed, the European exploration of Australia took more than three centuries to complete; thus, what is often considered the oldest continent, geologically, was the last to be discovered and colonized by Europeans.

During those times, Australia have never been attractive for Europeans to settle in most probably due to its location on the south. However, Great Britain made a very fine use of the continent by pinpointing the strategic and socio-economic strengths that it represents. Control of the continent would provide a base for British naval and merchant power in the eastern seas, supporting Great Britain’s growing commercial interests in the Pacific and east Asia. It also offered a solution to the problem of overcrowded domestic prisons. Food shortages, a harsh penal code, and the social upheaval caused by rapid industrialization and urbanization had led to a sharp rise in crime and the prison population. Great Britain’s defeat in the American War of Independence meant that it could no longer relieve the pressure on prisons by shipping convicts to America.

In 1786 the British government announced its intention to establish a penal settlement at Botany Bay, on the south-east coast of New South Wales. Mindful of British economic interests and keen as always to save public expenditure, the government planned that Botany Bay would become a self-financing colony through the development of its economy by convict labour. Captain Arthur Phillip of the Royal Navy was made commander of the expedition. He was to take possession of the whole of Australia, including Tasmania and islands off the east coast, east of the 135th meridian, and given near absolute powers over the territory as governor.

One would agree if you say that Australia has been through the worst things that could ever happen to any country, but then again, look at where they are standing now, look at how proud they are with their heritage and where exactly they cam from. The pride in their heritage and the ways they do to preserve it is but one of the most charming traits that Australia have that makes them very viable for people with big hopes, dreams and aspirations for their future but would never want to leave their past way too behind them.

Australia Tourism

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