With plenty of Yacht Charters starting from Airlie Beach, this is a great destination to pick if you want to visit The Great Barrier Reef. Read more about The Great Barrier Reef and this superb sailing destination by simply clicking the marker on our map.
Australia is a sovereign country that includes the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous other smaller islands. Neighbouring countries include; Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Zealand. Australia’s capital city is Canberra. However, its largest and best-known city is Sydney.
Indigenous Aborigines originally inhabited Australia. Interestingly, historical documentation shows a multitude of spoken languages used by the tribes. Surprisingly, these can be classified into as many as 250 language groups. After the discovery of the continent, England accordingly claimed Australia’s eastern half, in 1770. New South Wales acted as a penal colony for the English, beginning in January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades. The colonists explored the large area, covering most of it by the 1850s. Additionally, the end of the century saw five further British colonies established, with self-government.
In January 1901, the six colonies formed the British Commonwealth of Australia. Ever since that date, a stable Liberal Democratic political system has functioned as a federal parliamentary constitutional system. The British monarchy is nonetheless still respected as Head of the Commonwealth.
The naming of Australia
The name Australia comes from the Latin Terra Australis (“Southern Land”), a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping this continent in the 17th-century, the name Terra Australis became applied to the new territories.
Historians estimate human habitation here as far back as 70,000 years ago. Subesequently, tribes migrated by using land bridges and short sea-crossings from Southeast Asia. The first inhabitants were ancestors of indigenous Australians. For the most part, they were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies.
Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with deep spiritual values. Anthropologists concur that respect for the land together with a religio-cultural worldview form the basis of the Aboriginal belief system. Notably, as a major part of original Australian culture, this is usually referred to as “Dreamtime”.
Captain James Cook
The first European to map the eastern coastline was Captain James Cook, in 1770. Evidently, Captain Cook sailed all along the coast while sitting at his desk diligently hand drawing a map of the area. He named it “New South Wales” and claimed it for the British Crown.
Once they had given up the American colonies in 1783, the British Government sent a fleet of ships to Australia. The “First Fleet”, was tasked with establishing a penal colony in New South Wales. The fleet made landfall and proceeded to set up camp. They raised their flag in Sydney Cove, Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. This date became Australia’s National Day.