Blue – Questions
Red – facts
Green – understanding
In 1642 Dutch explorer Adan Tasman stumbled over Tasmania. If he had decided to stick around we would all be speaking Dutch! 😮 in 1770 Captain James Cook claimed a huge chunk of what we now call Australia for Great Britain. In the 1850’s there were six different colonies. They all had their own defence strategies, trade rules and even Railway lines. You couldn’t travel from Melbourne to Brisbane without switching trains at least once because the railway tracks were different widths!
Soon the colonies started to think about joining together but they were still all curious. The bigger colonies like Victoria and New South Wales were worried that they would have to give the smaller colonies money if they joined together, and the smaller colonies were worried that the bigger colonies would have too much power.
It is hard to create a new nation, the colonies could have tossed in and become 6 separate countries. It happened in America when it split in to Canada and The United States. In Asia, India had to fight a war before Great Britain gave it independence, then it split into a smaller India and Pakistan.
But things worked out better here, the more populated colonies made it easier by agreeing that every colony had the same number of senators so that they weren’t so outnumbered.
On July 9th 1900 Great Britain agreed to let the colonies go. January 1st 1901 federation happened and the colonies joined together to make a new nation! The Common wealth of Australia!
But not everything was happy. Women couldn’t vote in federal elections until 1902 and most indigenous people couldn’t vote federally until 1962, they weren’t even counted in Australia’s population until 1971!
Why didn’t Adan Tasman stay in Tasmania?
I wonder why Great Britain decided to let the colonies go?
Now I understand how Australia was made and how it changed over the years.