The History of Australia (1851–1900) refers to the history of the indigenous and colonial peoples of the Australian continent during the 50-year period which preceded the foundation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901
The history of Australia is the story of the land and peoples of the continent of Australia. Aboriginal Australians first arrived on the Australian mainland by sea from Maritime Southeast Asia between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago, and penetrated to all parts of the continent, from the rainforests in the north, the deserts of the centre, and the sub-Antarctic islands of Tasmania and Bass Strait.
The artistic, musical and spiritual traditions they established are among the longest surviving such traditions in human history
On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship, the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with great fanfare and it eventually became commemorated as Australia Day. In recent times, Australia Day has become increasingly controversial as it marks the start of when the continent’s Indigenous people were gradually dispossessed of their land as white colonization spread across the continent.
Australia, once known as New South Wales, was originally planned as a penal colony. In October 1786, the British government appointed Arthur Phillip captain of the HMS Sirius, and commissioned him to establish an agricultural work camp there for British convicts. With little idea of what he could expect from the mysterious and distant land, Phillip had great difficulty assembling the fleet that was to make the journey. His requests for more experienced farmers to assist the penal colony were repeatedly denied, and he was both poorly funded and outfitted. Nonetheless, accompanied by a small contingent of Marines and other officers, Phillip led his 1,000-strong party, of whom more than 700 were convicts, around Africa to the eastern side of Australia. In all, the voyage lasted eight months, claiming the deaths of some 30 men.
Before 1900, there was no actual country called Australia, only the six colonies – New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia. While these colonies were on the same continent, they were governed like six rival countries and there was little communication between them. Until the 1880s, there was limited interest in the idea of uniting the colonies into one country and the influential businessmen in the colonies seemed more interested in protecting their own economic bases.