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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Historical Tidbit--Australia

Did you know...

That Australia was originally founded as a penal colony? 

It's true. Great Britain, who annexed it as a colony, decided to "transport" their convicts there. Of course, the native Aboriginal people were already there at the time, and the two didn't mix well. The history is long and sordid, reminiscent of our modern-day gulags with plenty of horror thrown into the mix.

It was often considered a place of utter madness, which might not have been far off the mark. It wasn't until the 1850s, when people learned of the situation and protested, along with participating in the Australian Gold Rush, that the system broke down. Only then did things move in the direction of what we have today.

I've known the bare bones facts of this for some time, though I can't speak about it with much more authority than what I've written here. Robert Hughes wrote a detailed history of Australia's founding in his award-winning book, The Fatal Shore. This book has been on my shelf for several years, but I haven't gotten around to it.

I think this would be a fascinating subject for historical fiction, if I can ever get the research done.

Do you know anything about Australia's founding? Do you think it would make an interesting histfic backdrop?

Don't forget to sign up for the Mermaid Literature Summer Reading Challenge! It starts May 15!


  1. I love reading books set in places or time settings that are new to me. If the author has done their homework well, it can make for such an interesting and educating read. This book sounds great-- thanks for the review.

  2. I have known that thanks to movies like "Princess Bride," but it's still a fascinating piece of history.