KidZone History: Australia

Life as a Colony

Fence across a beach

Photographed by Brittany Gaiser on Unsplash

As the first colony was established at Sydney, most of the European population was made up of convicts and criminals. The plan was for the economy of Australia to mainly survive on farming. At the same time, the colonial land was very resticted with settlement outside of the nineteen counties of Sydney discouraged.

As the colonies were first established, society remained hierachical though convicts did have some influence. Each govenor of an area had a military background. Settled land expanded out from Sydney with the creation of Newcastle (1804), Moreton Bay (1824) and Brisbane. By 1851, 450,000 people had come to Australia and by 1861, four states had formed for the 1,150,000 residents.

Still Australia remained highly authoritarian as each state gained representation. However, this led to issues between groups of people. Miners resented taxes and under representation during the gold rush and there was a general distrust of the imperial authority.

Beyond all of this, as European settlements grew in size and power, they had a detrimental effect on Aboriginal peoples. There may have been a peaceful coexistence if it were not for the demand for land by increasingly numerous European settlers.