Australia is a dream destination for backpackers, as it is sunny all year round, it has beautiful beaches, perfect waves for aspiring or experienced surfers, dynamic youth hostels, large bustling cities, tropical forests, animals that are found nowhere else (the famous kangaroos and koalas among others), and especially the Outback, huge areas of red sand and deserted roads that backpackers dream to cross by van. Because Australia is the sixth largest country in the world but one of the least populated with 2.6 inhabitants per km2, the country is almost deserted, with the exception of his few major coastal cities : Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns.
Australia: a SHORT but fascinating HISTORY
Besides its beaches, beautiful surfers and strange animals, Australia has a quite unique and exciting past.
First, you should remember that Australia was for almost a century the largest prison in the world. The Australian people is descended from convicts. There are also a few places to visit that recollect this shameful past and some prisons are still in operation.
Do not miss the museums on the aboriginal culture, one of the oldest population in the world, which is absolutely fascinating! Yet this wealth has been recognized only recently. Uprooted from their native land, victims of massacres and diseases brought by the settlers when they arrived January 26, 1788 , the first inhabitants of Australia, present since 60,000 years , were not even included in the population census until 40 years ago. The State was exercising complete control over their lives, creating reserves where they should live.
Until 1970, a law even allowed to tear Aboriginal children from their families and their communities to integrate them with white families. This is now called the “stolen generation“. 100,000 children have been abducted, including many young girls trained to become good women to marry white men, in the hope that through mixed marriages, aboriginal blood would be diluted. It’s just some years ago, the 13th of February 2008 that the state of Australia has finally made a public apology to Aborigines for the stolen generation.
BOOKS & MOVIES ABOUT AUSTRALIA
Australia is a country, and even a continent, although mysterious for many of us. Never mentioned in the newspapers and located at the other end of the world, it is very easy to forget its existence… Fortunately, there are some books which will allow you to immerse yourself in the Australian environment and learn a little more before starting a long trip to that very special island !
- “Down Under” (chronic): Bill Bryson, a humorous reference book that will quickly become your bible for Australia. I really fell in love with this book!
- “Australia“, Baz Luhrmann (film) starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, not exceptional and certainly too long, but one of the few films to delve into the deep of the Second World War Australia and discuss the removal of children aborigines that occurred in Australia at the time.
- “The Tree” by Julie Bertucelli ( Drama , 2010) with Charlotte Gainsbourg, official selection at Cannes, which is superbly played and shows extremely good the way of living in contemporary Australia.
- “The dead heart” Douglas Kennedy (novel), an exciting thriller in the Australian outback.
- “The Killer Koala : humorous australian bush stories” by Kenneth Cook (chronic), funny stories that present Australian animals in a new light…
- “Matilda’s Last Waltz” Tamara McKinley (novel) , a saga thriller that mixes modern Australia to the Australian bush.
OTHER BOOKS or movies to add? A question ?
Share your experience with other backpackers to enrich this article! Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below, we will answer with pleasure!