Australia comes from the Latin australis, ‘southern’.
The first humans arrived here 48,000 years ago; when the Dutch came over in the 17th century (and called it New Holland), the natives were hunter-gatherer aborigines who believed in Dreamtime, when totemic spirits created the land.
James Cook claimed New South Wales for Britain in 1770. After losing our American colonies, the ‘First Fleet’ arrived to create a penal colony. Britain sent prisoners there until 1848.
The government took aboriginal children away from their parents to protect them from… um, their own culture, leading to the Stolen Generations. It was not until 1992 that aborigines were recognised as actually having any right to the land.
From the 1850s there was a gold rush.
Australia fought with Britain in WWI and WWII, but during this last Britain lost the fight against Japan and so Australia found a new ally in America.
They are not governed by Britain but in 1999 voted to keep our Queen.
This day is the anniversary of the first British settlement in 1788.
Learn about the Great Barrier Reef…
marsupials like koalas, kangaroos and wombats, monotremes like the platypus and echidna, as well as emus and kookaburras. Learn the kookaburra song! Have a letter ‘k’ day with koalas, kangaroos and kookaburras. Tell Dreamtime stories or try some Aboriginal rock art.
Here are some more activities:
Here are some Australian songs, Australian bird signs, a COOKIE map of Australia (you could also do this with playdough), make ANZAC biscuits, Lamingtons, even a digeridoo!….And here’s 10 more great Aussie activities.
Other events that might inspire your play:
India Republic Day (independent from Britain 1950) – see 15th August
Bikaner Camel Festival
Uganda Liberation Day – see 9th October
Duarte’s Birthday (Dominican Republic) – see 27th February
Michigan (founded 1837): That song. Henry Ford’s car factory. Detroit. 8 Mile Road and Eminem.