• Short Summary

    AUSTRALIA, THE ISLAND CONTINENT, EQUAL IN SIZE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BUT WITH A TWENTIETH OF THE POPULATION.

  • Description

    AUSTRALIA, THE ISLAND CONTINENT, EQUAL IN SIZE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BUT WITH A TWENTIETH OF THE POPULATION. BASICALLY IT IS AN ARID CONTINENT WITH A CLIMATE DESCRIBED AS "HOT AND DRY." FOR THE ENTIRE CONTINENT TEMPERATURES AVERAGE AROUND 80 DEGREES F (26.8 C) RISING TO ALMOST 120 DEGREES F (49 C) IN THE INTERIOR DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS.

    TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO, THIS MONTH, CAPTAIN JAMES COOK R.N..TOOK HIS SHIP, ENDEAVOUR, INTO A HARBOUR WHICH IS NOW KNOWN AS BOTANY BAY. CONTEMPORARY REPORTS DESCRIBED THE FEAT AS "THE DISCOVERY OF THE GREAT SOUTH LAND." SINCE THE EARLY SIXTEENTH CENTURY EXPLORERS HAD BEEN TRYING TO DISCOVER THIS ISLAND LAND.

    THE MAJOR VENTURES WERE ORDERED BY THE DUTCH FROM THEIR EAST INDIES COLONIES, APART FROM ABEL TASMAN'S DISCOVERY OF TASMANIA IN 1642 AND AN EXPEDITION TO THE WEST COAST OF THE CONTINENT BY WILLIAM DAMPIER IN 1988, LITTLE ATTENTION WAS PAID TO THE SOUTHERN LAND MASS.

    BUT THE BEGINNING OF THE SECOND HALF OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY SHOWED BOTH BRITAIN AND FRANCE DEVELOPING AN INTEREST IN FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS. IN 1768, JAMES COOK WAS GIVEN INSTRUCTIONS TO FIND THE "SOUTH LAND." THE ADMIRALTY WAS MAINLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ORDER BUT THE ROYAL SOCIETY WANTED TO HAVE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM TAHITI OF THE TRANSIT OF THE PLANET VENUS. COOK SAILED AROUND CAPE HORN TO TAHITI AND ON THE NEW ZEALAND. WITH THE SITING OF THE NEW ZEALAND COASTLINE, COOK'S TASK WAS COMPLETED, BUT BEING A MAN OF TENACITY HE WENT ON AND LATE IN APRIL 1770, BECAME THE FIRST EUROPEAN TO REACH THE EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA. ON AUGUST 23, 1770, COOK TOOK FORMAL POSSESSION OF AUSTRALIA.

    IN 1779, THE BOTANIST JOSEPH BANKS SUGGESTED THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A BRITISH COLONY. BANKS HAD BEEN WITH COOK DURING HIS VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. AUSTRALIA BECAME A PENAL COLONY-A CONVENIENT "DUMP" FOR THOSE SENTENCED TO "TRANSPORTATION" BY BRITISH COURTS. CAPTAIN ARTHUR PHILLIP OF THE ROYAL NAVY WAS COMMISSIONED AS THE FIRST GOVERNOR OF THE COLONY.

    WHEN PHILLIP ARRIVED HE FOUND BOTANY BAY-COOKS ORIGINAL LANDING PLACE -- UNSUITABLE AND SAILED A FEW MILES NORTH TO DISCOVER PORT JACKSON.

    ON SAILING THROUGH THE ENTRANCE TO THE PORT HE DESCRIBED IT AS "THE FINES IN THE WORLD." PHILLIP SET UP HIS PENAL COLONY AND IT WASN'T LONG BEFORE FREE SETTLERS BEGAN TO FOLLOW. IN HIS DIARY CAPTAIN PHILLIP SAID OF HIS COLONY, "THIS COUNTRY WILL PROVE TO BE THE MOST VALUABLE ACQUISITION GREAT BRITAIN EVER MADE."
    GRADUALLY THE SETTLERS EXTENDED THEIR HOLD ON THE INFANT COLONY. THE EARLY EXPLORERS PUSHED WESTWARDS IN EPIC EXPEDITIONS THAT RIVALLED THOSE OF THE AMERICAN WEST.

    THEY DISCOVERED VAST FERTILE PLAINS AND THEN FURTHER WEST THEY CAME UPON MILLIONS OF ACRES OF ARID, SEMI-DESERT LAND. BUT BENEATH THIS SEEMINGLY HOSTILE SURFACE LAY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN UNTAPPED MINERAL RESOURCES.

    ORIGINALLY AUSTRALIA'S ECONOMY RESTED ON ITS AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE. MOST IMPORTANT OF THESE WAS THE SHEEP AND WOOL INDUSTRY. IN 1968 AUSTRALIA'S SHEEP POPULATION TOTALLED ALMOST ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY MILLION. BECAUSE OF ITS ABILITY TO WITHSTAND THE HARSH CONDITIONS THE MERINO IS THE DOMINANT BREED.

    THE BEEF CATTLE INDUSTRY HAS NOT REACHED A POSITION COMPARABLE TO THAT OF SHEEP BUT EVEN SO IN 1968, THE CATTLE POPULATION NUMBERED ALMOST TWENTY MISSION. BEEF CATTLE ARE FARMED ON PROPERTIES RANGING IN SIZE FROM THOUSANDS OF ACRES TO THOUSANDS OF SQUARE MILES. AUSTRALIA CONSUMES ABOUT 55 PER CENT OF ITS BEEF OUTPUT AND EXPORTS THE REMAINDER.

    WHEAT IS THE MOST ABUNDANT GRAIN CROP. IN 1968 MORE THAN 22 MILLION ACRES WERE PLANTED UNDER WHEAT.

    IN RECENT YEARS THE HARVESTS HAVE BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL THAT STORAGE FACILITIES HAVE BEEN INADEQUATE TO COPE. OVER 70 PER CENT OF THE CROP IS EXPORTED AND IN RECENT YEARS THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA HAS BECOME THE MAJOR CUSTOMER FOR AUSTRALIAN WHEAT.

    IN THE LAST TWO YEARS AGRICULTURE HAS TAKEN A BACK SEAT TO WHAT HAS BECOME KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AS THE "AUSTRALIAN MINERAL BOOM." DISCOVERIES OF OIL DEPOSITS, MOUNTAINS OF IRON ORE, BAUXITE, RUTILE AND MORE RECENTLY NICKEL HAVE SENT THE PRICES OF AUSTRALIAN MINING SHARES ROCKETING ON STOCK EXCHANGE TRADING FLOORS ALL OVER THE WORLD. ON CERTAIN DAYS DURING THE RUSH, STOCK EXCHANGES IN SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE TRADED MORE SHARES THAN WALL STREET IN NEW YORK. OVERSEAS INVESTORS, WITH THE BRITISH AND AMERICANS LEADING THE WAY, HAVE JOINED AUSTRALIANS IN THE LATEST RUSH FOR A STAKE IN THE MINING INDUSTRY. IT STARTED IN SEPTEMBER LAST YEAR WHEN THE NICKEL PROSPECTING FIRM, POSEIDON, ANNOUNCED A STRIKE AND THE SHARES QUICKLY ROSE FROM UNDER ONE DOLLAR TO OVER 200 DOLLARS EACH. APART FROM THE NOW ESTABLISHED DEPOSITION OF MINERALS AT BROKEN HILL AND MOUNT ISA, HUGE NEW IRON ORE DEPOSITS HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA AND IN THE NORTH OF THE CONTINENT MASSIVE DEPOSITS OF BAUXITE ARE NOW BEING WORKED.

    AUSTRALIANS ARE IN THE PECULIAR POSITION OF BEING EUROPEANS IN ASIA. JAPAN IS AUSTRALIA'S MAJOR TRADING PARTNER AND AUSTRALIAN TRADE WITH THE COUNTRIES OF ASIA IS STILL INCREASING. MOST OF JAPAN'S IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS ARE IMPORTED FROM AUSTRALIA.

    AUSTRALIA'S DEFENCE POLICY IS BASED ON COLLECTIVE SECURITY AND SHE IS A MEMBER OF THE BRITISH COMMONWEALTH STRATEGIC RESERVE, THE ANZUS COUNCIL AND THE SOUTH EAST ASIA TREATY ORGANISATION (SEATO).

    AUSTRALIA IS A FEDERATION OF SIX STATES AND TWO FEDERAL TERRITORIES. QUEEN ELIZABETH II IS THE NOMINAL HEAD OF STATE AND IS REPRESENTED BY A PERMANENT GOVERNOR-GENERAL AND BY A GOVERNOR IN EACH OF THE SIX STATES. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONSISTS OF TWO ELECTED HOUSES, THE SENATE (UPPER HOUSE) AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. EACH STATE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF QUEENSLAND, ALSO HAS TWO PARLIAMENTARY HOUSE.

    THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT IS A DEMOCRACY -- ALTHOUGH A RATHER COMPULSORY ONE...FAILURE TO VOTE AT ELECTIONS LEAVES ONE LIABLE TO A FINE.

    FOR ITS SIZE, AUSTRALIA IS A SPARSELY POPULATED COUNTRY. AT PRESENT THE POPULATION IS MAINLY CONFINED TO THE FERTILE COASTAL FRINGE AND NUMBERS CLOSE TO THIRTEEN MILLION. AS WELL, THERE ARE ABOUT 40 THOUSAND FULL-BLOODED ABORIGINES OF WHOM ALL BUT FOUR THOUSAND LIVE ON OR NEAR SETTLEMENTS. APART FROM THE ABORIGINES THE POPULATION IS ALMOST IS ALMOST ENTIRELY OF EUROPEAN STOCK. IMMIGRANTS TO AUSTRALIA HAS BEEN ALMOST OVERWHELMINGLY OF BRITISH DESCENT. THE REMAINDER COME MOSTLY FROM GERMANY, ITALY, GREECE AND THE NETHERLANDS.

    WITH AN AVERAGE OF SEVEN HOURS OF SUNSHINE PER DAY, AUSTRALIANS TEND TO SPEND MOST OF THEIR LEISURE HOURS OUT OF DOORS. THEY HAVE THE BEST SURFING BEACHES IN THE WORLD AND MAKE FULL USE OF THEME. JUST ABOUT EVERY TYPE OF SPORT IS PLAYED AT SOME TIME SOMEWHERE IN AUSTRALIA AND, RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY, AUSTRALIANS HAVE EARNED THEMSELVES THE REPUTATION OF A SPORTING NATION.

    AUSTRALIANS ALSO HAVE ONE OF THE HIGHEST BEER CONSUMPTION RATES IN THE WORLD.

    IN THE TWO HUNDRED YEARS SINCE CAPTAIN COOK LANDED ON THE SHORES OF BOTANY BAY AND CLAIMED THE AUSTRALIAN CONTINENT FOR BRITAIN BRITAIN, AUSTRALIA HAS GROWN INTO A PROSPEROUS AND FORWARD LOOKING NATION. IT IS THE LARGEST LAND MASS, WITH THE LARGEST AND MOST TECHNICALLY ADVANCED POPULATION IN THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVACML3PLN3JQRXYPWYTKCGUSPQ2
    Media URN:
    VLVACML3PLN3JQRXYPWYTKCGUSPQ2
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    22/04/1970
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:08:05:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment