From the red desert center to the rain forest of the northeast, and the city centers of the south and east coast, Australia is a very beautiful and deeply varied country. We traveled to Australia in July of 2007 and returned in 2016. On our first trip, we traveled to Melbourne before making our way to the Red Center at Uluru (Ayers Rock). After a drive to Alice Springs, we flew to Cairns were we visited Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef as well as Kuranda and the Northeast Rain Forest. On our next stop, we traveled to the beautiful city of Sydney. In 2016, we traveled back to Sydney and then to Perth on the west coast, were we also visited Fremantle. We both fully expect to return to Australia in the next 5 years.

The Aborigines are believed to have migrated to Australia about 40,000 years ago. Australia was discovered by the Europeans when Dutch explorer Willem Jansz, van Amsterdam came across the continent in 1605. The Dutch named the region New Holland, but never settled it. In 1770 Captain James Cook claimed the continent for Britain. This lead, in 1778, to the formation of the colony of New South Wales.

Most of the first settlers were convicts, condemned for offenses that today would often be thought trivial. By the mid-19th Century the majority of settlers were free persons from Britain and other parts of Europe. In 1850 the colonies were granted self-government. The discovery of gold in 1851 quickly led to increased population, wealth, and trade.

In 1901 the colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and West Australia merged to become the Commonwealth of Australia, which become a federal parliamentary democracy.

Australia participated in both World War I and World War II and contributed troops to the wars in Korea and Vietnam as well as both Gulf Wars. In 1999, it became part of the UN peacekeeping force sent to East Timor.

Sydney 2016

Perth & Fremantle 2016

Sydney (Left) and Melbourne (Right) 2007

A Small Female Australian Red Kangaroo

Uluru (or Ayers Rock) in arid Central Australia

A Male Western Gray Kangaroo and a Pink Cockatoo

Female Kola Bear at Phillips Island, south of Melbourne

Yellow Goat Fish and a small part of the Great Barrier Reef

Aboriginal Dance and an Australian Wombat