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In 1770 an expedition from England lead by Captain James Cook sailed to the south pacific. They were supposed to make astronomical observations. But Captain Cook also had secret orders from the British Admiralty to find the southern continent.

When the aborigines realized that the white men were not the spirits of their dead ancestors and that the settlers were taking more and more of their land and destroying the trees and wild life they began to fight back.

Melbourne has many public parks and gardens within walking distance of the city center: Botanical Gardens was created in the English landscape tradition and extends for 36 hectares along the Yarra River.

Australians are a very friendly open sort of people. We love our sports, our family barbecues and the beach. We are very urbanized - most of us living in the larger cities along the coast. Almost of 94% of the population are of European decent and as a result we have a western outlook and culture. In general Australians are very tolerant of other people and their customs.

They are a dark-skinned people belonging to the Australoid group who probably came from Asia. Nobody is quite sure how they came to Australia around 60,000 years ago. They may have walked and sailed here from Asia.

1901 On January 1 Queen Victoria signed the Constitution Act making Australia an independent country. Both Sydney and Melbourne wanted the national capital to be in their cities. So to prevent too much rivalry a search was begun to find a new site for the federal capital.

Uluru is over nine kilometers (6 miles) of around and over 348 meters (1000ft) high. It is believed to be about 600 million years old and was once part of a huge mountain range. The mountain range has long since disappeared - eroded away by rain and wind.

With its imposing buildings, broad boulevards and uncluttered streetscape (there are no billboards, in Canberra) it lacks the charm and vibrancy of more cosmopolitan cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

Because of the great distances some children in the outback cannot attend regular school. They learn from the School of the Air which is a special school where the teacher and student interact via a two-way radio.

The Blue Mountains rise from the coastal plains about 65 kilometers west of Sydney. They are composed of sandstone deposited over 170 million years ago that was then pushed up to form a plateau which was subsequently eroded by wind, rain and water leaving spectacular gorges, pinnacles and cliffs. The highest point is about 1100 meters above sea level.

The Yarra River flows right by the city. It is sometimes called "the river that flows upside down" because of its muddy color. The reason for this color is because mud particles stay suspended in the water and do not settle to the bottom like in most rivers. It is a very clean river (now).

The vast distances have forced people to adapt to their isolation (some people being more than a day's drive from their nearest neighbor). A two-way radio and an airstrip are vital to any outback station.

When the aborigines first saw the ships of the "First Fleet" enter Botany Bay in 1778 with so many white skinned people they thought they were the spirits of their dead ancestors (after all they were so white). In actual fact these were the first European settlers led by Captain Arthur Phillip.

Portuguese sailors may have sailed along the coastline of Australia as far back as 154 Some maps have been found which show parts of what appears to be the Australian coastline. But there is no definite proof that they did.

Since then Australia has been isolated from the rest of the world by vast oceans. The animals and plants which were originally here no longer had contact with animals from other parts of the world. They evolved separately. That is why they are so different.

The Blue Mountains are covered with eucalyptus trees which constantly release very fine droplets of oil into the atmosphere. These droplets cause the blue light-rays from the sun to be scattered more effectively (knows as Rayliegh Scattering) of making the whole area look bluer.

Waltzing is derived from the German term auf der walz which meant to travel while learning a trade. Young apprentices in those days traveled the country working under a master craftsman earning their living as they went - sleeping where they could.