Are You an Australian History Expert?



By: Tasha Moore

6 Min Quiz

Image: sara_winter/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

About This Quiz

All right, mates! It's time to take a dip Down Under with this Australian history challenge! Demonstrate that you know all about the historic highs and lows of the world's smallest continent.

Mainland Australia, Tasmania and a trail of smaller islands all comprise the noble nation we know as Australia. The United Kingdom seized the territories to keep convicts who narrowly escaped death by hanging in the Old World for an array of crimes. Australia was a welcome second chance for scores of lucky miscreants who endured months of terrible disease and freezing temperatures aboard a fleet of ships en route to the peaceful Australian continent. 

The United Kingdom's convict transport campaign lasted for many years. When it ceased, migrants from other regions of the world converged on the islands to contribute diverse cultural influences that make the state so great today. Did you know that the iconic Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia takes major architectural pointers from the design motifs of Chinese buildings? The Australian building was designed by Denmark native Jorn Utzon. Melbourne, Australia is regarded as a major Hellenistic cultural hub due to large numbers of Greek-born inhabitants who migrated to the continent starting in the 19th century. 

Enjoy the cultural melting pot that is Australia with this digital extravaganza!

Do you know the name of a European country that colonized the Australian continent?

The British Empire colonized the land and the peoples of territories, like North America and Tasmania, for several centuries. The British established mainland Australia in 1788.


Do you know the name of the explorer who founded Tasmania?

Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman sighted New Zealand on Dec. 13, 1642. Tasman landed on Tasmania where aboriginal people, who had migrated from the mainland, had lived for 35,000 years.


Can you guess the name of the seaman who discovered Australia?

Son of an English farmer, Captain James Cook sailed the high seas for many years in small wooden ships. One of Cook's letters to the British Admiralty, which chronicled the discovery of Australia among other events, was located in a mansion in Norfolk, England in 2002.


Do you notice the first piece of legislation enacted at the start of Australia's independence in 1901?

A steady influx of Chinese migrants at the time sparked the White Australia policy, which was the basis of the Immigration Restriction Act and the first piece of legislation passed by the new government. The policy served to curb immigration of Chinese and other targeted groups.


Can you recognize the first label of Tasmania?

Van Diemen's Land was renamed Tasmania in 1856. Settlers brought the first dogs to the penal outpost in 1803 and 1804. The animals were excellent hunters, assisting the new convict settlers in securing food and other island necessities. The settlers had previously relied solely on imported goods.


Can you show how well you understand the country that Australia's economy was primarily dependent upon at the end of World War I?

Between 1916 and 1920, the United Kingdom purchased all 7.1 million bales of wool that Australia produced. The U.K. paid Australia 160 million pounds, sustaining the nation's wool industry that was the basis of its economy.


Do you know the site where Captain Cook first landed in Australia?

Botany Bay is considered Australia's birthplace. Captain James Cook first landed on Australia's east coast at Botany Bay in 1770. Captain Philip and his crew carried England's first group of prisoners through to Botany Bay on Jan. 18, 1788.


Can you name the 1993 legislation that restored indigenous Australian land rights?

The land reform law was a reaction to Mabo v. Queensland (No, 2) for which the High Court of Australia recognized land interests of Australia's indigenous population. The Native Title Act of 1993 set guidelines for claiming native title.


What was the name of the commission that was instrumental in developing Australia's capital?

Before its development, Canberra, Australia was a widespread "garden city" where residents found it difficult to travel from home to school, shopping centers and work due to limited transportation. The National Capital Development Commission lasted from 1958 until 1978.


Identify the strike conducted by aboriginal farm workers between 1946 and 1949.

A series of strikes occurred between 1946 and 1949 whereby hundreds of aboriginal farm workers in the Pilbara territory walked away from posts in their quest for independence and human rights. Other names for the event are "Great Stockman's Strike" and "Blackfellas' Eureka."


See if you can spot an Australian Olympic city from the choices.

Sydney, Australia's largest city, hosted the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. Melbourne, Australia hosted all 1956 Summer Game events except for the equestrian portion, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden. Austrialia had imposed strict horse quarantine regulations at the time.


Is it a challenge for you to select the decade when major gold rushes occurred in Australia?

During the 1850s, 35 percent of Australia's Gross Domestic Product consisted of mining and exports of gold. The region experienced major mining discoveries in the 1880s and 1890s, when 50 percent of Australia's 10 percent mining GDP was from gold.


What was the United Kingdom's initial designation of Australia?

A British fleet of 11 ships that included 759 convicts, including 191 women and 13 of their children, departed Portsmouth, England in 1787 for a 36-week voyage to Australia. In 1803, the United Kingdom established Tasmania as a convict settlement.


Do you recall when the Eureka Stockade riot happened?

A group of Australian miners revolted against the British government over taxation issues, ending in violence and bloodshed in the Victoria colony. Author Mark Twain called the battle, "a strike for liberty...It was the Barons and John over was Concord and Lexington."


Can you identify Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who fought during World War I?

Anzac means Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The active-duty coalition soldiers joined Allied forces during a 1915 Gallipoli peninsula mission to secure Constantinople (Istanbul) and invade the Dardanelles.


By what theory of international law did European settlers first regard Australia's original inhabitants?

Aborigines posed little threat to British land seizures. It is documented that early settlers regarded the indigenous as "savages," and the new migrants colonized the territories through vacuum domicilium, Latin for "empty lands," meaning no one is here so there is no need for treaties.


What was the most common profession in colonial Australia during the nineteenth century?

Until livestock was herded into the region in 1803, there was virtually none in many parts of colonial Australia, as only a few cattle and sheep accompanied the First Fleet to Sydney in 1788. The first sheep were primarily bred for meat before a lucrative wool industry was established subsequently.


Do you know Australia's highest mountain?

Polish explorer Count Pawel Edmund Strzeliecki named the mountain after military genius and "Hero of Poland" Thaddeus Kosciuszko. The mountain peak sits in an Australian park also named after the statesman.


Can you pick the location where Australian colonists exiled Tasmania's remaining aboriginal population?

The remaining 160 Tasmanian aborigines were sent to live at Settlement Point on Flinders Island. But the plan did not prevent mistreatment of aborigines, and Australian colonial authorities then resorted to moving the 45 indigenous peoples who survived Settlement Point to Oyster Cove in Tasmania.


Do you know what the highest rate of unemployment was in Australia during the Great Depression?

In 1932, Australia suffered the highest unemployment rate in the world. Since Australia's export economy was so dependent on Britain, Australia was economically devastated when Britain's economy flopped and capital assistance subsided.


When did Australia become an independent federal state?

Australia's six states joined politically and economically to form a free-trade union. By 1901, Australia, as well as New Zealand, had the highest per capita income in the world. Unlike European societies of that time, Australia's wealth was more evenly distributed.


Can you identify the year when the United Kingdom ceased transporting convicts to its Australian colonies?

The end of convict transports triggered a severe labor shortage in the Australian colonies. The United Kingdom relied heavily on the labor resources of Chinese workers. 2,566 indentured laborers from Xiamen were sent to New South Wales between 1845 and August 1852.


How well do you know the primary means of economic support for Australia's colonies when they were first established?

Between 1788 and 1819, the colonies were almost completely reliant on the British imperial government's aid, which came in the form of clothing and food. Colonies implemented minor taxation policies to help generate revenue that supplemented these resources.


What pro-nationalist Australian author wrote the short story "Send Round the Hat"?

Published in 1907, "Send Round the Hat" is literature that characterizes life in colonial Australia. Henry Lawson and his contemporary Banjo Paterson were known as Australian bush ballad writers.


During World War II, ________ was the battle unit comprised of indigenous Australian army soldiers.

The first of its kind and formed in 1943, the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion was a group of indigenous men of Australia who banded together to protect Australia's northern coast against the Japanese Imperial Army. Eight hundred and eighty men enlisted out of an available 890 able-bodied men.


Who was Australia's longest-serving prime minister?

Sir Robert Menzies, who was knighted in 1963, served as Australia's prime minister for 16 years, one month and eight days. In 2004, John Howard became Australia's second longest-serving prime minister.


In what year did the Australian government ban the state-sanctioned removal of aboriginal children from their families?

Australia began systematic separation of aboriginal minors from their families in the 1880s. Today, approximately 100,000 Australians of aboriginal descent have no connection with their native clans or communities as a result of the now-banned practice.


How well do you know the exact decade when Australia's wine industry experienced its first prosperous period?

The mid-1980s saw Australia's first wine industry boom. One of the nation's top agricultural industries, Australia's wine industry facilitates large-scale exports to United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Canada and China.


During the 1870s, colonial Melbourne was known as ________.

Melbourne's land expansions and building booms of the 1870s conjured the territory's nickname. An early gold-rush period in the region's early settlement years helped spark the economic surge.


Of the choices, which Australian city has the world's largest population of Greeks outside of Greece?

The Australian gold rush of the 19th century saw the first major flood of Greek migrants in the region. By 1910, there were 900 immigrants in Australia. Australian census numbers from 2011 reflect a total of 99,938 Greek-born inhabitants in the country, half of which live in Melbourne.


On February 19, 1942, what Australian city suffered desolation as a result of Japanese bombing raids?

The raids jolted Australia out of peacetime contentment during World War II. Some 240 people perished and hundreds were wounded during the raids. The bombing lasted 40 minutes and destroyed eight ships, including the USS Peary.


Immediately after which major war did the Wesleyan Holiness Church start to increase its presence in Australia?

The North American-based Wesleyan Holiness Church began to emerge in Australia in large numbers after World War II. Several sects of moderate evangelical Christian reformists already had a strong presence in the country.


Do you know the first female prime minister of Australia?

Julia Eileen Gillard was elected as Australia's Labor Prime Minister on June 24, 2010 and left office in 2013. Australia's first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce assumed her position on Sept. 5, 2008.


What's the name of the strait that separates the Australian mainland from Tasmania?

Between October 1798 and June 1799, Matthew Flinders and George Bass circumnavigated Tasmania. New South Wales governor Philip Gidley King named the principal island in the region after Flinders.


Can you identify the name of one of the last full-blooded Tasmanians for which a song was written?

In 1993, Australian band "Midnight Oil" dedicated a folkloric tune to Truganini, who was one of the last full-blooded Tasmanians to survive. Truganini, of the Mangana tribe, died in 1876 and she is still regarded as a hero.


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