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back to "Tazmania" (click pictures below to view) on to "Sydney"

It is thought that some 40 thousand years ago, ancestors of the Aborigines migrated to uninhabited Australia over a land bridge from Asia. (The Aborigine people are second in age only to the ancient Africans.) In 1606, the Dutch discovered Australia, but it remained fairly forgotten until 1770 when Captain Cook, the cartographer, in his HMS Endeavor claimed the continent for England. In the next 70 years, 160,000 convicts were sent here to relieve over-crowded prisons at home and to develop this new land, which they obviously accomplished quite splendidly. Today, it is avant garde for Aussies to claim original convict ancestry. Aussies call their Brits, "Pommies", derived from POME or Prisoners of Mother England. A vote in 1999 to become a completely independent Republic was narrowly defeated. Australia is about the size of the continental US, but has only 18 million people, most of whom live in her modern cosmopolitan urban centers along the east coast. Each of these cities sprawls out over huge land areas as few Aussies live in high-rise apartments, instead preferring single dwellings. Another commonality of her cities is their delightfully rich cultural diversity, their low crime rate and complete absence of litter or graffiti. Aussies are warm and friendly and have cultivated graciousness to a fine art. Our journey involved several weeks of exploring metropolitan areas from Melbourne, north to Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Darwin and their surroundings, including mountain ranges, farms, wildlife preserves, beaches, rivers and the Great Barrier Reef. Melbourne, with 3.5 million inhabitants is the capital of Victoria. Behind her forest of sparkling skyscrapers are the Dandenong Mountains which are home to colorful roseolla parrots and lush tree ferns that towered over our train car. (See if you can find four roseolla parrots in the Eucalyptus photo.) The majestically straight Eucalyptus trees reach 200 feet and once provided magnificent ship masts. About 1000 varieties of Eucalyptus grow in Australia, a half dozen of which provide food and water for the thriving koala population. .


Eucalyptus Tree Eucalyptus Furrest Roseala Parrot
Welcome to Melbourne Crocadile Dun Dee Melbourne Farewell

Melbourne, Australia