G'day from Down Under

G’day from Australia! After more than 20 hours of travel, I have arrived in Sydney. This is the largest city in the country, and it has a long and interesting history.

My guidebook tells me that humans have lived in Australia more than 30,000 years. The native Australians are known as the Aboriginal people. It wasn’t until the late 1700s that Europeans first arrived in Australia.

Even though I’m very tired from the time change, I decided to explore the city instead of taking a nap. (Wouldn’t you?) My first stop: The famous Sydney Harbor Bridge. I learned that visitors can actually climb the structure. So, I did!

The long – slightly scary climb – provided a bird’s-eye view of the city and the harbor. From the top of the bridge, I imagined what first the Europeans sailors to reach Sydney saw, and what the Aboriginal people must have thought as the tall ships approached.

The first European settlers arrived in 1788. The first settlement a was penal colony, and the first settlers were convicts and prison guards from England. When the British settled here, they didn’t treat the Aboriginal people very well. Like the Native Americans, the Aborigines suffered under British rule. Those who did not die from disease were forced to abandon their culture and take on the ways of the British.

Over the next 100 years, Sydney continued to grow as more immigrants from Britain and Ireland moved to Australia. Slowly, Australia began to make amends with the ancestors of those indigenous people who were mistreated in the earlier years. This process continues today.

Jenny