Australians, colloquially known as Aussies, are citizens and nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia, although some dual citizens and permanent residents may claim Australian nationality. Home to people of many different ethnic origins and national origins, the Australian culture and law does not correspond nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and loyalty to the country. Despite the fact that over half of the citizens descend from the peoples of the British Isles, Australia is a multicultural society and has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Many early settlements were penal colonies and transported convicts made up a significant proportion of the population in most colonies. Large-scale immigration did not occur. Further waves of immigration occurred after the First and Second World Wars, with many post-World War II migrants coming from Europe, the Middle East, Pacific Islands, Latin America and Africa.
Prior to British settlement, Australia was inhabited by various indigenous peoples – Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal Tasmanians and Torres Strait Islanders, a Melanesian people. A small percentage of present-day Australians descend from these peoples; the development of a separate Australian identity and national character is most linked with the period surrounding the First World War, which gave rise to the concept of the Anzac spirit. The Eureka Rebellion of 1854 and various events of the Second World War, most notably the Kokoda Track campaign, are frequently mentioned in association with Australian identity. However, Australian culture predates the federation of the Australian colonies by several decades – Australian literature, most notably the work of the bush poets, dates from colonial times. Modern Australian identity draws on a multicultural and British cultural heritage; the majority of Australians or their ancestors immigrated within the past four centuries, with the exception of the Indigenous population and other outer lying islands who became Australian through expansion of the country.
Despite its multi-ethnic composition, the culture of Australia held in common by most Australians can be referred to as mainstream Australian culture, a Western culture derived from the traditions of British and Irish colonists and immigrants. The Colony of New South Wales was established by the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1788, with the arrival of the First Fleet, five other colonies were established in the early 19th century, now forming the six present-day Australian states. Large-scale immigration occurred after the First and Second World Wars, with many post-World War II migrants coming from Southern and Eastern Europe introducing a variety of elements. Immigration from the Middle East and east Asia, Pacific Islands and Latin America has been having an impact; the predominance of the English language, the existence of a democratic system of government drawing upon the British traditions of Westminster Government, Parliamentarianism and constitutional monarchy, American constitutionalist and federalist traditions, Christianity as the dominant religion, the popularity of sports originating in the British Isles, are all evidence of a significant Anglo-Celtic heritage.
Australian culture has diverged since British settlement. Sporting teams representing the whole of Australia have been in existence since the 1870s. Australians are referred to as "Aussie" and "Antipodean". Australians were referred to as "Colonials", "British" and "British subjects"; as a result of many shared linguistic, historical and geographic characteristics, Australians have identified with New Zealanders in particular. Furthermore, elements of Indigenous, American and more recent immigrant customs and religions have combined to form the modern Australian culture. Today, Australians of English and other European descent are the majority in Australia, estimated at around 70% of the total population. European immigrants had great influence over Australian history and society, which resulted in the perception of Australia as a Western country. Since soon after the beginning of British settlement in 1788, people of European descent have formed the majority of the population in Australia; the majority of Australians are of British – English, Welsh, Cornish, or Manx – and Irish ancestral origin.
Although some observers stress Australia's convict history, the vast majority of early settlers came of their own free will. Far more Australians are descended from assisted immigrants than from convicts, the majority being British and Irish. About 20% of Australians are descendants of convicts. Most of the first Australian settlers came from London, the Midlands and the North of England, Ireland. Settlers that arrived throughout the 19th century were from all parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland, a significant proportion of settlers came from the Southwest and Southeast of England, from Ireland and from Scotland. Anglo-Celtic Australians have been influential in shaping the nation's character. By the mid-1840s, the numbers of freeborn settlers had overtaken the convict population. In 1888, 60 percent of the Australian population had been born in Australia, all had British ancestral origins. Out of the remaining 40 percent, 34 percent had been born in the British Isles, 6 percent were of European origin from Germany and Scandinavia.
In the 1840s, Scots-born immigrants constituted 12 percent of
Blue Mountains (New South Wales)
The Blue Mountains are a mountainous region and a mountain range located in New South Wales, Australia. The region borders on Sydney's metropolitan area, its foothills starting about 50 kilometres west of centre of the state capital; the public's understanding of the extent of the Blue Mountains is varied, as it forms only part of an extensive mountainous area associated with the Great Dividing Range. The Blue Mountains region is bounded by the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers in the east, the Coxs River and Lake Burragorang to the west and south, the Wolgan and Colo rivers to the north. Geologically, it is situated in the central parts of the Sydney Basin; the Blue Mountains Range comprises a range of mountains, plateau escarpments extending off the Great Dividing Range about 4.8 kilometres northwest of Wolgan Gap in a southeasterly direction for about 96 kilometres, terminating at Emu Plains. For about two-thirds of its length it is traversed by the Great Western Highway and the Main Western railway line.
Several established towns are situated on its heights, including Katoomba, Mount Victoria, Springwood. The range forms the watershed between Coxs River to the south and the Grose and Wolgan rivers to the north; the range contains the Bell Range. The Blue Mountains area includes the local government area of the City of Blue Mountains. Following European settlement of the Sydney area, the area was named the Carmarthen and Lansdowne Hills by Arthur Phillip in 1788; the Carmarthen Hills were in the north of the region and the Lansdowne Hills were in the south. The name Blue Mountains, was preferred and is derived from the blue tinge the range takes on when viewed from a distance; the tinge is believed to be caused by Mie scattering which occurs when incoming light with shorter wavelengths is preferentially scattered by particles within the atmosphere imparting a blue-greyish colour to any distant objects, including mountains and clouds. Volatile terpenoids emitted in large quantities by the abundant eucalyptus trees in the Blue Mountains may cause Mie scattering and thus the blue haze for which the mountains were named.
When Europeans arrived in Australia, the Blue Mountains had been inhabited for several millennia by the Gundungurra people, now represented by the Gundungurra Tribal Council Aboriginal Corporation based in Katoomba, and, in the lower Blue Mountains, by the Darug people, now represented by the Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation. The Gundungurra creation story of the Blue Mountains tells that Dreamtime creatures Mirigan and Garangatch, half fish and half reptile, fought an epic battle which scarred the landscape into the Jamison Valley; the Gundungurra Tribal Council is a nonprofit organisation representing the Gundungurra traditional owners, promoting heritage and culture and providing a support for Gundungurra people connecting back to Country. Gundungurra Tribal Council Aboriginal Corporation has a registered Native Title Claim since 1995 over their traditional lands, which include the Blue Mountains and surrounding areas. Examples of Aboriginal habitation can be found in many places. In the Red Hands Cave, a rock shelter near Glenbrook, the walls contain hand stencils from adults and children.
On the southern side of Queen Elizabeth Drive, at Wentworth Falls, a rocky knoll has a large number of grinding grooves created by rubbing stone implements on the rock to shape and sharpen them. There are carved images of animal tracks and an occupation cave; the site dates back 22,000 years. Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales, first glimpsed the extent of the Blue Mountains from a ridge at the site of today's Oakhill College, Castle Hill, he named them the Carmarthen Hills, "some forty to sixty miles distant..." and he reckoned that the ground was "most suitable for government stock". This is the location where Gidley King in 1799 established a prison town for political prisoners from Ireland and Scotland; the first documented use of the name Blue Mountains appears in Captain John Hunter’s account of Phillip’s 1789 expedition up the Hawkesbury River. Describing the events of about 5 July, Hunter wrote: "We in some of the reaches which we passed through this day, saw near us the hills, which we suppose as seen from Port Jackson, called by the governor the Blue Mountains."
During the nineteenth century the name was applied to the portion of the Great Dividing Range from about Goulburn in the south to the Hunter Valley in the north, but in time it came to be associated with a more limited area. The native Aborigines knew two routes across the mountains: Bilpin Ridge, now the location of Bells Line of Road between Richmond and Bell, the Coxs River, a tributary of the Nepean River, it could be followed upstream to the open plains of the Kanimbla Valley, the type of country that farmers prize. European settlers considered that fertile lands lay beyond the mountains, as was China in the belief of many convicts, but that this didn't matter much, since the mountains were impassable; this idea was, to some extent, convenient for local authorities. An "insurmountable" barrier would deter convicts from trying to escape in that direction. A former convict, John Wilson, may have been the first European to cross the Blue Mountains, it is believed that Mathew Everingham, 1795, may have been successful based on letters he wrote at the time which came to light in the late 1980s.
Wilson arrived with the First Fleet in 1788 and was freed in 1792. He settled in the bush, living with the Aborigines and functioning as an intermediary between them and the settlers. In 1797 he returned to Sydney, claiming to have explored up to a hundred miles in all directions a
Christmas is an annual festival, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it; the traditional Christmas narrative, the Nativity of Jesus, delineated in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who further disseminated the information.
Although the month and date of Jesus' birth are unknown, the church in the early fourth century fixed the date as December 25. This corresponds to the date of the solstice on the Roman calendar. Most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, adopted universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. However, some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which corresponds to a January date in the Gregorian calendar. For Christians, the belief that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of humanity, rather than the exact birth date, is considered to be the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas; the celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath, Christmas music and caroling, lighting a Christingle, viewing a Nativity play, an exchange of Christmas cards, church services, a special meal, pulling Christmas crackers and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, wreaths and holly.
In addition, several related and interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses; the economic impact of Christmas has grown over the past few centuries in many regions of the world. "Christmas" is a shortened form of "Christ's mass". The word is recorded as Crīstesmæsse in 1038 and Cristes-messe in 1131. Crīst is from Greek Khrīstos, a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ, "Messiah", meaning "anointed"; the form Christenmas was historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal. Xmas is an abbreviation of Christmas found in print, based on the initial letter chi in Greek Khrīstos, "Christ", though numerous style guides discourage its use.
In addition to "Christmas", the holiday has been known by various other names throughout its history. The Anglo-Saxons referred to the feast as "midwinter", or, more as Nātiuiteð. "Nativity", meaning "birth", is from Latin nātīvitās. In Old English, Gēola referred to the period corresponding to December and January, equated with Christian Christmas. "Noel" entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noël or naël, itself from the Latin nātālis meaning "birth". The gospels of Luke and Matthew describe Jesus as being born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. In Luke and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, Jesus is born there and laid in a manger. Angels proclaimed him a savior for all people, shepherds came to adore him. Matthew adds that the magi follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the king of the Jews. King Herod orders the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family flees to Egypt and returns to Nazareth.
The nativity stories recounted in Matthew and Luke prompted early Christian writers to suggest various dates for the anniversary. Although no date is indicated in the gospels, early Christians connected Jesus to the Sun through the use of such phrases as "Sun of righteousness." The Romans marked the winter solstice on December 25. The first recorded Christmas celebration was in Rome on December 25, 336. Christmas played a role in the Arian controversy of the fourth century. After this controversy was played out, the prominence of the holiday declined; the feast regained prominence after 800. Associating it with drunkenness and other misbehavior, the Puritans banned Christmas during the Reformation, it remained disreputable. In the early 19th century, Christmas was reconceived by Washington Irving, Charles Dickens, other authors as a holiday emphasizing family, kind-heartedness, gift-giving, Santa Claus. Christmas does not appear on th