New South Wales
One of my favorite regions of Australia, the NSW, or “New South Wales” is located along the southeastern edge of Australia, just north of Victoria and south of Queensland. It totally surrounds the Australian Capital Territory and is Australia’s most populated state (1/3 of Australia’s population) with those who call themselves the “New South Welsh” or the “New South Welshmen”. It’s capital is Sydney. Founded in 1788 it was formed as a Federation in 1901 and originally became the bulk of Australia’s mainland encompassing historic Van Diemen’s lands (Tasmania), Lord Howe Island, and Norfolk Island as well. New South Wales even for a time held claim and custody of New Zealand when Britain annexed it in 1840, but the 19th century later separated these areas from NSW to form the British colonies of Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland.
The landmass of Australia that became to be known as New South Wales was first inhabited by the Australian Aborigines roughly 40-50,000 years ago. New South Wales was first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770 during his explorations along Australia’s east coast. He named the area “New Wales” originally, then re-naming it to “New South Wales” during his survey. When the British decided to come and settle Australia in 1788, it was here in “New South Wales” where they established the “First Fleet” or the first penal colony led by Captain Arthur Phillip until 1792. The entire state was a penal colony in its origins. This led to much upheaval and disruptions in colonization when things got out of control. Governor William Bligh took command of the region in 1792 during a time of unrest and anarchy until 1809 when Britain replaced him with Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Macquarie. Macquarie set out numerous projects to build order and community, including the construction of roads, churches, public buildings, communiies, wharves, and city structures. He also set out numerous explorers to map out the land from Sydney and to construct a well thought out street layout for Sydney. By 1825 Tasmania was separated from NSW as Van Diemen’s Land, 1836 South Australia was made its own State, 1841 New Zealand its own country, 1851 Victoria its own State, and 1859 Queensland its own state. Charles Darwin came to the region in 1836 and wrote much about NSW in “The Voyage of the Beagle” where he had mixed reactions about the State, speculations about formations of its valleys, the aboriginal populations, the penal colony, and the viable future of Australia. His thoughts and words were considered tremendously amongst his European coherts, at the same time during which in the 19th century the movement towards federation of the Australian colonies became a potential future. New South Wales was trying to become a free trade state causing turmoil with other leading colony states such as Victoria formulating friction. After World War I, farmers became discontented with the fixed prices paid by the authorities resulting in the formation of the “Country Party” in 1919. Political and class conflicts took place in 1929 seeing great instability during the Great Depression. Mass unemployment and collapse of the commodity prices destroyed the economy. By World War II, many differences came to surface between Australian states, especially with the NSW, mostly focused around federation and economic developments. The War however, brought in industrial development, a war economy, and jobs. By the 1960’s, the New England region of the state began a secessionist movement but was defeated even though its outcome were several referendums. The NSW Constitution and form of Government has stayed consistent since 1856 even though became amended numerous times since the referendums, and 1901 saw its official stamp as a state of the Commonwealth of Australia. New South Wales is most popular for its tourism, outdoor recreation, especially in the coastal regions, as well as for the production of seafood, beef, dairy, fruit, timber, hay, fruits, legumes, lucerne, maize, nuts, wheat, oats, oilseeds, poultry, rice, oysters, wool, coal, and sugar cane. It is also the only center for winter sports in all of Australia, with its premiere ski resort on Mt. Kosciuszko. Outside of the Snowy Mountains with its alpine climates, most of NSW is either arid or semi arid in nature with the eastern coasts having a temperate climate. There are more than 780 National Parks in New South Wales which makes up close to 10% of the State’s area covering various terrains from deserts, bush, rainforests, plains, and mountains. Much of it is also coastal scrublands.
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