101 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Aboriginal Australians invent agriculture?

Everyone else is referencing Guns Germs and Steel, but I'm going to give the answer from The Biggest Estate on Earth by Bill Gammage. Gammage suggests that not only did Indigenous Australians ...
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  • 844
67 votes
Accepted

Why was the Japanese Army's fatalities inflicted:suffered ratio so low in the Pacific theatre?

Training and morale of Japanese soldiers First of all, Japanese Forces were by no means inferior to their enemies in terms of fighting spirit or training. Beyond a doubt, No nation in WW2 had soldiers ...
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  • 8,133
46 votes

Why didn't Aboriginal Australians invent agriculture?

This is a class of question we here on History.SE called a Guns, Germs, and Steel question. This is because we get a lot of them, and even though the question details may be different, the answers to ...
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  • 110k
27 votes

Did the aborigines of Australia and the Maoris in New Zealand know about each other's existence, before the Europeans came?

There are no known pre-European contact between Australian Aboriginals and New Zealand Maori. In fact there are no evidence of any contact between the Indigenous Australians and other Polynesian ...
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25 votes

Did Aboriginal Australians know slings?

The ranged weaponry niche occupied by bows and slings in most other parts of the world was in Australia occupied by boomerangs and woomera (spear-thrower). These wouldn't have had the long range of a ...
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  • 110k
21 votes

Why didn't Aboriginal Australians invent agriculture?

A proper rephrasing of the question title now is of course: why didn't Australians invent Eurasian agriculture before the Europeans came to them? Sounds non-sensical? It is not! The obvious answer ...
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20 votes

Why didn't Asians discover Australia?

The people living along the northern coastline of Australia, in the Kimberley, Arnhem Land, Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York had encounters with various visitors for many thousands of years. People ...
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  • 1,258
20 votes

Why was the Japanese Army's fatalities inflicted:suffered ratio so low in the Pacific theatre?

I want to supplement NSNoob's answer with some more information on Japanese small arms. They lacked the firepower which the Americans could bring down, firepower which is very important in obscured ...
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  • 53k
19 votes

In World War 1, why were the Australian and Canadian troops so good?

The Australian historian and journalist LA Carlyon in his book Gallipoli reports Australian troops, a higher proportion of whom at that date had grown up in a rural, outdoor life (the same was ...
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  • 5,347
18 votes
Accepted

Did the aborigines of Australia and the Maoris in New Zealand know about each other's existence, before the Europeans came?

Probably not. The Wikipedia article for Maori Australians says: There was no known prehistoric contact between Australian Aboriginal people and New Zealand Māori, although the Māori's Polynesian ...
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  • 17.9k
17 votes

What possible uniform with decoration is my ancestor from New South Wales in the early 1900's wearing?

I agree with the comments, it doesn't look military in nature. Looking at various organization, I finally found an item listed on ebay which seems to match both the wide emblem and the tasseled 8-...
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15 votes

Why was the Japanese Army's fatalities inflicted:suffered ratio so low in the Pacific theatre?

Japan had a disadvantage in heavy equipment, especially artillery and ships artillery. Many Japanese soldiers were killed in heavy bombardments. After the early battles (e.g. Guadalcanal), Japan ...
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  • 103k
14 votes

Has there been evidence of ancient Chinese exploration of Australia?

Is there evidence of Chinese exploration of Australia (before European contact)? There is no tangible evidence that Chinese explorers (or traders or any other Chinese for that matter) did land in ...
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  • 2,518
13 votes
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Why weren't Australian Aborigines enslaved?

Simply put, because they didn't. Often I find that people tend to equate 'Colonial Australia' with colonial Sydney. Whilst there were incidents of conflict with Indigenous Australians, there were ...
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  • 3,165
12 votes

Why was the Japanese Army's fatalities inflicted:suffered ratio so low in the Pacific theatre?

My uncle was a Marine in these battles. His generation spoke very little about the war. He was in the Pacific. One day we were discussing wars. He turned to me and said: "You know we did not take ...
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8 votes
Accepted

When did the accusations of convict stain against white Australians stop being culturally significant?

TL;DR: In the 1950s it was still a stain and mark of derision not to be spoken of. In the 1960s attitudes changes. By the 1970s it had become a badge of pride which it still is for some today. Long ...
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  • 2,445
8 votes

In World War 1, why were the Australian and Canadian troops so good?

One can make much of the prairie and frontier background of the Canadian troops - and one should, as they were 8 cm (3") taller, 5'7" (178cm) at age 21 compared to just 5'4" (170cm) for Brits of the ...
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8 votes

Why didn't Aboriginal Australians invent agriculture?

T.E.D. answer is correct from my point of view (I also agree with Diamond theory regarding to availability of plants and animals as a must for civilized life). But, to give a little bit more context. ...
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7 votes

Why weren't Australian Aborigines enslaved?

Moral issues aside, it isn't that easy to just impress an indigenous people on a land you've just run into into slavery. They tend to stay out of your way. The British, Colonial, and US population ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Who was the 18th century French eccentric who proposed the Dutch colonize SW Australia?

As it turns out, it wasn't an eccentric French scientist at all. It was a servant of the VOC originally from French-speaking Switzerland by the name of Jean Pierre Purry. He perhaps knew about the ...
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7 votes

Why didn't Aboriginal Australians invent agriculture?

One way to approach the question would be anthropological. There is a dissertation with the title, “Why Foragers Do Not Become Farmers,” which you can download for free. It's based on work done in the ...
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  • 2,248
7 votes

Why didn't Indonesians/Indian Ocean traders bring marsupials to Asia and placental mammals to Australia/New Guinea?

There are actually a number of placental mammals which can be found across the Wallace Line in Australia and New Guinea. The one which probably is most relevant to the question about deliberate human ...
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  • 1,780
7 votes

Why wasn't awareness of Australia more widespread in pre-colonial Asia?

WRT the Chinese in particular, perhaps they just didn't care. They could buy their trepang from the people who harvested it, just as the could sell silk to merchants, without caring where the trepang ...
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6 votes
Accepted

This is the second time Australia has had 6 PMs in 10 years. What caused it the first time?

How did the PMs change so quickly? Let's take a look at why did the PMs leave the first time this happened: Edmund Barton (Jan 1901-Sept 1903): Retired from the Parliament and Government to become ...
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  • 8,133
6 votes

Australian Head of State

Australia calls Elisabeth II "Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth." This formula does not mention ...
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  • 16k
6 votes
Accepted

Was there a viable alternate supply route to Australia during World War II?

When I look at what the shipping miracles the Allies managed during WWII, such as the Persian Corridor, I'm inclined to say yes, they would have made it work somehow. Even had Operation FS been a ...
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  • 53k
6 votes

Why weren't Australian Aborigines enslaved?

Putting aside the fact that Britain outlawed slavery in 1833, the conditions for "slavery" were not nearly as favorable in Australia as in the American south. Slavery made sense in the ...
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  • 103k
6 votes

Why weren't Australian Aborigines enslaved?

Because it was illegal. Britain made slavery illegal in most of its dominions, including Australia, in 1833.
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6 votes

Identifying a ship in Sydney Harbour

Having a date for that picture might be helpful, but my best guess is that is a picture of the RMS Mauretania, taken in the spring of 1940 while she was in Sydney harbor (along with the 3-funnel Queen ...
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Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible