Australia's history with Europe has been much like the way a child will learn and emulate her mother's ability to care for herself, manage her money and keep food on the table. Australia being the child has done just that throughout its history, and similarly to how a child will grow to an adult, Australia has shown after being involved in two World Wars for the mother country, that it has developed to be a multi-cultural, and unique nation. "Australia has undergone enormous changes since the Commonwealth came into being on 1st January 1901."1 Since this time its population has increased four-fold, as Australia is now home to one of the world's most diverse societies, with almost every culture and religion being practiced within our land. However, one stands out more than any other and has greatly influenced the way we live our lives, Australia's ground roots, its European heritage. When the Australian flag was raised for the first time in 1788, along with it was the establishment of British ideals, which is fundamentally the reason why the study of Europe is so important to Australia.
To discover why contemporary Europe is of such importance to Australia, we must first look at its history. "Europe had a nightmarish twentieth century, wracked by wars, genocide, mass deportations and ideological hatreds."2 Within its turmoil existence it has seen great changes in the way their countries are governed, the influence and power of religion, and the ideology of the European people. Europe can be given credit for the birth of democracy, dating back to the Greek polis in the fifth century, and the fundamental concepts achieved by the Roman's still remain the backbone of modern law. The European continent today carries on the notion of modernity, as it did in the past, which has been proven by the dramatic changes within the last century. The Great Depression following World War one caused European people to live in poverty, and enforced the despair of this time, leading to original ways of thinking like existentialism.