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Australia (1983: Doomsday)

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Commonwealth of Australia
— Australia of Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: Australia
Flag of Australian Coat of Arms
Flag of the Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms
Capital Canberra
Largest city Brisbane
Prime Minister
Area 7,617,930 km²
Population 22,667,610 
Established 1788
Admission 1997
Currency Commonwealth dollar ($)
Abbreviations Aussie, Oz

The Commonwealth of Australia is one of the four founding territories of the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand. It is, officially, an independent, sovereign nation in association with the ANZC, politically independent, while militarily and economically a willing, and active participant in the ANZC, in a fashion similar to the former four countries of the United Kingdom.

In many ways, Australia is the backbone of the entire Commonwealth, and the most important member both economically and politically.

Canberra is the capital of Australia. John Howard, the leader of the Liberal-National Party of Australia, is the current Prime Minister.

History

Pre-Doomsday

Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago, possibly with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now South-East Asia.

The first recorded European sighting and landing on the Australian mainland was the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon. He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in early 1606, and made landfall on 26 February on the western shore of Cape York. The Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines of "New Holland" during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement. In 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast of Australia, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain. Captain Arthur Phillip led the First Fleet into Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. This date became Australia's national day, Australia Day. Van Diemen's Land, now known as Tasmania, was settled in 1803 and became a separate colony in 1825. The United Kingdom formally claimed the western part of Australia in 1828.

Separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales: South Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, and Queensland in 1859. The Northern Territory was founded in 1911 when it was excised from South Australia. The indigenous population, estimated at 750,000 to 1,000,000 at the time of European settlement, declined steeply since the European settlement of Australia, mainly due to infectious disease.

A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, and the Eureka Rebellion against mining licence fees in 1854 was an early expression of civil disobedience. Between 1855 and 1890, the six colonies individually gained responsible government, managing most of their own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire. The Colonial Office in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs, defence, and international shipping.

On 1 January 1901 federation of the colonies was achieved after a decade of planning, consultation, and voting. The Commonwealth of Australia was established and it became a dominion of the British Empire in 1907. The Federal Capital Territory (later renamed the Australian Capital Territory) was formed in 1911 as the location for the future federal capital of Canberra. Melbourne was the temporary seat of government from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was constructed. The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the federal parliament in 1911. In 1914, Australia joined Britain in fighting World War I, with support from both the outgoing Liberal Party and the incoming Labor Party. Australians took part in many of the major battles fought on the Western Front. Of about 416,000 who served, about 60,000 were killed and another 152,000 were wounded. Many Australians regard the defeat of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) at Gallipoli as the birth of the nation—its first major military action. The Kokoda Track campaign is regarded by many as an analogous nation-defining event during World War II.

Britain's Statute of Westminster 1931 formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and the UK. Australia adopted it in 1942, but it was backdated to 1939 to confirm the validity of legislation passed by the Australian Parliament during World War II. The shock of the UK's defeat in Asia in 1942 and the threat of Japanese invasion caused Australia to turn to the United States as a new ally and protector. From 1951 until Doomsday, Australia has been a formal military ally of the US, under the ANZUS treaty. After World War II Australia encouraged immigration from Europe.

Doomsday

On the fateful day, three of the largest and most important cities of Australia were hit, wiping out around a quarter of Australia's population. The cities hit were Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The final offical death tolls were around 2,170,000 in Sydney, 2,330,000 in Melbourne and 405,000 in Perth giving a total of 4,905,000 deaths or about 35% of Australia's total population at the time.

News of the unfolding nuclear disaster reached the members of the Australian government several minutes after the Soviets launched their nukes. Almost all federal and state parliament members were quickly notified and ordered to evacuate although several in the Eastern States were uncontactable due to the time. Emergency workers and military units were put on high alert and ordered to leave urban areas to potentially sacrificial skeleton crews. At 10:47am (Sydney time), prime minister Bob Hawke announced to the Australian public the events unfolding in the northern hemisphere and urged citizens to make their way out of the cities of Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Adelaide and Brisbane in an orderly manner.

Panic soon gripped the Australian populace and there were many fatalities as people rushed to leave the cities, ultimately clogging up the main roads and blocking them up. At 12:42pm, the radar station at Laverton, WA, tracked an incoming ICBM, air raid sirens went off in Perth. Minutes later a radar station in Longreach detected two more incoming missiles and the entire east coast of Australia was put on high alert. Within ten minutes Perth, Melbourne and Sydney were covered by mushroom clouds. Bob Hawke immediately ordered relief to be sent to these cities and after another hour announced that the immediate crisis appeared to be over.

Perth-Fremantle

Perth was the city hardest hit by Doomsday. About 30,000 citizens made it out of Perth's suburbs before the nuke hit. The estimated yield of about 300 to 400 kT of TNT hit just north of the CBD. Much of Perth was instantly wiped out. The resultant firestorm swept across the northern suburbs of Perth and with no firebreaks and a southerly wind the entire area was burnt to a crisp. Only about 50,000 people escaped from the Northern suburbs, many on foot. In Southern Perth, the firestorm was blocked for some time by the Swan and Canning Rivers, the favourable wind conditions, and the efforts of some brave people. However, soon the fires spread to Canning River Park and from there across the Canning river and the fire front was abandoned. But, this delay allowed thousands more to be evacuated south to Bunbury and allowed for a much more orderly evacuation of all communities south to Mandurah as the fires raged out of control. Total evacuees reached around 550,000 from these regions. For the next week the fires burnt much of the national parklands east of Perth and the fallout kept areas north of Mandurah out of bounds. Finally rains managed to put out the fires but all of Perth and the area down of Mandurah and east to York were burnt to ashes. Fallout also rendered most of that area uninhabitable until at least 2020.

Melbourne

Melbourne was also devastated by Doomsday. About 30,000 lucky citizens left the metropolitan area before the nuke hit, many others believed going south east would be their best choice. They were wrong, the 500kT yield destroyed the inner city and northern and western suburbs of Melbourne almost instantly. With a moderate wind blowing from the north, the rest of the metropolis was covered in fallout and the breeze pushed the firestorm forward at a rapid pace. Many tell stories of pillars of fire rushing through the suburbia faster than their cars. Recent modelling of the blaze showed that it produced multiple fire tornadoes that travelled at over 80km/h in some places. By the end of the day Melbourne was a city of ashes and the area where most refugees had fled to - the south-east, was blanketed by radioactive rain. Of a pre-Doomsday population of 2.8 million a mere 850,000 made it out of the city with many ultimately dying over the next few years to a series of ailments brought on by radiation poisoning. By the end of 1983 only 650,000 people could boost to be survivors of the Melbourne blast.

Sydney

Sydney

A badly degraded photo taken at the moment of the detonation, found in North Sydney

Sydney was the luckiest city of the three. The nuke detonated above Moore Park. Due to the positioning of the highways, about 100,000 people left the suburbs before the nuke struck. The 500kT nuke struck hard, wiping out the inner city and eastern suburbs. The firestorm was somewhat contained west and the north of the city by the strong northwesterly winds and wet surfaces as it had rained earlier in the day. But as the afternoon wore on the fires still spread, albeit slowly; as embers were blown back and the main firefront struggled against the wind. Some embers managed to get across the Georges River to the suburbs of Illawong and Holsworthy where it subsequently spread into the Sutherland Shire. There, teams of volunteers managed to save about 25% of the area; but the fires burnt down much of the area west of Carringbah and north of Cronulla. These fires eventually reached the Royal National Park where it laid waste to decades of conservation work reducing about 70% of the park to ashes. By the end of the day the fires in the western and southern suburbs were eventually stopped by radioactive rain, and in the west there was also the favourable wind conditions and wide train tracks which were difficult for the fire to cross. However, the northern suburbs and the Royal National Park were still burning due to the high number of trees and other flammable materials there. Fires eventually destroyed the entire northern suburbia and burnt down Lane Cove and parts of the Kuring-Gai National Parks. Crucial to the recovery effort, Westmead Hospital, was saved by volunteers and heavy waterbombing from Warragamba and Prospect; and the areas to the north-west and south of Parramatta, where there are many industrial facilities, were also spared by the fire, though Parramatta itself was not as lucky. These industrial facilities were disassembled and moved to Wollonggong and the Central Coast over the next few years Some communities based around Penrith, Richmond, Campbelltown and Blacktown have remained until today and are slowly, but inevitably retaking the ruins of Sydney. It is hoped that they will eventually rebuild the city. Of a population of 3.2 million, 1.7 million perished in Sydney that day. By the end of 1983 two million citizens had died in the bomb and its aftermath.

Post-Doomsday

The nuclear explosions over Melbourne, Perth and Sydney had ramifications in themselves, certainly. But the fact that those areas were the only ones bombed on Doomsday turned out favorably for Australia and the Commonwealth.

Brisbane, in Queensland and Adelaide, in South Australia, along with the capital of Canberra became the largest and most important cities in the nation. Canberra's survival meant the federal government's facilities and data banks had survived intact and could help direct the recovery of the nation with some efficiency.

By the 1st of October, parliament had reconvened in Canberra and officials were sent to various areas to help co-ordinate the relief efforts. Adelaide became the headquarters for relief efforts in Perth while helping out Melbourne to a degree; while Brisbane and Canberra (to a limited extent) guided the Sydney and Melbourne relief efforts. Food shipments to Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and Christmas Island were continued, but from Darwin and Brisbane instead. Naval ships and army units kept people out of the destroyed cities as small scientific surveys into the cities were conducted with several finding small groups of survivors in fallout shelters and subway tunnels and finding that areas around the epicentres of the explosions are likely to be uninhabitable until the 2020s. 

By the end of October, the scale of the disaster was fully known. Over four million citizens had died in the strikes and the three cities were dead zones. Vast refugee camps had been built around Newcastle, Wollongong, Geelong and Albury to accommodate the three million homeless citizens. Water was about to become a major issue with the supplies for the areas around all three cities running low as many reservoirs were contaminated and major pumps damaged by EMPs. 

The ANZUS and the American Provisional Administration

The Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand

Conflict with South America

The League of Nations

The Present Day

Australia, part of the broader Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand, is one of the most powerful "countries" in the world. Nevertheless, it faces challenges, at home and abroad.

One such challenge is the problem of the irradiated ruins of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, which have brought on health challenges, such as cancer, to the nearby communities. A permanent exclusion zone of between 20 and 40 km (approx 12-24 miles) was set up around the detonation points (DP) of all three cities. Many people, unfortunately, continue to venture past the exclusion zone, and eventually die of radiation sickness or cancer.

In 2011, an earthquake struck Japan, causing an great loss of life, and an great deal of damage. Australia, as part of the ANZC, immediately sent help to Japan.

Politics and government

States and territories

Australia's territorial boundaries have not changed at all since Doomsday. The states and territories are protected by Territory Law Enforcements and Police Departments.

States

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Western Australia
  • Victoria

Territories

Culture

Demographics

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