In May 1787, the first fleet of marines, seamen and convicts under the leadership of Captain Phillips cleared the English Channel for Botany Bay, Australia, to become the first settlers of the land down under. Captain Phillips decided to heave to at more hospitable Sydney Cove, proceeded to colonize and govern. Many strong men followed him, including Macquarrie the Magnificent under whom the capital ""began to wear a smile."" Eventually Australia became an investment instead of a scrap heap, as ex-convicts and free settlers prospered, as men surveyed the outback, found gold. Anthony Trollope visited. Nellie Melba was exported, and the 1890's found the arts flourishing in the plein air and bush balladry. Queen Victoria proclaimed Australia a Commonwealth in 1900; the following years brought Hughes' leadership, gallantry at Gallipoli and in France; the Great Depression; World War II and MacArthur. Mr. Fisher works his material with assurance, exposits and interpolates first sources to good effect. The format is not particularly alluring, so that most people will want this book only for the information it offers.