I've begun to consider an Alternate Reality in which the natives of Australia formed a nation that spanned all of Oceania. This Australian Nation would be formed after several centuries of the kingdoms oppressing the people to the point of them overthrowing the kingdoms in which both republics and kingdoms would be formed after the overthrowing of the original kingdoms which there existed about 3 kingdoms. Australia would be split between them. All of the nations would eventually be united in a very long unification war.

One would cover all of western Australia, One would take up the northern territories and what is known as Queensland in our world including northern parts of southern Australia and the island of Papua. The third kingdom would cover the rest of Australia and the islands in Oceania. After the collapse of the three kingdoms, several nations either democratic or monarchies would be formed. All of Oceania would eventually be united by the Australian Social Republic in a century long. The time frame would be early 700s to late 1700s.

Kingdoms would be formed in the early 8th century and would last till the mid 15th century. After that several nations would be formed and a century later , a century long unification war that would last till the late 17th century would begin. After that, the Newly formed Social Republic would begin to develop both socially and technologically as well as economically when they begin expeditions in search of foreign land.

What I haven't thought about is what would drive the native tribes of Australia to form kingdoms.

New contributor
Snow_Phantasm is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • $\begingroup$ Hello Snow, Welcome to Worldbuilding. You're a new user and this is your first question. Please understand that worldbuilding (on-topic) is about creating and consistently using the rules and systems of a fictional world of your own creation. Storybuilding (off-topic) is about the circumstances and/or plot of a story, and the actions/decisions of characters. As written, this question is asking about the decisions of characters. Because it's your fist question, I'll let the Mods decide whether or not the Q should be closed. But please note this for the future. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 8 at 4:06
  • $\begingroup$ They'd have to move past hunting/gathering and start agriculture. But the carrying capacity of the continent is very low without modern technology. You have to pump water up from aquifers basically, even then pretty marginal. No native species suitable for pastoralism. I don't see a plausible way to do this. It might be more plausible to have something like the Haudenosaunee confederation, but even that was among native americans who were agriculturalists. $\endgroup$ – John O yesterday

Change in their core beliefs and values leading to large population growth.

(And they need to be world-leading boat builders too.)

The hundreds of Aboriginal "communities" (I was told "tribes" isn't PC) weren't all isolated. They had trade, connections, and shared identities with their neighbouring communities. These groupings among these peoples were into what was analogous to "nations". Some of their borders fit quite well with your segmentation.

Referring to a a handy overview of the aboriginal peoples names / identidies / "how should I refer to you" guide:

One would cover all of western Australia,

This is basically the Noongar peoples already.

One would take up the northern territories and what is known as Queensland in our world including northern parts of southern Australia and the island of Papua.

This is basically the merging of the Melanesians, Murrie and Anangu peoples.

The third kingdom would cover the rest of Australia and the islands in Oceania.

This is the merging of the Koorie, Nunga, Palawa and all the Torres strait islanders and the rest of Oceania. This is quite a conquest, and leads to what I think is the biggest hurdle for your story:

The sea links will need a 100,000 workers alone just to stay connected. Plus epic tech:

Your empire include a lot of disconnected islands: Fiji, Micronesia, Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon islands, all of NZ, PNG, Tasmania, Timor, Norfolk Island, KI, Christmas Island, and so many more. 10,000 islands in Oceania alone. They all are going to require basically a ferry service such they remain in constant contact with the rest of their empire. That will require many people to maintain and operate the fleets of ships needed for this.

You'll probably also need improvements in manufacturing, science, and maths in order to build reliable ships that get out into Oceania with decent safety. I've done Australia to Vanuatu on a massive modern cruise ship and it was rough and unpleasant and took days. If your tiny wooden ships are smashed to pieces by big waves, the empire is disconnected.

These improvements to science, manufacturing, maths, chemistry, etc may tax the verbal-only communication and education methods of the aboriginal people. They may need to develop a complex written language too such that this knowledge can be taught forward. Unless you want to try to picture an elder telling the young adults "the Dreaming story of that snake that raised e to the power of i * pi".

So - how do we build kingdoms here?

To maintain a kingdom over these distances, you need good communication to exert control over it. The excellent shipping links need to be complimented by messengers travelling between settlements carrying stuff. You need to have allegiance sweared between cheifs and the king, you need to have taxes paid and transferred, goods transferred where they're needed, plus information like orders need to be transferred. You'll need communication networks between settlements and a hierarchy of lords / chieftains / etc all ultimate loyal to the king. This requires a lot of people to implement, especially pre-telegraph.

Roman-style roads would come in handy here, but the distances are so vast and the population so tiny its unfeasible.

The population density of Australia in this time period was low, estimates range from 318,000 to 1,000,000 over 8 million sqkm. This is very sparse. 1 person per 30sqkm. If each lord needs 2 guards, a messenger, a tax collector, and a personal servant, the settlement extends out to 180sqkm before it even includes subjects. Large towns will obviously get better scaling, but they'll be so far apart that communication will be hard.

The roman empire was about 70 million people in 4 million sqkm. Australia and all the islands you're including is about 10 million sqkm. You'll need to crank this population up by orders of magniude in order to make it possible to unify them under one kingdom. Cranking the number of people up will strip the land of food - you'll need agriculture to support such a large population.

Destroying the outback and replacing it with big farms are totally against the Australian Aboriginal cultural identity. So, to achieve what you want, you'll need to essentially replace their culture with one not focused on being close to the land.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Destroying the outback and replacing it with big farms may not even be ecologically feasible. Old World-style farming only worked in Australia when Europeans brought technology to support it, and even then I've seen some Australian biologists argue that in the long run Australia cannot support European style ranching and agriculture at levels sufficient to sustain a sedentary population. The reason the Aborigines never developed large sedentary civilizations like the Old World and the Americas was primarily because it wasn't efficient. $\endgroup$ – user2352714 Apr 8 at 4:17
  • $\begingroup$ @user2352714 definitely not with the current Australian diet. If we all went effectively vegan, switched cotton to say hemp, and moved our remaining agriculture to the fertile land (rather than pumping out the Murry to irrigate desert) I suspect we'll be sustainable with our current population. $\endgroup$ – Ash Apr 8 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ Great answer, but worth adding that the total lack of native animals that can be domesticated is another major hindrance to developing efficient agriculture and communications. Without any animals to pull ploughs or wagons, it's hard to produce agricultural surpluses and/or conduct bulk trade that would allow a state that could be classed as a "kingdom" to develop. $\endgroup$ – KerrAvon2055 2 days ago

Some kind of staple food source to drive population growth

To put it bluntly, Australia is a terrible place to try and build a civilization. Most of the country is a desert, the soil contains very little nutrients for plant growth due to a lack of mountain building and erosion except in New Guinea. The big lakes that made east-central Australia at least somewhat habitable greatly reduced in volume at the end of the last ice age.

A large, populous, at least somewhat sedentary civilization needs food to support it. There is no point in having a kingdom if there is no social need for greater organization. Every major sedentary civilization on Earth is based around some kind of staple crop. Wheat in western and central Eurasia, rice in south and eastern Asia, corn in the New World, cassava and yams in Africa. Australia doesn't really have a staple crop. Aboriginal cultures are known to have made bread out of native grains, but they never domesticated and planted them en masse like most other continents did.

Probably the closest any Australian plant came to domestication was the cycad Macrozamia. This cycad produces abundant seeds which can be ground into flour. Harvesting and processing of Macrozamia is thought to have driven the formation of some of the most populous Aboriginal cultures and most complex forms of social organization. However, the reason for this is that the zamia cycad is poisonous in its natural state, and requires extensive work and processing in order to leech the poisons out of the seeds and make it safe to eat. Unfortunately, the work-to-product ratio is a lot lower than for grains in other parts of the world (which is one reason why it's been suggested that zamia cycad usage drove Aboriginal communities to work together, it took a lot of labor to make the cycad safe to eat).

Another option is the bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii), whose nuts were harvested by Aboriginal cultures for food. The cultures in these areas had a form of property rights, in which groves of bunya pines would be owned by particular families. However, bunya pines only grow east of the Great Dividing Range.

The other issue would be a lack of domesticatable animals for foodstock. If most of Australia is unsuitable for large-scale plant agriculture, the only way to support a large population would be to use its more arid spaces for ranchland. Australia has a dearth of large wildlife since its megafauna were all wiped out, and even the largest surviving Australian mammal, the red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) is only a fraction of the size of the largest mammal on any other continent. It's not clear how suitable kangaroos are for domestication. Other large cultures did get by without domestic animals for labor, milk, and meat, but at the same time they often had abundant wild game that were often fairly large to fall back on (and even Mesoamerica had turkeys). However, kangaroos are sensitive enough to hunting that shrinkage in the size of living kangaroo species has been documented in the archaeological record in some places due to Aboriginal hunting. This is one reason why interior Aboriginal communities practices fire-stick farming, it was a more efficient way to manage land and create an abundance of small animals to hunt, though it probably couldn't be modified to the point that it would support the kind of society that would form a kingdom. Maybe one of the big vombatiforms like Diprotodon or the mihirung Genyornis would be a better option for a domesticate (especially Genyornis as it is adapted to the desert and produces abundant eggs that can be used both as food and storage containers like how the Malagasy people used elephant bird eggs), but they went extinct.

Aboriginal people did domesticate the short-finned eel (Anguilla australis), which might make a useful start for a civilization, though it would only be possible to raise along the coast and it would make most of the interior of Australia useless for settlement by these cultures.

It's even been suggested by some Australian ecologist and biologists that Australia cannot sustain European-style sedentary agrarian civilization in the long term. Even today, agriculture and livestock rearing only work in Australia through copious use of technological aids such as provisioning livestock with water troughs, and the way in which crops are farmed and livestock are raised in Australia are said to exploitatively strip the land of most of its nutrients. It's been suggested that some time in the future the agricultural industry in Australia will just...collapse. A lot of the inventions that make European-style agriculture possible in Australia today probably wouldn't be the first thing to come to mind for a culture that is just starting to consider whether agriculture would be a good idea, simply because trial-and-error with agricultural practices is much less forgiving in most of Australia.

The broader issue, though, is if you don't have a good food source to feed these people, you will never get population densities high enough to require more complex forms of social administration such as kingdoms, nation-states, large confederacies of different groups, etc. There really isn't a social need for the practice's adoption otherwise.


Probably just a lot of time. To form a kingdom, they would need more people, and an agricultural revolution... which is itself the result of finding a way to feed more people.

This kingdom will be restricted to the few parts of Australia that are farmable.


If there was a big threat for all of them, that could definitely unify them, at least for long enough to defeat a monster, survive a drought, recover after a natural disaster, etc.

New contributor
StarSeeker is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.

Your Answer

Snow_Phantasm is a new contributor. Be nice, and check out our Code of Conduct.

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.