Some of histories patterns are universal; e.g., Overshoot, imperial rises, imperial falls and the cycling of Civilisations, while others are specific to an area and/or civilisation type. E.g. the cyclical rise and fall of Chinese empires, the relative permanence of European borders (Gaul is roughly in the same are as France), the cycle of empires in the Middle East, the conflict between the East and West (its far older than Islam or Christianity) and the contests between settled and nomadic peoples. From these patterns it is possible to see the broad shape of the future (though not the details) over an area, the larger the area, the more accurate the vision. This is one of the reasons that makes historical analysis useful, many of the factors that determine how history plays out; such as geography, climate and agriculture potential, are relatively stable. Unfortunately, for Australia, this sort of useful historical analysis is unavailable.
We can’t look at pre-European history, since the Aborigines lived as hunter-gatherers and so had a radically different relationship with the land, therefore the factors that affect them affect us differently (to separate degrees). Since Australia’s original inhabitants were almost wiped out by European diseases (about 90% fatalities) and predation, most post-European history of Australia is that of colonisation and parts weren’t settled until after Federation. So, while some of our history is useful for this task, for most of it Australia wasn’t a settled country with established cities, populations and cultures, unlike Europe and Asia and for the section of history that is has, oil has been in major use. Since we’re entering the downturn phase of overshoot with established cities, populations and cultures, the situation has changed considerably. And then there’s the fact that the sections of our history that are similar have all taken place during the upward phase of overshoot, with rising fossil fuel usage and international trade. In short, historical analysis in the specifics is very difficult or impossible for Australia, even while universal historical analysis is possible.
This leaves us with a question, how do we see the broad shape of Australia’s future? What roles will the central desert and long coastline play? The Great Dividing Range? The tyranny of distance? The States and Territories? New Zealand, Indonesia, Pacific Islands and New Guinea? These questions need at least a cursory answer and I will be going over some of the possible questions and answers.