Why did Europeans succeed in conquering Australia rather than vice versa?
Europe had been a crossroads for invaders and civilizations alike for centuries. Each new wave of occupiers/colonizers brought with them new ideas and technologies, which helped Europe to advance at a greater rate than those peoples who were more geographically isolated and resource poor, such as Australia.
While we must be careful to acknowledge that technology is not the only defining characteristic of whether a people are "advanced" or not, the technological advantage the Europeans, and in Australia's case, the English, enjoyed at that time made their victory in colonizing Australia a done deal, and the idea of Australia colonizing Europe an impossibility.
Clearly, the immediate reason that the Europeans were able to conquer Australia is that they were technologically advanced and the Australians were not. There was really no way that the Australian natives could resist the late 18th century technology of the English.
The more important question is why the Europeans were technologically advanced and Australians were not. There are two major theories.
- Some believe that European culture was more likely to lead to technology than other cultures.
- Some, notably Jared Diamond, say that Europe was geographically luckier than places like Australia.