Being the account of an Australian game in mostly vanilla Vic2. The only changes being different colours for some nations, and nerfed bureaucrat NFs (they work at 1/3 the vanilla rate and cannot be used on colonies).
In 1836, in an attempt to permanently cut off the more dysfunctional part of its empire, the UK abandons Australia to its fate. It also decides to maintain New Zealand as a mere dominion, but the latter is practically a Maori state, with very few Europeans living on its two islands. Singapore now marks the south-easternmost outpost of the British Empire.
Australia, after this, emerged as a land of almost 400,000 souls, most of them Aboriginals. The first ten years were tough. The land had to be tamed, and there were not enough people or money to do so, but eventually advances in medicine and culture allowed for some early measure of prosperity. A railway began to be built around the continent, while the uncolonized parts of New Zealand were settled by Australians eager to escape their uncrowded continent for a cozier place.
Isolated as they were, the Australians could afford the luxury to apply their criminal masterminds to more theoretical problems of human existence, making profound contributions to the fields of art, philosophy and education. As a result, within a decade Australia was recognized as a significant presence in the world and the Australians began to entertain bigger ambitions for their role in Oceania, the Indian and Pacific Oceans and history at large. And so it came to be that for the next two decades Australians spread their raids and their influence across the lands like a pirate empire, its reach gradually expanding in the surrounding oceans. First Bali was made a protectorate, then Brunei. As the British expanded in China and they and the Russians exerted influence over that vast country, Australia influenced Korea and Madagascar, pulled New Zealand into its sphere of influence and then Oman. In the early 1860s Australians plundered Johore and made contact with British Singapore, while a more daring assault brought Hawaii under Australian control. A network of allies and protectorates had arisen in the south to stand up to the two Great Powers that were vying for influence in the region, the United Kingdom and the Russian Empire, and the lesser Great Power, the Netherlands, with its strong presence in Indonesia. The Indian-Pacific Co-Prosperity Sphere (IPCOPS) had been born.
The world in 1864, from an Australian cartographic perspective
After that, Australian diplomacy sought to increase its influence in Arabia, especially since Abu Dhabi was annexed by Austria and it looked like other colonial nations would follow suit. And sure enough, in December 1869 Spain attempted to acquire Hedjaz and would have succeeded if it werenít for Australian intervention.
A greater crisis arose in 1873. Mexico was on the rise and threatened to displace Australia from great power status. Since it was in a losing war with the USA (which had already lost the CSA), the council of Australian kingpins decided it was time for their most daring operation to date. A war on Mexico to annex California. The distance was large but Hawaii served as an indispensable base of operations and the Australian army by then had 12 whole brigades at its disposal. One thing that had not been taken into account was that Russia decided to intervene, and that changed the war significantly. The Australian army fought in California and Russian Oregon, eventually coming out on top, but its victories meant little towards the heavy price that Mexico and Russia were willing to pay to keep California.
When the war started the Australian navy had 4 commerce raiders, 2 new ironclad battleships and 12 steam transports. When the Russian navy swarmed the seas, blockading all of Australiaís ports, a massive construction program was initiated to bring the number of ironclads up to 10. By the summer of 1875 enemy activity in California and Oregon had been suppressed, and most of the army could be ferried back to Australia to fight off a Russian invasion. Meanwhile, the Australian fleet started sweeping the Russian commerce raider squadrons, picking up new ironclads along the way at each port that was opened up.
Combat operations continued in North America, with all Mexican and Russian territories north of the Gulf of California being occupied by 1878, and the invasion pressing into Mexico proper. Meanwhile, the Australian fleet had converged to the Persian Gulf, where an amphibious landing was conducted on the Russian shores of Persia.
That caused a mobilization in Russia, which caused the latterís army to shoot up from about 20 brigades to over a hundred. After some plundering and an initial military victory in Persia, the Australians had to pull back and most of the army was sent back to America to Finish The Job there.
The war dragged on, and in 1880 Spain once more attempted to conquer Hedjaz. Australia responded with an invasion of the Philippines and by the summer of 1881 the Spanish conceded their defeat and signed a white peace. Soon afterwards, Italy, which had formed sometime in the mid-1870s, attempted the same, but its imperial ambitions were met and crushed in Mecca. Finally, in December 1882, after almost a decade of fighting, the Russians accepted the Australian annexation of California.
California changed everything for Australia. Up until then, the nation had no industry to speak of, with just a couple of small pilot factories in Australia which were chronically undermanned. California gave Australia an industrial hub, with 8 fully staffed factories, catapulting the countryís industrial score from 0 to 58.
Australians welcomed this peace, after so many years at war, but it was interrupted in 1884 by the Portuguese who, like everyone else in South Europe, wanted to annex Hedjaz. As Australia prepares to face down another European empire, it can contemplate the growing success of IPCOPS with satisfaction. China has passed to the sphere of influence of the UK (but its position is threatened by Russia) and Australia has not yet succeeded in displacing American influence in Japan, but the oceanic network is spreading and Australian colonists are consistently beating the Dutch in settling islands in the Pacific.
The world in 1884, from an Australian cartographic perspective. Note that the UK has taken New York.