comprising the mainland of the Australian continent
, the island of Tasmania
, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian
and Pacific Ocean
s. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia
, East Timor
, and Papua New Guinea
to the north; the Solomon Islands
, and New Caledonia
to the north-east; and New Zealand
to the south-east.
For at least 40,000 years before Europe
an settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians
who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups.
1616 Dutch sea-captain Dirk Hartog makes second recorded landfall by a European on Australian soil, at the later-named Dirk Hartog Island off the Western Australian coast.
1770 Captain James Cook sights the eastern coast of Australia.
1770 James Cook arrives at and names Botany Bay, Australia.
1770 James Cook formally claims eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming it New South Wales.
1770 James Cook's expedition lands on the east coast of Australia.
1787 Captain Arthur Phillip leaves Portsmouth, England, with eleven ships full of convicts (the "First Fleet") to establish a penal colony in Australia.
1788 The first elements of the First Fleet carrying 736 convicts from England to Australia arrives at Botany Bay.
1808 Rum Rebellion, the only successful (albeit short-lived) armed takeover of the government in Australia.
1813 In Australia, William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth lead an expedition westwards from Sydney. Their route opens up inland Australia for continued expansion throughout the 19th century.
1813 In Australia, Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth, reached Mount Blaxland, effectively marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains.