The first humans to live in Australia arrived there about 50,000 years ago. They are called the Aborigines. They settled along the coastal areas. Europeans did not make it to Australia until much later. The Dutch landed in 1606 but decided not to stay. Captain James Cook, the British Naval captain, discovered the continent Aug. 23, 1770, and the British started settling there in 1788. The British established small settlements in Australia and claimed the country as a colony. Many of the rst Europeans who came to make a life in Australia at rst were forced to move there. Australia was a penal colony, which means that most of the people sent there were prisoners. This practice ended around the 1860s. As more people moved to Australia, settlements expanded. Now the country has 22,507,617 people living in it.
• The full name is the Commonwealth of Australia.
• The capital is Canberra.
• The o cial language is English.
• It contains 2,969,906 square miles.
• It is a country and a continent.
• The Outback is the largest desert in Australia.
• The Great Artesian Basin, which is in Australia, is the largest groundwater source in the world.
• There are unique animals in Australia like the kangaroo, echidna, koala and platypus.
• There are 36 types of poisonous funnel-web spiders and 20 types of venomous snakes in Australia.
Australia is an incredibly unique place, different from anywhere else in the world. In the northeastare lush and dense rainforests full of incredible animals and plants. There are three types of rainforests in Australia: the tropical, subtropical and broadleaf. Most of the people live in the southeast and southwest. There is also the Outback, perhaps the region for which Australia is most famous. Very few people live in this area because the climate is so di cult and extreme.
It is hot and there are not many plants or water sources. There is also a large mountain range called The Great Divide that is 2,300 miles long. Because of the many different environments in Australia, there are also many different types of animals, some of which are poisonous. The 516 national parks in Australia help to protect all these plants and animals.
For more information, visit the following sites: http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/History/Australia-history.htm