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For about 50,000 years After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788.
The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands.
It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area.
We have released our annual report for 2015–16, which documents a pivotal and highly successful year for the OAIC.‘This year’s annual report highlights the important public role the OAIC plays as the national regulator of both FOI and personal information law — and I am pleased to be able to report on a very positive year,’ said Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim.At the time of European settlement in the late 18th century, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers, with a complex oral culture and spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime.The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, were originally horticulturists and hunter-gatherers.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia.
Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states and several territories.