Australasia

'Roo's'

Over 700,000 British nationals visit Australia every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

Australia continues to battle serious bushfires across multiple regions. Authorities in some regions have declared a State of Emergency and ordered road closures and evacuations. Poor air quality can occur some distance from the sites of the fires and provoke respiratory conditions. If you’re in or near an affected area or planning any travel, stay safe, monitor TV news, radio and social media channels for updates, and follow the instructions and advice of local authorities. For more information, including links to local authorities’ fire advice, see Bushfires

The history of Australia is the history of the area and people of the Commonwealth of Australia with its preceding Indigenous and colonial societies. … A First Fleet of British ships arrived at Botany Bay in January 1788 to establish a penal colony, the first colony on the Australian mainland.

In 1803, a British expedition was sent from Sydney to Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen’s Land) to establish a new penal colony. Starting in 1816, free settlers began arriving from Great Britain. On 3 December 1825 Tasmania was declared a colony separate from New South Wales, with a separate administration.

Prehistoric settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia at least 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession of the east coast in the name of Great Britain (all of Australia was claimed as British territory in 1829 with the creation of the colony of Western Australia). Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the Allied effort in World Wars I and II.

In recent decades, Australia has become an internationally competitive, advanced market economy due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s and its location in one of the fastest growing regions of the world economy. Long-term concerns include an aging population, pressure on infrastructure, and environmental issues such as floods, droughts, and bush-fires. Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, making it particularly vulnerable to the challenges of climate change. Australia is home to 10% of the world’s biodiversity, and a great number of its flora and fauna exist nowhere else in the world.

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