The AUSTRALIAN Portal
Australia ( ( listen)), officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney.
For about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who in documented times have spoken languages classifiable into roughly 250 groups. 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. 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.
Australia has the world's 13th-largest economy and tenth-highest per capita income (IMF). With the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia has the world's 9th largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population.
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Bill O'Reilly, often known as Tiger O'Reilly, (20 December 1905 – 6 October 1992), was an Australian cricketer, rated as one of the greatest bowlers of all time. Following his retirement from playing, he became a well-respected cricket writer and broadcaster. O'Reilly was one of the best spin bowlers ever to play cricket. He delivered the ball from a two-fingered grip at close to medium pace with great accuracy, and could produce leg breaks, googlies, and top spinners, with no discernible change in his action. A tall man for his day (around 188 cm, 6 ft 2 in), he whirled his arms to an unusual extent and had a low point of delivery that meant it was very difficult for the batsman to read the flight of the ball out of his hand. As well as his skill, O'Reilly was also known for his competitiveness, and bowled with the aggression of a paceman.
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- 1851 – The arrival of two convict ships, the Lady Kenneway with 249 male prisoners and Blackfriars with 260 female prisoners, further turns Tasmanian sentiment against transportation.
- 1968 – Singer and actress, Kylie Minogue is born.
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For a topic outline on this subject, see Outline of Australia.