Australia, 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. The population of 26 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Indigenous Australians inhabited the continent for about 65,000 years prior to European discovery with the arrival of Dutch explorers in the early 17th century, who named it New Holland. In 1770, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the time of an 1850s gold rush, 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 ten territories.

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Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake in the centre of Canberra, the capital of Australia. It was completed in 1963 after the Molonglo River—which ran between the city centre and Parliamentary Triangle—was dammed. It is named after Walter Burley Griffin, the American architect who won the competition to design the city of Canberra. Read more...

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Norman Selfe (9 December 1839 – 15 October 1911) was an Australian engineer, naval architect, inventor, urban planner and outspoken advocate of technical education. After emigrating to Sydney with his family from England as a boy he became an apprentice engineer, following his father's trade. Selfe designed many bridges, docks, boats, and much precision machinery for the city. He also introduced new refrigeration, hydraulic, electrical and transport systems. For these achievements he received international acclaim during his lifetime. Decades before the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built, the city came close to building a Selfe-designed steel cantilever bridge across the harbour after he won the second public competition for a bridge design. Read more...

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14 January:

Dorothea Mackellar

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13 January 2020 – Presolar grains
Analysis of a meteorite found in Australia in 1969 reveals stardust formed 5 to 7 billion years ago, older than Earth's 4.6 billion year-old sun, making the meteor and its stardust the oldest solid material ever discovered on Earth. (MSN)
10 January 2020 – 2019–20 Australian bushfire season
Thousands of people protest in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, calling for the resignation or ouster of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, accusing him of negligence over the Australian bushfires. (News.com.au)
5 January 2020 – 2019–20 Australian bushfire season
A bushfire leads to the residents of Eden, New South Wales, to evacuate. (ABC)
4 January 2020 – 2019–20 Australian bushfire season
Two people are confirmed dead from bushfires on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. (News.com.au)
New records for the highest recorded temperature are set in Greater Sydney (48.9 °C (120.0 °F) at Penrith) and Canberra (44 °C (111 °F)). (The Guardian)
2 January 2020 – 2019–20 Australian bushfire season
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian declares a state of emergency for seven days starting on January 3. (News.com.au)

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