The Melbourne Cup is Australia's most famous annual Thoroughbred horse race. It is a 3200-metre race for three-year-olds and over, conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria as part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, it is the richest "two-mile" handicap in the world, one of the richest turf races. The event starts at 3pm on the first Tuesday in November and is known locally as "the race that stops a nation"; the Melbourne Cup has a long tradition, with the first race held in 1861. It was over two miles but was shortened to 3,200 metres in 1972 when Australia adopted the metric system; this reduced the distance by 18.688 metres, Rain Lover's 1968 race record of 3:19.1 was accordingly adjusted to 3:17.9. The present record holder is the 1990 winner Kingston Rule with a time of 3:16.3. The race is a quality handicap for horses 3 years old and over, run over a distance of 3200 metres, on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington Racecourse; the minimum handicap weight is 50 kg.
There is no maximum weight. The weight allocated to each horse is declared by the VRC Handicapper in early September; the Melbourne Cup race is a handicap contest in which the weight of the jockey and riding gear is adjusted with ballast to a nominated figure. Older horses carry more weight than younger ones, weights are adjusted further according to the horse's previous results. Weights were theoretically calculated to give each horse an equal winning chance in the past, but in recent years the rules were adjusted to a "quality handicap" formula where superior horses are given less severe weight penalties than under pure handicap rules. After the declaration of weights for the Melbourne Cup, the winner of any handicap flat race of the advertised value of A$55,000 or over to the winner, or an internationally recognised Listed, Group, or Graded handicap flat race, shall carry such additional weight, for each win, as the VRC Handicapper shall determine. Entries for the Melbourne Cup close during the first week of August.
The initial entry fee is $600 per horse. Around 300 to 400 horses are nominated each year. Following the allocation of weights, the owner of each horse must on four occasions before the race in November, declare the horse as an acceptor and pay a fee. First acceptance is $960, second acceptance is $1,450 and third acceptance is $2,420; the final acceptance fee, on the Saturday prior to the race, is $45,375. Should a horse be balloted out of the final field, the final declaration fee is refunded; the race directors retain the absolute discretion to exclude any horse from the race, or exempt any horse from the ballot on the race, but in order to reduce the field to the safety limit of 24, horses are balloted out based on a number of factors which include: 1000 prize money earned in the previous two years, 9 wins or placings in certain lead-up races 3 allocated handicap weight The winner of the following races are exempt from any ballot: Lexus Stakes LKS Mackinnon Stakes Cox Plate Caulfield Cup The Bart Cummings Andrew Ramsden Stakes Doncaster Cup Irish St. Leger Tenno Sho Sankei Sho All Comers Arlington Million San Juan Capistrano Handicap Australian Stayers ChallengeThe limitation of 24 starters is stated explicitly to be for safety reasons.
However, in the past far larger numbers were allowed - the largest field raced was 39 runners in 1890. International horses that are entered for the Melbourne Cup must undergo quarantine in an approved premises in their own country for a minimum period of 14 days before travelling to Australia; the premises must meet the Australian Government Standards. The Werribee International Horse Centre at Werribee racecourse is the Victorian quarantine station for international horses competing in the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival; the facility has stabling for up to 24 horses in five separate stable complexes and is located 32 km from the Melbourne CBD. The total prize money for the 2018 race is A$7,300,000, plus trophies valued at $250,000; the first 12 past the post receive prize money, with the winner Cross Counter being paid $4 million, second $1 million, third $500,000, fourth $250,000, fifth $175,000, with sixth through to twelve place earning $150,000. Prizemoney is distributed to the connections of each horse in the ratio of 85 percent to the owner, 10 percent to the trainer and 5 percent to the jockey.
The 1985 Melbourne Cup, won by "What a Nuisance", was the first race run in Australia with prize money of $1 million. The Cup has a $500,000 bonus for the owner of the winner if it has won the group one Irish St. Leger run the previous September; the winner of the first Melbourne Cup in 1861 received a gold watch. The first Melbourne Cup trophy was awarded in 1865 and was an elaborate silver bowl on a stand, manufactured in England; the first existing and un-altered Melbourne Cup is from 1866, presented to the owners of The Barb. The silver trophy presented in 1867, now in the National Museum of Australia, was made in England but jewellers in Victoria complained to the Victorian Racing Club that the trophy should have been made locally, they believed the work of Melbournian, William Edwards, to be superior in both design and workmanship to the English made trophy. No trophy was awarded to the Melbourne Cup winner for the next eight years. In 1876 Edward Fischer, an immigrant from Austria, produced the first Australian-made trophy.
It was an Etruscan shape with two handles
Tasmania is an island state of Australia. It is located 240 km to the south of the Australian mainland, separated by Bass Strait; the state encompasses the main island of Tasmania, the 26th-largest island in the world, the surrounding 334 islands. The state has a population of around 526,700 as of March 2018. Just over forty percent of the population resides in the Greater Hobart precinct, which forms the metropolitan area of the state capital and largest city, Hobart. Tasmania's area is 68,401 km2, of which the main island covers 64,519 km2, it is promoted as a natural state, protected areas of Tasmania cover about 42% of its land area, which includes national parks and World Heritage Sites. Tasmania was the founding place of the first environmental political party in the world; the island is believed to have been occupied by indigenous peoples for 30,000 years before British colonisation. It is thought Aboriginal Tasmanians were separated from the mainland Aboriginal groups about 10,000 years ago when the sea rose to form Bass Strait.
The Aboriginal population is estimated to have been between 3,000 and 7,000 at the time of colonisation, but was wiped out within 30 years by a combination of violent guerrilla conflict with settlers known as the "Black War", intertribal conflict, from the late 1820s, the spread of infectious diseases to which they had no immunity. The conflict, which peaked between 1825 and 1831, led to more than three years of martial law, cost the lives of 1,100 Aboriginals and settlers; the island was permanently settled by Europeans in 1803 as a penal settlement of the British Empire to prevent claims to the land by the First French Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. The island was part of the Colony of New South Wales but became a separate, self-governing colony under the name Van Diemen's Land in 1825. 75,000 convicts were sent to Van Diemen's Land before transportation ceased in 1853. In 1854 the present Constitution of Tasmania was passed, the following year the colony received permission to change its name to Tasmania.
In 1901 it became a state through the process of the Federation of Australia. The state is named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who made the first reported European sighting of the island on 24 November 1642. Tasman named the island Anthony van Diemen's Land after his sponsor Anthony van Diemen, the Governor of the Dutch East Indies; the name was shortened to Van Diemen's Land by the British. It was renamed Tasmania in honour of its first European discoverer on 1 January 1856. Tasmania was sometimes referred to as "Dervon," as mentioned in the Jerilderie Letter written by the notorious Australian bushranger Ned Kelly in 1879; the colloquial expression for the state is "Tassie". Tasmania is colloquially shortened to "Tas," when used in business names and website addresses. TAS is the Australia Post abbreviation for the state; the reconstructed Palawa kani language name for Tasmania is Lutriwita. The island was adjoined to the mainland of Australia until the end of the last glacial period about 10,000 years ago.
Much of the island is composed of Jurassic dolerite intrusions through other rock types, sometimes forming large columnar joints. Tasmania has the world's largest areas of dolerite, with many distinctive mountains and cliffs formed from this rock type; the central plateau and the southeast portions of the island are dolerites. Mount Wellington above Hobart is a good example. In the southern midlands as far south as Hobart, the dolerite is underlaid by sandstone and similar sedimentary stones. In the southwest, Precambrian quartzites were formed from ancient sea sediments and form strikingly sharp ridges and ranges, such as Federation Peak or Frenchmans Cap. In the northeast and east, continental granites can be seen, such as at Freycinet, similar to coastal granites on mainland Australia. In the northwest and west, mineral-rich volcanic rock can be seen at Mount Read near Rosebery, or at Mount Lyell near Queenstown. Present in the south and northwest is limestone with caves; the quartzite and dolerite areas in the higher mountains show evidence of glaciation, much of Australia's glaciated landscape is found on the Central Plateau and the Southwest.
Cradle Mountain, another dolerite peak, for example, was a nunatak. The combination of these different rock types contributes to scenery, distinct from any other region of the world. In the far southwest corner of the state, the geology is wholly quartzite, which gives the mountains the false impression of having snow-capped peaks year round. Evidence indicates the presence of Aborigines in Tasmania about 42,000 years ago. Rising sea levels cut Tasmania off from mainland Australia about 10,000 years ago and by the time of European contact, the Aboriginal people in Tasmania had nine major nations or ethnic groups. At the time of the British occupation and colonisation in 1803, the indigenous population was estimated at between 3,000 and 10,000. Historian Lyndall Ryan's analysis of population studies led her to conclude that there were about 7,000 spread throughout the island's nine nations. J. B. Plomley and Rhys Jones, settled on a figure of 3,000 to 4,000, they engaged in fire-stick farming, hunted game including kangaroo and wallabies, caught seals, mutton-birds and fish and lived as nine separate "nations" on the island, which they knew as "Trouwunna".
The first reported sighting of Tasmania by a European was on 24 November 1642 by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who landed at today's Blackman Bay. More than a century in 1772, a French expedition le
South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres, it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, fifth largest by population, it has a total of 1.7 million people, its population is the second most centralised in Australia, after Western Australia, with more than 77 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are small. South Australia shares borders with all of the other mainland states, with the Northern Territory; the state comprises less than 8 percent of the Australian population and ranks fifth in population among the six states and two territories. The majority of its people reside in greater Metropolitan Adelaide. Most of the remainder are settled in fertile areas along River Murray; the state's colonial origins are unique in Australia as a settled, planned British province, rather than as a convict settlement.
Colonial government commenced on 28 December 1836, when the members of the council were sworn in near the Old Gum Tree. As with the rest of the continent, the region had been long occupied by Aboriginal peoples, who were organised into numerous tribes and languages; the South Australian Company established a temporary settlement at Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, on 26 July 1836, five months before Adelaide was founded. The guiding principle behind settlement was that of systematic colonisation, a theory espoused by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, employed by the New Zealand Company; the goal was to establish the province as a centre of civilisation for free immigrants, promising civil liberties and religious tolerance. Although its history is marked by economic hardship, South Australia has remained politically innovative and culturally vibrant. Today, it is known for numerous cultural festivals; the state's economy is dominated by the agricultural and mining industries. Evidence of human activity in South Australia dates back as far as 20,000 years, with flint mining activity and rock art in the Koonalda Cave on the Nullarbor Plain.
In addition wooden spears and tools were made in an area now covered in peat bog in the South East. Kangaroo Island was inhabited; the first recorded European sighting of the South Australian coast was in 1627 when the Dutch ship the Gulden Zeepaert, captained by François Thijssen and mapped a section of the coastline as far east as the Nuyts Archipelago. Thijssen named the whole of the country eastward of the Leeuwin "Nuyts Land", after a distinguished passenger on board; the coastline of South Australia was first mapped by Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin in 1802, excepting the inlet named the Port Adelaide River, first discovered in 1831 by Captain Collet Barker and accurately charted in 1836–37 by Colonel William Light, leader of the South Australian Colonization Commissioners"First Expedition' and first Surveyor-General of South Australia. The land which now forms the state of South Australia was claimed for Britain in 1788 as part of the colony of New South Wales. Although the new colony included two-thirds of the continent, early settlements were all on the eastern coast and only a few intrepid explorers ventured this far west.
It took more than forty years before any serious proposal to establish settlements in the south-western portion of New South Wales were put forward. On 15 August 1834, the British Parliament passed the South Australia Act 1834, which empowered His Majesty to erect and establish a province or provinces in southern Australia; the act stated that the land between 132° and 141° east longitude and from 26° south latitude to the southern ocean would be allotted to the colony, it would be convict-free. In contrast to the rest of Australia, terra nullius did not apply to the new province; the Letters Patent, which used the enabling provisions of the South Australia Act 1834 to fix the boundaries of the Province of South Australia, provided that "nothing in those our Letters Patent shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation and enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now occupied or enjoyed by such Natives."
Although the patent guaranteed land rights under force of law for the indigenous inhabitants it was ignored by the South Australian Company authorities and squatters. Survey was required before settlement of the province, the Colonization Commissioners for South Australia appointed William Light as the leader of its'First Expedition', tasked with examining 1500 miles of the South Australian coastline and selecting the best site for the capital, with planning and surveying the site of the city into one-acre Town Sections and its surrounds into 134-acre Country Sections. Eager to commence the establishment of their whale and seal fisheries, the South Australian Company sought, obtained, the Commissioners' permission to send Company ships to South Australia, in advance of the surveys and ahead of the Commissioners' colonists; the Company's settlement of seven vessels and 636 people was temporarily made at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, until
Gunsynd was a champion Australian Thoroughbred racehorse who won 29 races and A$280,455 in prize money. In his seven starts over one mile he was only once defeated, by half-a-head in the Epsom Handicap. Foaled in 1967, at The Dip Stud, at Breeza, New South Wales, Gunsynd was by the grey racehorse, Sunset Hue, his dam was a twin foal, Woodie Wonder, that ran third at her only start. Woodie Wonder was by Newtown Wonder, she was the dam of eight foals. A full brother to Gunsynd, Sunset Red, who won the WJ McKell Cup was the next best of Woodie Wonder's progeny. G. McMicking formed a syndicate with three others from his home town of Goondiwindi consisting of A. Bishop, J. Coorey and A. Pippos and purchased Gunsynd as a yearling for A$1,300 at the 1969 Brisbane sales, he was affectionately known as the Goondiwindi Grey because his owners came from Goondiwindi and he was a grey in appearance. Trained by Bill Wehlow, by Tommy Smith, Gunsynd raced from 1969 to 1973; as a four-year-old, under handicap conditions, Gunsynd won four major mile races - the Epsom Handicap, the Toorak Handicap, the George Adams Handicap, the Doncaster Handicap, and, at five, was narrowly beaten by Triton in the 1972 Epsom Handicap.
In the Doncaster Handicap, he carried 9 stone 7 pounds to victory, and, in his second Epsom Handicap, was second with 62.5 kilograms. He won the 1972 Cox Plate, was third, with 60.5 kilograms, to Piping Lane in the Melbourne Cup, was named Australia's champion racehorse for the 1972-1973 season. Gunsynd was a favourite with the crowds due to his grey coat and his tremendous will to win, was one of the best grey horses in the history of Australian racing. In 1973 Gunsynd retired to Kia Ora Stud, his progeny included just four stakes winners of eight stakes races, Tsunami, Midnight Gun and Domino. Gunsynd sired Ammo Girl, the dam of Emancipation, named Australia's champion racehorse for the 1983-1984 season. Suffering from cancer, Gunsynd was humanely euthanised at the age of 16. Gunsynd was named the VRC Horse of the Year in 1972 and inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. In 1973 Tex Morton recorded a song The Goondiwindi Grey, written by Nev Hauritz and Brian Wallace, as a tribute to him.
A statue in his honour was erected in his hometown of Goondiwindi. In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, Gunsynd was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for his role as a "sports legend". Australian Racing Hall of Fame Barnes Photography detailed profile and photos of Gunsynd Gunsynd's pedigree and racing stats John Clift - the real Breeder
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered "hot-blooded" horses that are known for their agility and spirit; the Thoroughbred as it is known today was developed in 17th- and 18th-century England, when native mares were crossbred with imported Oriental stallions of Arabian and Turkoman breeding. All modern Thoroughbreds can trace their pedigrees to three stallions imported into England in the 17th century and 18th century and to a larger number of foundation mares of English breeding. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Thoroughbred breed spread throughout the world. Millions of Thoroughbreds exist today, around 100,000 foals are registered each year worldwide. Thoroughbreds are used for racing, but are bred for other riding disciplines such as show jumping, combined training, dressage and fox hunting.
They are commonly crossbred to create new breeds or to improve existing ones, have been influential in the creation of the Quarter Horse, Anglo-Arabian, various warmblood breeds. Thoroughbred racehorses perform with maximum exertion, which has resulted in high accident rates and health problems such as bleeding from the lungs. Other health concerns include low fertility, abnormally small hearts and a small hoof-to-body-mass ratio. There are several theories for the reasons behind the prevalence of accidents and health problems in the Thoroughbred breed, research is ongoing; the typical Thoroughbred ranges from 15.2 to 17.0 hands high. They are most bay, dark bay or brown, black, or gray. Less common colors recognized in the United States include palomino. White is rare, but is a recognized color separate from gray; the face and lower legs may be marked with white, but white will not appear on the body. Coat patterns that have more than one color on the body, such as Pinto or Appaloosa, are not recognized by mainstream breed registries.
Good-quality Thoroughbreds have a well-chiseled head on a long neck, high withers, a deep chest, a short back, good depth of hindquarters, a lean body, long legs. Thoroughbreds are classified among the "hot-blooded" breeds, which are animals bred for agility and speed and are considered spirited and bold. Thoroughbreds born in the Northern Hemisphere are considered a year older on the first of January each year; these artificial dates have been set to enable the standardization of races and other competitions for horses in certain age groups. The Thoroughbred is a distinct breed of horse, although people sometimes refer to a purebred horse of any breed as a thoroughbred; the term for any horse or other animal derived from a single breed line is purebred. While the term came into general use because the English Thoroughbred's General Stud Book was one of the first breed registries created, in modern usage horse breeders consider it incorrect to refer to any animal as a thoroughbred except for horses belonging to the Thoroughbred breed.
Nonetheless, breeders of other species of purebred animals may use the two terms interchangeably, though thoroughbred is less used for describing purebred animals of other species. The term is a proper noun referring to this specific breed, though not capitalized in non-specialist publications, outside the US. For example, the Australian Stud Book, The New York Times, the BBC do not capitalize the word. Flat racing existed in England by at least 1174, when four-mile races took place at Smithfield, in London. Racing continued at fairs and markets throughout the Middle Ages and into the reign of King James I of England, it was that handicapping, a system of adding weight to attempt to equalize a horse's chances of winning as well as improved training procedures, began to be used. During the reigns of Charles II, William III, George I, the foundation of the Thoroughbred was laid; the term "thro-bred" to describe horses was first used in 1713. Under Charles II, a keen racegoer and owner, Anne, royal support was given to racing and the breeding of race horses.
With royal support, horse racing became popular with the public, by 1727, a newspaper devoted to racing, the Racing Calendar, was founded. Devoted to the sport, it recorded race results and advertised upcoming meets. All modern Thoroughbreds trace back to three stallions imported into England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian. Other stallions of oriental breeding were less influential, but still made noteworthy contributions to the breed; these included the Alcock's Arabian, D'Arcy's White Turk, Leedes Arabian, Curwen's Bay Barb. Another was the Brownlow Turk, among other attributes, is thought to be responsible for the gray coat color in Thoroughbreds. In all, about 160 stallions of Oriental breeding have been traced in the historical record as contributing to the creation of the Thoroughbred; the addition of horses of Eastern bloodlines, whether Arabian, Barb, or Turk, to the native English mares led to the creation of the General Stud Book in 1791 and the practice of official registration of horses.
According to Peter Willett, about 50% of the foundation stallions appear to have been of Arabian bloodlines, wit
A gelding is a castrated horse or other equine, such as a donkey or a mule. Castration, as well as the elimination of hormonally-driven behavior associated with a stallion, allows a male horse to be calmer and better-behaved, making the animal quieter and more suitable as an everyday working animal; the gerund and participle "gelding" and the infinitive "to geld" refer to the castration procedure itself. The verb "to geld" comes from the adjective geldr; the noun "gelding" is from the Old Norse geldingr. The Scythians are thought to have been the first people to geld their horses, they valued geldings as war horses because they were quiet, lacked mating urges, were less prone to call out to other horses, were easier to keep in groups, were less to fight with one another. A male horse is gelded to make him better-behaved and easier to control. Gelding can remove lower-quality animals from the gene pool. To allow only the finest animals to breed on, while preserving adequate genetic diversity, only a small percentage of all male horses should remain stallions.
Mainstream sources place the percentage of stallions that should be kept as breeding stock at about 10%, while an extreme view states that only 0.5% of all males should be bred. In wild herds, the 10% ratio is maintained as a single stallion protects and breeds with a herd, larger than 10 or 12 mares, though may permit a less dominant junior stallion to live at the fringes of the herd. There are more males than just herd stallions, but unattached male horses group together for protection in small all-male "bachelor herds", where, in the absence of mares, they tend to behave much like geldings. Geldings are preferred over stallions for working purposes because they are calmer, easier to handle, more tractable. Geldings are therefore a favorite for many equestrians. In some horse shows, due to the dangers inherent in handling stallions, which require experienced handlers, youth exhibitors are not permitted to show stallions in classes limited to just those riders. Geldings are preferred over mares, because some mares become temperamental when in heat.
The use of mares may be limited during the months of pregnancy and while caring for a young foal. In horse racing, castrating a stallion may be considered worthwhile if the animal is distracted by other horses, difficult to handle, or otherwise not running to his full potential due to behavioral issues. While this means the horse loses any breeding value, a successful track career can be a boost to the value of the stallion that sired the gelding. Sometimes a stallion used for breeding is castrated in life due to sterility, or because the offspring of the stallion are not up to expectations, or because the horse is not used much for breeding, due to shifting fashion in pedigree or phenotype. Castration may allow a stallion to live peacefully with other horses, allowing a more social and comfortable existence. Under British National Hunt racing rules, to minimize the health and safety risk for horses and spectators, nearly all participating horses are geldings. On the other hand, in other parts of Europe, geldings are excluded from many of the most prestigious flat races including the Classics and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
In North American Thoroughbred racing, geldings, if otherwise qualified by age, winnings, or experience, are allowed in races open to intact males. The same applies in Australia. To perpetuate any given breed, some male horses must remain capable of reproduction. Thus, animals considered to be the finest representatives are used for mating. Though the criteria used can be, in some places, rather subjective, a stallion should have a superior appearance, or phenotype; some cultures did not and still geld male horses, most notably the Arabs. These people used mares for everyday work and for war. In these cultures, most stallions are still not used for breeding, only those of the best quality; when used as ordinary riding animals, they are kept only with or near other male horses in a "bachelor" setting, which tends to produce calmer, less stallion-like behavior. Sometimes cultural reasons for these practices exist. Gelding horses is approved of as a way to allow more horses to live comfortably and safely in proximity to humans and other horses, as an ethical means of population control within the animal rights community.
However, a small number of horse owners are concerned that the process may cause pain for the animal or somehow lessen their vitality or spirit. While modern surgical procedures cause far less discomfort to the animal than more primitive methods, there is minor postoperative discomfort when the animal is in recovery. Although castrations have few complications, there are risks. Castration can have complication such as swelling, hemorrhage or post-operative bleeding and eventration, it can take up to six weeks for residual testosterone to clear from the new gelding's system and he may continue to exhibit stallion-like behaviors in that period. For reasons not always clear, about 30% of all geldings may still display a stallion-like manner, some because of a cryptorchid testicle retained in the horse, some due to learned behavior, but some for no clear reason. Training to eliminate these behaviors
Australia 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 world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and 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 in subsequent decades, 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. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s