For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups.
French World map 1566
A 16th century maritime map in a Los Angeles library vault proves that Portuguese adventurers, not British or Dutch, were the first Europeans to discover Australia.
The book "Beyond Capricorn" says the map, which accurately marks geographical sites along Australia's east coast in Portuguese, proves that Portuguese seafarer Christopher de Mendonca lead a fleet of four ships into Botany Bay in 1522 -- almost 250 years before Britain's Captain James Cook.
Australian author Peter Trickett said that when he enlarged the small map he could recognize all the headlands and bays in Botany Bay in Sydney -- the site where Cook claimed Australia for Britain in 1770.
"Beyond Capricorn Map"
The presence of the Portuguese in Southeast Asia from the early 16th century, especially their exploration and later colonization of Timor - less than 500 kilometres from the Australian coast - circa 1513-1516.
Various antiquities and unsolved mysteries found on Australian and New Zealand's coastlines, that may relate to early Portuguese voyages to Australia.
After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales, formally founded on 7 February 1788(although formal possession of the land had been taken on 26 January 1788).
The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing Crown Colonies were established.
In 1813, Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Wentworth succeeded in crossing the formidable barrier of forested gulleys and shere cliffs presented by the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. At Mount Blaxland they looked out over "enough grass to support the stock of the colony for thirty years", and expansion of the British settlement into the interior could begin.