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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 urban area is Sydney.The Federal Capital Territory (later renamed the Australian Capital Territory) was formed in 1911 as the location for the future federal capital of Canberra.Melbourne was the temporary seat of government from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was being constructed.Even taller are Mawson Peak (at 2,745 metres or 9,006 feet), on the remote Australian territory of Heard Island, and, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Mount Mc Clintock and Mount Menzies, at 3,492 metres (11,457 ft) and 3,355 metres (11,007 ft) respectively.Eastern Australia is marked by the Great Dividing Range, which runs parallel to the coast of Queensland, New South Wales and much of Victoria.
With the loss of its American colonies in 1783, the British Government sent a fleet of ships, the "First Fleet", under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, to establish a new penal colony in New South Wales.
For about 50,000 years 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.
Since the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972, is located in Western Australia.
At 2,228 metres (7,310 ft), Mount Kosciuszko on the Great Dividing Range is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland.
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country".