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.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia.
Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts.
Several famous early cartographers also made use of the word Australia on maps.
In 1824, Hamilton Hume and former Royal Navy Captain William Hovell led an expedition to find new grazing land in the south of the colony, and also to find an answer to the mystery of where New South Wales' western rivers flowed.
In 1826, the British claim was extended to the whole Australian continent when Major Edmund Lockyer established a settlement on King George Sound (modern-day Albany).
Gerard Mercator (1512–1594) used the phrase climata australia on his double cordiform map of the world of 1538, as did Gemma Frisius (1508-1555), who was Mercator’s teacher and collaborator, on his own cordiform wall map in 1540.
Australia appears in a book on astronomy by Cyriaco Jacob zum Barth published in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1545.
At the heart of the country are the uplands of central Australia.
Prominent features of the centre and south include Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), the famous sandstone monolith, and the inland Simpson, Tirari and Sturt Stony, Gibson, Great Sandy, Tanami, and Great Victoria deserts, with the famous Nullarbor Plain on the southern coast.
Since the publication of the landmark critique The Lucky Country (1964) by Donald Horne and the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972, Australia is separated from Asia by the Arafura and Timor seas, with the Coral Sea lying off the Queensland coast, and the Tasman Sea lying between Australia and New Zealand.
The world's smallest continent is located in Western Australia.
At 2,228 metres (7,310 ft), Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland.