The Australian mainland has been inhabited for more than 42,000 years by Indigenous Australians. After sporadic visits by fishermen from the north and by European explorers and merchants starting in the 17th century, the eastern half of Australia was claimed by the British in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation as part of the colony of New South Wales on 26 January 1788. As the population grew and new areas were explored, another five largely self-governing Crown Colonies were established during the 19th century.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies became a federation, and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a Commonwealth Realm. The capital city is Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory. The population is 21 million, and is concentrated in the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. from WikiPedia
Tasmania is an Australian island and state of the same name. It is located 240 kilometres (150 mi) south of the eastern side of the continent, being separated from it by Bass Strait. The state of Tasmania includes the island of Tasmania, and other surrounding islands. Tasmania has a population of 484,700 (March 2005, ABS) and an area of 68,332 square kilometres (26,383 sq mi).
Tasmania promotes itself as the Natural State and the "Island of Inspiration" owing to its large, and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Formally, almost 37% of Tasmania is in reserves, National Parks and World Heritage Sites. The island is 364 kilometres long from the northernmost point to the southernmost point, and 306 kilometres from west to east.
The state capital and largest city is Hobart, which encompasses the local government areas of City of Hobart, City of Glenorchy and City of Clarence. Other major population centres include Launceston in the north, and Devonport and Burnie in the northwest. from [WikiPedia]