Indigenous Australians (Aborigines) inhabited Australia some 40,000 years ago. Although European exploration started before 1770, it was the British that landed and explored the east coast of Australia in 1788.
They claimed Australia for Great Britain and Australia became a member of the Commonwealth of the British Empire in 1901.
The Commonwealth of Australia is a democracy with its own federal government. The Queen of England is the Head of State but is permanently represented by the Governor General.
The Federal Government is elected every three years and is led by the Prime Minister.
The country is divided into 6 states and two territories; each has a separate Government and is lead by the Premier.