Main article: History of Australia
Map of Australia with coloured arrows showing the path of early explorers around the coast of Australia and surrounding islands
Exploration by Europeans till 1812
1606 Willem Janszoon
1606 Luis Váez de Torres
1616 Dirk Hartog
1619 Frederick de Houtman
1644 Abel Tasman
1696 Willem de Vlamingh
1699 William Dampier
1770 James Cook
1797–1799 George Bass
1801–1803 Matthew Flinders
Human habitation of Australia is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago, possibly with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia. These first inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. At the time of European settlement in the late 18th century, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers, with a complex oral culture and spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime. The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, were originally horticulturalists and hunter-gatherers.
Following sporadic visits by fishermen from the Malay Archipelago, the first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent were attributed to the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon. He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula on an unknown date in early 1606, and made landfall on 26 February at the Pennefather River on the western shore of Cape York, near the modern town of Weipa. The Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines of "New Holland" during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement. William Dampier, an English explorer/privateer landed on the northwest coast of Australia in 1688 and again in 1699 on a return trip. In 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast of Australia, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain. Cook's discoveries prepared the way for establishment of a new penal colony. The British Crown Colony of New South Wales was formed on 26 January 1788, when Captain Arthur Phillip led the First Fleet to Port Jackson. This date became Australia's national day, Australia Day. Van Diemen's Land, now known as Tasmania, was settled in 1803 and became a separate colony in 1825. The United Kingdom formally claimed the western part of Australia in 1828.
Separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales: South Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, and Queensland in 1859. The Northern Territory was founded in 1911 when it was excised from South Australia. South Australia was founded as a "free province"—it was never a penal colony. Victoria and Western Australia were also founded "free", but later accepted transported convicts. A campaign by the settlers of New South Wales led to the end of convict transportation to that colony; the last convict ship arrived in 1848.
A calm body of water is in the foreground. The shoreline is about 200 metres away. To the left, close to the shore, are three tall gum trees; behind them on an incline are ruins, including walls and watchtowers of light-coloured stone and brick, what appear to be the foundations of walls, and grassed areas. To the right lie the outer walls of a large rectangular four-storey building dotted with regularly spaced windows. Forested land rises gently to a peak several kilometres back from the shore.
Port Arthur, Tasmania was Australia's largest gaol for transported convicts.
The indigenous population, estimated at 350,000 at the time of European settlement, declined steeply for 150 years following settlement, mainly due to infectious disease. The "Stolen Generations" (removal of Aboriginal children from their families), which historians such as Henry Reynolds have argued could be considered genocide, may have contributed to the decline in the Indigenous population. Such interpretations of Aboriginal history are disputed by conservative commentators such as former Prime Minister John Howard as exaggerated or fabricated for political or ideological reasons. This debate is known within Australia as the History wars. The Federal government gained the power to make laws with respect to Aborigines following the 1967 referendum. Traditional ownership of land—aboriginal title—was not recognised until 1992, when the High Court case Mabo v Queensland (No 2) overturned the notion of Australia as terra nullius ("land belonging to no one") before European occupation.
The Australian gold rushes began in Australia in the early 1850s, flooding the colony with new settlers and new prosperity, particularly in Victoria, where Melbourne became a major city. The Eureka Rebellion against mining licence fees in 1854 was an early expression of civil disobedience. Between 1855 and 1890, the six colonies individually gained responsible government, managing most of their own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire. The Colonial Office in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs, defence, and international shipping. The New South Wales Legislative Council had been created in 1825 as an appointed body to advise the Governor of New South Wales, but Australia's first parliamentary elections were conducted for the Legislative Council in 1843, with restricted voting rights (for males only). The Australian Colonies Government Act  led to the expansion of parliamentary democracy in the colonies.The new constitutions established Constitutional Monarchies with the British monarch as the symbolic head of state.1855 saw the granting of the right to vote to all male British subjects 21 years or over in South Australia and this right spread to other colonies. Women became eligible to vote for the Parliament of South Australia in 1895. This was the first legislation in the world permitting women also to stand for election to political office.
A balding man wearing a suit and playing a bugle, while standing in front of a crowd of other people and a stone monument.
The Last Post is played at an ANZAC Day ceremony in Port Melbourne, Victoria. Similar ceremonies are held in most suburbs and towns.
On 1 January 1901 federation of the colonies was achieved after a decade of planning, consultation, and voting. The Commonwealth of Australia was established and it became a dominion of the British Empire in 1907. 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 constructed. The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the federal parliament in 1911. In 1914, Australia joined Britain in fighting World War I, with support from both the outgoing Liberal Party and the incoming Labor Party. Australians took part in many of the major battles fought on the Western Front. Of about 416,000 who served, about 60,000 were killed and another 152,000 were wounded. Many Australians regard the defeat of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) at Gallipoli as the birth of the nation—its first major military action. The Kokoda Track campaign is regarded by many as an analogous nation-defining event during World War II.
Britain's Statute of Westminster 1931 formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and the UK. Australia adopted it in 1942, but it was backdated to 1939 to confirm the validity of legislation passed by the Australian Parliament during World War II. The shock of the UK's defeat in Asia in 1942 and the threat of Japanese invasion caused Australia to turn to the United States as a new ally and protector. Since 1951, Australia has been a formal military ally of the US, under the ANZUS treaty. After World War II Australia encouraged immigration from Europe. Since the 1970s and following the abolition of the White Australia policy, immigration from Asia and elsewhere was also promoted. As a result, Australia's demography, culture, and self-image were transformed. The final constitutional ties between Australia and the UK were severed with the passing of the Australia Act 1986, ending any British role in the government of the Australian States, and closing the option of judicial appeals to the Privy Council in London. In a 1999 referendum, 55% of Australian voters and a majority in every Australian state rejected a proposal to become a republic with a president appointed by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of the Australian Parliament. Since the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972, there has been an increasing focus in foreign policy on ties with other Pacific Rim nations, while maintaining close ties with Australia's traditional allies and trading partners.
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Tropical Storm Alberto was the first tropical storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. Forming on June 10 in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, the storm moved generally to the north, reaching a maximum intensity of 70 mph (110 km/h) before weakening and moving ashore in the Big Bend area of Florida on June 13. Alberto then moved through eastern Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia as a tropical depression before becoming extratropical on June 14.
Across the western Caribbean, the storm produced heavy rainfall, causing some minor damage. In Florida, a moderate storm tide caused coastal damage and flooding, while Alberto's outer rainbands produced several tornadoes. The storm was indirectly responsible for two drownings off the coast of Tampa Bay. In North Carolina, heavy rainfall caused locally severe flooding, and one child drowned after being sucked into a flooded storm drain near Raleigh. The remnants of Alberto produced strong winds and left four people missing in Atlantic Canada. Overall, damage was minor along Alberto's path.
 Meteorological history
In early June 2006, an area of convection persisted across Central America and the western Caribbean Sea, in association with a broad, nearly stationary trough of low pressure. Thunderstorms increased and became more concentrated on June 8 after a tropical wave moved into the western Caribbean, and an upper-level low to its west increased outflow over the system. The disturbance moved slowly north-northwestward, and development was initially inhibited by marginally favorable upper-level winds and land interaction. The system gradually organized, and by June 10 a circulation formed with sufficiently organized convection for the National Hurricane Center to classify it Tropical Depression One. At this point the storm was located about 140 miles (225 km) south of the western tip of Cuba.
The depression tracked to the northwest through the Yucatán Channel into an area of increased wind shear, which left the center exposed and elongated. Despite its poor structure, the system maintained strong winds in its eastern semicircle. The depression intensified into Tropical Storm Alberto early on June 11 about 260 miles (420 km) southwest of the Dry Tortugas, based on Hurricane Hunters' reports of flight level winds of 50 mph (80 km/h) in a few convective bands. Upon becoming a tropical storm, the low-level circulation had become better defined, though forecasts predicted the wind shear would increase, preventing significant strengthening of the storm. One forecaster at the National Hurricane Center remarked the system resembled a subtropical cyclone. However, deep convection developed and built westward against the wind shear as the overall organization improved. At the same time Alberto turned northeastward under the influence of an approaching trough. On June 12, the circulation abruptly reformed under the area of deepest convection, which coincided with the storm's passage over the loop current; consequentially, Alberto quickly strengthened to reach peak winds of 70 mph (115 km/h) about 220 miles (350 km) west-northwest of Tampa, Florida.
Though it was projected to track over cooler waters and stay in an area of increased shear, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted Alberto to attain hurricane status and make landfall at that intensity. The storm maintained peak intensity for about 18 hours, and while accelerating northeastward, Alberto's convection diminished as the cloud pattern became elongated. On June 13, dry air became entrained in the circulation, leaving the center exposed from the convection and the wind field greatly broadened. A partial eyewall developed in the western semicircle of the center; however, winds were well below hurricane force. Alberto continued to weaken, and made landfall at about 1630 UTC on June 13 with 45 mph (75 km/h) winds in Taylor County, Florida, about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Tallahassee.
Tropical Storm Alberto over South Carolina
The storm maintained a well-organized structure and banding features over land, and Alberto continued to produce winds of tropical storm force as it moved into Georgia. Early on June 14, the storm weakened to tropical depression status while located near the city of Millen, Georgia. Alberto began to lose tropical characteristics soon thereafter, and about six hours after weakening to a tropical depression it transitioned into an extratropical cyclone. Late on June 14 it accelerated northeastward to emerge into the Atlantic Ocean, and on June 15, it entered the area of responsibility of the Canadian Hurricane Centre. While over open waters, Alberto's remnants began to re-intensify; later that day, the extratropical remnant low attained winds of 65 mph (105 km/h) and a pressure of 969 mbar while a short distance south of Nova Scotia. At this time, the low presented a well-defined comma structure. After passing near Sable Island, the remnants of Alberto crossed the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland on June 16. The extratropical storm turned to the east-northeast and later to the east as it continued its rapid forward motion, and on June 19 the remnants of Alberto merged with an approaching cold front near the British Isles.
Radar image of Tropical Storm Alberto at landfall
By June 12, the Cuban government had evacuated over 25,000 people in the western portion of the country due to the threat of flooding. The National Hurricane Center recommended tropical storm warnings for the Isle of Youth and the Pinar del Rio province early on June 10, but they were not issued by the Cuban government.
In northwestern Florida, officials issued a mandatory evacuation order a day before the storm moved ashore for about 21,000 citizens in Levy County, Citrus County, and Taylor County. Several schools were closed as well, and converted into shelters. In all, about 350 coastal residents took refuge in emergency shelters. Prior to the arrival of the storm, Florida governor Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency for the state. A tropical storm watch was first issued for portions of the Florida Panhandle about 43 hours prior to landfall. As Alberto was predicted to continue intensifying, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning from Longboat Key to the mouth of the Ochlockonee River approximately 25 hours before landfall. A tropical storm warning extended southward to Englewood and westward to Indian Pass. A tropical storm warning was also issued from Flagler Beach, Florida to the mouth of the Santee River in South Carolina. As the storm moved inland, local National Weather Service offices issued flood watches for portions of North Carolina, Virginia, and the Delmarva Peninsula. Additionally, flood and flash flood warnings were issued for some portions of the country from South Carolina through Virginia.
While Alberto was becoming extratropical over land, the Canadian Hurricane Centre issued gale warnings for offshore waters of Nova Scotia, and later for Newfoundland. In addition, the Atlantic Storm Prediction Center issued inland wind warnings for coastal regions of Nova Scotia. Due to the prediction for precipitation, the Atlantic Storm Prediction Center posted rainfall warnings for all Atlantic coastal regions of Nova Scotia.
Storm Rainfall in the United States
In its early stages of development, the tropical depression which later became Alberto produced heavy rainfall across the western Caribbean Sea. A station on Grand Cayman reported 22.72 inches (577 mm) in one 24-hour period. In Cuba, rainfall amounted to 17.52 inches (445 mm) in Pinar del Río province, where one station recorded 4.06 inches (103 mm) in one hour. On the Isle of Youth, precipitation accrued to 15.67 inches (398 mm) in Sumidero. Air and marine travel was disrupted between the Cuban mainland and the Isle of Youth. In Havana Province rainfall totaled 8.46 inches (215 mm) at Playa Baracoa. Much of the precipitation fell during a fairly short time, and was beneficial, as the area had been suffering from severe drought conditions. In Pinar del Río province, the precipitation flooded 50 sq mi (130 km2 of crop land. The storm damaged about 50 houses across the country, about half of which in Havana.
Alberto dropped light amounts of rainfall across Mexico, with a 24-hour total peaking at 4 inches (100 mm) in Peto, Yucatán. Light rain was also reported throughout Quintana Roo and in eastern Campeche.
The large area of convection associated with Alberto dropped rainfall across Florida for several days. The statewide precipitation maximum reached 7.08 inches (180 mm) at a station 5 miles (8 km) east of Tarpon Springs. The highest sustained winds from the storm were officially clocked at 40 mph (65 km/h) in St. Petersburg, which also saw reports of wind gusts of up to 56 mph (90 km/h). Upon making landfall on the Florida Panhandle, the storm produced a storm tide which unofficially peaked at 7.3 feet (2.2 m) at Crystal River Power Plant. The combination of high surf and the storm tide caused surge flooding along the Florida Panhandle. Six tornadoes were spawned in the state from the outer rainbands of Alberto, none of which caused serious damage.
Storm surge flooding from Tropical Storm Alberto at Horseshoe Beach, Florida
Across coastal areas, the storm surge flooding caused minor damage to dozens of homes and closed several roads. Near Homosassa, two people who did not evacuate required water rescue. At Egmont Key State Park, a woman fell off of a boat when a band of showers and surging currents made navigation difficult; her husband and a friend drowned after jumping in to save her without life jackets, though the woman returned safely to the boat. The rainfall caused some temporary road flooding, though precipitation was mostly beneficial in alleviating drought conditions. Moderate wind gusts caused scattered power outages and downed some trees across the northeast portion of the state. Overall, property damage in the state rose to about $390,000 (2006 USD) in total.
 Southeast United States
Flooding in North Carolina from Alberto
While the storm moved through the state of Georgia, moderate winds of up to 45 mph (72 km/h) occurred along the coastline. Rainfall ranged from 3–5 inches (75–125 mm) across the southeast portion of the state, with isolated higher maxima of up to 7.05 inches (179 mm) in Rincon. Alberto produced a storm tide of 8.53 feet (2.6 m) at Fort Pulaski National Monument, causing some beach erosion reported along the coastline.
Alberto produced winds of tropical storm force along the South Carolina coastline; the highest official wind gust was 51 mph (82 km/h) at Edisto Beach. The storm dropped precipitation across much of the state, including a state maximum of 4.42 inches (112 mm) at Pritchardville. Storm tides reached 7.81 feet (2.4 m) above the mean low-level water mark along Fripp Island, leading to some beach erosion along portions of the coastline. While in the process of becoming extratropical, the rainbands of Alberto spawned seven confirmed tornadoes in the state, most of which rated F0; a National Weather Service report indicated additional tornadoes may have occurred in the state. The tornadoes caused some minor damage, though overall damage in the state was minimal.
The remnants of Alberto dropped heavy precipitation across North Carolina, including a nation-wide high of 7.16 inches (182 mm) at the Raleigh National Weather Service Office. Some totals broke previous rainfall records, including the station at Raleigh-Durham International Airport which broke the all-time daily precipitation record for that station. The rainfall led to flooding across the central portion of the state, with 45 flash flood warnings issued by the Raleigh National Weather Service. Police and firefighters in Wake County performed 47 water rescues. Additionally, the Raleigh-Wake 9-1-1 center received more than 1,076 calls for help. Flash flooding occurred throughout the area, which caused the Crabtree Creek in Raleigh to crest at 23.77 feet (7.2 m); this was the second highest flood stage on record for the creek. The overflown creek flooded a few cars to their rooftops, and resulted in the closure of the Crabtree Valley Mall. Major flooding was reported elsewhere throughout the region, which closed several roads and damaged some houses. In Franklin County, an eight year-old boy drowned after getting sucked into a flooded drainage system; the death is considered indirect because the boy was chasing a ball into the drainage system. Near the coast, the storm produced several waterspouts, some of which moved ashore in Dare and Carteret counties. Isolated reports of 60 mph (95 km/h) wind gusts resulted in downed trees and minor damage.
Rainfall from the storm extended into Virginia, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and extreme southeastern Delaware. Precipitation totaled 5.8 inches (147 mm) in Virginia Beach, which caused flash flooding in the Hampton Roads area. The flooding closed several roads, though no major damage was reported.
The extratropical remnant of Alberto produced strong winds across the Canadian Maritimes, including gusts of 74 mph (119 km/h) in the Barrington district of Nova Scotia. Sustained winds reached 51 mph (83 km/h). Rainfall from the storm was moderate, with some locations reporting 0.4 inches (10 mm) per hour; totals exceeded 2 inches (50 mm) in numerous areas. Due to wet grounds, the winds knocked down some trees and several tree limbs, and also downed some power lines, causing localized power outages. Moderate winds and rainfall affected Newfoundland, as well. According to a press report, the storm left four sailors missing about 230 miles (370 km) south of Nova Scotia.