In 1545 the first known use of the name 'Australia' appeared in a German astronomical work, Astronomia-Teutsch Astronomei.
Captained by Willem Janszoon, the Dutch ship Duyfken (Little Dove) recorded the first confirmed European sighting of Australia in 1606.
On the first of his three voyages of discovery (1768-71), Captain James Cook charted the east coast of New Holland in the Endeavour.
The revolt by Britain's American colonies in July 1776 focused public and political interest on the possible use of New South Wales as a penal colony.
At the end of the last Ice Age, between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago, the sea level rose and flooded through The Heads between Point Nepean and Point Lonsdale.
With increasing pressure on already overcrowded jails and prison hulks, Britain's Home Secretary, Lord Sydney, announced in 1786 that Botany Bay had been selected as a new penal colony.
On 6 March, 1788 Lieutenant Philip Gidley King established a settlement at Norfolk Island with a group of fifteen convicts and seven free men.
In 1797 John Macarthur purchased the first Merino sheep imported to New South Wales.
In 1803 Lieutenant Colonel David Collins and a company of nearly 300 convicts arrived in Port Phillip to establish a settlement.