Human habitation (people living there) on the Australian continent is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago, possibly with the migration of people through land bridges and short sea crossings from Southeast Asia. These people may be the ancestors of the Aboriginal people.
The first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent was attributed to the Dutch navigator, Willem Janszoon, who sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula on an unknown date in early 1606. On 26th Febuary that year he made landfall at the Pennefather River on the western shore of Cape York. The Dutch charted the whole northern and western coastlines of "New Holland" but made no attempt at settlement.
In 1770, James cook sailed along and mapped the east coast of Australia, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain. The colony was formed on 26th January 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip led the First Fleet to Port Jackson.
The UK formally claimed the Western part of Australia in 1828