The settlement of Australia by the Aborigines is at least 25,000 – 40,000 years old. They immigrated from South East Asia and there were about 300,000 of them when Europeans arrived.
The Dutch came in 1616, and in 1644 Australia was called New Holland. The British first arrived in 1688. It Was in 1770 that James Cook, a British explorer, took scientists to study the plants, animals and native people, in his first ship, the Endeavour. He wanted to claim the land for Britain and, in April 1770, he charted the east coast of Australia, and named it New South Wales. There was a scientist on the ship, Joseph Banks who was so fascinated by the range of plants in a bay, that the British named it Botany Bay.
Sailing north, the ship was damaged when it ran into coral on the Great Barrier Reef. After repairing the ship they sailed back to Britain, arriving in July
1771. In London, Joseph
Banks suggested that Botany Bay would be a very good place to start a colony.
In 1788 the first feet of eleven ships from Britain landed in Botany Bay to establish the colony of New South Wales. There were about 1,050 people, mostly prisoners from British prisons sent to begin a colony. They moved from Botany Bay to Sydney Cove where there was fresh water and better soil. The settlers called the place The Rocks. Later free settlers began to arrive from Britain wanting to start a new life. Most immigrants to Australia for the next 150 years were of British origin.
Source: Excursion, an old Italian book.