The history of Australia began in New South Wales.

Capt. James Cook discovered Botany Bay in 1770 and 18 years later Capt. Arthur Philip landed with the first convict settlers - some charged with stealing a single sheep - at Port Jackson.Free settlers from Britain began to arrive in the early 1800s and convict immigration ended in 1852.

New South Wales, which covers 309,433 square miles, joined the five other states of Australia in 1901 to form the Australian Commonwealth.