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Aboriginal settlers arrived on the continent from Southeast Asia about 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploration in the 17th century. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Capt. James COOK took possession of the east coast in the name of Great Britain (all of Australia was claimed as British territory in 1829 with the creation of the colony of Western Australia). Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries; they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The new country took advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. It boasted one of the OECD's fastest growing economies during the 1990s, a performance due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s. Long-term concerns include ageing of the population, pressure on infrastructure, and environmental issues such as frequent droughts.


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Military

Military branches
Australian Defense Force (ADF): Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force, Special Operations Command (2006)

Military service age and obligation
17 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; women allowed to serve in Army combat units in noncombat support roles (2012)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 5,316,464
Females age 16-49 5,116,722 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 4,411,958
Females age 16-49 4,239,985 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 143,565
Female 135,800 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 43
3% of GDP (2009)


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Australia (Canberra):


GPS points from Australia (Canberra)

Pernatty Ridge South Australia

Salt River Western Australia

Yadlamalka South Australia

Mccoy Creek Queensland

Pintos Creek New South Wales

Turn Shoal Queensland

Cape Bouguer South Australia

Billbinnia Rockhole Western Australia




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