The AUSTRALIAN Portal
For a topic outline on this subject, see Outline of Australia.
The Commonwealth of Australia is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the world's smallest continent and a number of islands in the Southern, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Australia's neighbouring countries are Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east, and New Zealand to the south-east.
The continent of Australia has been inhabited for more than 42,000 years by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. After sporadic visits by European explorers and merchants from the 17th century onwards, the eastern half of the continent was claimed by the British in 1770, and officially settled as the penal colony of New South Wales on 26 January 1788. As the population grew and new areas were explored, another five largely self-governing Crown colonies were successively established over the course of the 19th century.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a Commonwealth realm. The current population of around 21 million is concentrated mainly in the coastal cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
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Bill O'Reilly, often known as Tiger O'Reilly, (20 December 1905 – 6 October 1992), was an Australian cricketer, rated as one of the greatest bowlers of all time. Following his retirement from playing, he became a well-respected cricket writer and broadcaster. O'Reilly was one of the best spin bowlers ever to play cricket. He delivered the ball from a two-fingered grip at close to medium pace with great accuracy, and could produce leg breaks, googlies, and top spinners, with no discernible change in his action. A tall man for his day (around 188 cm, 6 ft 2 in), he whirled his arms to an unusual extent and had a low point of delivery that meant it was very difficult for the batsman to read the flight of the ball out of his hand. As well as his skill, O'Reilly was also known for his competitiveness, and bowled with the aggression of a paceman.
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