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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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Adam Gilchrist

Adam Gilchrist (born 14 November 1971 in Bellingen, New South Wales), nicknamed Gilly or Church. He made his first-class debut in 1992, going on to make his first One-day International appearance in 1996 and his Test debut in 1999. He has been Australia's vice-captain in both forms of the game since 2000, captaining the team when regular captains Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting were unavailable. Gilchrist is an aggressive left-handed batsman and effective wicket-keeper, combining the two roles for the Australian national team and is considered to be one of the best wicket-keeper-batsmen in the history of the game. His strike rate is amongst the highest in the history of both One-day and Test cricket and he currently holds the record for the second fastest century in Test match cricket. Gilchrist is also noted for having been reprimanded for outbursts on the pitch a number of times during his playing career, including being fined significant portions of his match fee. He is also renowned for walking when he considers himself to be out, sometimes even contrary to the decision of the umpire. During his career, he has played for Australia in 90 Test matches and over 250 One-day internationals and will represent his country for a third successive ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.

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Fremantle Prison.

Fremantle Prison is a former Australian prison located in Fremantle in Western Australia. The 60,000 m² site includes the prison, gatehouse, perimeter walls, cottages, tunnels, and prisoner art. The prison was built by convict labour in the 1850s, and transferred to the colonial government in 1886 for use as a gaol for locally-sentenced prisoners. It closed as a prison in 1991 and re-opened as a historic site and is now a public museum.

Photo credit: Sean Mack


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