The colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788 and originally comprised much of the Australian mainland, as well as Lord Howe Island, New Zealand, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land in addition to the area currently referred to as the state of New South Wales, which was formed during Federation in 1901. During the 19th century, large areas were successively separated to form the British colonies of Tasmania (established as a separate colony named Van Diemen's Land in 1825), South Australia (1836), New Zealand (1849), Victoria (1851) and Queensland (1859).
Because of strict quarantine procedures to reduce the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia, this was the first outbreak of equine influenza in Australia. Horses in Australia had not been exposed to the virus and, not being vaccinated, were fully susceptible.
A combination of control measures was successful in combating the outbreak. The last new infected property was identified on 22 December 2007. The zones which had been instituted to permit and restrict movements according to risk were progressively lifted from areas of New South Wales and Queensland.
New Year's Eve in Australia is celebrated with public events in most major centres. Celebrations typically include substantial fireworks displays and musical entertainment. The New Year's Eve event in Sydney is one of the largest celebrations in the world, with in excess of one million people gathering at vantage points around Sydney Harbour to view a fireworks display centred on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.