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A commonwealth comprising the continent of Australia, the island state of Tasmania, two external territories, and several dependencies. The first British settlement, a penal colony at Fort Jackson (now part of Sydney), was established in 1788. The present-day states grew as separate colonies; six of them formed a federation in 1901. In 1911 Northern Territory joined the commonwealth and the Capital Territory, site of Canberra, was created. Canberra is the capital and Sydney is the largest city. Population: 17,843,000.