Queensland (abbreviated as Qld) is the secondlargest and thirdmostpopulous state in Australia. Situated in the northeast of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, southwest and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. Queensland has a population of 4,750,500, concentrated along the coast and particularly in the state's South East. The state is the world's sixth largest subnational entity, with an area of 1,852,642&160km. The capital and largest city in the state is Brisbane, Australia's third largest city. Often referred to as the 'Sunshine State', Queensland is home to 10 of Australia's 30 largest cities and is the nation's third largest economy.Queensland was first inhabited by Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. The first European to land in Queensland (and Australia) was Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606, who explored the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula near presentday Weipa. In 1770, Lieutenant James Cook claimed the east coast of Australia for the Kingdom of Great Britain. The colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788 by Governor Arthur Phillip at Sydney New South Wales at that time included all of what is now Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. Queensland was explored in subsequent decades until the establishment of a penal colony at Brisbane in 1824 by John Oxley. Penal transportation ceased in 1839 and free settlement was allowed from 1842.The history of Queensland spans thousands of years, encompassing both a lengthy indigenous presence, as well as the eventful times of postEuropean settlement. The northeastern Australian region was explored by Dutch, Portuguese and French navigators before being encountered by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. The state has witnessed frontier warfare between European settlers and Indigenous inhabitants (which did not result in any settlement or treaty), as well as the exploitation of cheap Kanaka labour sourced from the South Pacific through a form of forced recruitment known at the time as 'blackbirding'. The Australian Labor Party has its origin as a formal organisation in Queensland and the town of Barcaldine is the symbolic birthplace of the party.The Aboriginal occupation of Queensland is thought to predate 50,000 BC, likely via boat or land bridge across Torres Strait, and became divided into over 90 different language groups.During the last ice age Queensland's landscape became more arid and largely desolate, making food and other supplies scarce. This led to the world's first seedgrinding technology. Warming again made the land hospitable, which brought high rainfall along the eastern coast, stimulating the growth of the state's tropical rainforests.
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In February 1606, Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon landed near the site of what is now Weipa, on the western shore of Cape York. This was the first recorded landing of a European in Australia, and it also marked the first reported contact between European and Aboriginal Australian people.In 1823, John Oxley, a British explorer, sailed north from what is now Sydney to scout possible penal colony sites in Gladstone (then Port Curtis) and Moreton Bay. At Moreton Bay, he found the Brisbane River. He returned in 1824 and established a settlement at what is now Redcliffe. The settlement, initially known as Edenglassie, was then transferred to the current location of the Brisbane city centre. Edmund Lockyer discovered outcrops of coal along the banks of the upper Brisbane River in 1825. In 1839 transportation of convicts was ceased, culminating in the closure of the Brisbane penal settlement. In 1842 free settlement was permitted. In 1847, the Port of Maryborough was opened as a wool port. The first free immigrant ship to arrive in Moreton Bay was the Artemisia, in 1848. In 1857, Queensland's first lighthouse was built at Cape Moreton.On 27 October 1857, aborigines of Martha Fraser's Hornet Bank station on the Dawson River killed eleven Europeans. This was the largest massacre of Australian colonists by aborigines. estimates 24,000 Aboriginal men, women and children died at the hands of the Native Police in colonial Queensland between 1859 and 1897 alone.A public meeting was held in 1851 to consider the proposed separation of Queensland from New South Wales. On 6 June 1859, Queen Victoria signed Letters Patent to form the separate colony of what is now Queensland. Brisbane was appointed as the capital city. On 10 December 1859, a proclamation was read by British author George Bowen, whereby Queensland was formally separated from the state of New South Wales. As a result, Bowen became the first Governor of Queensland. On 22 May 1860 the first Queensland election was held and Robert Herbert, Bowen's private secretary, was appointed as the first Premier of Queensland. Queensland also become the first Australian colony to establish its own parliament rather than spending time as a Crown Colony. In 1865, the first rail line in the state opened between Ipswich and Grandchester.