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A camp was set up and the flag raised at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, on 26 January 1788, A government policy of "assimilation" beginning with the Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 resulted in the removal of many Aboriginal children from their families and communities — referred to as the Stolen Generations — a practice which also contributed to the decline in the indigenous population.Traditional ownership of land ("native title") was not recognised in law until 1992, when the High Court of Australia held in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) that the legal doctrine that Australia had been terra nullius ("land belonging to no one") did not apply to Australia at the time of British settlement.Since the publication of the landmark critique The Lucky Country (1964) by Donald Horne and the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972, Australia is separated from Asia by the Arafura and Timor seas, with the Coral Sea lying off the Queensland coast, and the Tasman Sea lying between Australia and New Zealand.The world's smallest continent is located in Western Australia.At 2,228 metres (7,310 ft), Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland.Even taller are Mawson Peak (at 2,745 metres or 9,006 feet), on the remote Australian external territory of Heard Island, and, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Mount Mc Clintock and Mount Menzies, at 3,492 metres (11,457 ft) and 3,355 metres (11,007 ft) respectively.
With the loss of its American colonies in 1783, the British Government sent a fleet of ships, the "First Fleet", under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, to establish a new penal colony in New South Wales.
The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.
The population of 25 million Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney.
The passing of the Australia Act 1986 ended all possibility for any vestigial role of the British government in the government in Australia and removed the already seldom-used option of judicial appeals to the Privy Council in London.
In a 1999 referendum, 55% of voters and a majority in every state rejected a proposal to become a republic with a president appointed by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of the Australian Parliament.The Federal Capital Territory (later renamed the Australian Capital Territory) was formed in 1911 as the location for the future federal capital of Canberra.