Australia has six states and two territories: States:

  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • Victoria
  • Tasmania
  • South Australia
  • Western Australia

Territories are the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. And Jervis Bay Territory, but that’s a seriously trivial piece of knowledge there and hardly anyone knows it’s a territory.

New South Wales was the first state – early maps showed New South Wales taking over most of the continent.

Tasmania was first named Van Dieman’s Land, after Abel Tasman’s boss. Later they decided to name it after Abel Tasman himself who was the first European explorer to land on the island.

Early Australian settlers didn’t know if Tasmania was connected to the mainland until Bass and Flinders sailed right around Tasmania to show that it was in fact an island. Bass Strait is named after George Bass.

Matthew Flinders had a famous cat called Trim – he even wrote a book about him: Trim, by Matthew Flinders.

Queensland and Victoria are both named after Queen Victoria.

The different states were united under a Federal Government in 1901.