British explorer Captain James Cook first chartered the coast of New South Wales in 1770 and claimed the land for Great Britain. In 1778, Australia's first settlement was established at Sydney Cove as a British prison camp, this was because the English prisons were over-crowded. During the 1820s free settlers migrated to Sydney at a more increasing rate than convicts and settlement expanded from the shores of Sydney to Parramatta and then along the Nepean-Hawkesbury River.
As more free settlers came to the colony the need for more land became essential, especially for farmers to use for grazing and agricultural purposes . On May 11, 1813, three explorers (Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth) began and expedition to cross the Blue Mountains that was a barrier to more land. After the successful crossing of the Blue Mountains, roads were built to make the Bathurst plains more accessible. Although the roads were rough and rugged, it was clear that the mountains had been beaten. The settlement could now move out.
Originally the colony of New South Wales occupied more than half the continent, but it shrank as other colonies were established. The colony became a state in 1901 after Australia was officially declared a nation.
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