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Victoria (abbreviated as Vic) is a state in southeastern Australia. It is the second-smallest state with a land area of 237,659 km2 (91,761 sq mi), making it the most densely populated state in Australia (26.56 per km2). Victoria is bordered with New South Wales to the north and South Australia to the west, and is bounded by the Bass Strait (which separates it from the island state of Tasmania) to the south, the Great Australian Bight portion of the Southern Ocean to the southwest, and the Tasman Sea (a marginal sea of the South Pacific Ocean) to the southeast. The state encompasses a range of climates and geographical features from its temperate coastal and central regions to the Victorian Alps in the north-east and the semi-arid north-west.
Victoria has a population of over 6.6 million, the majority of which is concentrated in the central south area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, and in particular in the metropolitan area of Greater Melbourne, Victoria's state capital and largest city and also Australia's second-largest city, where over three quarters of the Victorian population live. The state is home to four of Australia's 20 largest cities: Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. The population is diverse, with 35.1% of inhabitants being immigrants.
Victoria is home to numerous Aboriginal groups, including the Kulin, the Boonwurrung, the Bratauolung, the Djadjawurrung, the Gunai, the Gunditjmara, the Taungurong, the Wathaurong, the Wurundjeri, and the Yorta Yorta. There were more than 30 Aboriginal languages spoken in the area prior to European colonisation. In 1770 James Cook claimed the east coast of the Australian continent for the Kingdom of Great Britain, and from 1788 the area that is now Victoria was a part of the colony of New South Wales. The first European settlement in the area occurred in 1803 at Sullivan Bay. Much of what is now Victoria was included in 1836 in the Port Phillip District of New South Wales. Named in honour of Queen Victoria, Victoria was separated from New South Wales and established as a separate Crown colony in 1851, achieving responsible government in 1855. The Victorian gold rush in the 1850s and 1860s significantly increased Victoria's population and wealth. By the time of Australian Federation in 1901, Melbourne had become the largest city in Australasia, and served as the federal capital of Australia until the construction of Canberra in 1927. The state continued to grow strongly through various periods of the 20th and early 21st centuries as a result of high levels of international and interstate migration.
Politically, Victoria has 38 seats in the Australian House of Representatives and 12 seats in the Australian Senate. At state level, the Parliament of Victoria consists of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Labor Party, led by Daniel Andrews as premier, has governed Victoria since 2014. The Governor of Victoria, the representative of the Monarchy of Australia in the state, is currently Linda Dessau. Victoria is divided into 79 local government areas, as well as several unincorporated areas which the state administers directly.
Victoria's economy is the second-largest among Australian states and is highly diversified, with service sectors predominating. Culturally, Melbourne hosts a number of museums, art galleries, and theatres, and is also described as the world's sporting capital, and the "spiritual home" of Australian cricket and Australian rules football.
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