Australia's history is unique. Like North America, and many of today's established countries, it was settled by Europeans. But unlike the America's, Australia was settled for the purpose of imprisoning law breaking citizens. And at the same time, there were people living on Australia that had been there long before European settlers came along.
Before European settlement, the Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginals lived for thousands of years in Queensland, believed to be present even 30,000 years ago [source: Queensland]. The Aborigines were around to see and adapt to the changing face of Queensland. Now arid, with dry grasslands, the area was once cool and covered with vegetation.
The dry Australia we're accustomed to today is what early European settlers would see when they first saw the area in 1660. They settled the area as a penal colony in a region Britain deemed New South Wales. It wasn't until 1839, when the penal colony closed, that the land was available for sale and public settlement.
No longer a forced home for convicts, Brisbane grew in importance both socially and economically. It had a great shore location, making it a popular port. This easy access to the water also meant water travel to Sydney or Europe was possible. Because of its successful growth and distance from the government of New South Wales, the region began to consider independence. In 1859, Queen Victoria agreed and approved the separation. With this, the colony of Queensland was established and the population began to flourish [source: Queensland]. This is when grape growth and wine production began.