Queensland is a state of Australia that occupies the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory to the west, South Australia to the south-west and New South Wales to the south. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. The state is Australia's second largest by area, following Western Australia, and the country's third most populous after New South Wales and Victoria.
The area was first occupied by Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, who arrived between 40,000 and 65,000 years ago, according to various dating methods. Later, Queensland was made a British Crown Colony that was separated from New South Wales on 6 June 1859, a date now celebrated state-wide as Queensland Day.
The area that currently forms the state capital, Brisbane, was originally the Moreton Bay penal colony, intended as a place for recidivist convicts who had offended while serving out their sentences in New South Wales. The state later encouraged free settlement, and today Queensland's economy is dominated by the agricultural, tourist and natural resource sectors.
The state's population is concentrated in South East Queensland, which includes Brisbane, Logan City, Ipswich, Toowoomba, and the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Other major regional centres include Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and Mount Isa.
Queensland is often nicknamed the Sunshine State.
Executive power rests with the Premier. Queensland is currently governed by Anna Bligh of the Australian Labor Party, and is the state's and the nation's first popularly elected female premier.