The history of Queensland spans thousands of years, encompassing both a lengthy indigenous presence, as well as the eventful times of post-European settlement. The north-eastern Australian region was explored by Dutch, Portuguese and French navigators before being encountered by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770.
The state has witnessed frontier warfare between European settlers and Indigenous inhabitants (which did not result in any settlement or treaty), as well as the exploitation of cheap Kanaka labour sourced from the South Pacific through a form of forced recruitment known at the time as "blackbirding". The Australian Labor Party has its origin as a formal organisation in Queensland and the town of Barcaldine is the symbolic birthplace of the party. June 2009 marked the 150th anniversary of its creation as a separate colony from New South Wales.
A rare record of early settler life in north Queensland can be seen in a set of ten photographic glass plates taken in the 1860s by Richard Daintree, in the collection of the National Museum of Australia.