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Australians, colloquially known as Aussies (), are citizens and nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia, although some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim Australian nationality. Home to people of many different ethnic origins, religious, and national origins, the Australian culture and law does not correspond nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and loyalty to the country. Despite the fact that over half of the citizens descend from the peoples of the British Isles, Australia is a multicultural society and has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population.Many early settlements were penal colonies, and transported convicts (and, later, ex-convicts) made up a significant proportion of the population in most colonies. Large-scale immigration did not occur until the 1850s, following a series of gold rushes. Further waves of immigration occurred after the First and Second World Wars, with many post-World War II migrants coming from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Pacific Islands, Africa, and Latin America. Prior to British settlement, Australia was inhabited by various indigenous peoples – Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal Tasmanians, and Torres Strait Islanders, a Melanesian people. A small percentage of present-day Australians descend from these people
The development of a separate Australian identity and national character is most often linked with the period surrounding the First World War, which gave rise to the concept of the Anzac spirit. The Eureka Rebellion of 1854 and various events of the Second World War, most notably the Kokoda Track campaign, are also frequently mentioned in association with Australian identity. However, Australian culture predates the federation of the Australian colonies by several decades – Australian literature, most notably the work of the bush poets, dates from colonial times. Modern Australian identity draws on a multicultural, European and British cultural heritage.