- Official Name: Common Wealth of Australia
- Capital: Canberra
- Location: Southeast of mainland Asia. The island of Australia lies between the Indian Ocean to the west and the South Pacific to the east.
- Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is the head of state, and a prime minister is the head of the government.
- Important Products: Agriculture– sheep, wool, cattle, dairy products, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, barley. Manufacturing– processed foods; iron, steel, and other metals; transportation equipment; paper; household appliances. Mining– bauxite, coal, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, manganese, natural gas, nickel, opals, petroleum, silver, tin, tungsten, uranium, zinc.
History of Australia
Australia was first seen in maps made by Europeans. Mapmakers named the undiscovered place in latin, calling it Terra Australis Incognita– Unknown Southern Land. The exploring nations in Europe rushed for Australia to discover it.
In 1606 a Dutch Ship Duyflken made the earliest recorded discovery of Australia, which came across the west coast of Cape York Peninsula.
In 1642 Captain Abel Tasman, one of the greatest Dutch explorers, proved that Australia was not a part of the Antarctic continent but either an island or a continent. Tasmania, Australia’s island state, and Tasman Sea, part of the Pacific, are named after him.
Captain James Cook landed near the city of Sydney in 1770. Captain cook, the great explorer of the Pacific, sailed into Botany Bay, with his ship, Endeavour, in April. He named it New South Wales and claimed the new land for Great Britain.
Aborigines are people who live in Australia long before white people came. They are native to Australia.
Aborigines are masters at tracking down other people in the outback, and today they are still willing to help people if they are lost.
Today there are about 165,000 Aborigines in Australia. 1% percent of Australia’s population are Aborigines.
There are hardly any Aborigines in the world.
About The Outback
The outback is very different from city life. People, who live in the outback, go to town maybe only once or twice a month. The outback is a sandy dry and hot place. There are a lot of sheep and ranches that can be found there. Each house in the outback needs enormous supplies when shopping. Some farms have gardens where they grow their own food.
When having relatives and friends over for a picnic, they usually have kangaroo races. Many of Australia’s animals live there.
Many Aborigines live in the outback, but there are hardly any more Aborigines in the world.
About 80% of the land mass of Australia is desert.
Great Barrier Reef
On the eastern side of Australia lies the Great Barrier Reef. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the home of many exotic and beautiful fish.
The Great Barrier Reef is 1,250 miles long and covers 80,000 square miles. There are lots of beautiful, tropical islands spread along or between the reef and the mainland.
When the tide is out, you can walk on the reef, with protective gear, and examine many different colors.
It lies at the northeastern part of Australia. This colorful and beautiful reef is visited by many tourists.
It is the largest living organism in the world. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the many prides of Australia.
The Dingo Fence
The Dingo Fence stretches from South Australia through New South Wales to Queensland. It was started in the 1880s to keep dingoes from the north out of sheep-grazing land.
Australia is a country with perhaps the strangest animals in the world: wombat, emu, koala, kangaroo, echidna, platypus, and a possum.
Fun facts about Australia
Australian animals (with pictures)
Lightning Ridge tourist information
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