LOCATION – Australia is the smallest continent in the world. It is the only country that occupies the whole continent. It is situated in south-east Asia between the Indian Ocean andPacific Ocean.
GEOGRAPHY – The country is mostly flat, except for Great Dividing Range along the eastern coast. There is the highest Australian mountain – Mt. Kosciuszko. /koziosko/
The country has two big rivers – the Murray and the Darling. In central Australia there are three deserts – the Great Sandy Desert, the Gibson Desert and the Great Victoria Desert.
The nearest island is Tasmania, which lies 240 km to the south. Tasmania is famous for its unspoilt natural environment. Along the east coast of Queensland we can see the Great Barrier Reef, which is the biggest coral reef in the world.
WILDLIFE – Australiais famous for its unique wildlife, which evolved to survive the difficult conditions. Typical Australian animals like kangaroo, koala bear, dingo, platypus, Tasmanian devil, wombat, barking and frilled lizards cannot be found elsewhere. Typical Australian fauna is grass and eucalyptus trees.
CLIMATE – The Australian climate varies from warm to subtropical. Deserts in the centre are very dry. The continent is in the southern hemisphere which means thatAustraliahas summer when we have winter and vice versa.
PEOPLE – The main and official language is English. There are about 20 million people. Most population live in the cities on the coast. The density is one of the lowest in the world. Most inhabitants are of the British origin. Australia’s native inhabitants are the Aborigines /áberidženiz/. Aboriginal culture was mostly hunter-gatherer. The Dutch were first to discoverAustralia in the 17 century.
POLITICAL SYSTEM – The official title is the Commonwealth of Australia and it is an independent sovereign state within The Commonwealth of Nations. It is a constitutional monarchy, the head of state is the British Queen and in practise it is the Governor General, who performs all functions in the Queen’s absence. The head of the Government is the Prime Minister.
The Commonwealth of Australia consists of 6 states and 2 territories:New South Wales,Queensland,Victoria,Tasmania,South Australia,Western Australia andNorthern Territory andAustralian Capital Territory.
CITIES – The capital is Canberra, it is a seat of a Parliament. The site of the capital was chosen as a compromise between two largest cities Sydney and Melbourne. The other big cities are Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane; all on the east coast. Sydney is known for its beautiful Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
Melbourneis often called a “Garden City” thanks to its numerous parks and gardens.
FLAG – The Australian flag is dark blue with the flag of theUnited Kingdomin the upper left hand corner. The lower left hand corner contains a seven pointed star – Commonwealth Star. The rest of the flag is a picture of the Southern Cross constellation; it has one small star and four larger stars.
PASTIMES – Cricket is the most popular summer sport, soccer too.Australiahas ideal conditions for surfing and diving too.
FAMOUS PEOPLE – Patrick White the first Australian to win the Nobel Prize for literature, Peter Carey a novelist. Kylie Minoque a world famous singer. Nicole Kidman, Russel Crowe, Mel Gibson are prominent Australian actors.
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