Australia – Population, Fauna and flora, Food
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Australia is the smallest, flattest, driest and least populated continent after Antarctica. It was discovered by James Cook. It consists of six states and two territories. Australia is the only nation to cover the whole continent.
Location: It is situated on the southern hemisphere, surrounded by the Indian and Pacific ocean.
Population: over 23 million people.
Most Australians live in cities along the coast (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide etc.). There are large Greek and Italian communities. Australians are considered to be the greatest consumers of alcohol in the English speaking world.
Original inhabitants: Aborigines - native people in Australia, living in tribes, people with special culture and traditions, religion, (dark skin, curly hair, white teeth)
The largest city is Sydney
The capitalcity is Canberra – meaning “meeting place”.
National flag: blue field with the British Union Jack in the upper left corner, a white federal star and 5 stars of southern cross
Official symbol: kangaroo
Sport: rugby, Australian football, cricket, tennis, swimming
Free time: large number of beaches (New South Wales, Queensland) - people go surfing, swimming, skateboarding etc. There are lots of cinemas, operas, museums, fun parks, exciting nightlife...
Food: mixture of many cuisines
- Australian cooking: outdoor grill, barbecues
Industry and agriculture: rich in raw materials - gold, silver, coal, copper...
mining, breeding of sheep and cattle
textile and engineering industry, machine building, wood working
Main products: wool, dairy products, meat (the biggest explorer of beef), butter, wheat
Main trade partners: Japan, USA, UK
Climate: It has tropical, subtropical, temperate climate. Tropical in the north, continental in the interior and subtropical in the rest of the continent. Seasons are opposite to ours. Two thirds of Australia is desert. It has most extreme climate changes (from extremely wet to extremely dry).
Deserts: The Great Sandy Desert, The Great Victoria Desert
The highest peak: Mt Kosciuszko
The longest river: Murray, Darling
Lakes: the Lake Eyre, the Lake Torrens, the Lake Gairdner
Fauna and flora:
Due to its isolation, Australia has a unique wildlife - you cannot find it anywhere else in the world.
Animals: dolphins, penguins, whales, corals, platypus, koalas, red kangaroos, cockatoos, lyrebirds, most poisonous snakes, crocodiles, poisonous spiders, kiwis and emus, duck-bills, dingoes...
Plants: evergreen plants, eucalyptus, palm trees
Koalas are protected by law. They live in the eucalyptus tree and eat its leaves, containing drug, which makes them sleepy. They sleep 18 hours a day.
Kangaroos - strange animals whose females carry their children in a pouch until they are able to live alone.
Official name: The Commonwealth of Australia
- it is an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations. The head of the state is the British monarch (Queen Elizabeth II.)
Each part of Australia has its own parliament with its own local laws. However, the Parliament of Australia sits in Canberra and makes the laws valid for the whole country.
There are two most important positions within the political sphere:
- The Prime Minister that leads the federal government; with Malcolm Turnbull as the current PM
- The Governor-General appointed by the queen on the advice of the PM (currently Sir Peter Cosgrove) to perform 3 types of duties: constitutional and statutory duties, formal ceremonial duties, and non-ceremonial social duties.
Parliament: consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives
- The Australian Capital Territory ACT - Canberra (it originally meant: the place where people gather- Aboriginal meeting place) – also called the “bush capital” or “kangaroo capital”, because the chances for meeting a kangaroo there in nature reserves or parks in person are extremely high. It is the place of the Parliament House where National Government, the Highest Court and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy have their seats. There is Australian National University and Library.
- New South Wales NSW – Sydney – has several World Heritage Sites. Some of them are Sydney Opera House with the roof in shape of a white sailing ship or Sydney Harbour Bridge known as the “coat hanger”. In Sydney Opera House you can find opera, theatre, ballet or orchestra companies. NSW is the place with the highest peak called Mount Kosciuszko (2228 m) (in Australian Alps), historic wineries, where one can go wine-tasting, and mines full of silver, lead and zinc. Sydney also held Summer Olympic Games in 2000.
- Victoria (the state named after Queen Victoria, when established) – Melbourne – known as multicultural city with rich variety of excellent food and wine. Rainforests, ski resorts, green hills occur there.
- Queensland – Brisbane – Australia´s 3rd largest city. It is the most tropical part - lots of beaches. The state is the home of the Great Barrier Reef – the largest coral reef in the world; the Daintree Rainforest - the oldest rainforest in the world; Fraser Island – a sand island which is the “whale watching” capital of Australia.
- South Australia – Adelaide – the state is known for its festivals, fine wines and Australian football. Adelaide is the only major world city completely surrounded by parklands. At the beginning, Adelaide was founded as a colony for free settlers and no prison was built there, but several years later some were needed.
- Western Australia – Perth – former Boorloo, the most isolated, but the sunniest capital in the world, is unique for the natural beauty and species that occur nowhere else in the world, as well as for the biggest number of self-made millionaires because of the boom in mining industry.
- Tasmania – Hobart. Tasmania is a green island of wild and unspoilt unique fauna and flora. It is a home of infamous Tasmanian Devil – a black dog-sized animal with strong sharp teeth and jaws. This endangered carnivorous animal can only be found here.
- Northern Territory – Darwin as a tropical capital enjoying warm weather all year round. This territory includes Arnhem Land – Australia´s largest Aboriginal reserve; the entry there is by permit only.
Other interesting place: Uluru (Ayers Rock) - listed in UNESCO World Heritage - sacred place for Aborigines
Important Dates/Holidays: January 26
To remember the arrival of the 1st fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales
- called even Invasion Day
National Sorry Day
To remember the mistreatment of the continent´s original population
In 1859 Queen Victoria signed Letters Patent separating the colony from New South Wales
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