Map of Australia
Australian Flag Coat of Arms
Australia's National Anthem, can be read and heard on this web site.
The world's smallest continent, southeast of Asia between the Pacific and Indian oceans.
A Commonwealth comprising the continent of Australia, the island state of Tasmania, two external territories, and several dependencies. The first British settlement, a penal colony at Fort Jackson (now part of Sydney), was established in 1788. The present-day states grew as separate colonies; six of them formed a federation in 1901. In 1911 Northern Territory joined the Commonwealth and the Capital Territory, site of Canberra, was created. Canberra is the capital and Sydney is the largest city.
Area: 2,966,200 sq. mi., almost as large as the continental U.S. S, Pacific Ocean. (Coral, Tasman seas) is East.
Topography: An island continent. The Great Dividing Range along the East coast has Mt. Kosciusko, 7,310 ft. The W plateau rises to 2,000 ft., with arid areas in the Great Sandy and Great Victoria deserts. The NW part of Western Australia and Northern Territory are arid and hot. The NE has heavy rainfall and Cape York Peninsula has jungles. The Murray River rises in New South Wales and flows 1,600 miles to the Indian Ocean.
Capt. James Cook explored the East coast in 1770, when the continent was inhabited by a variety of different tribes. The first settlers, beginning in 1788, were mostly convicts, soldiers, and government officials. By 1830, Britain had claimed the entire continent, and the immigration of free settlers began to accelerate. The commonwealth was proclaimed Jan. 1, 1901. Northern Territory. was granted limited self-rule July 1, 1978.
Racially discriminatory immigration policies were abandoned in 1973, after 3 million Europeans (half British) had entered since 1945. The 50,000 aborigines and 150,000 part-aborigines are mostly detribalized, but there are several preserves in the Northern Territory. They remain economically disadvantaged.
Australia's agricultural success makes the country among the top exporters of beef, lamb, wool, and wheat. Major mineral deposits have been developed as well, largely for exports. Industrialization has been completed.
Australia harbours many plant and animal species not found elsewhere, including the kangaroo, koalas, platypus, dingo (wild dog), Tasmanian devil (raccoon-like marsupial), wombat (bear-like marsupial), and barking and frilled lizards.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Australian Capital Territory,SE Australia, an enclave within NEW SOUTH WALES containing CANBERRA, the capital of Australia. The site chosen (1908) for the capital was developed by the American architect Walter Burley Griffin, whose plans won (1911) an international competition. Parliament first met there in 1927. The federal government is the city's largest employer. Most of it was ceded to the federal government by New South Wales in 1911 for use as the future capital; a small section on the east coast, at Jervis Bay, was ceded for use as a port in 1915. Settled in 1824, it replaced Melbourne as the capital in 1908. Population. In 1988 the territory gained self-government; Jervis Bay was separated and remained under the administration of the federal government.
Tasmania , island state SE Australia. It is separated from the mainland by Bass Strait and lies 150 mi (240 km) S of the state of Victoria. It is the smallest, wettest, and most mountainous of the Australian states. HOBART is the capital and largest city. The Dutch navigator Abel TASMAN discovered the island and named it Van Diemen's Land in 1642 and renamed in his honor in 1853. Capt. James COOK visited it in 1777, and in 1803 Great Britain took possession and established a penal colony at Hobart. The indigenous population was wiped out in the 19th cent., but a few thousand mixed-race descendants survive. Tasmania became a separate colony in 1825 and was federated as an Australian state in 1901.
Hobart A city of southeast Tasmania, Australia, on an inlet of the Tasman Sea. It was founded in 1804 as a penal colony. Population, 1990 est. pop. 184,000, capital and chief port of Tasmania, SE Australia. Its harbor is one of the world's finest. . Founded in 1804, it is the site of the Hobart Theatre Royal (1836), Australia's oldest major theater.
Queensland, state NE Australia. Almost half of Queensland's residents live in metropolitan BRISBANE, the capital. Originally settled as a penal colony (1824–43, at Moreton Bay), Queensland became a separate colony in 1859 and a federated state of Australia in 1901.
Brisbane city (1991 est. pop. 1,327,000), capital and chief port of Queensland, E Australia, on the Brisbane R., above Moreton Bay. The third largest city in Australia.
Northern Territory, territory N central Australia. DARWIN is the capital, largest city, and chief port. AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES, nearly one fourth of the population, live on 15 reservations totaling 94,000 sq mi (243,460 sq km). The Northern Territory was transferred to direct rule by the Commonwealth in 1911 after being part of NEW SOUTH WALES (1825–63) and SOUTH AUSTRALIA (1863–1911). It became self-governing in 1978, in preparation for eventual statehood.
Darwin , city (1990 est. pop. 73,300), capital of the Northern Territory, N Australia, on an inlet of the Timor Sea. It is the chief port and administrative center for the sparsely settled tropical north coast. Called Palmerston until 1911, it was renamed for Charles DARWIN, who discovered its site in 1839. It has been largely rebuilt since a devastating typhoon in 1974. Kakadu National Park is nearby. A cyclone destroyed Darwin, Australia, December 25, 1974,forcing virtual abandonment of the city.
South Australia, state S central Australia. Most people live in metropolitan ADELAIDE, the capital. Much of the land is desert. South Australia was settled in 1836 as a free (i.e., nonpenal) colony. It became a federated state of Australia in 1901 and transferred its northern areas, now known as the NORTHERN TERRITORY, to the federal government in 1911.
Adelaide , city , capital and chief port of South Australia, at the mouth of the Torrens R., on Gulf St. Vincent. Founded in 1836, it was named for William IV's consort. The biennial Adelaide Festival of the Arts, begun in 1960, is held in the Adelaide Festival Centre (opened 1977). It is also known for its parks. Adelaide is founded in South Australia on a fertile plain that sweeps up from the coast to a line of hills. The town is named for the consort of Britain's William IV (see 1834).
Victoria, state , SE Australia, on the Indian Ocean and the Tasman Sea. MELBOURNE, the capital, and GEELONG are among the major cities. The second-smallest and most densely populated Australian state. The first permanent settlements were established at Portland Bay in 1834 and at Melbourne in 1835. Originally part of NEW SOUTH WALES, Victoria became a separate colony in 1851 and was federated as a state of Australia in 1901.
Melbourne city (1991 est. pop. 3,153,500), capital of Victoria, SE Australia, on Port Phillip Bay, at the mouth of the Yarra R. Settled in 1835, it was the seat of the Australian federal government from 1901 to 1927. The Summer Olympics were held here in 1956. Metropolitan area population, 2,722,817. Australia's second largest city. The city was settled in 1835 and named (1837) for the British prime minister, Lord MELBOURNE. It was the seat of the Australian federal government (1901–27). The population, once primarily British, has changed since World War II with immigration from E and S Europe.
Western Australia, state It is the largest state in Australia, comprising the entire western part of the continent. Only the southwest corner is fertile. Half of the population lives in metropolitan PERTH, the capital. A penal colony was established at Albany in 1826, and a colony of free settlers arrived in the Perth-Fremantle area in 1829. Governed at first by NEW SOUTH WALES, Western Australia received its own governor in 1831. It became a separate colony in 1890 and a federated state of Australia in 1901. Perth is a very isolated city; ADELAIDE, the nearest large city, is c.1,400 mi (2,250 km) away. Settled in 1829, Perth received about 10,000 convict laborers in the 1850s. The Coolgardie gold rush of the 1890s brought an influx of settlers. The Univ. of Western Australia and Murdoch Univ., as well as the Art Gallery of Western Australia, are in the city, and the Kings Park botanical gardens are nearby.
NEW SOUTH WALES
New South Wales, state SE Australia, bounded by the Pacific Ocean (E). The capital is SYDNEY; NEWCASTLE and WOLLONGONG are among the other urban centers. New South Wales was settled in 1788 as a penal colony and until 1825 included all of Australia east of long. 135°E. It became a British colony in 1846 and was federated as a state of Australia in 1901. The AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY, site of CANBERRA, Australia's capital, was ceded (1911, 1915) by New South Wales to the federal government.
Syd·ney A city of southeast Australia on an inlet of the Tasman Sea. The largest city in Australia, it is the country's chief port and main cultural and financial center. Metropolitan area population, 3,698,500, capital of New South Wales, SE Australia, surrounding Port Jackson inlet, on the Pacific Ocean. It is Australia's largest city, chief port, and main cultural and industrial center. Sydney Harbour and Port Botany are the main ports. Founded as a penal colony in 1788, Sydney is Australia's oldest settlement. Its population surged during the Australian gold rushes of the 1850s. Sydney replaced MELBOURNE as the nation's largest population center after World War II. Landmarks include the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932); the Gladesville Bridge (1964); the modernistic Sydney Opera House complex (1973); and the Centrepoint Tower (1981), Australia's tallest building. The city has several universities and museums, including the National Gallery of Art and the Australia Museum. In 1994 portions of suburban Sydney were devastated by wildfires. Sydney was the site of the 2000 summer Olympic games.
CLICK NEXT FOR AUSTRALIAN STATES AND TERRITORIES FLAGS AND FLORAL EMBLEMS