Dialing code: +61
Population: 22.68 million (2012) World Bank
Gross domestic product: 1.521 trillion USD (2012) World Bank
Currency : Australian dollar
- Conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
- Conventional short form: Australia
- Australia derives its name from the Latin word “Australis”, meaning Southern.
- Roman legends have often referred to an “unknown land of the south”.
- The Spanish were the first to sail through the Pacific Ocean in 1521.
- The word “Australia” was first used in 1625.
- The Dutch referred to the newly discovered land as “Australische”.
- The name "Australia" was popularized by the 1814 work “A Voyage to Terra Australis” by Matthew Flinders.
- The continent was officially named “Australia” in 1824.
- The Aborigines were the original inhabitants of Australia.
- The Aborigines are believed to have migrated from Southeast Asia.
- Australia was discovered by European explorers in the 17th century.
- The Dutch landed at the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1606.
- The territory came to be known as New Holland in 1616.
- The British reached the continent in 1688.
- Captain James Cook traveled to Australia on a voyage in 1770.
- In 1770, Great Britain took over the land and named it “New South Wales”.
- A British penal colony was set up at Port Jackson in 1788.
- The system of deporting prisoners to the new territory was suspended in 1839.
- By 1859, six colonies were set up by former prisoners and free settlers in different regions.
- Rich agricultural and mineral resources promoted the expansion of settlements.
- The six colonies eventually became individual states.
- In 1901, the states were federated into the Commonwealth of Australia.
- The constitution incorporated British parliamentary and U.S. federal traditions.
- Australia fought alongside Britain during the World War I.
- During the World War II, Australia established close ties with the United States. Immigrants from Asia diversified the ethnic and cultural fabric of the country.
- An Aboriginal movement began in the 1960s.
- The movement contributed towards full citizenship rights and improved education for the country's poorest socioeconomic group.
- In Sept. 1999, Australia led the international peacekeeping force sent to restore order in East Timor.
- In July 2003, Australia successfully restored order to the Solomon Islands.
- 90% of the population is of European descent.
- Majority of the people are of British or Irish ethnic origin.
- The government promotes racial harmony based on a policy of multiculturalism.
- During the 20th century, large number of immigrants migrated from Asia and Oceania.
- Perth, Western Australia is one of the most isolated regional capital cities in the world.
- The Indigenous population—mainland Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders make up for 2.2% of the total population.
- The Aborigines are one of the most underdeveloped and poor communities in Australia.
- In recent years, Australia has experienced a demographic shift towards an older population.
- English is the national language of Australia,
- Australian English has its own distinctive accent and vocabulary.
- 80% of the population speaks English as a mother tongue.
- Chinese, Italian and Greek are spoken by minority communities.
- A considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual.
- Only about 70 of Australian Aboriginal languages have survived of which 20 are now endangered.
- An indigenous language remains the main language for about 0.25% of the population.
- Australia has a sign language known as Auslan which is used by a large number of deaf people.
- Less than 15% of Australians live in rural areas.
- Australia has no state religion.
- 64% of Australians follow Christianity.
- 26% are Roman Catholic and 19% are Anglican.
Government and Politics
- Australia is run by a federal parliamentary democratic government.
- Administrative divisions comprise of 6 states and 2 territories.
- The territories include Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory.
- The six states are New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.
- Dependent areas include Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island and Macquarie Island.
- Australia Day (26 January, 1788) is observed as a national holiday.
- The Constitution was formed on 9 July, 1900.
- It was brought into effect on 1 January 1901.
- The Legal system is based on English common law.
- Australia accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations.
- A hereditary monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) is the chief of state.
- The monarch is represented by the Governor General.
- The prime minister is the head of government.
- The Cabinet ministers are nominated by the prime minister and sworn in by the governor general.
- The governor general is appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister.
- The leader of the majority party or coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general following legislative elections.
- The Legislative branch is represented by a bicameral Federal Parliament consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
- The Judicial branch is represented by the High Court.
- The chief justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general.
Airports in Australia
- Most aspects of Australian culture have Anglo-Celtic origins.
- The isolated environment as well as the indigenous culture contributed to the uniqueness of the culture.
- Modern Australian culture has been strongly influenced by American popular culture.
- Immigrants from Asia and other non-English speaking countries have also contributed to the cultural fabric of Australia.
- Australian literature, cinema, opera, music, painting, theatre, dance, and crafts have achieved international recognition.
- Australian visual arts originated from the cave and bark paintings done by indigenous peoples.
- Landscape has been the predominant theme in Australian art.
- The traditions of indigenous Australians are passed on from one generation to another through storytelling and ceremonies.
- Australian Aboriginal music, dance, and art have a considerable influence on contemporary Australian visual and performing arts.
- The National Gallery of Australia has valuable collections of Australian and overseas artworks.
- Music, ballet, and theatre play an important role in Australian tradition.
- Each state capital has a symphony orchestra and a national opera company.
- Australian music includes classical, jazz, and many popular genres.
- Ballet and dance are represented by The Australian Ballet and various state dance companies.
- Each state has a publicly funded theatre company.
- Australian literature has landscape and the Australian bush as the recurrent themes
- Modern Australian society lays emphasis on egalitarianism, mate-ship, and a perceived anti-authoritarianism.
- Australian English has a distinct pattern of lexical items and phrases.
- The usage of words and pronunciation varies across regions.
- Australian rules football originated in Victoria.
- Australia's film industry has achieved critical and commercial success at international level.
- Sports and outdoor activities play an important part in Australian culture.
- Popular sports include cricket, field hockey, netball, rugby league, and rugby union.
- Other sports include Australian Rules football, horse racing, soccer, and motor racing.
- Australia’s per capita GDP is at par with that of the four dominant West European economies.
- Robust business, consumer confidence, high export prices for raw materials and agricultural products have contributed to economic growth.
- Emphasis on reforms, low inflation, a housing market boom and growing ties with China have also favored economical development.
- In recent years, infrastructure bottlenecks and a tight labor markets have fuelled inflation.
- The GDP (purchasing power parity) as calculated in 2007 was $760.8 billion.
- 4.4% of the total population is unemployed.
- Agricultural products include wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits, cattle, sheep and poultry.
- The main industries are mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals and steel.
- Export commodities include coal, iron ore, gold, meat, wool, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment.
- Import commodities include machinery and transport equipment, office machines and computers, telecommunication equipment and parts; crude oil and petroleum products.
- Telecommunication services are highly developed and modernized.
- There is a significant use of radiotelephone in areas of low population density.
- Mobile cellular services are rapidly gaining popularity.
- There are 262 AM, 345 FM and 1 shortwave radio broadcast stations.
- There are 104 television broadcast stations.
- Internet facilities are widespread and readily available.
- Australia has 461 airports of which 317 have paved runways.
- The railway network covers a distance of 38,550 km.
- Roadways span over a distance of 812,972 km.
- Waterways are 2,000 km long and are mainly used for recreation on Murray and Murray-Darling river systems.
- The merchant marine is equipped with 52 ships.
- The major ports and terminals are located at Brisbane, Dampier, Fremantle, Gladstone, Hay Point, Melbourne, Newcastle, Port Hedland, Port Kembla, Port Walcott and Sydney.
- Education in Australia follows the three-tier model which includes primary, secondary and tertiary education.
- Tertiary education can be pursued at universities and/or TAFE (Technical and Further Education Colleges).
- The Australian education system ranks 8th in the world.
- Education is compulsory up to the age of 15.
- In some states, the age limit for compulsory education extends to 17.
- Post-compulsory education is regulated within the Australian Qualifications Framework.
- School attendance is compulsory throughout the country.
- The adult literacy rate is estimated to be 99%.
- Majorities of the universities receive government funding.
- The country has a state-based system of vocational training.
- About 58% of Australians between the ages of 25 & 64 have vocational or tertiary qualifications.
- 49% of Australians hold a tertiary graduate degree.
- Government schools provide free education.
- Independent schools charge tuition fees and include religious and secular schools.
- All schools follow the same curriculum framework.
- Government or state schools run by the local state or territory government.
- Government schools may be of open or selective types.
- Open schools accept all students from their government defined areas.
- Selective schools admit academically gifted students.
- There are several performing arts and sports schools in Australia.
Australia Related Topics:
Australia Tourist Attractions:
- Sydney Opera House
- Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Great Barrier Reef
- Manly Beach
- Port Jackson
- Melbourne City Centre
- Darling Harbour
- Hunter Region
- Bondi Beach
- Royal Botanic Gardens
Facts about Australia
- Australia is the only country that is also a continent
- Australia was originally called New Holland
Perth is Australia's windiest city
The only continent with no active volcanoes is Australia
'Lonely Planet' for travelers is based in Melbourne Australia
Australia has the largest sheep population
The fastest insect is the Australian dragon fly (its top speed is 57 km/h (35mp/h))
Images Source: pixabay.com