So you want to know about Australia? Here are some highlights! Also check out the links to other sites about Australia.
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|Australia is the sixth
largest country in the world. Australia is an island,
surrounded by water. It is located on the smallest
continent in the world.
Population: 17.5 million
Geographic size: 2.97 million square miles
Major cities and population: Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide.
|Australia has a very
dramatic landscape. Australia is famous for its
"outback," the remote lands of the interior.
The desert outback covers most of the interior. It is too hot, dry and barren to support many people.
Eastern Australia has large areas of grasslands, used primarily for sheep and cattle ranches.
Australia also has some mountainous areas and plateaus scattered throughout the country. The Blue Mountains, on the south-eastern end of Australia, get their name from the blue haze caused by oil droplets given off from the eucalyptus trees.
As an island, Australia also has many beautiful coastal beaches.
|Over 70% of Australians now live in cities or towns. Most of this population lives in the eastern and southern coasts, and around Perth in the west.|
|Australia is home to many
animals not found anywhere else in the world.
These include the kangaroos, ...
|and the koala.|
|Off the northeast coast of
Australia is the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier
Reef is over 1,200 miles of coral. It has developed over
the last million years, and is now the largest living
structure in the world.
It is home to many sharks and thousands of different types of tropical fish.
major industries are mining and farming. Mining includes
bauxite, coal, copper, gold and iron ore. Most of the
land is too dry for planting crops, although some areas
do grow sugercane, grapes and wheat. The grape vineyards
help to support a growing wine industry. Australia is
probably best known for its sheep farming. Large numbers
of sheep are raised for their wool and meat. There is
also some cattle ranching to provide meat.
In addition, Australia's climate and dramatic scenary have made tourism a major industry.
|The Native Australians, or Aborigines, have lived in Australia for at least 40,000 years. In 1788, the British founded a prison colony on the east coast of Australia, in New South Wales. As more Europeans moved to Australia, the Aborigines were driven from their land. Australia is still part of the British commonwealth.|
|Australia is still heavily influenced by its British and European origins. The Australian government is now making major efforts to preserve Australia's culture, including that of the Aboringines.|
|Much of Australia has a continental climate. The temperatures get hot during the day, then drop considerably at night. Australia is also very arid, getting very little rain.|