LOCATION Australia is an island continent lying southeast of Asia between the Indian Ocean on the west and the Pacific Ocean on the east. The full country name is Commonwealth of Australia. total area is over 7.6 million square kilometers and population reaches 18.6 million inhabitants. It is the world’s 6th largest country. Capital city of Australia is Canberra. The country is divided into 6 states a 2 territories: Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Northern territory and Capital territory. GEOGRAPHY There are two big deserts here: The Great Sandy desert and Great Victoria desert. The country has two big rivers: the Murray and the Darling. The highest point is Mt. Kosciusko (2,228m). There are a number of interesting birds (parrots), spiders, crocodiles and snakes. Endemic animals include the koala, kangaroo, emu, wombat and dingo. The most famous plants are 700 species of eucalypt. The largest cities are Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.
POLITICS The Commonwealth of Australia is an independent self-governing country within the British Commonwealth. It has a federal parliamentary government. Queen Elizabeth II., represented by the governor-general is Head if state. The capital, Canberra, is the seat of the federal parliament which consists of two houses: the Senate and the House of Parliament. The main political parties are Democratic, Labour, Liberal and National.
HISTORY Aboriginal people probably arrived about 40 thousand years ago. The Portuguese, Dutch explored the area in the 17th century. In the 18th century Captain James Cook sailed round the east coast, stopped at Botany Bay and claimed the continent for British and named it New South Wales. The first colony was founded in 1788 and many of the early settlers were British convict. Discovery of gold led to a population boom. The Commonwealth of Australia was created in 1901.
CLIMATE Australian seasons are the antithesis of those in Europe and North America: summer stars in December, autumn in March, winter in June and spring in September. The north lies in tropical, the rest of country in subtropical and mild climate. The outback is hot and dry.
ECONOMY Australia is an important woolgrowing country and ranks as a one of the leading producers of meat and dairy products. Mining plays an important role in the country’s export trade. Principal exported minerals are gold, lead, copper, silver and zinc.
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