AUSTRALIA (lat. Terra australis = southern earth)
Australia is the 6th largest country in the world. It’s about the same size as the 48 mainland states of USA and 50% larger than Europe, but has the lowest population density in the world – only 2 people per km2(square km).
Australia is made up of 6 states >New South Wales(capital-Sydney), Victoria(Melbourne), Queensland(Brisbane), South Australia(Adelaide), Western Australia(Perth) and Tasmania(Hobart) and 2 territories > the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory. Each state and territory has it’s own parliament, flag and floral emblem. It is a member of the British Commonwealth but in September 17th 1900, Queen Victoria proclaimed it independent. Australia became a federated nation after the union of the six colonies on January 1st 1901.
For more than 50 000 years Australia’s Aboriginal have lived and thrived in A. Today it is believed, that they are the worlds oldest civilization. Nowadays they take only 1,6% of the Australian population.
First A. was called New Holland, because the Dutch first discovered it in 1606. Talk of this mystical land and the riches it held inspired explorers to sail into the unknown. The official discovery of this land is datable in 1770 when Captain James Cook arrived in Botany Bay.
The surface of Australia is mostly flat. It is divided into 3 main parts-deserts (Great Western Plateau), savannah (Central Eastern Lowland) and mountains (Australian Cordilleras). Water –Gulf of Carpentaria in the north, Great Australian Bight in the south. A. is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Ocean. The highest peak of the whole continent is Mt. Kosciusco (2.230 m).
Sydney Harbor Bridge : 1932 opened. It is known as the `coathanger`, 1149 m long, weight-52 800 ton, 6million rivets, 272 000 liters of paint were needed for its initial coat.
Sydney Opera House : A short walk from the Bridge. It is one of the world’s premier performing arts centers. Taking almost 15 years to build, it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth ll in 1973.
The Great Barrier Reef : A.’s most famous natural wonder. It’s as big as the total combined area of the UK and Irland and contains more than 1000 islands from sandy cays to rainforest isles.
Uluru : located in the center of A. Uluru (Ayers Rock) is the worlds biggest monolith. It’s 3.6 km long, 2 km wide and has 9.4 km circumference.
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