|Commonwealth of Australia|
|National anthem:||Advance Australia Fair|
|About the people|
(# of people)
|Geography / Places|
|map of the world.|
|Politics / Government|
|Leaders:||John Howard -- Prime Minister of Australia|
|Economy / Money|
(Name of money)
|Australian dollar ($)|
|Telephone dialing code:||61|
Australia is a country in the Southern Hemisphere, between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Its official name is the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia is also a continent in the area of Australasia and Oceania.
Australia was separated from the other continents of the world many millions of years ago. Because of this, many animals and plants live in Australia that are not found anywhere else. These include animals like the kangaroo, the koala, the emu, and the platypus.
Australia has been an independent country since January 1, 1901. The first prime minister of Australia was Edmund Barton in 1901. Australia is a member of the United Nations and the Commonwealth. It is a parliamentary democracy.
Australia is a very big country, but the middle of it is mostly desert. Only the areas around the east and south coast have enough rain for farms and cities. Much of the inland is used only for cattle ranching and mining. Australia is the sixth biggest country in the world.
Regions and cities
- See also: List of Cities in Australia
Today Australia has just over 20 million people. Most Australians live in cities along the coast, such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Hobart and Adelaide. The capital city, Canberra, is inland. The largest city is Sydney.
Australia is made up of six states and two territories. Each of these has its own Parliament and makes its own local laws. The Australian Parliament sits in Canberra and makes laws for the whole country. The government is led by the Prime Minister of Australia, who is the member of Parliament chosen as leader. The current Prime Minister is John Howard. He is the leader of a political party called the Liberal Party. The other main party is the Australian Labor Party.
Australia was colonised by people from Britain, but today people from all over the world live there. Australia is multicultural, which means that all its people are helped to keep their different languages and ways of life, while also learning English and joining in with other Australians.
The famous artists, musicians, writers, scientists, soldiers, and sports who are Australian include Patrick White who won a Nobel Prize for his writing, the opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland, the pop singer Kylie Minogue, the cricketer Sir Donald Bradman, the swimmer Ian Thorpe and the athlete Cathy Freeman.
Almost all culture in Australia, films, opera, music, painting, theatre, dance, and crafts — achieve international recognition. From the time of European settlement, a common theme in Australian art has been the Australian landscape. In Australian literature, one can also find very much writings about the Australian landscape. In 1973, Patrick White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the only Australian to have achieved this; he is recognised as one of the great English-language writers of the twentieth century.
Australia has two public broadcasters (the ABC and the multi-cultural SBS), three commercial television networks, three pay TV services, and numerous public, non-profit television and radio stations. Each major city has daily newspapers, and there are two national daily newspapers, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.
Sport plays an important part in Australian culture, assisted by a climate that favours outdoor activities; 23.5% Australians over the age of 15 regularly participate in organised sporting activities. At an international level, Australia has particularly strong teams in cricket, hockey, netball, rugby league, rugby union, and performs well in cycling, rowing and swimming. Nationally, other popular sports include Australian rules football, horse racing, soccer and motor racing. Australia has participated in every summer Olympic Games of the modern era, and every Commonwealth Games. Australia has hosted the 1956 and 2000 Summer Olympics, and has ranked among the top five medal-takers since 2000. Australia has also hosted the 1938, 1962, 1982 and 2006 Commonwealth Games. Other major international events held regularly in Australia include the Australian Open, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, annual international cricket matches and the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. Corporate and government sponsorship of many sports and elite athletes is common in Australia. Televised sport is popular; some of the highest rating television programs include the summer Olympic Games and the grand finals of local and international football competitions.
- Australia Travel Guide User generated guide to Australia.
|Countries and territories of Oceania|
|Australia : Australia · Coral Sea Islands · Norfolk Island|
|Melanesia : East Timor · Fiji · Maluku Islands & Western New Guinea (part of Indonesia) · New Caledonia · Papua New Guinea · Solomon Islands · Vanuatu|
|Micronesia : Guam · Kiribati · Marshall Islands · Northern Mariana Islands · Federated States of Micronesia · Nauru · Palau|
|Polynesia : American Samoa · Cook Islands · French Polynesia · Hawaii · New Zealand · Niue · Pitcairn · Samoa · Tokelau · Tonga · Tuvalu · Wallis and Futuna|