All about Australia

Australia

History:

Australia is a country of contrasts. It is as big as the USA without Alaska, but has only 17,1 millions inhabitants. The first humans, who already came 40.000 years ago, were the aboriginal inhabitants from Asia. But its written history began only 200 years ago with the beginning of the colonisation of the continent through the Europeans in the seventeenth century. In 1606 a Dutch ship docked on the west coast and further Dutchs followed, before in the first Brighton William Dampier arrived at the Northwest coast. Only in 1770 captain James Cook from the British marine sighted the east coast of the continent, mapped it out and finally he arrived in Botany Bay. He took possession of the hole east part of the continent for the English crown and named it New South Wales.

Then the loss of the American colonies forced the English to look for other territories for penal colonies and on the 28th of January in 1788 captain Arthur Phillip arrived as the commander of the first fleet in Sidney Bay (today Port Jackson in the heart of Sidney), near Botany Bay. The first white settlers were prisoners with their guards. Then there also came some traders to help with the erection of the new penal colonies.

Extensive expeditions in the nineteenth century led to it that wide territories were discovered for the colonisation and further colonies, which were later developed to the federal states Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales.

The transport of prisoners from England to New South Wales finally stopped in 1840, to Tasmania in 1853 and to West Australia in but the population rashly grew, because there came more and more free settlers which were in the running for richness through gold in New South Wales and Victoria and which were attracted by the opportunity to get land for cultivating. Farming has developed well and the most important economic goods at first were meat, wheat, wool and gold. The meaning of gold winning returns around the turn of the century, but the farming expanded wider and is still a very important part of the Australian economy. 56

The Land:

There are six different states in Australia: Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. There are also two territories: Northern Territory, and Australian Capital Territory, with Canberra, the nation’s capital city, in it. Each Australian state has its own government, and its own capital city. The state capitals are Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide.

Australia has three different climates. North of the Tropic of Capricorn the weather is tropical – hot and wet. In the centre, the climate is very dry, and the land is mainly desert. In the south, it is pleasant, with cool winters and war summers. The four great deserts of central Australia cover 2.000.000 square kilometres of the hole country, which has 7.686.844 square kilometres. A long line of mountains runs from the north to the south of the east coast. It is called the Great Diving Range, because it divides the green, wet coast of eastern Australia from the hot, dry lands in the centre.

The Great Barrier Reef (right) on the coast of Queensland is a garden under the sea. There are 1.400 different kinds of fish, and more than 300 kinds of coral. Tropical fruit and flowers grow on the beautiful island. It’s not surprising that many holiday-makers come to Queensland every year. cuthe Northern Territory you will find the red heart of Australia. And it really is red, with red rocks, red sand and red skies in the evening. Every year, thousands of tourists visit Ayers Rock and a strange group of huge red stones called "the Olgas" (right). But these places are also holy to the Aborigines. They believe that the land itself has life.

Less than a hundred years ago, there was nothing except sheep in Canberra. But then the Australians decided to build a capital city. Work began in 1913. Now, Canberra is an international city, full of diplomats and government offices. It’s a beautiful place, with parks, lakes, big open streets, fine buildings and wonderful flowers in the springtime.

Tasmania, the island south of Australia, is small. It is the same size as England. It is also very different from the other states. There are no deserts in Tasmania. It orains, both in winter and summer. Only half a million people live in Tasmania, and a large part of the island is still covered with wild, beautiful rain forests. These forests are full of wonderful flowers and interesting animal, like the little Tasmania devil.

Sydney is the best known place in New South Wales. In fact, it’s the best known place in Australia. But New South Wales has more than cities. There are, for example, the Blue Mountains (below). They are covered with forests of blue-coloured eucalyptus trees. The air above the forest contains millions of microscopic drops of eucalyptus oil. When the sun shines, the air of the Blue Mountains is a real, beautiful blue.

Population:

The 17,1 millions inhabitants of Australia come from more than 120 countries and they had brought so many different lifestyles, that Australia is one of the richest and most varied multicultural societies in the world. Until the world war the 2nd the inhabitants mainly came from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and only some came from other European countries and Asia. In the last 50 years the population has doubled and immigration has made about 40 % of the increase. Today two fiof all Australians come from a foreign country or at least their ancestors.

The number of the Aborigines counts 160.000. About 140.000 of them live in a town. But in the remote parts of the country they still live a traditional life. The Aborigines were discriminated concerning education, medical providing and apartment standards, but the Australian government has started measures to keep their life and culture. Ayers Rock is their sacred mountain which they themselves call "Uluru".

Language:

English is the main language of Australia. But they also have many own coinages, which are founded in the so-called Aussie-Slang. For example: Sheila means girlfriend, OZ means Australia or Australian and smoko means break. Meanwhile there are even two dictionaries. German and other foreign languages are spoken rarely.

Mineral resources:

Australia is sometimes called "the lucky country". One reason is the wonderful riches under the earth: gold, silver, iron, coal and many precious metals. Oil and natural gas have helped to build big industries. Victoria, the south-eastern state, has a large number of industries. Oil is nor problem for the. The Bass Strait, off the coast of Victoria, has been one of the country’s biggest oil fields for many years.

South Australia is the driest of all the states, but it ?does have? the Murray River. The river brings greenness and life to the state’s south-east corner. In the early days of Australian history, the Murray River was South Australia’s main road. Before real roads and railways came, the river carried people and goods from the coast up into the country. Some towns on the Murray still keep the old river boats, and visitors can ride on them.

There are two kinds of gold in Australia. First, there’s the real kind – the kind that comes out of the ground. Gold was found in Kalgoorlie in 1893, and the "Golden Mile" was for a time the most expensive piece of land in the world. Kalgoorlie still exports some gold, but the new hold of Western Australia is wheat. Big farms grow millions of tones of wheat every year, and wheat has become Australia’s second biggest export.

Sydney – the most beautiful city on earth:

Sydney, say the "Sydneysiders", is the most beautiful city on earth. You can’t believe everything they say, but it’s hard to disagree. Sydney lies in beautiful hills beside one of the best harbours in the world near 60 kilometres of wonderful beaches. It has a perfect Mediterranean climate, fresh sea and exciting people from all over the world. In fact, a quarter of Sydney’s population weren’t even born in Australia.

Sydney is Australia’s oldest city. Captain Cook stopped near here at Botany Bay in 1770. The first Europeans who came to Australia put up their tents at Sydney Cove. Soon the first houses were built, and in only 200 years the city grew from nothing into a home for 3,5 millions people. Despite the history, Sydney is the most modern place in Australia. Its buildings are the highest, its fashions are the newest and its colours are the brightest. A lot of Australia’s exciting cultural life is found in Sydney. Artists, writers, opera singers and film makers all live here. So some people call the city "the Paris of the Pacific". But that doesn’t seem quite right. Paris hasn’t got all that sea, sand, sun and surf.

Sydneysiders, as well as many visitors to Australia, come to Bondi Beach (above) to relax and take a rest. Some of them really relax. Others are too busy – they’re jogging, swimming, or riding the great waves on their surfboards.

Paddington (below) is an area of beautiful houses one hundred years old near the centre of Sydney. The Australians call it "Paddo". For a long time, Paddington was unfashionable, and the houses looked old and dirty. Now it is fashionable again, and the houses have been painted and repaired. "Paddo" is a good place to live in. There’s only one problem. The houses are very expensive.

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