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Australia: kangaroos, Aboriginal and deserts

Australia (Commonwealth of Australia), is the largest state in Oceania and the sixth nation, for surface, in the world, it’s completely surrounded by sea, Australia is washed to the north and east from the Pacific Ocean, and to the south and west by Indian Ocean. The state, a parliamentary monarchy associated with the British Commonwealth, is a federal state composed by six states (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia), two territories (Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory), and the following external territories: Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and by Antarctic Territory. The capital is Canberra, the major cities are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart.

Australia, is geographically divided into three major areas: the immense internal arid and flat area called Outback, the mountain chain from the eastern Great Dividing Range and the Eastern coastline. The Australian coasts, which extent for more than 19,000 km, are very different: along the Great Australian Bight are sometimes flat and sometimes with cliffs; the north coast are full of islands and inlets; along the coast of Queensland, extends for about 2,000 km the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral formation of the world, from 16 to 145 km large. The jagged east and south-east coastal zones, facing the Pacific Ocean, are the most densely populated areas of the country. Tasmania, a large island (67,900 square kilometres) which is located south-east of Australia, has irregular coastline carved by deep bays and numerous islands.

The Great Dividing Range, extends, in the eastern part of the country, parallel to the coast of the Pacific Ocean, from north to south for more than 3,500 km. The highest peaks are located at the southern section of the Great Dividing Range, in the Snowy Mountains part of the Australian Alps, here is the highest peak in Australia, Mount Kosciusko (2,228 metres). Central Australia has some isolated peaks as the MacDonnell Ranges (Mount Zeil, 1,531 meters) and Musgrave Ranges (Mount Woodroffe, 1,435 meters), others isolated peaks lies in Western Australia such as King Leopold Ranges in Kimberley Plateau, Hamersley Range (Mount Meharry, 1,249 meters), Mount Augustus (1,105 metres), Darling Range and Stirling Range. Most of the Australian territory is formed by Outback, an arid zone that extends throughout the territory to the west of the Great Dividing Range. Beyond the Great Dividing Range is the Great Artesian Basin, a broad depression, where there is the greatest depression in Australia, the Lake Eyre (-12 meters).

The interior consists of vast deserts that are part of the Western Australian Shield, among them Simpson Desert, Tanami Desert, Great Sandy Desert, Great Victoria Desert, Nullarbor Plain. Australia is extremely poor of water, the rivers have irregular arrangements, which are subject to heavy flooding and almost absolute dry. Most permanent rivers are located in the eastern part of the continent and in Tasmania, the most humid lands. The main river of Australia is the Murray forming with its tributary Darling a river system 3,750 km long with a basin area of over 1 million sq km, which drains most south-eastern Australia.

The country is mostly desert and semi-desert, but despite this, Australian agriculture produces significant quantities of grains (wheat, barley, oats, corn and rice), sugar cane, cotton and tobacco; are also developed vegetables, fruit (bananas, pineapples, apples, pears) and viticulture. Breeding is another important economic activity, particularly sheep, where Australia is the first productor of wool in the world; lamb, pork and beef are also important. Of little significance are fishing and forestry. Australia is a country rich in mineral resources, are extracted gold, tin, opals, lead, minerals iron, zinc, copper, coal, bauxite, uranium, oil, natural gas, silver, phosphates, tungsten. The industry has among the main sectors steel, mechanical, textile and chemical, the most important industrial areas are located around the larger cities such as Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

  • Area: 7,682,300 sqkm. (Arable 6%, Pastures 53%, Forests and Woodlands 19%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 22%)
  • Population: 21,200,000 (2008 data) (Europeans (English, Irish, Scottish, Italians, Germans) 90%, Asian (Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, Vietnamese) 6%, Aborigines 2%).
  • State Capital: Canberra.
  • Languages: English.
  • Religion: Christian 65% (Catholic 26%, Anglican 19%, Other Christians 20%), Buddhism 2%, Muslim 2%, Hinduism 1%, Jewish 0,5%.
  • Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD).
  • Time: UTC+8 hours to +10.5 hours (Summer (DST) UTC+9 hours to +11.5 hours).

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