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1 Etymology

This article is about the country. For the continent,

see Australia (continent). For other uses, see Australia

Pronounced [stlj, -li] in Australian English,[22] the

name Australia is derived from the Latin australis, meaning southern. The country has been referred to colloquially as Oz since the early 20th century.[N 4] Aussie is a
common colloquial term for Australian. In neighbouring New Zealand, and less commonly in Australia itself,
the noun Aussie is also used to refer to the nation, as
distinct from its residents.[27][28][29] The sporting anthem
C'mon Aussie C'mon is an example of local use of Aussie
as synonym for Australia.[28][30]


Australia /streli/, /-/, or colloquially /-j/,

ofcially the Commonwealth of Australia,[12] is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the worlds sixth-largest country by total area.
Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor
and Papua New Guinea to the north; the Solomon Islands
and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the

Legends of Terra Australis Incognitaan unknown land

of the Southdate back to Roman times and were commonplace in medieval geography, although not based on
any documented knowledge of the continent. Following
European discovery, names for the Australian landmass
were often references to the famed Terra Australis.

For at least 40,000 years[13] before the rst British settlement in the late 18th century,[14][15] Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians,[16] who spoke languages
grouped into roughly 250 language groups.[17][18] After
the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australias eastern half was claimed by Great
Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent
decades; the continent was explored and an additional ve
self-governing crown colonies were established.

The earliest recorded use of the word Australia in English

was in 1625 in A note of Australia del Espritu Santo,
written by Sir Richard Hakluyt, published by Samuel
Purchas in Hakluytus Posthumus, a corruption of the original Spanish name Tierra Austral del Espritu Santo
(Southern Land of the Holy Spirit)[31] for an island in
Vanuatu.[32] The Dutch adjectival form Australische was
used in a Dutch book in Batavia (Jakarta) in 1638, to refer to the newly discovered lands to the south.[33] Australia was later used in a 1693 translation of Les Aventures
de Jacques Sadeur dans la Dcouverte et le Voyage de la
Terre Australe, a 1676 French novel by Gabriel de Foigny,
under the pen-name Jacques Sadeur.[34] Referring to the
entire South Pacic region, Alexander Dalrymple used it
in An Historical Collection of Voyages and Discoveries in
the South Pacic Ocean in 1771. By the end of the 18th
century, the name was being used to refer specically to
Australia, with the botanists George Shaw and Sir James
Smith writing of the vast island, or rather continent, of
Australia, Australasia or New Holland" in their 1793 Zoology and Botany of New Holland,[35] and James Wilson
including it on a 1799 chart.[36]

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Since Federation,
Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary
democracy and constitutional monarchy comprising six
states and several territories. The population of 23.6
million[5] is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated in
the eastern states and on the coast.[19]
Australia is a developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the worlds 12th-largest economy. In 2012 Australia had the worlds fth-highest
per capita income.[20] Australias military expenditure is
the worlds 13th-largest. With the second-highest human
development index globally, Australia ranks highly in
many international comparisons of national performance,
such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political
rights.[21] Australia is a member of the United Nations,
G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),
World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacic Economic Cooperation, and the Pacic Islands Forum.

The name Australia was popularised by the explorer

Matthew Flinders, who pushed for it to be formally
adopted as early as 1804.[37] When preparing his
manuscript and charts for his 1814 A Voyage to Terra
Australis, he was persuaded by his patron, Sir Joseph
Banks, to use the term Terra Australis as this was the
name most familiar to the public. Flinders did so, and
published the following rationale:


There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will
ever be found in a more southern latitude; the
name Terra Australis will, therefore, remain
descriptive of the geographical importance of
this country, and of its situation on the globe: it
has antiquity to recommend it; and, having no
reference to either of the two claiming nations,
appears to be less objectionable than any other
which could have been selected.*[38]
In the footnote Flinders wrote:
* Had I permitted myself any innovation on
the original term, it would have been to convert
it to AUSTRALIA; as being more agreeable to
the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the
other great portions of the earth.[39]
This is the only occurrence of the word Australia in that
text; but in Appendix III, Robert Brown's General remarks, geographical and systematical, on the botany of
Terra Australis, Brown makes use of the adjectival form
Australian throughout,[40] the rst known use of that
form.[41] Despite popular conception, the book was not
instrumental in the adoption of the name: the name came
gradually to be accepted over the following ten years.[42]

Exploration of what was then New Holland by Europeans until

1606 Willem Janszoon
1606 Luis Vez de Torres
1616 Dirk Hartog
1619 Frederick de Houtman
1644 Abel Tasman
1696 Willem de Vlamingh
1699 William Dampier
1770 James Cook
17971799 George Bass
18011803 Matthew Flinders

The rst time that the name Australia appears to have

been ocially used was in a despatch to Lord Bathurst
of 4 April 1817 in which Governor Lachlan Macquarie
acknowledges the receipt of Capt. Flinders charts of
Australia.[43] On 12 December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Oce that it be formally
adopted.[44] In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known ocially as Australia.[45]


Main article: History of Australia

Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years
ago,[46] possibly with the migration of people by land
bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now SouthEast Asia. These rst inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians.[47] At the time of
European settlement in the late 18th century, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers, with a complex oral culture and spiritual values based on reverence
for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime. The Torres
Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, were originally
horticulturalists and hunter-gatherers.[48] The northern Portrait of Captain James Cook, the rst European to map the
coasts and waters of Australia were visited sporadically eastern coastline of Australia in 1770.
by shermen from Maritime Southeast Asia.[49]
The rst recorded European sighting of the Australian Australian continent, are attributed to the Dutch navigamainland, and the rst recorded European landfall on the tor Willem Janszoon. He sighted the coast of Cape York

Peninsula in early 1606, and made landfall on 26 February at the Pennefather River near the modern town of
Weipa on Cape York.[50] The Dutch charted the whole
of the western and northern coastlines and named the island continent "New Holland" during the 17th century,
but made no attempt at settlement.[50] William Dampier,
an English explorer and privateer, landed on the northwest coast of New Holland in 1688 and again in 1699
on a return trip.[51] In 1770, James Cook sailed along
and mapped the east coast, which he named New South
Wales and claimed for Great Britain.[52] With the loss of
its American colonies in 1783, the British Government
sent a eet of ships, the "First Fleet", under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, to establish a new penal
colony in New South Wales. A camp was set up and the
ag raised at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, on 26 January
1788,[15] a date which became Australias national day,
Australia Day although the British Crown Colony of New
South Wales was not formally promulgated until 7 February 1788. The rst settlement led to the foundation of
Sydney, the establishment of farming, industry and commerce; and the exploration and settlement of other regions.

ment, mainly due to infectious disease.[62] A government

policy of assimilation beginning with the Aboriginal
Protection Act 1869 resulted in the removal of many Aboriginal children from their families and communities
often referred to as the Stolen Generationsa practice
which may also have contributed to the decline in the indigenous population.[63] The Federal government gained
the power to make laws with respect to Aborigines following the 1967 referendum.[64] Traditional ownership
of landaboriginal titlewas not recognised until 1992,
when the High Court case Mabo v Queensland (No 2)
overturned the legal doctrine that Australia had been terra
nullius (land belonging to no one) before the European
A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s[66] and
the Eureka Rebellion against mining licence fees in 1854
was an early expression of civil disobedience.[67] Between 1855 and 1890, the six colonies individually gained
responsible government, managing most of their own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire.[68] The
Colonial Oce in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign aairs,[69] defence,[70] and international shipping.

A British settlement was established in Van Diemens

Land, now known as Tasmania, in 1803 and it became
a separate colony in 1825.[53] The United Kingdom formally claimed the western part of Western Australia
(the Swan River Colony) in 1828.[54] Separate colonies
were carved from parts of New South Wales: South
Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, and Queensland in
1859.[55] The Northern Territory was founded in 1911
when it was excised from South Australia.[56] South Australia was founded as a free provinceit was never
a penal colony.[57] Victoria and Western Australia were
also founded free, but later accepted transported convicts.[58][59] A campaign by the settlers of New South
Wales led to the end of convict transportation to that
colony; the last convict ship arrived in 1848.[60]

The Last Post is played at an Anzac Day ceremony in Port Melbourne, Victoria. Similar ceremonies are held in most suburbs
and towns.

On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies was

achieved after a decade of planning, consultation and
voting.[71] The Commonwealth of Australia was established and it became a dominion of the British Empire in 1907. The Federal Capital Territory (later renamed the Australian Capital Territory) was formed in
1911 as the location for the future federal capital of
Canberra. Melbourne was the temporary seat of govPort Arthur, Tasmania was Australias largest prison for reof- ernment from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was being
fending convicts.
constructed.[72] The Northern Territory was transferred
from the control of the South Australian government to
The indigenous population, estimated to have been be- the federal parliament in 1911.[73] In 1914, Australia
tween 750,000 and 1,000,000 at the time European set- joined Britain in ghting World War I, with support from
tlement began,[61] declined for 150 years following settle- both the outgoing Commonwealth Liberal Party and the


incoming Australian Labor Party.[74][75] Australians took

part in many of the major battles fought on the Western
Front.[76] Of about 416,000 who served, about 60,000
were killed and another 152,000 were wounded.[77] Many
Australians regard the defeat of the Australian and New
Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) at Gallipoli as the birth
of the nationits rst major military action.[78][79] The
Kokoda Track campaign is regarded by many as an analogous nation-dening event during World War II.[80]
Britains Statute of Westminster 1931 formally ended
most of the constitutional links between Australia and the
UK. Australia adopted it in 1942,[81] but it was backdated
to 1939 to conrm the validity of legislation passed by the Parliament House, Canberra was opened in 1988, replacing the
Australian Parliament during World War II.[82][83] The provisional Parliament House building opened in 1927.
shock of the United Kingdoms defeat in Asia in 1942
and the threat of Japanese invasion caused Australia to
turn to the United States as a new ally and protector.[84]
Since 1951, Australia has been a formal military ally of
the US, under the ANZUS treaty.[85] After World War
II Australia encouraged immigration from Europe. Since
the 1970s and following the abolition of the White Australia policy, immigration from Asia and elsewhere was
also promoted.[86] As a result, Australias demography,
culture, and self-image were transformed.[87] The nal
constitutional ties between Australia and the UK were
severed with the passing of the Australia Act 1986, ending any British role in the government of the Australian
States, and closing the option of judicial appeals to the
Privy Council in London.[88] In a 1999 referendum, 55%
of voters and a majority in every state rejected a proposal to become a republic with a president appointed by
a two-thirds vote in both Houses of the Australian Parliament. Since the election of the Whitlam Government
in 1972,[89] there has been an increasing focus in foreign
policy on ties with other Pacic Rim nations, while maintaining close ties with Australias traditional allies and
trading partners.[90]


Main articles: Government of Australia, Politics of Australia and Monarchy of Australia

Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a federal
division of powers. It uses a parliamentary system of
government[91] with Queen Elizabeth II at its apex as the
Queen of Australia, a role that is distinct from her position as monarch of the other Commonwealth realms.
The Queen resides in the United Kingdom, and she is
represented by her viceroys in Australia (the GovernorGeneral at the federal level and by the Governors at the
state level), who by convention act on the advice of her
ministers. Supreme executive authority is vested by the
Constitution of Australia in the sovereign, but the power
to exercise it is conferred by the Constitution specically on the Governor-General.[92][93] The most notable
exercise to date of the Governor-Generals reserve pow-

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

ers outside the Prime Ministers request was the dismissal

of the Whitlam Government in the constitutional crisis of
The federal government is separated into three branches:
The legislature: the bicameral Parliament, dened
in section 1 of the constitution as comprising the
Queen (represented by the Governor-General), the
Senate, and the House of Representatives;
The executive: the Federal Executive Council, in
practice the Governor-General as advised by the

Prime Minister and Ministers of State;[95]

parties have achieved representation in Australian parliaments, mostly in upper houses.

The judiciary: the High Court of Australia and other

federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Within Australian political culture, the Coalition is considered centre-right and the Labor Party is considered
Governor-General on advice of the Council.
centre-left. Queensland in particular, along with Western Australia and the Northern Territory, are regarded as
comparatively conservative.[104][105][106][107][108][109][110]
Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian
Capital Territory are regarded as comparatively socially
liberal.[106][110][111][112][113] New South Wales has often been regarded as a politically moderate bellwether
Following a partyroom leadership challenge, Julia Gillard
became the rst female Prime Minister in June 2010.[114]
The most recent federal election was held on 7 September 2013 and resulted in a majority government for the
Coalition with Liberal Party of Australia leader Tony Abbott as Prime Minister-elect. He was sworn into oce by
the Governor-General of Australia on 18 September.
Government House, Canberra, also known as Yarralumla, is
the ocial residence of the Governor-General.

In the Senate (the upper house), there are 76 senators:

twelve each from the states and two each from the mainland territories (the Australian Capital Territory and the
Northern Territory).[96] The House of Representatives
(the lower house) has 150 members elected from singlemember electoral divisions, commonly known as electorates or seats, allocated to states on the basis of
population,[97] with each original state guaranteed a minimum of ve seats.[98] Elections for both chambers are
normally held every three years, simultaneously; senators
have overlapping six-year terms except for those from the
territories, whose terms are not xed but are tied to the
electoral cycle for the lower house; thus only 40 of the
76 places in the Senate are put to each election unless the
cycle is interrupted by a double dissolution.[96]
Australias electoral system uses preferential voting for all
lower house elections with the exception of Tasmania and
the ACT which, along with the Senate and most state upper houses, combine it with proportional representation
in a system known as the single transferable vote. Voting
is compulsory for all enrolled citizens 18 years and over in
every jurisdiction,[99] as is enrolment (with the exception
of South Australia).[100] The party with majority support
in the House of Representatives forms the government
and its leader becomes Prime Minister. In cases where
no party has majority support, the Governor-General has
the constitutional power to appoint the Prime Minister
and, if necessary, dismiss one that has lost the condence
of Parliament.[101]
There are two major political groups that usually form
government, federally and in the states: the Australian
Labor Party and the Coalition which is a formal grouping
of the Liberal Party and its minor partner, the National
Party.[102][103] Independent members and several minor

4 States and territories

Main article: States and territories of Australia
A clickable map of Australias states and mainland
Australia has six statesNew South Wales (NSW),
Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA), Tasmania
(TAS), Victoria (VIC) and Western Australia (WA)
and two major mainland territoriesthe Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT). In
most respects these two territories function as states, but
the Commonwealth Parliament can override any legislation of their parliaments. By contrast, federal legislation
overrides state legislation only in areas that are set out
in Section 51 of the Australian Constitution; state parliaments retain all residual legislative powers, including
those over schools, state police, the state judiciary, roads,
public transport and local government, since these do not
fall under the provisions listed in Section 51.[115]
Each state and major mainland territory has its own
parliamentunicameral in the Northern Territory, the
ACT and Queenslandand bicameral in the other states.
The states are sovereign entities, although subject to certain powers of the Commonwealth as dened by the Constitution. The lower houses are known as the Legislative
Assembly (the House of Assembly in South Australia and
Tasmania); the upper houses are known as the Legislative
Council. The head of the government in each state is
the Premier and in each territory the Chief Minister.
The Queen is represented in each state by a Governor;
and in the Northern Territory, the Administrator.[116] In
the Commonwealth, the Queens representative is the


The federal parliament directly administers the following

Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Australian Antarctic Territory
Christmas Island
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Coral Sea Islands
Heard Island and McDonald Islands

Australian Army soldiers conducting a foot patrol during a joint

Jervis Bay Territory, a naval base and sea port for training exercise with US forces in Shoalwater Bay (2007).
the national capital in land that was formerly part of
New South Wales
Trade Area, and the Trans-Pacic Strategic Economic
Norfolk Island is also technically an external territory;
however, under the Norfolk Island Act 1979 it has been Along with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Malaysia
granted more autonomy and is governed locally by its and Singapore, Australia is party to the Five Power Deown legislative assembly. The Queen is represented by fence Arrangements, a regional defence agreement. A
founding member country of the United Nations, Ausan Administrator.[118]
tralia is strongly committed to multilateralism[132] and
Macquarie Island is administered by Tasmania, and Lord
maintains an international aid program under which some
Howe Island by New South Wales.
60 countries receive assistance. The 200506 budget
provides A$2.5 billion for development assistance.[133]
Australia ranks seventh overall in the Center for Global
5 Foreign relations and military
Development's 2008 Commitment to Development Index.[134]
Main articles: Foreign relations of Australia and
Australias armed forcesthe Australian Defence Force
Australian Defence Force
(ADF)comprise the Royal Australian Navy (RAN),
the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force
Over recent decades, Australias foreign relations have (RAAF), in total numbering 80,561 personnel (includbeen driven by a close association with the United States ing 55,068 regulars and 25,493 reservists).[135] The titular
through the ANZUS pact, and by a desire to develop re- role of Commander-in-Chief is vested in the Governorlationships with Asia and the Pacic, particularly through General, who appoints a Chief of the Defence Force
ASEAN and the Pacic Islands Forum. In 2005 Australia from one of the armed services on the advice of the
secured an inaugural seat at the East Asia Summit follow- government.[136] Day-to-day force operations are under
ing its accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation the command of the Chief, while broader administration
in Southeast Asia, and in 2011 attended the Sixth East and the formulation of defence policy is undertaken by
Asia Summit in Indonesia. Australia is a member of the the Minister and Department of Defence.
Commonwealth of Nations, in which the Commonwealth
In the 201011 budget, defence spending was A$25.7
Heads of Government meetings provide the main forum
billion,[137] representing the 13th largest defence budfor co-operation.[119]
get.[138] Australia has been involved in UN and regional
Australia has pursued the cause of international trade lib- peacekeeping, disaster relief and armed conict, includeralisation.[120][121][122] It led the formation of the Cairns ing the 2003 invasion of Iraq; it currently has deployed
Group and Asia-Pacic Economic Cooperation.[123][124] about 3,330 defence force personnel in varying capaciAustralia is a member of the Organisation for Economic ties to 12 international operations in areas including East
Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Or- Timor, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.[139]
ganization,[125][126] and has pursued several major bilateral free trade agreements, most recently the Australia
United States Free Trade Agreement[127] and Closer
Economic Relations with New Zealand,[128] with another 6 Geography and climate
free trade agreement being negotiated with Chinathe
AustraliaChina Free Trade Agreementand Japan,[129] Main articles: Geography of Australia, Climate of AusSouth Korea in 2011,[130][131] AustraliaChile Free Trade tralia and Geology of Australia
Agreement, ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Australias landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres

Everlastings on Mount Hotham, located in Victoria

Climatic zones in Australia, based on the Kppen climate classication.

itants per square kilometre, is among the lowest in the

world,[157] although a large proportion of the population
lives along the temperate south-eastern coastline.[158]

(2,941,300 sq mi)[140] is on the Indo-Australian Plate.

Surrounded by the Indian and Pacic oceans,[N 5] it is separated from Asia by the Arafura and Timor seas, with
the Coral Sea lying o the Queensland coast, and the
Tasman Sea lying between Australia and New Zealand.
The worlds smallest continent[142] and sixth largest country by total area,[143] Australiaowing to its size and
isolationis often dubbed the island continent,[144] and
is sometimes considered the worlds largest island.[145]
Australia has 34,218 kilometres (21,262 mi) of coastline
(excluding all oshore islands),[146] and claims an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone of 8,148,250 square kilometres (3,146,060 sq mi). This exclusive economic zone
does not include the Australian Antarctic Territory.[147]
Apart from Macquarie Island, Australia lies between latitudes 9 and 44S, and longitudes 112 and 154E.

Eastern Australia is marked by the Great Dividing Range,

which runs parallel to the coast of Queensland, New
South Wales and much of Victoria. The name is not
strictly accurate, because parts of the range consist of
low hills, and the highlands are typically no more than
1,600 metres (5,249 ft) in height.[159] The coastal uplands and a belt of Brigalow grasslands lie between the
coast and the mountains, while inland of the dividing
range are large areas of grassland.[159][160] These include the western plains of New South Wales, and the
Einasleigh Uplands, Barkly Tableland, and Mulga Lands
of inland Queensland. The northernmost point of the
east coast is the tropical-rainforested Cape York Peninsula.[161][162][163][164]

The Great Barrier Reef, the worlds largest coral reef,[148]

lies a short distance o the north-east coast and extends
for over 2,000 kilometres (1,240 mi). Mount Augustus,
claimed to be the worlds largest monolith,[149] is located
in Western Australia. At 2,228 metres (7,310 ft), Mount
Kosciuszko on the Great Dividing Range is the highest
mountain on the Australian mainland. Even taller are
Mawson Peak (at 2,745 metres or 9,006 feet), on the
remote Australian territory of Heard Island, and, in the
Australian Antarctic Territory, Mount McClintock and
Mount Menzies, at 3,492 metres (11,457 ft) and 3,355
metres (11,007 ft) respectively.[150]
Australias size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with
tropical rainforests in the north-east, mountain ranges in
the south-east, south-west and east, and dry desert in the
centre.[151] It is the attest continent,[152] with the oldest and least fertile soils;[153][154] desert or semi-arid land
commonly known as the outback makes up by far the
largest portion of land.[155] The driest inhabited continent, its annual rainfall averaged over continental area is
less than 500 mm.[156] The population density, 2.8 inhab-

Topographic map of Australia

The landscapes of the Top End and the Gulf Country

with their tropical climateinclude forest, woodland,
wetland, grassland, rainforest and desert.[165][166][167] At
the north-west corner of the continent are the sand-


stone clis and gorges of The Kimberley, and below

that the Pilbara. To the south of these and inland, lie
more areas of grassland: the Ord Victoria Plain and
the Western Australian Mulga shrublands.[168][169][170] At
the heart of the country are the uplands of central Australia. Prominent features of the centre and south include
Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), the famous sandstone monolith, and the inland Simpson, Tirari and Sturt
Stony, Gibson, Great Sandy, Tanami, and Great Victoria
deserts, with the famous Nullarbor Plain on the southern
The climate of Australia is signicantly inuenced
by ocean currents, including the Indian Ocean Dipole
and the El NioSouthern Oscillation, which is correlated with periodic drought, and the seasonal tropical
low-pressure system that produces cyclones in northern
Australia.[175][176] These factors cause rainfall to vary
markedly from year to year. Much of the northern part
of the country has a tropical, predominantly summer- The koala and the eucalyptus form an iconic Australian pair.
rainfall (monsoon) climate.[177] The southwest corner of
the country has a Mediterranean climate.[178] Much of the
the Australian megafauna; others have disappeared since
southeast (including Tasmania) is temperate.[177]
European settlement, among them the thylacine.[186][187]


Main article: Environment of Australia

See also: Fauna of Australia, Flora of Australia and
Fungi of Australia
Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert,
it includes a diverse range of habitats from alpine
heaths to tropical rainforests, and is recognised as a
megadiverse country. Fungi typify that diversity; an estimated 250,000 speciesof which only 5% have been
describedoccur in Australia.[179] Because of the continents great age, extremely variable weather patterns, and
long-term geographic isolation, much of Australias biota
is unique and diverse. About 85% of owering plants,
84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of
in-shore, temperate-zone sh are endemic.[180] Australia
has the greatest number of reptiles of any country, with
755 species.[181]

Many of Australias ecoregions, and the species within

those regions, are threatened by human activities
and introduced animal, chromistan, fungal and plant
species.[188] All these factors have led to Australia having the highest mammal extinction rate of any country in the world.[189] The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is the legal
framework for the protection of threatened species.[190]
Numerous protected areas have been created under the
National Strategy for the Conservation of Australias
Biological Diversity to protect and preserve unique
ecosystems;[191][192] 65 wetlands are listed under the
Ramsar Convention,[193] and 16 natural World Heritage
Sites have been established.[194] Australia was ranked
3rd out of 178 countries in the world on the 2014
Environmental Performance Index.[195]
Protection of the environment is also a major political
issue.[196][197] In 2007, the First Rudd Government signed
the instrument of ratication of the Kyoto Protocol. Nevertheless, Australias carbon dioxide emissions per capita
are among the highest in the world, lower than those
of only a few other industrialised nations.[198] Rainfall
in Australia has slightly increased over the past century,
both nationwide and for two quadrants of the nation.[199]
According to the Bureau of Meteorology's 2011 Australian Climate Statement, Australia had lower than average temperatures in 2011 as a consequence of a La Nia
weather pattern, however, the countrys 10-year average
continues to demonstrate the rising trend in temperatures,
with 20022011 likely to rank in the top two warmest 10year periods on record for Australia, at 0.52 C above the
long-term average.[200]

Australian forests are mostly made up of evergreen

species, particularly eucalyptus trees in the less arid regions, wattles replace them in drier regions and deserts
as the most dominant species.[182] Among well-known
Australian animals are the monotremes (the platypus and
echidna); a host of marsupials, including the kangaroo,
koala, and wombat, and birds such as the emu and the
kookaburra.[182] Australia is home to many dangerous animals including some of the most venomous snakes in
the world.[183] The dingo was introduced by Austronesian
people who traded with Indigenous Australians around
3000 BCE.[184] Many animal and plant species became Water restrictions are frequently in place in many reextinct soon after rst human settlement,[185] including gions and cities of Australia in response to chronic

shortages due to urban population increases and localised drought.[201][202] Throughout much of the continent, major ooding regularly follows extended periods
of drought, ushing out inland river systems, overowing
dams and inundating large inland ood plains, as occurred
throughout Eastern Australia in 2010, 2011 and 2012 after the 2000s Australian drought.


and rst in Legatum's 2008 Prosperity Index.[9] All of

Australias major cities fare well in global comparative
livability surveys;[211] Melbourne reached rst place on
The Economist's 2011,[212] 2012[213] and 2013 worlds
most liveable cities lists, followed by Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth in the fth, seventh, and ninth places
respectively.[214] Total government debt in Australia is
about $190 billion[215] 20% of GDP in 2010.[216] Australia has among the highest house prices and some of the
highest household-debt levels in the world.[217]

Main article: Economy of Australia

See also: Economic history of Australia, Median
household income in Australia and New Zealand and
Transport in Australia
Australia is a wealthy country; it generates its
100 Australian exports in 2006 shown
as a percentage of the top market
(Japan - A$32,425,000,000)

Destination and value of Australian exports in 2006[218]

The Super Pit gold mine in Kalgoorlie, Australias largest open

cut mine.[203]

income from various sources including miningrelated exports, telecommunications, banking and
manufacturing.[204][205][206] It has a market economy, a
relatively high GDP per capita, and a relatively low rate
of poverty. In terms of average wealth, Australia ranked
second in the world after Switzerland in 2013, although
the nations poverty rate increased from 10.2 per cent
to 11.8 per cent, from 2000/01 to 2013.[207][208] It was
identied by the Credit Suisse Research Institute as the
nation with the highest median wealth in the world and
the second-highest average wealth per adult in 2013.[207]

An emphasis on exporting commodities rather than manufactured goods has underpinned a signicant increase in
Australias terms of trade since the start of the 21st century, due to rising commodity prices. Australia has a balance of payments that is more than 7% of GDP negative,
and has had persistently large current account decits for
more than 50 years.[219] Australia has grown at an average annual rate of 3.6% for over 15 years, in comparison
to the OECD annual average of 2.5%.[219] Australia was
the only advanced economy not to experience a recession
due to the global nancial downturn in 20082009.[220]
However, the economies of six of Australias major trading partners have been in recession, which in turn has
aected Australia, signicantly hampering its economic
growth in recent years.[221][222] From 2012 to early 2013,
Australias national economy grew, but some non-mining
states and Australias non-mining economy experienced
a recession.[223][224][225]
The Hawke Government oated the Australian dollar in 1983 and partially deregulated the nancial
system.[226] The Howard Government followed with a
partial deregulation of the labour market and the further privatisation of state-owned businesses, most notably
in the telecommunications industry.[227] The indirect tax
system was substantially changed in July 2000 with the introduction of a 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST).[228]
In Australias tax system, personal and company income
tax are the main sources of government revenue.[229]

The Australian dollar is the currency for the nation, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and
Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacic Island
states of Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu. With the 2006
merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney
Futures Exchange, the Australian Securities Exchange In May 2012, there were 11,537,900 people employed
became the ninth largest in the world.[209]
(either full- or part-time), with an unemployment rate
Ranked third in the Index of Economic Freedom of 5.1%.[230] Youth unemployment (1524) stood at
(2010),[210] Australia is the worlds twelfth largest econ- 11.2%.[230] Data released in mid-November 2013 showed
omy and has the fth highest per capita GDP (nom- that the number of welfare recipients had grown by 55%.
inal) at $66,984. The country was ranked second in In 2007 228,621 Newstart unemployment allowance rethe United Nations 2011 Human Development Index cipients were registered, a total that increased to 646,414



Australia is the worlds fourth largest exporter of wine. The

Barossa Valley is a major wine-producing region in South Australia.

in March 2013.[231]

Nearly three quarters of Australians live in metropolitan cities

and coastal areas. The beach is an integral part of the Australian

inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world.[157] As such, Australians have more living space per person than the inhabitants of any other nation, with average dwelling sizes well over double those of
Western Europe.[242] Aside from natural increases, Australias population growth has also stemmed from over
two centuries of immigration. Following World War II
and through to 2000, almost 5.9 million of the total population settled in the country as new immigrants, meaning
that nearly two out of every seven Australians were born
in another country.[243] Most immigrants are skilled,[244]
but the immigration quota includes categories for family
members and refugees.[244] By 2050, Australias population is currently projected to reach around 42 million.[245]

Over the past decade, ination has typically been 23%

and the base interest rate 56%. The service sector of
the economy, including tourism, education, and nancial
services, accounts for about 70% of GDP.[232] Rich in
natural resources, Australia is a major exporter of agricultural products, particularly wheat and wool, minerals
such as iron-ore and gold, and energy in the forms of
liquied natural gas and coal. Although agriculture and
natural resources account for only 3% and 5% of GDP
respectively, they contribute substantially to export performance. Australias largest export markets are Japan,
China, the US, South Korea, and New Zealand.[233] Australia is the worlds fourth largest exporter of wine, and
the wine industry contributes $5.5 billion per year to the In 2011, 24.6% of Australians were born elsewhere
and 43.1% of people had at least one overseas-born
nations economy.[234]
parent;[246] the largest immigrant groups were those from
the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, India, Italy,
Vietnam, and Philippines.[247]


Main articles: Demographics of Australia, Immigration

to Australia and List of cities in Australia by population
For almost two centuries the majority of settlers, and
later immigrants, came from the British Isles. As a
result the people of Australia are primarily of British
and/or Irish ethnic origin. The 2011 Census asked respondents to provide a maximum of two ancestries with
which they most closely identify. The most commonly
nominated ancestry was English (36.1%), followed by
Australian (35.4%),[236] Irish (10.4%), Scottish (8.9%),
Italian (4.6%), German (4.5%), Chinese (4.3%), Indian
(2.0%), Greek (1.9%), and Dutch (1.7%).[237] Because
Australias census doesn't ask for racial background, it
is unclear how many Australians are descendants of
Europeans. Estimates vary from 85% - 92%.[238][239]
Asian Australians make up 12% of the population.[240]

Over 80 percent of Australias population is of European ancestry, and most of the rest are of Asian heritage, with a smaller minority of Indigenous background.
Following the abolition of the White Australia policy in
1973, numerous government initiatives have been established to encourage and promote racial harmony based
on a policy of multiculturalism.[248] In 200506, more
than 131,000 people emigrated to Australia, mainly from
Asia and Oceania.[249] The migration target for 201213
is 190,000,[250] compared to 67,900 in 199899.[251]

The rural population of Australia in 2012 was 2,420,731

(10.66% of the total population).[252] The Indigenous
populationAborigines and Torres Strait Islanderswas
counted at 548,370 (2.5% of the total population) in
2011,[253] a signicant increase from 115,953 in the 1976
census.[254] The increase is partly due to many people
with Indigenous heritage previously having been overlooked by the census due to undercount and cases where
Australias population has quadrupled since the end of their Indigenous status had not been recorded on the
World War I.[241] Nevertheless, its population density, 2.8 form.




Indigenous Australians experience higher than average

rates of imprisonment and unemployment, lower levels
of education, and life expectancies for males and females
that are 1117 years lower than those of non-indigenous
Australians.[233][255][256] Some remote Indigenous communities have been described as having "failed state"-like

any religious observance, or prohibit the free exercise

of any religion.[274] In the 2011 census, 61.1% of Australians were counted as Christian, including 25.3% as
Roman Catholic and 17.1% as Anglican; 22.3% of the
population reported having "no religion"; 7.2% identify
with non-Christian religions, the largest of these being
Buddhism (2.5%), followed by Islam (2.2%), Hinduism
of the
In common with many other developed countries, Aus- (1.3%) and Judaism (0.5%). The remaining 9.4%
population did not provide an adequate answer.[247]
tralia is experiencing a demographic shift towards an
older population, with more retirees and fewer people of Before European settlement, the animist beliefs of Ausworking age. In 2004, the average age of the civilian pop- tralias indigenous people had been practised for many
ulation was 38.8 years.[262] A large number of Australians thousands of years. Mainland Aboriginal Australians',
(759,849 for the period 200203;[263] 1 million or 5% of spirituality is known as the Dreamtime and it places a
the total population in 2005[264] ) live outside their home heavy emphasis on belonging to the land. The collection
of stories that it contains shaped Aboriginal law and cuscountry.
toms. Aboriginal art, story and dance continue to draw
on these spiritual traditions. The spirituality and customs
9.1 Language
of Torres Strait Islanders, who inhabit the islands between
Australia and New Guinea, reected their Melanesian oriMain article: Languages of Australia
gins and dependence on the sea. The 1996 Australian
census counted more than 7000 respondents as followers
Although Australia has no ocial language, English of a traditional Aboriginal religion.
has always been entrenched as the de facto national
language.[2] Australian English is a major variety of the
language with a distinctive accent and lexicon,[266] and
diers slightly from other varieties of English in grammar
and spelling.[267] General Australian serves as the standard dialect. According to the 2011 census, English is
the only language spoken in the home for close to 81%
of the population. The next most common languages
spoken at home are Mandarin (1.7%), Italian (1.5%),
Arabic (1.4%), Cantonese (1.3%), Greek (1.3%), and
Vietnamese (1.2%);[247] a considerable proportion of
rst- and second-generation migrants are bilingual. A
20102011 study by the Australia Early Development Index found the most common language spoken by children after English was Arabic, followed by Vietnamese,
Greek, Chinese, and Hindi.[268][269]
Over 250 Indigenous Australian languages are thought
to have existed at the time of rst European contact,
of which less than 20 are still in daily use by all age
groups.[270][271] About 110 others are spoken exclusively
by older people.[271] At the time of the 2006 census,
52,000 Indigenous Australians, representing 12% of the
Indigenous population, reported that they spoke an Indigenous language at home.[272] Australia has a sign language known as Auslan, which is the main language of
about 5,500 deaf people.[273]



Main article: Religion in Australia

St Marys Catholic Cathedral, Sydney, built to a design by

William Wardell. About a quarter of Australians are Roman

Since the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in 1788,

Australia has no state religion; Section 116 of the Christianity has grown to be the major religion practised
Australian Constitution prohibits the federal government in Australia. Christian churches have played an integral
from making any law to establish any religion, impose role in the development of education, health and wel-




fare services in Australia. For much of Australian history the Church of England (now known as the Anglican
Church of Australia) was the largest religious aliation.
However, multicultural immigration has contributed to a
decline in its relative position, and the Roman Catholic
Church has benetted from recent immigration to become the largest group. Similarly, Islam, Buddhism,
Hinduism and Judaism have all grown in Australia over
the past half-century.[276]

The OECD places Australia among the most expensive nations to attend university.[293] There is a statebased system of vocational training, known as TAFE,
and many trades conduct apprenticeships for training new
tradespeople.[294] About 58% of Australians aged from
25 to 64 have vocational or tertiary qualications,[233] and
the tertiary graduation rate of 49% is the highest among
OECD countries. The ratio of international to local students in tertiary education in Australia is the highest in
A survey by the Bertelsmann Foundation found that Aus- the OECD countries.
tralia is one of the least religious nations in the western
world, coming in 17th out of 21 [countries] surveyed
9.4 Health
and that Nearly three out of four Australians say they are
either not at all religious or that religion does not play a
See also: Health care in Australia
central role in their lives.[277] While weekly attendance at
church services in 2001 was about 1.5 million
7.8% of the population),[279] a survey of 1,718 Aus- Australia has the fourth highest life expectancy in the
tralians by the Christian Research Association at the end world after Iceland, Japan and Hong Kong.[296] Life exof 2009 suggested that the number of people attending pectancy in Australia in 2010 was 79.5 years for males
religious services per month in Australia dropped from and 84.0 years for females.[297] Australia has the high23% in 1993 to 16% in 2009, and while 60% of 15 to est rates of skin cancer in the world,[298] while cigarette
29-year-old respondents in 1993 identied with Christian smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and
disease, responsible for 7.8% of the total mortality
denominations, 33% did in 2009.[280]
and disease. Ranked second in preventable causes is
hypertension at 7.6%, with obesity third at 7.5%.[299][300]
Australia ranks 35th in the world[301] and near the top of
9.3 Education
developed nations for its proportion of obese adults.[302]
Main article: Education in Australia
School attendance, or registration for home
schooling,[281][282] is compulsory throughout Australia. Education is the responsibility of the individual
states and territories[283] so the rules vary between states,
but in general children are required to attend school
from the age of about 5 up until about 16.[284][285] In
some states (e.g., WA,[286] NT[287] & NSW[288][289] ),
children aged 1617 are required to either attend
school or participate in vocational training, such as an
Australia has an adult literacy rate that was estimated
to be 99% in 2003.[290] However, a 201112 report for
the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that Tasmania has a literacy and numeracy rate of only 50%.[291]
In the Programme for International Student Assessment,
Australia regularly scores among the top ve of thirty
major developed countries (member countries of the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Catholic education accounts for the largest nongovernment sector.

Total expenditure on health (including private sector

spending) is around 9.8% of GDP.[303] Australia introduced universal health care in 1975.[304] Known as
Medicare, it is now nominally funded by an income
tax surcharge known as the Medicare levy, currently set
at 1.5%.[305] The states manage hospitals and attached
outpatient services, while the Commonwealth funds the
Pharmaceutical Benets Scheme (subsidising the costs of
medicines) and general practice.[304]

10 Culture

Main article: Culture of Australia

Since 1788, the basis of Australian culture has
been strongly inuenced by Anglo-Celtic Western culture.[307][308] Distinctive cultural features have also arisen
from Australias natural environment and Indigenous
cultures.[309][310] Since the mid-20th century, American
popular culture has strongly inuenced Australia, particularly through television and cinema.[311] Other cultural inuences come from neighbouring Asian countries,
and through large-scale immigration from non-EnglishAustralia has 37 government-funded universities and two speaking nations.[311][312]
private universities, as well as a number of other specialist institutions that provide approved courses at the higher
education level.[292] The University of Sydney is Aus- 10.1 Arts
tralias oldest university, having been founded in 1850.
Other notable universities include those of the Group of Main articles: Australian art, Theatre of Australia and
Eight leading tertiary institutions.
Dance in Australia



collections.[323] Australia has one of the worlds highest
attendances of art galleries and museums per head of
populationfar more than Britain or America.[324]

The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne was the rst building

in Australia to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in

Australian visual arts are thought to have begun with the

cave paintings, rock engravings and body painting of its
Indigenous peoples. The traditions of Indigenous Australians are largely transmitted orally, through ceremony
and the telling of Dreamtime stories.[313] From the time
of European settlement, a major theme in Australian art
has been the natural landscape, seen for example in the
works of Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and others associated with the 19th-century Heidelberg School, the rst
distinctively Australian movement in Western art.[314]

Many of Australias performing arts companies receive funding through the federal governments Australia
Council.[325] There is a symphony orchestra in each
state,[326] and a national opera company, Opera Australia,[327] well known for its famous soprano Joan Sutherland.[328] At the beginning of the 20th century, Nellie
Melba was one of the worlds leading opera singers.[329]
Ballet and dance are represented by The Australian Ballet and various state companies. Each state has a publicly
funded theatre company.[330]
Australian literature has also been inuenced by the landscape; the works of writers such as Banjo Paterson, Henry
Lawson, and Dorothea Mackellar captured the experience of the Australian bush.[331] The character of the nations colonial past, as represented in early literature, is
popular with modern Australians.[309] In 1973, Patrick
White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the rst
Australian to have achieved this.[332] Australian winners
of the Man Booker Prize have included Peter Carey and
Thomas Keneally;[333] David Williamson, David Malouf, and J. M. Coetzee, who recently became an Australian citizen, are also renowned writers,[334] and Les
Murray is regarded as one of the leading poets of his

10.2 Media
Main articles: Television in Australia, Media of Australia
and Music of Australia
The Australian cinema industry began with the 1906 release of The Story of the Kelly Gang, which is regarded
as being the worlds rst feature-length lm;[336] but both
Australian feature lm production and the distribution of
British-made features declined dramatically after World
War I as American studios and distributors monopoSidney Nolan's Snake mural (1970), held at the Museum of Old
lised the industry,[337] and by the 1930s around 95% of
and New Art, is inspired by the Aboriginal creation myth of the
the feature lms screened in Australia were produced in
Rainbow Serpent, as well as the Australian landscape.
Hollywood. By the late 1950s feature lm production in
The countrys landscape remains a source of inspiration Australia had eectively ceased and there were no allfeature lms made in the decade between 1959
for Australian modernist artists; it has been depicted Australian[338]
in acclaimed works by the likes of Albert Namatjira,
Sidney Nolan,[315] Arthur Boyd,[316] Fred Williams,[317] Thanks to initiatives by the Gorton and Whitlam fedMargaret Preston and Clifton Pugh.[318] Contemporary eral governments, the New Wave of Australian cinema
Indigenous Australian art is the only art movement of in- of the 1970s brought provocative and successful lms,
ternational signicance to emerge from Australia[319] and some exploring the nations colonial past, such as Picnic
the last great art movement of the 20th century";[320] at Hanging Rock and Breaker Morant,[339] while the soits exponents have included Emily Kngwarreye.[321] called "Ocker" genre produced several highly successArt critic Robert Hughes has written several inuen- ful urban-based comedy features including The Advential books about Australian history and art, and was tures of Barry McKenzie and Alvin Purple.[340][341][342]
described as the worlds most famous art critic by Later hits included Mad Max and Gallipoli.[343][344]
The New York Times.[322] The National Gallery of Aus- More recent successes included Shine and Rabbit-Proof
tralia and state galleries maintain Australian and overseas Fence.[345][346] Notable Australian actors include Judith




Anderson,[347] Errol Flynn,[348] Nicole Kidman, Naomi hectares, mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the counWatts,[349] Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Georey Rush, try. The wine regions in each of these states produce difand Cate Blanchett.[350]
ferent wine varieties and styles that take advantage of loAustralia has two public broadcasters (the Australian cal climates and soil types. In 1995, an Australian red
Broadcasting Corporation and the multicultural Special wine, Penfolds Grange, won the Wine Spectator award
Broadcasting Service), three commercial television net- for Wine of the Year, the rst time a wine from
and numerous pubworks, several pay-TV services,
lic, non-prot television and radio stations. Each major city has at least one daily newspaper,[351] and there 10.4 Sport
are two national daily newspapers, The Australian and
The Australian Financial Review.[351] In 2010, Reporters Main article: Sport in Australia
Without Borders placed Australia 18th on a list of 178 About 24% of Australians over the age of 15 regucountries ranked by press freedom, behind New Zealand
(8th) but ahead of the United Kingdom (19th) and United
States (20th).[352] This relatively low ranking is primarily because of the limited diversity of commercial media
ownership in Australia;[353] most print media are under
the control of News Corporation and Fairfax Media.[354]



Main article: Australian cuisine

The food of Indigenous Australians was largely inu-

Cricket has been an important part of Australias sporting culture

since the 19th century.[363]

larly participate in organised sporting activities.[233] Australia has strong international teams in cricket, hockey,
netball, rugby league, and rugby union, having been
Olympic or world champions at least twice in each
sport in the last 25 years for both men and women
where applicable.[364][365][366][367][368][369][370][371] Australia is also powerful in track cycling, rowing, and swimming, having consistently been in the top-ve medalwinners at Olympic or World Championship level since
2000.[372][373][374] Swimming is the strongest of these
sports; Australia is the second-most prolic medal win[375][376][377]
The pavlova, a meringue-based dessert, is synonymous with Aus- ner in the sport in Olympic history.
tralian cuisine.

Some of Australias most internationally well-known

and successful sportspeople are swimmers Dawn Fraser,
Murray Rose, Shane Gould, and Ian Thorpe; sprinters Shirley Strickland, Betty Cuthbert, and Cathy Freeman;[378] tennis players Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Ken
Rosewall, Evonne Goolagong, and Margaret Court;
cricketers Donald Bradman and Shane Warne; three-time
Formula One world champion Jack Brabham; ve-time
motorcycle grand prix world champion Mick Doohan;
golfers Greg Norman and Karrie Webb;[379] cyclist
Hubert Opperman, prodigious billiards player Walter
Lindrum[380] and basketball players Andrew Bogut[381]
and Lauren Jackson. Nationally, other popular sports include Australian rules football, horse racing, squash, surfing, soccer, and motor racing. The annual Melbourne
Cup horse race and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race attract intense interest.

enced by the area in which they lived. Most tribal groups

subsisted on a simple hunter-gatherer diet, hunting native game and sh and collecting native plants and fruit.
The general term for native Australian ora and fauna
used as a source of food is bush tucker.[355][356] The
rst settlers introduced British food to the continent,
and much of that is now considered typical Australian
food; the Sunday roast has become an enduring tradition
for many Australians.[357][358] Since the beginning of the
20th century, food in Australia has increasingly been inuenced by immigrants to the nation, particularly from
Southern European and Asian cultures.[357][358] Although
the country of origin is largely disputed between Australia and New Zealand,[359][360][361] the meringue-based
dessert pavlova has become an icon of Australian cuisine, popularly served on Christmas Day and usually garnished with fruit and cream. Australian wine is produced Australia is one of ve nations to have participated in evin 60 distinct production areas totalling about 160,000 ery Summer Olympics of the modern era,[382] and has

hosted the Games twice: 1956 in Melbourne and 2000
in Sydney.[383] Australia has also participated in every
Commonwealth Games,[384] hosting the event in 1938,
1962, 1982, 2006 and will host the 2018 Commonwealth
Games.[385] Other major international events held in Australia include the Australian Open tennis grand slam tournament, international cricket matches, and the Australian
Formula One Grand Prix. Australia hosted the 2003
Rugby World Cup and the annual AustraliaNew Zealand
Bledisloe Cup is keenly watched. The highest-rating television programs include sports telecasts such as the Summer Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Rugby League State of
Origin, and the grand nals of the National Rugby League
and Australian Football League.[386] Skiing in Australia
began in the 1860s and snow sports take place in the
Australian Alps and parts of Tasmania.


See also

Transport in Australia
Tourism in Australia
Visa policy of Australia
Outline of Australia



[1] Australias royal anthem is "God Save the Queen", played

in the presence of a member of the Royal family when
they are in Australia. In all other appropriate contexts, the
national anthem of Australia, "Advance Australia Fair", is
[2] English does not have de jure status.[2] a_magn National
language English[N 2] Demonym
Government Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy - Monarch Elizabeth II - Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove - Prime Minister Tony Abbott - Chief Justice Robert French Legislature Parliament - Upper house
Senate - Lower house House of Representatives Independence from the United Kingdom - Constitution 1 January
1901 - Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 9 October
1942 (with eect
from 3 September 1939) - Australia Act 3 March 1986
Area - Total 7,692,024 km2 (6th)
2,969,907 sq mi Population - 2014 estimate 23,677,500[5]
(51st) - 2011 census 21,507,717[6] - Density 2.8/km2
7.3/sq mi GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate - Total $1.100
trillion[7] (19th) - Per capita $46,631[7] (15th) GDP

(nominal) 2014 estimate - Total $1.483 trillion[7] (12th)

- Per capita $62,822[7] (5th) Gini (2006)33.6[8]
medium 19th HDI (2013) 0.933[9]
very high 2nd Currency Australian dollar (AUD) Time
zone variousion|accessdate= 1 December There are minor
variations from three basic time zones; see Time in Australia.
[4] The Oxford English Dictionary records a rst occurrence
in 1908, in the form Oss. Oz is often taken as an oblique
reference to the ctional Land of Oz in the lm The Wizard of Oz (1939), based on L. Frank Baum's novel The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).[23] Australians image
of Australia as a 'Land of Oz' is not new, and dedication
to it runs deep.[24] The spelling Oz is likely to have been
inuenced by the 1939 lm, though the pronunciation was
probably always with a /z/, as it is also for Aussie, sometimes spelt Ozzie.[25] The Baz Luhrmann lm Australia
(2008) makes repeated reference to The Wizard of Oz,
which appeared just before the wartime action of Australia. Some critics have even speculated that Baum was
inspired by Australia, in naming the Land of Oz: In Ozma
of Oz (1907), Dorothy gets back to Oz as the result of a
storm at sea while she and Uncle Henry are travelling by
ship to Australia. So, like Australia, Oz is somewhere to
the west of California. Like Australia, Oz is an island continent. Like Australia, Oz has inhabited regions bordering
on a great desert. One might almost imagine that Baum
intended Oz to be Australia, or perhaps a magical land in
the center of the great Australian desert.[26]
[5] Australia describes the body of water south of its mainland as the Southern Ocean, rather than the Indian Ocean
as dened by the International Hydrographic Organization
(IHO). In 2000, a vote of IHO member nations dened
the term Southern Ocean as applying only to the waters
between Antarctica and 60 degrees south latitude.[141]

13 References
[1] Its an Honour Symbols Australian National Anthem and DFAT The Australian National Anthem;
National Symbols. Parliamentary Handbook of the
Commonwealth of Australia (29th ed.). 2005 [2002]. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
[2] Pluralist Nations: Pluralist Language Policies?". 1995
Global Cultural Diversity Conference Proceedings, Sydney.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Archived
from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 11
January 2009. English has no de jure status but it is so
entrenched as the common language that it is de facto the
ocial language as well as the national language.
[3] See entry in the Macquarie Dictionary.
[4] Collins English Dictionary.
Bishopbriggs, Glasgow:
HarperCollins. 2009. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-00-786171-2.
[5] Population clock. Australian Bureau of Statistics website. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 15 August



2014. The population estimate shown is automatically calculated daily at 00:00 UTC and is based on data obtained
from the population clock on the date shown in the citation.
[6] Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012).
Australia. 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 21 June
[7] Australia. International Monetary Fund. April 2014.
Retrieved 1 November 2014.
[8] OECD Economic Surveys: Norway 2012.
[9] 2014 Human Development Report Summary. United
Nations Development Programme. 2014. pp. 2125.
Retrieved 27 July 2014.
[10] Macquarie ABC Dictionary. The Macquarie Library Pty
Ltd. 2003. p. 56. ISBN 1-876429-37-2.
[11] Australia. Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University
Press. April 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
[12] Constitution of Australia. ComLaw. 9 July 1900. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 3. It shall be lawful for the
Queen, with the advice of the Privy Council, to declare
by proclamation that, on and after a day therein appointed,
not being later than one year after the passing of this Act,
the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia,
Queensland, and Tasmania, and also, if Her Majesty is
satised that the people of Western Australia have agreed
thereto, of Western Australia, shall be united in a Federal
Commonwealth under the name of the Commonwealth of
[13] Wade, Nicholas (22 September 2011). Australian Aborigine Hair Tells a Story of Human Migration. The New
York Times.
[14] European discovery and the colonisation of Australia.
Australian Government: Culture Portal. Department of
the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Commonwealth of Australia. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 7
May 2010. "[The British] moved north to Port Jackson on
26 January 1788, landing at Camp Cove, known as 'cadi'
to the Cadigal people. Governor Phillip carried instructions to establish the rst British Colony in Australia. The
First Fleet was under prepared for the task, and the soil
around Sydney Cove was poor.
[15] Davison, Hirst and Macintyre, pp. 157, 254.
[16] Both Australian Aborigines and Europeans Rooted in
Africa 50,000 years ago. News.softpedia.com. Retrieved 27 April 2013.


[20] Data refer mostly to the year 2012. World Economic

Outlook Database-October 2013, International Monetary
Fund. Accessed on 8 October 2013.
[21] Australia: World Audit Democracy Prole. WorldAudit.org. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007.
Retrieved 5 January 2008.
[22] Australian pronunciations: Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth
Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty
Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
[23] Jacobson, H. (1988) In the Land of Oz, Penguin, ISBN
[24] The Americana Annual: 1988, Americana Corporation,
vol. 13, 1989, p. 66, ISBN 0-7172-0220-8.
[25] Partridge, Eric, et al., The New Partridge Dictionary of
Slang and Unconventional English, Taylor & Francis,
2006, ISBN 0-415-25938-X, entries Oz and Ozzie,
p. 1431.
[26] Algeo, J., Australia as the Land of Oz, American Speech,
Vol. 65, No. 1, 1990, pp. 8689.
[27] Macquarie Dictionary 5th Edition. Macmillan Publishers
Australia. 2010. ISBN 9781876429669.
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16 External links
Wikimedia Atlas of Australia
About Australia from the Department of Foreign
Aairs and Trade website
Governments of Australia website (federal, states
and territories)
Australian Government website
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Community organisations portal
Tourism Australia

Davison, Graeme; Hirst, John; Macintyre, Stuart

(1999). The Oxford Companion to Australian History. Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press.
ISBN 0-19-553597-9.

Australia travel guide from Wikivoyage

Jupp, James (2001). The Australian people: an encyclopedia of the nation, its people, and their origins.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-80789-1.

Australia at DMOZ

Smith, Bernard; Smith, Terry (1991). Australian

painting 17881990. Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-554901-5.
Teo, Hsu-Ming; White, Richard (2003). Cultural
history in Australia. University of New South Wales
Press. ISBN 0-86840-589-2.


Further reading

Denoon, Donald, et al. (2000). A History of Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacic. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-17962-3

Australia entry at The World Factbook

Australia at UCB Libraries GovPubs

Geographic data







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