Australia Geography

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So you want to know about Australia? Here are some highlights! Also check out the links to other sites about Australia.

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Key Facts

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Australian Flag Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. Australia is an island, surrounded by water. It is located on the smallest continent in the world.

Population: 17.5 million

Geographic size: 2.97 million square miles

Capital: Canberra

Major cities and population: Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide.


Geographic Landmarks

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Sydney, Australia Australia has a very dramatic landscape. Australia is famous for its "outback," the remote lands of the interior.

The desert outback covers most of the interior. It is too hot, dry and barren to support many people.

Eastern Australia has large areas of grasslands, used primarily for sheep and cattle ranches.

Australian Mountains Australia also has some mountainous areas and plateaus scattered throughout the country. The Blue Mountains, on the south-eastern end of Australia, get their name from the blue haze caused by oil droplets given off from the eucalyptus trees. As an island, Australia also has many beautiful coastal beaches.
Sydney, Australia Over 70% of Australians now live in cities or towns. Most of this population lives in the eastern and southern coasts, and around Perth in the west.


Points of Interest

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Kangaroo Australia is home to many animals not found anywhere else in the world.

These include the kangaroos, ...

Koala and the koala.
Shark Off the northeast coast of Australia is the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is over 1,200 miles of coral. It has developed over the last million years, and is now the largest living structure in the world.

It is home to many sharks and thousands of different types of tropical fish.


Major Industries

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Australia's major industries are mining and farming. Mining includes bauxite, coal, copper, gold and iron ore. Most of the land is too dry for planting crops, although some areas do grow sugarcane, grapes and wheat. The grape vineyards help to support a growing wine industry. Australia is probably best known for its sheep farming. Large numbers of sheep are raised for their wool and meat. There is also some cattle ranching to provide meat.

In addition, Australia's climate and dramatic scenery have made tourism a major industry.


Historical Highlights

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The Native Australians, or Aborigines, have lived in Australia for at least 40,000 years. In 1788, the British founded a prison colony on the east coast of Australia, in New South Wales. As more Europeans moved to Australia, the Aborigines were driven from their land. Australia is still part of the British commonwealth.


Population and Culture

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Australia is still heavily influenced by its British and European origins. The Australian government is now making major efforts to preserve Australia's culture, including that of the Aboringines.



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Much of Australia has a continental climate. The temperatures get hot during the day, then drop considerably at night. Australia is also very arid, getting very little rain.
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