Australia - ENG

area: 7,686,848 sq km
population: 17,336,000
capital city: Canberra
other towns: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle
Australia = the smallest continent, 6th largest state 6 states and 2 territories
Western Australia - 1/3 of Australia, city of Perth
South Australia - middle, capital Adelaide
Queensland - tropical north-eastern corner
New South Wales - the most populous state
Victoria - 2nd smallest state
Tasmania - smallest and island state
Northern Territory - the least populated and developed region
Australian Capital Territory - Canberra
three major land regions:
The Western Plateau - mostly vast desert, 2/3 of all land
The Central Lowlands - the eastern half of Australia, south - crops, mostly hot, dry
The Eastern Highlands - eastern edge, Great Dividing Range, fertile soils, the most heavily populated part of Australia highest mountains - Australian Alps, Snowy Mountains (Mt. Kosciusko - 2228 m)
rivers - mostly dry; the Murray - the longest permanently flowing river; the Darling river (in winter dry) lakes - mostly artificial; Lake Argyle (Western Australia), Lake Gordon (Tasmania), Lake Eyre, Lake Torrens, Lake Gairdner
deserts: Great Sandy Desert, Great Victoria Desert
the Great Barrier Reef - a collection of more than 2,500 reefs - world's largest coral reef; 2,300 km long along north-east coast
Ayers Rock - central Australia, world's biggest rock, 2.4 km long, 300 m high; the walls in its caves are covered with Aboriginal rock paintings

Australia's native inhabitants, the Aborigines, arrived in Australia at least 40,000 ago the existence of this continent was believed long ago - ancient times, Marco Polo the 1st European discovery in 1606 by a Dutch navigator Willem Jansz, than Abel Tasman
1770 - first explorations done by James Cook - east coast, he claimed the region for Great Britain and named it New South Wales
1787 - the 1st white settlement - 730 prisoners (overcrowding British prisons) + 300 soldiers Botany Bay, beginning of the city of Sydney
January 1, 1901 - the Commonwealth of Australia
1901 - the Immigration Restriction Act rich mineral resources -> mining, export of minerals and metals all over the world - coal, iron ore, bauxite, uranium highly developed agriculture, mainly east and west coasts agricultural production: cattle, sheep, wheat, wool, dairy products, fruit, sugar cane
Political system
Australia is an independent sovereign nation within Commonwealth, retaining the British monarch as a head of state and represented by a governor general the constitution - from January 1, 1901 the Federal Parliament consisting of two chambers: Senate (76 members, 12 from each state, 2 from each territory; for 6 years; proportional representation), House of Representatives (148 members, elected by universal adult suffrage every 3 years; single-member constituencies with preferential voting); voting is compulsory the main political parties are the Liberal Party, the National Party (normally in coalition), the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Democrats the last relicts of the UK legislative control were removed in 1986
states: New South Wales (Sydney), Victoria (Melbourne), Queensland (Brisbane), South Australia (Adelaide), Western Australia (Perth), Tasmania (Hobart)
territories: Northern Territory (Darwin), Australia Capital Territory (Canberra)