When European colonizers first came to Australia
in the 17th century, the country had been inhabited for
50,000 years by immigrant people from Southeast Asia.
The British settlers, long mainly prisoners deported
there, even into our days subjected the indigenous
people, the Aborigines, to a brutal and degrading
treatment. Today, Australia is a modern industrial and
service society. Politically, the country has been a
close ally to the United States since World War II.
Brief profiles of Australia, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Australia is a continent of its own that
spans three time zones. This world's sixth largest
country has an area that is 17 times larger than
Sweden's. The longest distance from east to west is 380
km, from north to south 310 km.
Australia is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the
east (Coral and Tasman Sea) and the Indian Ocean to the
west. In the north, the country is separated from Asia
(Indonesia and East Timor) by Lake Timor, Lake Arafura
and Torres strait. Australia has a number of islands in
the area. Together with the surrounding island world,
the country forms the continent Oceania.
The mainland has flat coasts with few islands. The
largest is Tasmania in the south, which is a state of
its own. Along the northeast coast, long coral reefs
extend, forming the Great Barrier Reef. Geologically,
Australia is the oldest continent in the world and
consists mainly of a degraded bedrock shield without
major differences in height. In the Southeast Snowy
Mountains, there are a number of peaks that reach about
2,000 meters above sea level. They are parts of the
Great Dividing Range mountain range that runs along the
entire east coast and continues on Tasmania. The rivers
are few and usually dehydrated part of the year. The
only major river basin is the Murray-Darling basin in
Nearly 40 percent of the country is in the tropics.
The central parts are dominated by bush steppe. Just
over a fifth of the area is desert / semi-desert. The
lowland in the interior is partly below sea level. There
is underground (artesian) water that is given to the
livestock but does not suffice as drinking water.
Australia's largest lake, Lake Eyres in the state of
South Australia, is 12 meters below sea level and has no
Good cultivation land is mostly found only on the
narrow coastal and river plains in the east, south,
southwest and around Darwin in the north. There is also
almost all forest, furthest north as rainforest. The
coast to the north is swampy.
The geographical isolation has given Australia a
distinctive plant and animal life. The plant life is
characterized mainly by eucalyptus, which grows as trees
in dense forests and on open savannas and as shrubs of
varying height. In the animal kingdom, especially
marsupials and sewers (kangaroo, koala, wombat, octopus
and marsupial pigs) are noticed. Especially for
Australia is the wild dog, dingo. There are hundreds of
lizards and snakes as well as two crocodile species.
Among the rich bird life is the ostrich-like emun, which
can be two meters high.
Australia is known for its many hours of sunshine
and, after Antarctica, is the most precipitous
continent. Drought is characterized by climate in large
parts of the country and recurring dry periods create
problems for agriculture. In the wake of the drought,
forest fires have become a major problem. In 2009,
nearly 200 people in the state of Victoria were killed
in severe fires, some of which were also taken. In 2019,
the state of New South Wales was severely affected by
fires that were unusually extensive and lasted for
months in the southeastern parts of the country. More
than 30 people lost their lives, thousands of houses
were destroyed and wildlife was severely affected.
The rainfall varies considerably between different
regions. In tropical northern Australia, there are
fierce rains and hurricanes, so-called willy-willies. In
the interior of the continent, there is a dry inland
climate with high temperatures. The heat record is just
over 53 degrees, measured in the state of Queensland,
but just in Queensland was hit in early 2011 by
extensive flooding following unusually heavy rains. On
the coast to the south and west, the climate is similar
to that of the Mediterranean. Snow occurs only on the
southeastern mainland and on the island of Tasmania.
The Australian seasons are the reverse to Sweden.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
7,682,300 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 7-10 hours
Capital with number of inhabitants
Canberra 365,000 (2011 estimate)
Other major cities
Sydney 4.6 million, Melbourne 4.1 million, Brisbane
2.1 million, Perth 1.7 million, Adelaide 1.2 million
Mount Kosciusko (2228 m asl)
Average Precipitation / year
Canberra 630 mm 1
Average / day
Canberra 6 °C (July), 20 °C (Jan) 2
- Darwin 1847
2. Darwin 25 °C (July), 28 °C (Jan)Sources
In addition to the Australian continent and
Tasmania, Australia also comprises a number of islands
in the surrounding seas. The country also claims parts
The Australian Antarctic Territory
covers approximately 6 million square miles, or 42
percent of Antarctica. There is no resident population,
but three permanent scientific research stations.
Heard Island and McDonald Islands,
located in the Antarctic waters, are small, steep and
almost completely covered with rocky islands with no
population. They were transferred from the United
Kingdom in 1947.
Coral Sea Islands was introduced to
Australia in 1969 and consists of uninhabited sandbanks
scattered in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland.
A manned weather station is located on one of these,
The Cocos (Keeling) Islands consist
of 27 small coral islands totaling 14 square miles in
the Indian Ocean, 280 miles northwest of Perth. Of the
approximately 550 inhabitants, most are Malays. Only two
of the islands are inhabited.
Just over 40 km east, 260 km northwest of the
Australian mainland and 50 km south of Indonesia, lies
Christmas Island (Christmas Island; a
name is found in the Pacific) that belonged to Australia
since 1958. It is a rocky island of about 137 square
kilometers with a pleasant climate year round if. There
are more than 2,000 inhabitants, of whom the majority
are Asians and one fifth have European origins.
Two-thirds of the island is a national park in the form
of tropical rainforest with a unique wildlife. Phosphate
is broken on the island but attempts to invest in
tourism have been made. Between 2008 and 2018 there was
a refugee camp on the island; many boat refugees have
tried to land here, as it is easier than reaching the
Australian mainland (see also Modern History).
The Ashmore and Cartier Islands
territory consists of some uninhabited coral islands in
Lake Timor about 80 miles west of Darwin. Here is a rich
bird and animal life (among other things there are sea
turtles). Two oil fields lie in the waters off the
islands. Indonesian action groups have questioned
Australia's supremacy over the islands since the country
closed off parts of the waters surrounding those
previously open to traditional Indonesian fishing.
Norfolk Island, north of New
Zealand, is 140 miles east of Brisbane and is
approximately 35 square miles. The island was used as a
captive colony until 1855 and has been an Australian
territory since 1913 but struggles for greater autonomy.
In 2016, the island had 1,750 inhabitants, mainly of
European origin. Tourism has replaced agriculture as the
main industry. Oil and gas deposits are believed to be
in the waters around the island.