AUSTRALIA

 

Australia is called the land down under because it is below the equator. It is one of the seven continents of the world. It is also a country.

The first people to live in Australia were aborigines. Aboriginal means first. They were like Native Americans. Today there are still aborigines in Australia. Some live on reservations, some live on ranches (called stations or property) or in cities. You can see some examples of their beautiful art if you visit Australia.

         

Australia is made up of six states and two territories. It is about the size of the United States. 18.3 million people live there. Canberra is the capital of Australia.

   

January and February are the warmest months, with average temperatures between 65° and 70° F. June and July are the coldest months, with an average July temperature of about 50° F, except in the Australian Alps, where temperatures average 35° F.

The middle part of the country is called the outback. The outback does not get very much rain and is very dry. Not very many people live in the outback.

In the outback, there are some sheep and cattle ranches. There are about ten times more sheep than people in Australia. Sheep are raised for wool and for meat. In Australia what Americans call a ranch is known as a station. Stations are very big. Some stations are so big they have to use planes to keep track of the animals. There are not many schools in the outback. Children who live on stations and can not get to school use a two way radio to hear their teachers' lessons.

The most famous animals in Australia are marsupials. A marsupial is a mammal that has a pouch to carry its young. Some kangaroos can jump 30 feet. The koala sometimes stays in the same tree for days and is endangered.

 

 

Kangaroo

Koala

Wallaby

There are many other interesting animals in Australia. When the kookaburra calls, it sounds like a laugh. 

  

Duck-billed Platypus

Emu

Kookaburra

 

The Great Barrier Reef is also in Australia. It is made up of coral and algae. Coral are tiny invertebrate animals. The Great Barrier Reef is about 1250 miles long. There is a channel of water that separates the reef from the Queensland coast. It is the largest deposit of coral in the world. It is also the world's largest living structure.

Captain James Cook claimed Australia for England in 1770. It was first used as a prison colony by the English. The first free settlers landed in Sydney in 1793. Today Sydney is Australia's largest city. The Sydney Opera House is one of the most unique buildings in the world.

Australia's national sport is Cricket. Cricket is a little bit like baseball but it is played with eleven players and wickets. Australia won the Cricket World Cup in 1999 and 2003. Another favourite sport in Australia is Australian Rules Football. It is a little bit like soccer and rugby. Rugby and soccer are also extremely popular. Australia is also famous for the boomerang. The aborigines used the boomerang as a weapon. Today, children use it as a toy. 

                     

 

   

Rank  

Statistical Division/District  

State  

June 2008 Estimated Resident Population 

1

Sydney

New South Wales

4, 399,722

2

Melbourne

Victoria

3, 892,419

3

Brisbane

Queensland

1, 945,639

4

Perth

Western Australia

1, 602,559

5

Adelaide

South Australia

1, 172,105

6

Gold Coast-Tweed

Queensland/New South Wales

558,888

7

Newcastle

New South Wales

531,191

8

Canberra-Queanbeyan

Australian Capital Territory/New South Wales

395,126

*

Canberra

Australian Capital Territory

345,257

9

Wollongong

New South Wales

284,169

10

Sunshine Coast

Queensland

237,562