Australia Facts

Australia Facts
The Commonwealth of Australia is made up of the Australian continent, the island Tasmania as well as a number of smaller islands. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. Australia's first inhabitants were Aboriginal people who arrived there approximately 40,000 years ago. In the 1600s Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch ships arrived and in 1688, the British claimed possession of Australia naming it New South Wales. In 1788 the British began sending convicts to Sydney (formerly Port Jackson). By the time this system of sending English convicts to the penal colony in Sydney ended in 1839, approximately 161,000 prisoners had been sent there. Six colonies were established by former prisoners and new settlers. The colonies became states in 1901 and Australia officially became the Commonwealth of Australia.
Interesting Australia Facts:
The name Australia originates from the Latin word 'australis' which means 'southern'.
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world after Russia, Canada, China, the U.S. and Brazil.
Despite its size Australia has a small population (approximately 21,015,576 people) when compared to countries of such large area.
Australia covers an area of 7.6 million square kilometers on the continent alone.
Australia's ocean territory covers approximately 12 million square kilometers, which is the third largest ocean territory in the world.
Australia has six states including New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. Australia also has two territories including the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
Australia's capital city is Canberra with a population of approximately 384,000.
The largest city in Australia is Sydney, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.
91% of Australia is covered by vegetation. Most of the exotic fauna and flora in Australia can only be found in Australia.
The national floral emblem of Australia is the wattle, as of 1912.
The desert area that covers a large population of Australia is called the 'outback'.
The largest reef system in the world is located off Australia's north-eastern coast. The reef's name is the Great Barrier Reef.
There are many extremely poisonous snakes in Australia including the Taipan, tiger snake, and brown snake.
There are more than 750 reptile species in Australia.
Kangaroos, koala bears, emu, kookaburra, and platypus are all found in Australia.
The Summer Olympics have been hosted in Australia twice; Melbourne in 1956; Sydney in 2000.
Australia's agriculture includes wheat, barley, sugarcane, and fruit.
Australia's natural resources include coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, zinc, diamonds and natural gas.
Major industry in Australia includes mining, manufacturing industrial and transportation equipment, chemicals, steel, and food processing.
Australia fought with Britain in World War I and the country fought again for the Allied Forces in World War II.
In February 2009 Australia suffered its worst wildfires in history. 181 people died in the state of Victoria alone. 900 houses were also destroyed.
Australia is home to desert, rainforests, beaches, mountains and urban areas.
Despite Australia's reputation as a sport loving country it is ranked as the most obese country in the world.
In 1902 Australia became the second country in the world to give women the right to vote.


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