Australia – geography, population, history
The eastern shore of Australia is scoured by the Indian Ocean and the west shore by the by the Pacific. This continent has the least mountains and it is the driest in the whole word. The deserts cover one third of the surface of Australia. The climate at various places is different and it changes according to the altitude. The coldest weather is in the mountains, in the south-east and in Tasmania. It regularly snows at these places. The weather in the North is hot because it is near the equator. The warmest period of the year is in January and February. In the central and western parts of Australia, there are long periods of dry weather. Sometimes there are floods and typhoons on the north-west and east coasts.
The longest river is the Murray-Darling (=tributary). Its length is 3780 kilometres. Most rivers are small and they dry up because there is not enough rain.
The highest mountain is Mount Kasciusco. Its height is 2230 m. It lies in the Australian Alps (in the east). The lowest point is Lake Erie (-16m).
The typical trees are eucalyptus trees and thornbushes. Varied birds and many kinds of poisonous reptiles and spiders are also typical for this continent. There are no beasts of prey there.
Agriculture is also very important. Wheat, barley and sugar-cane are the most important plants. We can find various kinds of fruit, vegetable, vine, tobacco, cotton, rice and leguminous plants there.
The animal production is more important that plants are. About one third of the continent is reserved for sheep breeding. In Australia there is the largest number of sheep and highest production of wool in the world. There are also large forests there.
In Australia there are resources of iron, bauxite, lead, zinc, gold, silver, gas, uranium etc.
Australia is a very important exporter of raw materials. The biggest industrial centres are in Sydney and Melbourne that lie in New South Wales. New South Wales is the main producer of minerals.
A majority of Australians is of European origin (especially of British origin). About 1,5 percent of all people living there are the aboriginal inhabitants. A majority of the people live in the cities on the coast.
Compulsory school attendance is to up the age of 15 (in Tasmania up to 16). The primary and secondary schools are free of charge.
The official language is English and the unit of currency is one Australia dollar ($A).
The religion is mostly Christian.
THE HISTORY OF COLONISATION
The first immigrants were the Australian black people who came there from south-east Asia 40 000 years ago. In March 1606, the first European – a Spanish captain – came here, followed by Dutch navigators.In 1770 the British seafarer James Cook began to explore the continent, but actual colonisation started 18 years later when a fleet of ships brought the first settlers and convicts from Europe. The first colony was called New South Wales. It was a penal colony first. Gold was discovered there between the years 1851-1852. This brought about another influx
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