Australia General Information

Australia's biggest attraction is its natural beauty. The landscape varies from endless sun baked horizons to dense tropical rainforest to chilly southern beaches. Scattered along the coasts, its cities blend a European enthusiasm for art and food with a laid-back love of sport and the outdoors.

Australia is the only nation to govern an entire continent and its outlying islands. The mainland is the largest island and the smallest, flattest continent on Earth. It lies between 10° and 39° South latitude. Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land are arid or semi-arid. Its fertile areas are well-watered, however, and these are used very effectively to help feed the world. Sheep and cattle graze in dry country, but care must be taken with the soil. Some grazing land became desert when the long cycles that influence rainfall in Australia turned to drought.

Australia is a continent and a country in the Southern Hemisphere, lying to the south of Southeast Asia, and dividing the Indian and South Pacific Oceans. The total area of Australia is 7,686,850 square kilometers (2,967,892 square miles), with land constituting 7,617,930 square kilometers (2,942,282 square miles) and water 68,920 square kilometers (26,610 square miles).

Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world and is divided into 6 states and several territories. The national capital of Australia is Canberra. The 6 states are:

  1. Queensland (QLD)
  2. New South Wales (NSW)
  3. Victoria (VIC)
  4. Tasmania (TAS)
  5. South Australia (SA)
  6. Western Australia (WA)

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is now self administrating with its own legislature. The Northern Territory (NT), despite being self administering, can still have its state laws overturned by the Federal Government. Australia is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the west and Pacific Ocean in the east.

Division Type ISO Population Area (Km2) Capital
Australian Capital Territory Territory ACT 314,687 2,432 Canberra
New South Wales State NSW 6,371,745 8,01,425 Sydney
Northern Territory Territory NT 2,10,664 1,356,170 Darwin
Queensland State QLD 3,655,139 1,736,587 Brisbane
South Australia State SA 1,467,261 9,84,377 Adelaide
Tasmania State TAS 4,56,652 68,127 Hobart
Victoria State VIC 46,44,950 2,27,619 Melbourne
Western Australia State WA 18,51,252 25,27,621 Perth
Ashmore and Cartier Islands Territory 0 5 Darwin
Coral Sea Islands Territory Territory 0 3 Kingston
10 Divisions 18,972,350 7,704,366
Australia At A Glance

Location : Indian/Pacific Ocean
Time : Australia spans three time zones:

1. GMT + 10 (GMT + 11 October to March, except Queensland)
2. GMT + 9.5 (GMT + 10.5 October to March, except Northern Territory)
3. GMT + 8. Some states operate daylight saving time during the Australian summer. Clocks in these states are put forward by one hour in October and put back again in March.
Area : 7,692,030 sq km (2,969,909 sq miles)
Population : 20.6 million (official estimate 2006)
Population Density : 2.7 per sq km.
Capital : Canberra, Population: 332,800 (2006)
Government : Constitutional Monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1901.
Head Of State : HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor- General Michael Jeffery since 2003
Head Of Government : Prime Minister
Language : The official language is English. Many other languages are retained by minorities, including Italian, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese dialects and Aboriginal languages.