A fact about Australia for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information.
"Terra Australis Incogonita---The Unknown Southern Land"
A IS FOR AGRICULTURE, ARCHAEOLOGY, & ARCHITECTURE
ARCHAEOLOGY in Australia takes 3 main forms, Aboriginal Archaeology, Historical Archaeology, and Maritime Archaeology. The Box Gully site on the shore of Lake Tyrrell in northern Victoria is one of the earliest known occupations of the region. Ring of Stones site may have been constructed by some of the marooned passengers and crew from a Dutch ship wrecked north of Perth in 1656. Central Australia Archaeological Project has located and investigated archaeological sites. Rock Art in Australia is one of the oldest known artistic images by modern humans. The oldest remains of humans believed to have lived between 40,000 and 68,000 years ago were discovered at Lake Mungo and the Willandra Lakes Region. National Archaeology Week is celebrated in May.
Australia is a pioneer territory and the ARCHITECTURE expresses the free spirit of the people. The country has several Notable Buildings and many Historic Houses. The Old Government House in Parramatta New South Wales is the oldest surviving public building. The Hayes Forton West Wallabi Island (Wiebbe Hayes Island) is the oldest surviving building in Australia and was built by survivors of the Batavia shipwreck and massacreThe Q1 Building is the tallest building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. Canberra has modern residential architecture. Information on how to become an Architect in Australia.
Australia has many BRIDGES including several beautiful and/or historic bridges. Australia also has 23 Suspension Bridges. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is known as the "coathanger" and is one of the best known and photographed bridge in Australia. Stoney Creek Falls Bridge was curved to avoid tunneling. Sea Cliff Bridge has 2 lanes of traffic, a cycleway and a walkway. It one of only 7 off-shore parallel to coast bridges in the world. Webb Bridge in Melbourne has two distinct sections: the 145m long existing structure and a new curved 80m long ramped link. Algebuckina Bridge is on the Register of the National Estate and the South Australian Heritage Register.
C IS FOR CAMEL, CAPITAL, COMMUNICATIONS, & CURRENCY
Canberra is the CAPITAL of Australia. The name is an aboriginal word which means "meeting place". It is located on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range. There are 8 capital cities in Australia each of which function as the seat of government for the state or territory in which they are located.
Australia has all forms of COMMUNICATIONS including newspapers, radio, television, telephone, and internet. Within the country, telephone and fax numbers are listed with a city code followed by a telephone number. Internet Service Providers are located throughout the continent. The The internet code for the country is .au. Webcams are located throughout the continent. The Australia Communications Authority provides information about communications for consumers.
During the early days of the colonies that formed Australia, foreign CURRENCY was used. In 1910, Australian coins were introduced. Australia used pounds, shillings and pence until 1966, when it adopted the decimal system with the Australian dollar divided into 100 cents. With the exception of the first Proclamation Coinage and the 'holey coins', all Australian coins remain legal tender despite being withdrawn from circulation. 1988, banknotes were converted to polymer, a technology originally developed in Australia to help prevent counterfeiting. The central bank in Australia is called the Reserve Bank of Australia. As the 5th most traded currency in the world, the Australian dollar is also referred to as buck, dough, or the Aussie.
Australia receives so little rainfall, it is classified as DESERT which makes it the driest inhabited continent on Earth. Only Antarctica is drier. Australia has 5 large deserts distributed throughout the western plateau and interior lowlands. The Great Victoria Desert is the largest and the majority of people living in the area are Indigenous Australians The Great Sandy Desert is the 2nd largest and has a well-preserved meteorite impact crater, the Wolfe Creek Crater. The 3rd largest desert is the Tanami Desert which provides refuge for several of Australia's rare and endangered species. The Simpson Desert is the 4 largest desert and is the largest sand dune desert in the world. The Gibson Desert is the 5th largest desert. In 1984, due to a severe drought, the Pintupi people walked out of the desert and made contact for the first time with Australian society. They are believed to have been the last uncontacted tribe in Australia.
At one time DINOSAURS lived in Australia. There are several fossil sites and many fossils have been found. In 1953, an ankle bone of a dinosaur was found in Victoria. In 1981, it was confirmed that the bone belonged to the lineage that led to Australovenator. In 2005 fossils of a dinosaur were found and in October 2016 it it was named Savannasaurus. In 2009 the skull of a Australian titanosaur, Diamantinasaurus Matildae was discovered. In 2017 the largest known dinosaur footprints were discovered in Western Australia. The National Dinosaur Museum in Canberra follows the evolution of life, with a particular focus on dinosaurs.
EDUCATION in Australia is primarily the responsibility of the states and territories. Each state or territory government provides funding and regulates the public and private schools within its governing area. It is free and compulsory. Children must attend school between the ages of 5 and 15-17, depending on the state or territory, and date of birth. A certificate is given when student completes their tenth year. Australia provides for the educational needs of children in remote areas. Schools have internet access and there are opportunities to study online . Australia also has Private Schools and Homeschooling is becoming popular.
Many Festivals and EVENTS are held throughout Australia during the year including Sporting Events. Each night at sunset there is a Penguin Parade on Phillip Island. Australia Day is the biggest day of the year. The Captain Cook 1770 Festival in the Queensland town of 1770 is held in May. Brisbane holds its Ekka, one of Australia’s top three country fairs, in August. Wattle Day honors the National Flower of Australia. Balingup has a Medieval Carnival. Australia has 2 garden capitals, Toowoomba and Canberrra, and each has a Carnival of Flowers. The Kings Park Festival in Perth celebrates wildflowers in Western Australia with floral displays from every region. The Tulip Time Festival in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. has tulip displays, entertainment, and special events .
Australia has thousands of FLOWERS. The native flowers of Australia are the most diverse and varied in the world and new plants are being discovered every day. The Golden Wattle is the National Flower of Australia. It belongs to the Acacia family and the Australian coat of arms depicts a spray of it. The national colors of green and gold are based on the foliage and flowers of this plant. Some regions of Australia have a floral emblem. Western Australia has a wide range of wildflowers.
FOOD in Australia has the most diverse range, quality, and inventiveness than most of the rest of the world. Many regions are know for a particular food and each state has its specialty. The native food is called Bush Tucker and traditionally relates to any food native to Australia and used as sustenance by the original inhabitants,.
The GLOBAL POSITION of Australia ranges from approximately 12 degrees south latitude to 151 degrees east longitude. The country is located in the southern hemisphere and is the only country that is also a continent. Australia has a variety of landforms. The highest point on the continent is Mount Kosciuszko and Mawson's Peak on Heard Island is the highest point on Australian Territory. Lake Eyre is the lowest point on the continent. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt using a Global Positioning Finder. There are many Geocaches in Australia.
The HISTORY of Australia dates back about 60,000 years when the Indigeneous Australians are believed to have arrived. Aboriginal history was passed on by word of mouth. The first known landings in Australia by Europeans was by Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606 and 1618. The Dutch East India Company is credited with putting most of the coast of Australia (then Hollandia Nova and other names) on the world map, between 1606 and 1756. In 1770, English Lieutenant James Cook claimed the eastern portion of Australia for the British Crown under the doctrine of "terra nullius" and named it New South Wales. In 1813, Matthew Flinders completed the first circumnavigation of the continent and referred to it by the name "Australia". In March 1829, Captain Charles Fremantle took possession of the western side Australia, known as New Holland, for the British crown. In June of that year, the landing of immigrants marked the beginning of the history of Western Australia as a British colony and later as a state of federal Australia. In 1842 and 1845, Copper was discovered. Gold was discovered in 1851, 1867, and 1887. Ayers Rock was first sited in 1873. In 1883, silver was discovered. In 1891, the name "the Commonwealth of Australia" was adopted. In 1901, Australia became a federation, the first prime minister was elected, and the National Flag was flown for the first time. In 1911, the navy was granted the title of "Royal Australian Navy". In 1913, Canberra was named the Capital of Australia. In 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened. In 1945, Australia became a founding member of the United Nations.
Australia has a variety of HORSES and many breeds originated there. The Australian Draught Horse is used in halter led, novelty, ridden, and draught competitions and valued as a working horse on small farms. Brumby is a free-roaming feral horse in Australia. The Australian Stock Horse has been especially bred for Australian conditions. The Australian Pony was influenced by the Welsh Pony. The Australian Ridiny Pony was influenced by the British Riding Pony. The Coffin Bay Ponies have always been reared in a semi-wild and wild manner which has made them healthy and hardy. The Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year is awarded to the Thoroughbred horse voted to be the champion. There are many Horse Races. The Melbourne Cup is the biggest horse race and has a long tradition with the first race held in 1861. There is a Novelty Horse Show.
Australia has a wide variety of INSECTS including over 400 species of BUTTERFLIES. The Monarch is the most common and is called the Wanderer. The Richmond Birdwing is endemic to Australia and is endangered. There are several scary bugs. At one time, the Australian Aborigines used insects as food, medicine and as part of their cultural beliefs. The Australian Museum has a collection of insects. Cockroach Racing started in 1982 at the Story Bridge Hotel in Brisbane,
Australia has over 8,000 ISLANDS within its maritime border. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. Western Australian Islands are made up of several small groups of islands. Several islands are dependent areas. Most of Dunk Island is a National Park. Oceania includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island.
The JUDICIARY of Australia comprises judges who sit in federal courts and courts of the States and Territories of Australia. The High Court of Australia sits at the apex of the Australian court hierarchy as the ultimate court of appeal on matters of both federal and State law. Judges are appointed by the executive government.
Cape York Peninsula in northern Australia is a large area of undeveloped land that includes a tropical JUNGLE, waterfalls, and a rain forest. Daintree Rainforest has one of the greatest concentrations of rare or threatened plant species in the world. Australia has the 3rd largest area of Mangroves in the world. They are found in all mainland states and territories with coastal boundaries.
Many aspects of life in Australia focus on KIDS. The Sydney Childrens Hospital is a special facility for kids. Adventure Kids Australia is a volunteer organization that provides various activities and sporting adventures within the Geelong and surrounding community.
Australia has no official LANGUAGE, but the unofficial language is English with a distinctive accent and vocabulary. Over 200 other languages are spoken in Australia and the country has the largest number of vanished or endangered languages. Half of the 6,000 languages in the world are under threat of extinction. Australian slang is informal language used on the continent. Australia has a sign language known as Auslan.
LIBRARIES are located throughout Australia including public libraries, school libraries, government libraries, and special libraries. The National Library of Australia has books and magazines. It also has paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and oral history recordings. The State Library of South Australia has a collection focused on South Australia. The State Library of Victoria holds over 2 million books and 16,000 serials, including the diaries of the city's founders. The State Library of Tasmania has city/suburban lending libraries and smaller branch libraries in the main cities, regional and rural centres. Melbourne is a UNESCO City of Literature.
Australia has over 350 LIGHTHOUSES and navigational aids around the coastline and a single inland lighthouse. The first lighthouse was Macquarie Lighthouse which was lit in 1793 and is the oldest and longest serving lighthouse on the continent. The last manned lighthouse was Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse off the south coast of Tasmania which was automated in 1996. Smokey Cape lighthouse in New South Wales has an unusual octagonal shape and is the most elevated lighthouse on the east coast. Kangaroo Island is home to many historic lighthouses including Cape Borda Lightstation, the Lowly Point Lighthouse, and the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, all of which offer accommodation for large groups and families. The Malcolm Point Lighthouse is the only inland lighthouse in Australia. Lighthouse of Australia aims to create a higher profile for Australian lighthouses within Australia and overseas, and thereby preserve, protect and promote their history.
There are many MOUNTAINS in Australia. Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the continent . The highest mountains on the mainland are known as the Snowy Mountains and form a part of the Great Dividing Range which includes the Australian Alps. a part of the networks of National Parks. Mount Gower is the tallest mountain on Lord Howe Island. mountain climbing is a popular activity.
MUSEUMS are located through Australia featuring a variety of subjects. The National Museum of Australia is in Canberra. The Australian Museum in Sydney is the oldest museum in Australia. Museums Victoria is an organization which oprrates 3 major state-owned museums. There are many Aerospace Museums. The Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney has the largest collections of antiquities in both Australia and the southern Hemisphere. A museum in Inverell has a transportation theme.
The history of MUSIC in Australia includes the Indigenous music of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. During its early years, Australian folk music and bush ballads were influenced by Anglo-Celtic traditions while classical forms were derived from those of Europe. Waltzing Matilda is the "unofficial national anthem" and the Royal Anthem is "God Save the Queen". Australia has a long tradition of country music related to traditional folk music traditions of many nations. The Gympie, Queensland, celebrates country music at its National Country Music Muster. The Country Music Association Australia (CMMA)"> promotes country music. opera is popular and Australia has several opera companies. There are also many ochestras including Youth Orchestras.
Australia has more that 500 National Parks. The Royal National Park was the second National Park in the World. Port Campbell National Park has scenery that combines the ocean with spectacular rock formations. The Pinnacles Desert is in Nambung National Park. The Freycinet National Park features red and pink granite formations and a series of jagged granite peaks in a line called "The Hazards" and is the oldest park in Tasmania. Hinchinbrook Island is the largest island National Park in the World. There are also many protected areas.
OCEANIA is a geographic region comprising Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia and Australasia. The term Oceania is used because, unlike the other continental groupings, it is the ocean that links the nations together. Australia is the largest and most populous country in Oceania. The islands at the geographic extremes of Oceania include the Campbell Islands belonging to New Zealand, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands belonging to Australia. Oceania was first explored by Europeans in the 16th century. Puncak Jaya in Papua is often considered the highest peak in Oceania. Most Oceanian countries have a parliamentary representative democratic multi-party system, with tourism being a large source of income for the Pacific Islands nations.
Australia is located between the South Pacific OCEAN and the Indian Ocean. No part of Australia is further than 1000 kilometres from the sea. Many Shipwrecks have occurred off the coast of the continent. The worst shipwreck was the Cataraquie shipwreck off the south-west coast of King Island in Bass in 1845. The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road. The NOAA provides information about why the ocean is salty.
The interior of Australia is called The OUTBACK. It is a vast largely flat, dry, and sparsely populated area. The Outback has many great ranches known as Stations. A well-known town in the Outback is Alice Springs.
Do a kangaroo jigsaw puzzle.
Australia's GREAT BARRIER REEF is the largest coral reef in the world. A string of multicolored, rock like ridges parallel the northeast coast of the country. The reef provides a habitat for many marine animals including Mollusks which are some of the most well known invertebrate sea creatures. It is the largest living thing on Earth, and even visible from outer space. The ecosystem comprises thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral. It's home to countless species of colorful fish, mollusks, and starfish, plus turtles, dolphins and sharks. In 2016 scientists discovered a new reef behind the Great Barrier Reef.
About 600 species of REPTILES are found in Australia. The country has 2 types of crocodiles. Saltwater Crocodiles are huge, aggressive, territorial, and plentiful across the north of the Australian Outback. Freshwater Crodociles inhabit various freshwater environments, including rivers, creeks, pools, billabongs, lagoons, and swamps. salt water and freshwater. Australia has more lizards than any other place in the world. The continent is home to a wide variety of Snakes and 100 species are venomous.. It also has a variety of Turtles. Australia has some of the largest marine turtles marine turtle nesting areas in the Indo-Pacific region and has the only nesting populations of the flatback turtle. Of the 7 species of marine turtles in the world, 6 occur in Australian waters including the Green turtle , the Hawksbill turtle , the Leatherback turtle , the Loggerhead turtle , and the Olive Ridley turtle
Australia has many RIVERS. The Murray River is the longest. The Murray-Darling River Basin comprises the major part of the interior lowlands of Australia. The Wild River Project identifies wild rivers and develops guidelines for their management. The Franklin-Gordon Wild River National Park in Tasmania includes the Franklin River, The Gordon River, and The Olga River.
SPORTS in Australia date back to the 1800s and many are popular in including football and cricket. The Australian Sports Commission encourages sport and physical activity in all Australians. Bushwalking is sport unique to the country. Deaf Sports Australia is a unique organization that offers the hearing impaired the opportunity to compete in sports. In 1956, Australia hosted the International Summer Olympic Games for the first time. Australia again hosted the International Summer Olympic Games in 2000.
The first Australian postage STAMPS were issued in 1850. It was the first country in the world to offer personalized postage stamps and the first commonwealth country to issue a stamp for Christmas cards.
TASMANIA is an island state south of the Australian continent separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania, the 26th largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands. Hobart serves as Australia's chief sea link to Antarctica, with the Australian Antarctic Division located in Kingston. Hobart is also the home port of the French ship l'Astrolabe, which makes regular supply runs to the French Southern Territories near and in Antarctica.
Australia has many species of TREES, and there are hundreds of varieties of eucalyptus trees. A National Tree Day is held every year in the interest of "Greening" Australia. Centennial Parkland in Sydney has 150 species of trees. A tree thought to be extinct turned up in a remote Australia Park. Forests are located in Australia and the surrounding islands.
TRANSPORTATION in Australia is by air, land, and water. Land transportation includes trains, cars, and trams. Driving is on the left side of the road. Trains played an important part in the development of Australia. The Indian Pacific is a weekly passenger rail service between Sydney & Perth. The Trans-Australian Railway crosses the Nullarbor Plain from Port Augusta in South Australia to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and includes the straightest stretch of railway in the world.
UNIVERSITIES are located throughout the Australia. Most public colleges are consolidated in federally run schools. The Australian Maritime College in Tasmania is a national center for maritime education, training and research. Avondale College is affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and primarily focuses in the areas of teaching, theology, and nursing.
Australia is the only English-speaking country to have made VOTING compulsory in federal and state elections. The largest electorate in the world is Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The secret ballot box was pioneered in Victoria.
Australia and its territories have active, dormant, and extinct VOLCANOES. The Big Ben Volcano dominates Heard Island in the great Southern Ocean and has erupted several times since 1910. Burning mountain in New South Wales in the Burning Mountain Nature Reserve is a burning underground seam of coal. It has burned for about 6,000 years and is the oldest known coal fire. The 35 craters in Queensland are 25 million years old and are possibly of volcanic origin. In 2015, the longest volcano chain in the world was discovered along eastern Australia.
The WEATHER in Australia is varied. It is the second driest continent and about 35 percent of the continent receives so little rain, it is effectively desert. The northern part of the country is semitropical, the southeast coast is mild, and the center is dry with severe droughts and forest fires. There is very little rainfall except along the coast where cyclones occur. The Fremantle Doctor the Freo Doctor, or simply The Doctor is the Western Australian vernacular term for the cooling afternoon sea breeze which occurs during summer months in south west coastal areas of Western Australia. Winter begins in June and summer begins in December. The Greenhouse Accounting Center provides information about the Greenhouse Effect in Australia.
Australia has some unique WILDLIFE including the Tasmanian Devil. The continent also has many unusual animals that are found nowhere else in the world including the platypus which dates back 15-25 millions years ago. Nearly half of the animals in Australia are marsupials. The kangaroo is generally considered the National Mammal of Australia. The koala is the best-loved animal and they are supported by the Australian Koala Federation. Except for Tasmania, every Australian state has an official mammal emblem. The Wildlife Protection Association of Australia focuses specifically on wildlife protection issues.
Australia has many ZOOS. The Melbourne Zoo opened in 1862 and is the oldest zoo in Australia. The Adelaide Zoo opened in 1883 and is the second oldest zoo. All Australian zoos were modeled on the major European zoos of that time, particularly the London Zoo, the oldest zoo in the world. The Werribee Open Range Zoo has a Safari Tour, African Village, and educational programs. The Koala Park Sanctuary in Sidney is a walk through wildlife park with most of the animals contained behind wire and cage style exhibits.