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. National Archaeology Week is celebrated in May. 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 in 1969 at Lake Mungo the Willandra Lakes Region in New South Wales.
Australia is a pioneer territory and the ARCHITECTURE expresses the free spirit of the people. The country has several Notable Buildings. The Q1 Building is the tallest building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. Canberra has modern residential architecture. To become an Architect in Australia you usually have to complete an accredited degree in architecture.
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.
C IS FOR CAMEL, CAPITAL, COMMUNICATIONS, & CURRENCY
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.
The CURRENCY in Australia is the Australian dollar and is represented by coins and notes.
At one time DINOSAURS lived in Australia, 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, David Elliott stumbled across fossils when he was herding sheep in the northern Australian town of Winton. After more than 10 years of work, a team of scientists officially published their discovery and named the species Savannasaurus elliottorum after the the Elliott family and the grassy region where they discovered it. In the same paper, they also published their discovery in 2009 of a skull belonging to another Australian titanosaur, Diamantinasaurus matildae. 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 has had to improvise to meet the educational needs of children in remote areas. Schools have internet access and there are opportunities for online studies. Australia also has Private Schools and Homeschooling is becoming popular.
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 nearly 60,000 years. The prehistory of Australia is the period between the first human habitation of the Australian continent and the colonization of Australia in 1788. It is referred to as prehistory because of the scarcity of written records of human events in Australia during this time. Aboriginal history was passed on by word of mouth.
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. At one time, the Australian Aborigines used insects as food, medicine and as part of their cultural beliefs.
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.
Cape York in northern Australia includes a tropical JUNGLE, waterfalls, and a rain forest. It is a large area of undeveloped land. Daintree Rainforest has one of the greatest concentrations of rare or threatened plant species in the world.
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.
A variety of 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 Mortloch Library of South Australia, the State Library of Victoria, and the State Library of Tasmania have major databases about the history of the country. Melbourne is a UNESCO City of Literature. Australia has many LIGHTHOUSES and Light Vessels. Macquarie Lighthouse is the oldest an longest serving lighthouse on the continent. 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 and on the surrounding islands and mountain climbing is a popular activity. The highest mountains on the Australian mainland are in an area known as the Snowy Mountains and form a part of the Great Dividing Range which includes the Australian Alps. Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the continent. The Australian Alps are part of the networks of National Parks. Mount Gower is the tallest mountain on Lord Howe Island.
MUSEUMS are located through Australia featuring a variety of subjects. The National Museum of Australia is in Canberra. A museum in Inverell has a transportation theme. Australia has many War Memorials.
Australia has a variety of MUSIC including Bluegrass, opera, Reggae and classical. The Country Music Association Australia (CMMA) promotes country music. Music enjoys a long proud history in Australian Defence Forces. The country has hundreds of Folk Songs. The National Anthem is "Advanced Australia Fair", the Royal Anthem is "God Save the Queen", and the most popular song is "Waltzing Matilda".
National Parks are located throughout Australia. The Royal National Park was the second National Park in the World and all creatures and plants in the park are protected. Hinchinbrook Island is the largest island National Park in the World. There are also many protected areas.
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 USGS 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.
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 - salt water and freshwater, and more lizards than any other place in the world. The rain forest in North Queensland has several species of snakes. The continent is home to a wide variety of Turtles.
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.
The 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. 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 had many Youth Hostels now known as Road Scholars.
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.