Country Portrait: Australia

Country facts:

  • Full name: Commonwealth of Australia
  • Capital: Canberra
  • 6th largest country in the world (7,687,000,000 km²)
  • Largest cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane
  • Population: 21.1 Mio
  • Growth rate: 1.07%
  • Age expectancy: 81.6 years
  • Languages: English
  • Ethnic Mix: White (92%), Asian (7%), Indigenous (1%)

Today’s country is Australia – a country and continent as is. For some 40,000 years before European settlement commenced in the late 18th century, the Australian mainland and Tasmania were inhabited by around 250 individual nations ofindigenous Australians. After sporadic visits by fishermen from the immediate north, and European discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, the eastern half of Australia was claimed by the British in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales, founded on 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in the following years; the continent was explored, and during the 19th century another five largely self-governing Crown Colonies were established.

On 1 January 1901 the six colonies became a federation and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a Commonwealth realm. The population is 22 million, with approximately 60% concentrated in and around the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perthand Adelaide. The nation’s capital city is Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory.

Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it includes a diverse range of habitats from alpineheaths to tropical rainforests, and is recognised as a megadiverse country. Because of the continent’s great age, its extremely variable weather patterns, and its long-term geographic isolation, much of Australia’s biota is unique and diverse. About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are endemic. Australia has the greatest number of reptiles of any country, with 755 species.

Since 1788, the primary basis of Australian culture has been Anglo-Celtic Western culture. Distinctive Australian cultural features have also arisen from the country’s natural environment and Indigenous cultures. Since the middle of the 20th century, Australian culture has been strongly influenced by American popular culture, particularly through television and cinema. Other cultural influences are from neighbouring Asian countries, and through large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking countries. One of Australia’s most famous and popular export is Kylie Minogue:

Approximately 24% Australians over the age of 15 regularly participate in organised sporting activities in Australia. Australia has strong international teams in cricket, soccer / football, field hockey, netball, rugby league, rugby union, and performs well in cycling, rowing, and swimming. On the soccer side, they are only a small country without high chances of winning the Cup, but they are always there for a surprise and their fans are great. So watch out for this team:

Thanks for reading and come back soon for the next country: England

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