Рефераты. Australia


Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere

(that is the bottom half of the world).

This is why it is sometimes called the Land Down Under.

Australia is the smallest, flattest, and driest inhabited continent in the

world. It is the only country which is also a whole continent. 18.6 million

people live here.

The people of Australia are called Australians. Australians call different

parts of their country by different names:

• The City

Is any large city and its suburbs. Over 85% of the people live in

cities. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra are major


• The Country

Is the area immediately outside the city and usually includes the

surrounding smaller towns and farms. Most of what is called "the

country" is a stretch of land about 200 kilometres deep around the

eastern and southern seaboards of Australia. Upper Beaconsfield, the

Great Ocean Road , the Dandenongs, etc are in "the country".

• The Outback

Is the sparsely populated arid interior of Australia. The Australian

Outback is both harsh and breathtakingly beautiful. It's like no other

place on earth. Coober Pedy, Uluru, etc are in the Outback.

There are 6 states and 2 territories in Australia:

. Queensland

. New South Wales

. South Australia

. Tasmania

. Victoria

. Western Australia

. Northern Territory

. Australian Capital Territory

The capital of Australia is Canberra .

Australia has lots of unusual Animals.

Australia has the largest coral reef in the world called the Great Barrier

Reef. It is stunning!.

Australians speak English. But we also have our own special words and

phrases referred to as Strine.

Australia's favourite song is Waltzing Matilda

Aborigines - The First Australians

The word Aborigine is derived from Latin and means "from the beginning".

This is the name given to the native Australians by the Europeans.

This is not the name they called themselves.

They prefer to call themselves: Koori.


The first human inhabitants of Australia were the Aborigines.

They are a dark-skinned people belonging to the Australoid group who

probably came from Asia. Nobody is quite sure how they came to Australia

around 60,000 years ago. They may have walked and sailed here from Asia.

The Aborigines were nomadic hunter-gathers. They roamed from place to

place. They hunted animals using spears and boomerangs. They also gathered

fruits, nuts and yams which they ate.

There were around 300,000 aborigines in about 250 tribal groups before the

first white settlers came. Each group had its own territory, traditions,

beliefs and language.

They all believed in the Dreamtime which is the center piece of aboriginal



The aborigine people had never seen white people until Captain James Cook

landed in Botany Bay in 1770. They were shocked to see these white people

in their strange clothes.

When the aborigines first saw the ships of the "First Fleet" enter Botany

Bay in 1778 with so many white skinned people they thought they were the

spirits of their dead ancestors (after all they were so white). In actual

fact these were the first European settlers led by Captain Arthur Phillip.

At first the Aborigines were friendly towards the visitors but were very

confused at the way white foreigners behaved:

. Why did the foreigners walk on aborigine sacred sites and dig up

aborigine graves?

. Why did they boss each other around and beat and hang people?

. Why did they chop down trees and take food without asking?

. Why were they mean and selfish towards each other and not sharing?


While exploring around the new settlement Captain Arthur Phillip befriended

an old aborigine man. When he returned to camp he met the old man again and

gave him some beads and a hatchet. Later that night Captain Phillip

discovered the old man taking one of his shovels and slapped the man on his

shoulder and pushed him away while pointing to the spade. The old man was

very upset and could not understand why his friend was acting this way.

Aborigines share what they have with their friends.

Captain Phillip was very careful not to offend the aborigines but Aborigine

and the Settlers cultures were so different! They didn't understand each



When the aborigines realised that the white men were not the spirits of

their dead ancestors and that the settlers were taking more and more of

their land and destroying the trees and wild life they began to fight back.

The aborigines killed a number of the settlers and even wounded Captain

Phillip in an attack. The settlers reacted by slaughtering and poisoning

the aborigines and systematically destroying the land and wild animals they

lived on.


White settlers brought diseases the aborigines had never had before

(diseases which were quite common in Europe at the time).

Aborigines caught smallpox and even the common cold and died in great

numbers. Within two years smallpox had killed almost half the aborigine

population around Sydney.


The British colonists declared that before their arrival all of the

continent was terra nullius (uninhabited by humans). They used this as

justification for taking whatever they wanted.

As more and more white settlers moved in and occupied the fertile lands the

aborigines were pushed further and further away from their traditional

lands and into the harsh arid interior. Their families were broken up,

their children taken away from them and sent to be "civilised", their

sacred sites destroyed and their wild animals hunted.

The killing and exploitation of aborigines by whites continued well into

the twentieth century. The aboriginal population declined from the original

300,000 when the first white settlers arrived to only about 60,000 people

(less than the number of people that can be seated at the MCG stadium!).

Aborigines were second class citizens in their own land. They only got the

right to vote in 1967.

This is a shameful part of Australian history.


Much progress has been made over recent years to try to right the wrongs of

the past. Where possible the government has been returning land to their

traditional owners and encouraging Aborigines to rebuild their culture and


They are the single most disadvantaged group of people in Australia.

There is still a long way to go!


Up to about 250 millions of years ago the world had just one huge super-

continent call Pangaea. Animals and plants were able to move and intermix

with one another.

About 200 million years ago this super-continent broke up into two

continents (Laurasia and Gondwana).

About 60 million years ago Gondwana broke up into what was to later become

South America, Africa, Antarctica, India and Australia.

Since then Australia has been isolated from the rest of the world by vast

oceans. The animals and plants which were originally here no longer had

contact with animals from other parts of the world. They evolved

separately. That is why they are so different.


Australia has lots very unusual animals. About 95 percent of the mammals,

70 percent of the birds, 88 percent of the reptiles and 94 percent of the

frogs are found nowhere else in the world.

Find out about them here:

. Antechinus

. Long-Nosed Bandicoot

. Bat

. Black Snake (Red-bellied)

. Cassowary

. Cockatoo

. Crocodile (Saltwater)

. Echidna

. Emu

. Frilled Lizard

. Kangaroo

. Koala

. Kookaburra

. Penguin (Fairy)

. Platypus

. Possums:

o Bushtail

o Feathertail Glider

o Leadbeater's

o Pygmy

o Ringtail

o Sugar Glider

. Tawny Frogmouth

. Wallaby

. Wombat


In about 200AD a famous Greek astronomer named Claudius Ptolemy believed

that the earth had to be balanced or it would topple over. So he figured

that there had be a land yet unknown to Europeans somewhere below the

Indian Ocean. Over time this yet to be discovered land came to be known as

|Terra Australis Incognito | [pic] |

|which means the | |

|Unknown Southern Land. | |

For many centuries people in Europe were certain that there was a land down

under (this map from 1570 shows what they thought) but nobody knew how to

get to it . They kept missing it or not realising that they had stumbled

upon it. For over 200 years hundreds of European navigators set across the

seas searching for the Unknown

Southern Land.

They expected to find gold and other treasures.

Aborigines were the first people to discover Australia. They may have

walked or sailed here from Asia over 60,000 years age. They arrived at a

time when the northern parts of Australia had a hot humid tropical climate

much like that of Asia today.

Portuguese sailors may have sailed along the coastline of Australia as far

back as 1542. Some maps have been found which show parts of what appears to

be the Australian coastline. But there is no definite proof that they did.

In 1616 a Dutch trading ship, the Eendracht, on its way to the Indies (now

called Indonesia) bumped into west coast of of Australia. Captain Dirk

Hartog landed at Shark Bay, looked around a bit but didn't find anything

interesting. He nailed a pewter dish to a tree to record his visit. He did

not realize that he had found Australia. His is the first recorded European

landing in Australia.

Dutch sailors continued see the coastline on their trips and called this

land New Holland but didn't bother to visit it

In 1642 a Dutchman named Abel Tasman sighted an island he called Van

Diemen's Land. He did not realise that this island was a part of Australia.

He also went on to explore New Zealand.

This island was later renamed Tasmania in honour of Abel Tasman

In 1770 an expedition from England lead by Captain James Cook sailed to the

south pacific. They were supposed to make astronomical observations. But

Captain Cook also had secret orders from the British Admiralty to find the

southern continent.

They sailed in the Endeavour. It had a crew of 94 men.

They landed in a bay on the east coast on the 29th of April 1770. Cook

first called this place Stingray Bay, then he changed it to Botanist Bay

and finally called it Botany Bay because of all the strange and unusual

plants there.

He called this new land New Wales and then changed it to New South Wales.

He claimed the land for England (even though the land already belonged to

the Aborigines).

Captain Cook was also the first European to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

Actually he ran into it and damaged his ship pretty badly. He had to spend

seven weeks repairing his ship.



Canberra is a city of about 310,000 people located in the Australian

Capital Territory (ACT) approximately 200 kilometres from Sydney. Most of

the people in Canberra are employed by the federal government.

Canberra is a very young city. The plans for the city were only drawn up in

1911 and construction didn't commence until 1913.

The grand design for the city was drawn up by a relatively obscure american

architect named Walter Burley Griffin. The lake which is a central focus of

the city today is named after him.

With its imposing buildings, broad boulevards and uncluttered streetscape

(there are no billboards, in Canberra) it lacks the charm and vibrancy of

more cosmopolitan cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.


The Federal Parliament House is built on top of Capital Hill. It was

completed in 1988 and replaces the old parliament house which is located

further down the hill. The building was designed to merge into the profile

of the hill itself.A stainless steel flag mast 81 metres tall surmounts the

building from which flutters the Australian flag (the flag is as big as a

double decker bus).

It cost over 800 million dollars to build and is considered to be one of

the most attractive parliament buildings anywhere in the world.

The Members Hall is at the very centre of the Parliament complex between

the House of Representatives and Senate chambers. It has a large skylight

canopy through which can be seen the stainless steel flag mast and the

Australian flag.

The House of Representatives Chamber can seat up to 240 Members of


Currently there are approximately 148 members. They are popularly elected

for three year terms. The numbers of members representing each state is

proportional to their populations but there must be must be at least five

members from each state.

The Senate Chamber can seat 120 Senators.

Currently there are 76 senators. They are popularly elected for 6 year

terms. There are 12 senators from each state and two each from each



Aborigines lived around what is now Canberra for thousands of years.

1820 The first Europeans to visit the Limestones plains where current day

Canberra is located were Joseph Wild, James Vaughan and Charles Throsby.

1824 Joshua John Moore took up the first land grant on the Limestone

Plains. He called his property "Canberry" after the name the local

aborigines called the place. His property was where the the Australian

National University and Lake Burley Griffin is today.

1825 Robert Campbell started a grazing station on the Limestone Plains. He

named his property "Duntroon" after the family castle in Scotland. He built

a house called Duntroon House which was added on to by his son and

descendants. It is part of the Royal Military College today.

Many other people also farmed and grazed the land around the Limestone


1901 On January 1 Queen Victoria signed the Constitution Act making

Australia an independent country. Both Sydney and Melbourne wanted the

national capital to be in their cities. So to prevent too much rivalry a

search was begun to find a new site for the federal capital.

1908 The Canberra area was selected as the future site for the capital of


1911 An international competition was launched to find the best plan for

the new city. The design by an American landscape architect named Walter

Burley Griffin won the competition.

1927 The temporary federal parliament building was completed and federal

parliament moved from Melbourne to its new home in Canberra.

1978 It was decided that a new parliament building was needed to replace

the temporary building which had been used for over fifty years.

1988 The new Parliament House was opened by Queen Elizabeth 2.

Coober Pedy

The name Coober Pedy is derived from the Aboriginal words "kupa piti",

which means "white man's burrow".

The description is apt because most people live and work underground.

Coober Pedy is located 836 kilometres (510 miles) north of Adelaide and

about 300 kilometres south of Uluru.

It is a desolate landscape devoid of vegetation and water. It is an

extremely hot place too. The entire landscape is pockmarked by the telltale

tailing of countless opal mines.

In 1915 a young boy named Willie Hutchison, who was out with his father

prospecting for gold, discovered the first opal there. Since then the town

has grown to about 2500 people.

Coober Pedy produces about 90% of the world's opals.

Because of the extreme heat during the summer almost all buildings are

located underground.

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef stretches along the east coast of Queensland in

Australia. It is the world's largest coral reef . It is over 2000km (1250

miles) long! It is not a single reef at all. It is made up of over 2900

individual reefs very close to each other


A coral is a tiny marine polyp. It is the living part of the coral reef.

There are many different kinds of corals. These are what gives the coral

reef its colourful appearance. Corals feed mostly on plankton. Coral grows

in warm climates where there is clear salt water and sunlight. They don't

like pollution.

A coral reef is a natural barrier made of the bodies of living and dead

coral. It is normally just below the surface of the water.

It is made of two parts the:

. white part is made from the bodies of zillions and zillions of polyps

which have died over hundreds and thousands of years.

. colourful part is the living part of the coral reef. It is made up of

living polyps.


• 1500 species of fish

• 400 different types of coral

• 4,00 molluscs (like clams and the sea slug)

• 500 species of seaweed

• 215 species of birds

• 16 species of sea snake

• 6 species of sea turtle

• Whales visit during winter

New South Wales

New South Wales is the fourth largest state in Australia. It is 801,600 sq

km in size.

About 6 million people live in New South Wales. One in three Australians

lives in New South Wales.


Sydney is the capital of the state of New South Wales. It is Australia's

oldest and largest city. The defining symbols of Sydney are its Opera House

and "coat hanger bridge".

Sydney is the commercial capital of Australia.

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