Portal:Australia
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Portal:Australia

The Australia Portal  

Location of Australia

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 26 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Indigenous Australians inhabited the continent for about 65,000 years prior to European discovery with the arrival of Dutch explorers in the early 17th century, who named it New Holland. In 1770, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the time of an 1850s gold rush, most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. On 1January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories.

Being the oldest, flattest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi). A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. Its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking, and manufacturing.

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Portrait of Yagan by George Cruikshank

Yagan was a Noongar warrior who played a key part in early indigenous Australian resistance to European settlement and rule in the area of Perth, Western Australia. After he led a series of attacks in which white settlers were murdered, a bounty was offered for his capture dead or alive, and he was shot dead by a young settler. Yagan's death has passed into Western Australian folklore as a symbol of the unjust and sometimes brutal treatment of the indigenous peoples of Australia by colonial settlers. Yagan's head was removed and taken to Britain, where it was exhibited as an "anthropological curiosity". It spent over a century in storage at a museum before being buried in an unmarked grave in 1964. In 1993 its location was identified, and four years later it was exhumed and repatriated to Australia. Since then, the issue of its proper reburial has become a source of great controversy and conflict amongst the indigenous people of the Perth area. To date, the head remains unburied.

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The following are images from various Australia-related articles on Wikipedia.

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Kangaroo meat at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne

Kangaroo meat is mostly produced in Australia from wild kangaroos and in 2010 was exported to over 55 countries worldwide. Read more...

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Giraffes in the Taronga Zoo with the Sydney skyline in background.

Taronga Zoo is the zoological park of the city of Sydney. Founded in 1916, it is located on the shores of Sydney Harbour in Mosman. It is divided into eight zoogeographic regions and features over 2,600 animals on 28.7 hectares, making it one of the largest zoos of its kind.

Photo credit: Jan Derk

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Two men swinging the propeller of a biplane in front of a hangar

Fighter Squadron was a flying unit of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in the early 1930s. It operated Bristol Bulldog single-seat fighters. Along with Seaplane Squadron, Fighter Squadron was a component of No. 1 Flying Training School, based at RAAF Point Cook, Victoria. As well as participating in training exercises, Fighter Squadron was frequently employed for aerobatic displays and flag-waving duties. Read more...

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19 September:

Miles Franklin

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