Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Countries: Australia

Countries Around the World: AUSTRALIA

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere made up of the mainland of the Australian continent as well as the island of Tasmania and many smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north; the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.

For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups. After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in the following decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing Crown Colonies were established.

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system which functions as a federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The federation is made up of six states and several territories. The population of 22.7 million is heavily concentrated in the Eastern states and is highly urbanised.

Word list:
  • indigenous: indigenous people lived in a place for a very long time before other people came to live there
  • penal transportation: sending convicted criminals to a prison colony.
  • urbanized: living in a town or city after living in the countryside

Country Information
  • location: Oceania, with the Indian Ocean on the East Coast and the South Pacific Ocean on the West Coast
  • capital: Canberra
  • official language: English
  • type of government: federal parliamentary democracy
  • total area: approximately 7,686,850 sq km
  • climate: generally arid to semiarid; temperate in the South and East; tropical in the North
  • terrain: mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in the Southeast
  • natural resources: includes bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas and petroleum
  • industries: includes mining, industrial and transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals and steel
  • agricultural products: includes wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits, cattle, sheep and poultry
Australia Vocabulary
  • Union Jack — Another name for the British flag.
  • Aboriginal people — A group of people who are the original, or native, inhabitants of Australia.
  • didgeridoo — A pipe-like wind instrument used by the Aboriginal people in traditional ceremonies.
  • outback — The rural semi-arid area in the interior of Australia, also known as the “bush.”
  • Australian dollar — The currency of Australia.
  • marsupial — A group of mammals, found primarily in Australia and the Americas, wherein the female has an abdominal pouch for sheltering and nurturing newborns.
  • eucalyptus — A group of tall trees, native to Australia, that have aromatic leaves, which yield an oil used for medicinal purposes and wood valued as timber.
  • echidna — Also called “spiny anteater.”A nocturnal, burrowing, egg-laying mammal that has a spiny coat, slender snout and an extendable, sticky tongue used for catching insects. It is commonly found in Australia,Tasmania and New Guinea.
  • fauna — Another name for animals.
  • flora — Another name for plants.
  • oztag — A non-contact sport that is similar to rugby. 
  • barbie — An Australian term that means “barbeque.”
  • cricket — A game for two teams, of 11 members each, that is played on a field with two wickets 20 meters apart.