What is Australia

Australian terrier

Australian terrier, breed of small, hardy terrier perfected in Australia c.1885. It stands about 10 in. (25.4 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 12 to 14 lb (5.5–6.4 kg). Its weather-resistant double coat consists of a soft, short underlayer and a straight, harsh outercoat about 2.5 in. (6.4 cm) long. It is silver-black or blue-black in color with rich tan markings on the head and legs. The Australian terrier is descended from the now extinct broken-hair, or rough-coated, terrier, a dog of widespread popularity in the early 18th cent. and believed to be the progenitor of many terrier breeds. For show purposes the rough-coated terrier was crossed with several British sporting terriers, probably the cairn, Dandie Dinmont, Irish, and Skye, producing the Australian terrier of today. Originally used to guard mines and herd sheep, it is now primarily raised as a pet.


The lyrebird got its name from the lyre, a musical instrument. This bird was
named after the lyre because the male birds have long tail feathers that look
like lyres. The females are the size of chickens and have brown feathers.
There are two species of lyrebirds: the Superb Lyrebird and Prince Albert's
Lyrebird. The Prince Albert Lyrebird lives in forested areas of southeast Australia. These birds have beautiful songs and imitate songs of other birds. They don't
use their wings for flying but mainly run and leap on the ground. They eat snails and insects. Lyrebirds mate for life. The female builds a dome-shaped nest where she lays
only one egg. After the bird hatches it stays with its parents for 3 to 4 years.

Australian kelpie

Australian kelpie, breed of medium-sized sheepherding dog originating in Australia c.1870. It stands from 17 to 20 in. (43.2–50.8 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 25 to 30 lb (11.3–13.6 kg). Its short, dense, straight coat is harshly textured and may be any of a variety of colors, e.g., black, black and tan, red, red and tan, fawn, chocolate, or smoke blue. It has generally been accepted that the border collie and probably the dingo were ancestors of the kelpie. Trained to respond both to hand signal and whistle, this rugged sheep dog is equally adept in pens or on the open plain and has proven indispensable to the Australian herder. The kelpie is exhibited in the miscellaneous class at dog shows sanctioned by the American Kennel Club.


In 1859, Thomas Austin brought two dozen wild rabbits to Australia and let them go. In 3 years the rabbit population reached 500 million. Myxomatosis, a virus disease that attacks rabbits, was brought to Australia in 1936, to kill a lot of the rabbits because they were becoming a nuisance. Wild rabbits have brownish fur with white, light brown, gray, dark reddish-brown or black mixed together. They live in shrubs, weeds, grasses, leaves or in holes in the ground. Rabbits eat plants, vegetables, and twigs and bark off of bushes and trees. Female rabbits have 4 to 5 baby rabbits at a time. They may give birth several times a year.


There are ten species of dunnart. Some of them are the common dunnart, white-footed dunnart, and the Darling Downs dunnart. There is also the fat-tailed dunnart. They are called the marsupial mouse and are usually 10 to 16 cm. long. All dunnarts are fearless and will protect themselves if they are scared or threatened. They all have litters of up to 10 babies about 3 to 4 times a year. They live in Australia and New Guinea. These marsupial mice live in deserts and rainforests and eat grasshopppers, spiders, lizards, mice and small animals. The fat-tailed dunnart is the smallest and has soft, fine, gray or black fur. They also have large ears and thick tails with short, stiff hairs. The dunnart stores all its fat in its tail.

Australian Economy

Australia has a diversified economy. Although the country is one of the world´s leading exporters of agricultural products, manufacturing and mining are also extremely important economically. Gold rushes in the mid-1800s encouraged immigration and exploration of the Outback, and the silver-lead-zinc lode discovered at Broken Hill, New South Wales, in 1883 remains a major source of production. Most of Australia´s mineral production, however, dates from 1960 or later.

Cricket culture

Cricket, the ball-and-bat game played chiefly in Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries, holds an especially important place in Australian culture. The traditionally genteel game was taken to the bosom of the British colony and somehow changed into a game of violent passion.

The game itself is rather dry and it can be difficult for outsiders to understand the passion fans display. Cricket is played by two teams of eleven on a level, closely cut oval pitch measuring about 525 ft (160 m) by about 550 ft (170 m). (The shape of the pitch is the reason Australian Rules football is played on an oval - the football adaptation was invented to keep cricket players fit in winter.) Two 'wickets', formed by three stakes crossed by two 'bails', are placed 66 ft (20.12 m) apart near the middle of the field.At each wicket stands a batsman. When the ball is pitched, the batsman must prevent the ball hitting the wicket and at the same time hit the ball as far as possible to gain runs.

The ball used is a hard, red leather-covered ball. If the fielding team recovers the ball and uses it to knock down the bails of a wicket before the batsman reaches it, the batsman is out. A batsman is also retired if an opposing fielder catches a batted ball on the fly (as in baseball), or for any of several more technical reasons.

A test match can take anywhere up to five days per modern game. In the past, test matches could take months to play out, but the rules were changed when visiting teams kept missing boats home. More exciting are the one-day matches, as players take more risks to make runs.

Australian Art: Ceramics

Australian ceramics are known world-wide for their ruggedness as well as their sophistication and all the shades in between. The gamut of Australian ceramics ranges from chunky raku to paper thin porcelain and so many other techniques and styles in between.

The styles in Australian ceramic art include natural looking colours and surfaces, new and daring glazes, and particularly playful treatments of the medium such as unglazed sculpture and treatments of Aussie icons. some famous Australian ceramic artists include Pamela Irving, whose cheeky ´Larry the Dog´sculpture graces Melbourne's City Square, Pilar Rojas, Andrea Hylands and Greg Daly.


In 1994, Australia had an estimated population of 17,800,000, up from 10,100,000 in 1960. Immigration continues to play a major role in population increase, more than 4 million new immigrants having settled in Australia since 1945. Despite a more diversified pattern of immigration in recent years, the population of Australia remains ethnically dominated by a majority that is of British descent (more than 90% from Great Britain and Ireland) or is recently arrived from the United Kingdom. Smaller ethnic groups of European origin include many of Greek, German, Italian, and Yugoslav descent........


Emus live anywhere in Australia's open country. The emu is the second largest bird, standing about 1.5 m. (5 ft.) tall and weighing 55 kg. (120 lbs.). If endangered, they can defend themselves by kicking and although they can't fly, they can run as fast as 50 km. per hour (30 miles per hour) and they are good swimmers. The female lays 8-10 dark green eggs. The male then sits on them until they hatch which is usually about 60 days. They are covered with grayish-brown hairlike feathers. They have a long neck and legs and a short, stubby tail.


The smallest rats are bigger than the biggest mice. Rats are rodents that have front teeth made for gnawing. They carry diseases like food poisoning and typhus. They sometimes desroy crops and kill lambs and baby pigs. Rats have slender tails and sharp claws. Rats can grow to be 5 to 12 inches long, have large or small ears, pointed snouts and soft fur. Their fur is black, gray, brown or white. They usually have long tails. Rats eat our food, plants, and sometimes go in a group and kill a chicken or pig. They have 3 to 6 litters a year with 8 to 9 babies at a time. People get rid of them by making sure they can't get any food or wreck their home. They also kill rats by traps, poison, or shooting them.


A brolga is an Australian crane. There is an Aboriginal legend that says girls
that do too much dancing and not enough working were changed into brolgas
because brolgas are tall, slender, and like to dance a lot.

The Aborigines copied the brolgas' dance and did it themselves. Brolgas eat grass, roots, insects, frogs, and lizards.
The cuscus is a marsupial found in Australia, Tasmania, the Solomon
Islands, Moluccas, and Celebes. It ranges from about 6 to 26 inches long.
Their tails are 17 to 24 inches long. Another word
for cuscus is phalanger. They are arboreal animals. This means that they are adapted for living or
moving around in trees. Phalangers eat fruit, leaves, nectar, insects, and
sometimes small birds. Cuscuses have dense, woolly fur and long tails. They live in hollow trees and carry their young in their pouches.

Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II, 1926–, queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1952–), elder daughter and successor of George VI. At age 18 she was made a State Counsellor, a confidante of the king. During World War II she trained as a junior subaltern (second lieutenant) in the women's services. On Nov. 20, 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, duke of Edinburgh (see Edinburgh, Prince Philip Mountbatten, duke of). They were in Kenya (en route for a tour of Australia and New Zealand) when the king died (Feb. 6, 1952) and Elizabeth succeeded to the throne. Her coronation, on June 2, 1953, was the first to be televised.
An extremely popular queen, Elizabeth has traveled more extensively than any previous British monarch. Throughout her reign, expanded media coverage has brought the monarchy closer to the British people. Although the queen, who in public is formal and unemotional, continues to be greatly admired and respected, since the mid-1980s a barrage of tabloid reports about her children and their spouses has seriously tarnished the royal image. In 1992 she celebrated her 40th year on the throne, but it was also a year in which part of Windsor Castle suffered a devastating fire; her son Prince Andrew (b. 1960) separated from his wife, the former Sarah Ferguson (they were divorced in 1996); her daughter, Princess Anne, divorced; and her son and heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Princess Diana separated (they were divorced in 1996). Elizabeth's youngest son is Prince Edward (b. 1964). In 1992 Elizabeth, the wealthiest woman in England, agreed to pay income tax for the first time. She was widely criticized for her seeming insensitivity in the days following Princess Diana's death.
See E. Longford, The Queen (1984); S. Bradford, Elizabeth (1996); B. Pimlott, The Queen (1997).


Echidnas, or spiny anteaters, are egg-laying mammals. They have strong bodies, short legs, and large feet and claws. They use their claws to dig up and eat ants, termites, and worms. They are covered with coarse hair and spines. Female echidnas lay eggs which hatch in 7-10 days. When the young come out, they stay in the mother's pouch for 6-8 weeks. During that time they nurse and develop a spine. The average life span for an echidna is over 50 years. Humans are the only longer living mammals. Echidnas can get to be 50 cm. (20 in.) and can weigh 6.5 kg. (14 lbs.).


Albany [al'bunE]

Albany , town (1996 pop. 14,590), Western Australia, SW Australia. It is a port on Princess Royal Harbour of King George Sound. The town has woolen mills and fish canneries. Founded in 1826 as a penal colony, Albany is the oldest settlement in the state of Western Australia

Tasmanian Devil description

Tasmanian devils are found in Tasmania, off the southeast coast of Australia. They are 3 to 4 feet long and have almost all black fur with a little bit of white on their chest. They eat small mammals, birds, lizards, insects, and carrion (dead or rotten animals). They are very strong for their size and have big teeth. Tasmanian devils look almost like small bears, but are marsupials. Their young are carried in a pouch. They have four babies at a time.

Modern Australia

Modern Australia
Confederation of the separate Australian colonies did not come until a constitution, drafted in 1897–98, was approved by the British parliament. It was put into operation in 1901; under its terms the colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, all of which by then had been granted self-government, were federated. The Northern Territory was added to the federation in 1911.
Australia fought alongside Great Britain in both world wars. Darwin, Port Jackson, and Newcastle were bombed or shelled by the Japanese in World War II. The Allied victory in the battle of the Coral Sea (1942) probably averted a full-scale attack on Australia. After the war Australia became increasingly active in world affairs, particularly in defense and development projects with its Asian neighbors; it furnished troops to aid the U.S. war effort in South Vietnam.
In 1983, Bob Hawke won his first of four terms as prime minister against a coalition of the Liberal and National parties. In 1991, as Australia foundered in a deep recession, Hawke lost the prime ministership to fellow Laborite Paul Keating. Keating led Labor to its fifth consecutive electoral victory in 1993. In the Mar., 1996, elections, however, 13 years of Labor rule were ended by a Liberal-National party coalition led by John Howard, who promised deregulation, smaller government, and other conservative economic reforms. Howard's coalition was reelected, although by a smaller margin, in 1998. In a 1999 referendum, voters rejected a plan to replace the British monarch as head of state with a president elected by the parliament

Australian Literature: 20th Century

As the world became increasingly industrialised and the focus of the nation moved to its cities, Australia's writers moved away from pastoral tales. The present century eventually produced greater sophistication and diversity among writers. Probably the most important Australian writer of the early 20th cent. was Henry Handel Richardson (pseud. of Ethel Richardson Robertson), whose autobiographical trilogy, 'The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney' (1930), presents a compelling portrait of Australian life. Richardson´s reputation was matched at mid-century by Patrick White whose strong, somber novels, Australian in setting yet universal in theme, reveal the author´s ambivalence toward his native land; White received the Nobel Prize in 1973.

Other notable 20th-century novelists are Brian Penton, Leonard Mann, Christina Stead (only one of whose novels is actually set in Australia), Arthur William Upfield (1888–1964), John O´Grady, Morris West, C. J. Koch, Peter Carey, Thomas Keneally, and the aborigine Colin Johnson. After emigrating to Australia in 1950, the English novelist Nevil Shute subsequently produced novels with Australian settings and themes.


boomerang [bOO'murang"]
boomerang , special form of throwing stick, used mainly by the aborigines of Australia. Other forms of throwing sticks were used by the peoples of ancient Egypt, Ethiopia, and India and by the indigenous peoples of the SW United States. The boomerang is sickle-shaped with arms slightly curved in opposite directions as in a propeller. The trajectory of a boomerang is usually an arc, but in some cases it is a full circle. The boomerang of the Australian aborigines (from whom the name is derived) is made in two types. The smaller boomerang, 12 to 30 in. (30 to 75 cm) long, is used only for sport and is thrown so that it returns to the thrower. The larger war boomerang is 24 to 36 in. (60 to 90 cm) long and does not return; it is used for hunting and warfare.


The Australian continent extends from east to west some 2,400 mi (3,860 km) and from north to south nearly 2,000 mi (3,220 km). It is on the whole exceedingly flat and dry. Less than 20 in. (50.8 cm) of precipitation falls annually over 70% of the land area. From the narrow coastal plain in the west the land rises abruptly in what, from the sea, appear to be mountain ranges but are actually the escarpments of a rough plateau that occupies the western half of the continent. It is generally from 1,000 to 2,000 ft (305–610 m) high but several mountain ranges rise to nearly 5,000 ft (1,520 m); there are no permanent rivers or lakes in the region. In the southwest corner of the continent there is a small moist and fertile area, but the rest of Western Australia is arid, with large desert areas.
The northern region fronts partly on the Timor Sea, separating Australia from Indonesia....

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Chronological history

Australia — chronological history

Get a complete list of the Chronological History of Australia: click here A Chronological History
Eg: 1606 — Dutchman Willem Jansz lands at the present site of Cape York, Queensland, on the far north-east corner of the continent, but fails to realise the significance of his discovery.
1642 — Another Dutchman, Abel Tasman, discovers Van Diemen's Land, the present island state of Tasmania south of the Australian mainland, and annexes the territory for Holland.

Northern Territory

Northern Territory, territory (1991 pop. 132,780), 520,280 sq mi (1,347,525 sq km), N central Australia. It is bounded on the N by the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea, and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Darwin is the territorial capital. In the north are lowlands, in the southeast are low plains sloping toward the Lake Eyre depression, and in the southwest are the MacDonnell Ranges. The main rivers are the Victoria, Daly, Adelaide, and Roper, all of which drain into the northern seas. The climate in the north is tropical, with a monsoon season; the south becomes colder and drier as the elevation rises.
About three fourths of the population live in the Darwin and Alice Springs metropolitan areas. Australian aborigines represent nearly one fourth of the Northern Territory's population and own the land of 15 reservations with a total area of 94,000 sq mi (243,460 sq km); the Arnhem Land preserve is the largest. Much of this land is important to the uranium mining and tourist industries.

Australian Land and Resources

Australian Land and Resources

Australia is primarily a flat low-lying plateau, with about 95% of the land standing less than 600 m (1,970 ft) above sea level. The continent was not affected by recent geological mountain-building forces, and all its landforms are highly eroded; Australia's mountains reach only 2,228 m (7,310 ft) in Mount Kosciusko in southeastern New South Wales.....

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