What are the physical aspects of Australia?


crocodile, large, carnivorous reptile of the order Crocodilia, found in tropical and subtropical regions. Crocodiles live in swamps or on river banks and catch their prey in the water. They have flattened bodies and tails, short legs, and powerful jaws. The eyes, ears, and nostrils are located near the top of the head and are exposed when the crocodile floats on the surface of the water. The ears and nostrils have valves that close when the animal is submerged. Most crocodiles are more aggressive than the related alligators. The two forms are distinguished by the long lower fourth tooth: in crocodiles, but not in alligators, this tooth protrudes on the side of the head when the mouth is closed. The snouts of most crocodiles are narrower than those of alligators. Small crocodiles feed on fish and small aquatic animals; larger ones also catch land mammals and birds that approach the water. Members of some large species sometimes attack and eat humans. The female crocodile deposits her eggs, usually about 20 in number, in a nest of rotting vegetation or in a shallow pit on the river bank, and digs them up when she hears them hatching. In most species the average adult length is between 6 and 10 ft (1.8–3 m). The largest crocodile (the saltwater crocodile) is often 14 ft (4.3 m) long and may exceed 20 ft (6 m) in length. The Nile, American, and Orinoco crocodiles are commonly 12 ft (3.7 m) long, and specimens up to 23 ft (7 m) long have been reported for the last two species. The smallest crocodile (the Congo dwarf crocodile) averages 3 1/2 ft (105 cm) long. With the exception of the two African dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus) and the so-called false gavial (Tomistoma) of Asia, crocodiles are classified in the genus Crocodylus, with about a dozen species. The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is found in fresh- and saltwater throughout S and central Africa. In early historic times it ranged N to the Nile delta and the Mediterranean coast. It sometimes attacks humans, as does the saltwater crocodile (C. porosus), found on islands and in straits from SE Asia to Australia and Melanesia. The marsh crocodile, or mugger (C. palustris), is a freshwater species of India and Sri Lanka, regarded as sacred in some regions. The American crocodile (C. acutus) is found in fresh- and saltwater in S Florida, the West Indies, Central America, and NW South America. It does not attack humans without provocation. The Orinoco crocodile (C. intermedius) is a freshwater species of the Orinoco basin of Colombia and Venezuela. Two smaller species are found in limited areas of Central America and Cuba. Crocodiles are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Crocodilia, family Crocodilidae. See also gavial.

Dingo description

dingo [ding'gO]: wild dog of Australia, believed to have been introduced thousands of years ago by the aboriginal settlers of that continent. The only large carnivorous mammal found in Australia by the first European colonists, it stands about 24 in. (61 cm) high at the shoulder and has large, erect ears, a wolflike head, and rather long legs. It is usually yellowish red in color, with white markings on the underside, feet, and tip of tail. The dingo mates once a year and has a litter of up to eight pups. In the wild state it howls rather than barks, is nocturnal in its hunting habits, and usually travels in small groups. Although most often its quarry is small animals, the dingo's predation on livestock has caused serious economic loss in some areas of the continent. It has often been kept as a pet by the natives and used by them in hunting. The dingo is classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Canidae, genus Canis, species dingo.


Hobart, city (1990 pop. 127,134), capital and principal port of Tasmania, SE Australia, at the foot of Mt. Wellington (4,166 ft/1,270 m high). Hobart's harbor is one of the finest in the world. The city has diverse industries, including meatpacking, food processing, and the making of textiles, chemicals, and glass. It was founded in 1804 and named for Robert Hobart, the British colonial secretary. Hobart is the seat of the Univ. of Tasmania (1890) and an important commercial and service center. The Hobart Theatre Royal (1836) is the oldest major theatre in Australia

Transportation Within Australia

Australia is a big country, and this makes travelling overland a real adventure. Each of the colonies within Australia established their own rail networks before the country was federated. This made for some problems with gauge widths as trains travelled from state to state, although taking trains interstate these days is not difficult.

Australia comes second in the car ownership stakes, and there are almost one million km of roads across the continent. This is a higher amount of road per capita than Europe. Australians are far from afraid of driving, and it is common for people to drive the length and breadth of the country via car rather than train. Buses are a slightly less comfortable road option that appeal to the budget traveller.

The final accessible option of travel within Australia is flight, and the introduction of discount airlines has made this a more commonly taken option within the countries. Travel between the east and the west coasts is still relatively expensive, however, and it can be cheaper to travel from Sydney to Vanuatu than Sydney to Perth.


Bandicoots are native to Australia, New Guinea, Papua, and Tasmania. They are marsupials. The bandicoot ranges from about 10 to 20 inches long. Most species of bandicoot have long noses. Bandicoots fight with their hind legs and only bite if they have to. Bandicoots are very territorial and will attack other bandicoots that intrude on their territory.
Bandicoots' fur is orange, gray, brown, and sometimes striped. They use their clawed hind legs for hopping. Many species of bandicoot are either rare or extinct. This marsupial is usually nocturnal and hides in hollow logs, nests or crevices. They eat insects, small animals, and plants.

Bustard Quail

Bustard Quail
bustard quail or button quail,any of the small ground-running Old World birds of the family Turnicidae. Also called a hemipode, it resembles a true quail in appearance and way of life but is more closely related to sandgrouse and pigeons. Bustard quails have short tails and rounded wings and lack a hind toe. They are secretive birds, inhabiting grass and brush country and open woodlands, and are found throughout Australia, S Asia, and Africa, with one species extending into S Spain. They travel singly, in pairs, in small family groups, or, in some species, in covoys of 15 to 30 birds. Their diet consists of seeds, shoots, and small insects. The bustard quail female is larger and more colorful than the male, and takes the lead in courtship; she has a specialized vocal organ for giving the booming mating call. The nest is on the ground and is constructed by both sexes. After the female has laid her clutch, typically of four eggs, the male incubates the eggs and rears the young. There are 15 species of bustard quail, classified in two genera of the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Gruiformes, family Turnicidae.


Pronunciation Key
numbat , small marsupial, of SW Australia, also known as the marsupial anteater. The numbat, Myrmecobius fasciatus, resembles a squirrel in size and general appearance, but is adapted for eating insects, with a pointed snout and a long, cylindrical tongue covered with a sticky secretion. The body is brown with white transverse stripes and the tail is bushy. The numbat lives in eucalyptus forests and feeds chiefly on termites, which it finds in fallen branches and under litter. It sleeps by night in a den in a hollow log. Like other marsupials, numbats give birth to very undeveloped young, which crawl to the mother's teats and remain attached to them for several months; unlike most marsupials, however, numbats do not have pouches surrounding the teats. Numbats are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Dasyuridae.

Australian Snakes

Only around 10% of Australia's snakes are really poisonous. There are about 140 species of snakes in Australia. The most poisonous land snake is the inland tiapan found in south-western Queensland and north-eastern South Australia. A very small amount of its venom is enough to kill a quarter of a million mice. Tiger snakes, death adders, copperheads, brown snakes, and red-bellied black snakes are all also highly venomous. They usually stay hidden. You should always wear boots, socks, and heavy weight pants when you're going some place where there may be snakes. Never stick your hands down any holes. They will usually only try to bite in self-defense.


Quokkas look like wallabies, but have short tails. They are a little bit larger than a house cat, ranging from 70-85 cm. in height. Their hind legs are about 10 cm. long. They have long, brown fur, small faces, small, fuzzy ears, and a hairless tails.
Quokkas live on two islands of western Australia. They used to live all over Australia, but now they can only be found on the Rottnest Island, off the western coast of Australia, where they have their own area fenced off for their protection. Since the Rottnest Island gets very hot during the summer, quokkas are able to reuse part of their own waste, if they can't find any food or water.


Opossum [upos'um, pos'–]

opossum , name for several marsupials, or pouched mammals, of the family Didelphidae, native to Central and South America, with one species extending N to the United States. With the exception of an obscure group found in South American forests, opossums are the only living marsupials outside the Australia–New Guinea region. Extremely abundant despite the encroachment of civilization and apparently little changed over millions of years, they owe their success to their adaptability, omnivorous diet, and rapid reproductive rate. Opossums are more or less arboreal, nocturnal animals, with long noses, naked ears, prehensile tails, and opposable hind toes tipped with flat pads. They eat small animals, eggs, insects, and fruit. The common, or Virginia, opossum, Didelphis marsupialis, ranges from Argentina to the N United States; it is found mostly in wooded areas and is common in the SE United States. The common opossum resembles a large rat, with a white face and long, coarse fur of mixed white-tipped and black-tipped hairs. It spends time both in trees and on the ground and makes nests of leaves, usually in holes in trees. When frightened it goes into a state of collapse; this involuntary “playing possum” sometimes saves it from predators, who lose interest in an apparently dead animal. The female usually has the typical marsupial pouch, although it is absent in some of the South American species. The 6 to 18 young are born after a gestation of 12 days and weigh 1/15 oz. (1.9 grams); they crawl through the mother's fur to the pouch where they are carried and nursed for three months. After emerging, they ride on the mother's back, clinging to her fur or tail with their own tails. Because it raids domestic poultry and corn, the opossum is hunted in the South as a pest, as well as for food and sport. Among the other opossum species are the tiny mouse opossums (Marmosa species) and the yapok, or water opossum (Chironectes minimus), which has webbed feet and leads a semi-aquatic existence. The yapok ranges from Guatemala to Brazil. Opossums are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Didelphidae.
See study by J. F. Keefe (1967).


Darwin, city (1991 pop. 67,946), capital of the Northern Territory, N Australia, on Port Darwin, an inlet of the Timor Sea. Remotely situated on the sparsely settled north coast, Darwin has no rail connection with any of the major Australian cities. Australian military personnel and their dependents make up a large part of the population. Darwin is multicultural, with large Chinese and aboriginal populations. In World War II the city was heavily bombed by the Japanese; later a military airdrome, fuel-oil installations, and a wharf were built, and Darwin became a key Allied base. Originally called Palmerston, the town was renamed (1911) for Charles Darwin because its site had been a stop (1839) during a voyage of Darwin's ship, the Beagle. The city was almost completely destroyed by a hurricane in Dec., 1974. It was rebuilt and now attracts large numbers of tourists who visit nearby Kakadu National Park.


Cicada [sikA'du]

Large, noise-producing insect of the order Homoptera, with a stout body, a wide, blunt head, protruding eyes, and two pairs of membranous wings. The front wings, which are longer than the rear pair, extend beyond the insect's abdomen. Male cicadas have platelike membranes on the thorax, which they vibrate like drum heads, producing a loud, shrill sound. Females of most species are mute. Characteristic songs are produced by members of different species; each also produces a noise indicating irritation, and some have special courtship songs. There are about 2,000 cicada species distributed throughout the tropical and temperate regions of the world; they are most numerous in Asia and Australia. There are about 180 species in North America; adults of these species range from approximately 1 to 2 in. (2.5–5 cm) in length. The periodical cicadas (Megacicada species), found in the eastern half of the continent, have the longest known life cycles of any insect. Because of their periodic appearance they are often called locusts, although they are not related to true locusts. Their life cycle takes 17 years in northern species (the so-called 17-year locusts) and 13 years in southern species; the two types overlap in parts of the United States. The female deposits her eggs in slits that she cuts in young twigs. In about six weeks the wingless, scaly larvae, or nymphs, drop from the tree and burrow into the ground, where they remain for 13 or 17 years, feeding on juices sucked from roots. The nymphs molt periodically as they grow; finally the full-grown nymphs emerge at night, climb tree trunks and fences, and shed their last larval skin. The winged adults, which generally emerge together in large numbers, live for about one week. Different broods mature at regular intervals, so that at least one colony is conspicuous in some part of the United States each year, and even in a given locality a brood may appear every few years. Other North American cicadas (Tibicen species and others) are known as dog-day cicadas, or harvest flies, because the adults appear in late summer. Their life cycle is thought to be similar to that of the periodical cicadas, but in most species it is completed in two years. Cicada larvae do little damage, but when adults appear in large numbers their egg-laying may damage young trees. Cicadas are sometimes kept for their song in Asia, as they were in ancient Greece. They are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Homoptera, family Cicadidae.

K's #1

noun metal drum of beer, usually 5 or 10 gallons, popular at parties and barbies (see)
'They knocked the first keg over by 6.00 and had to get another one from the pub (see)'

noun testicles (see also `love spuds', `nuts')
`As painful as a wax job on your knackers'
adjective puzzled ('It's got me knackered'); extremely tired ('I'm knackered')
knock off
colloq to steal
'Some bastard's knocked off me beer!'
Also, to finish work for the day

Tasmanian Tiger

The Tasmanian tiger lives in Tasmania and off Australia's southeast coast. There are very few left on Earth. They are also called Tasmanian wolves or thylacines. They aren't really tigers or wolves. They are just called that because they have short gray or yellowish-brown fur and dark stripes across their back. These tigers are about 5 feet long and 2 to 3 feet tall. They have strong legs, a slim bodies, and rounded ears. Tasmanian tigers eat kangaroos and wallabies. Since thylacine are marsupials, they carry their young in their pouches.

Echidna about

echidna [ikid'nu]

echidna or spiny anteater,primitive animal of the order Monotremata, the egg-laying mammals. A short-legged, grayish brown animal, the echidna is covered with sharp quills and can protect itself by rolling into a tight bristly ball. It may reach 18 in. (46 cm) in length. Padded soles and stout claws make it a clumsy walker but a strong and rapid burrower. The echidna has only a rudimentary tail and lacks both external ears and teeth. With its sensitive muzzle and long sticky tongue it probes for ants and termites. It is nocturnal and hibernates in winter. There are two genera and several species of echidna; all are native to the sandy and rocky areas of New Guinea, E Australia, and Tasmania. Females produce one or two eggs, which are deposited in a rudimentary marsupial pouch. The newly hatched young remain in the pouch, feeding on a milky fluid, until their spines begin to grow. Echidnas are not closely related to true anteaters, which are higher mammals. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Monotremata.

Wombat About

wombat, shy marsupial of Australia and Tasmania, related to the koala. The wombat is a thick-set animal with a large head, short legs (giving it a shuffling gait), and a very short tail. It is about 3 ft (91.5 cm) long. Its snout is either naked, as in the species Vombatus ursinus, or furred, as in Lasiorhinus latifrons. Its incisors, the only teeth, grow continually, like those of rodents. Wombats are native to savanna forests and grasslands. They are solitary, nocturnal animals that feed chiefly on grass, roots, and bark and have been known to gnaw down large trees. They are powerful burrowers, digging tunnels by lying on their sides and pushing out soil with their feet. Their burrows, which may be 100 ft (31.5 m) long, terminate in grassy nests. A single infant is carried by its mother in a marsupial pouch for a period of 6 to 12 months. Extinct wombats as large as hippopotamuses are known from fossil evidence. Wombats are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Vombatidae.

Wombat Description

The wombat is a marsupial herbivore. It digs burrows for itself to live in. Wombats are about 70-120 cm. (27-47 in.) and weigh up to 27 kg. (60 lbs.). Their fur is grayish-brown.


marsupial [märsOO'pEul]
Pronunciation Key
marsupial , member of the order Marsupialia, or pouched mammals. With the exception of the New World opossums and an obscure S American family (Caenolestidae), marsupials are now found only in Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, and a few adjacent islands. They are generally distinguished from the higher, or placental, mammals by the absence of a placenta connecting the embryo with its mother, although in a few forms the female has a rudimentary placenta that functions for a short time. The embryo is nourished during its brief gestation by a fluid secreted by the mother's uterus. The young are born in a very undeveloped state; at birth the great gray kangaroo is about 1 in. (2.5 cm) long and the opossum about 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm) long. Immediately after birth the young crawl to the mother's nipples and remain attached to them while continuing their development. As they are still too helpless to suckle, milk is squirted into them by the periodic contraction of muscles over the mother's mammary glands. In nearly all marsupials the female's nipples are covered by a pouch, or marsupium, formed by a fold of abdominal skin. Even after the suckling stage the young return at times to the pouch for shelter and transportation. In many species the young are carried on the mother's back after the suckling stage. In addition to having a less efficient reproductive system than the placental mammals, marsupials are of generally lower intelligence. They were once widespread over the earth, but were displaced in most regions as the more successful placental mammals evolved. The Australian region, which has been isolated from contact with other regions since the Cretaceous period, had almost no native placental mammals, and the marsupials were able to continue their evolution there without competition. They underwent an adaptive radiation in Australia comparable to that of placental mammals in the rest of the world, evolving many forms that superficially resemble various placental mammals and fill the same ecological niches. Thus, there are animals known as Tasmanian wolves (see thylacine), marsupial moles, marsupial mice, and native cats (see dasyure), which live very much like the correspondingly named placental mammals and, in many cases, are strikingly similar in appearance. See bandicoot, numbat, phalanger, Tasmanian devil, wombat.
See H. Tyndale-Biscoe, Life of Marsupials (1973); A. K. Lee and A. Cockburn, Evolutionary Ecology of Marsupials (1985


Many potoroos are land animals and have tails that are adapted for seizing, grasping or taking hold of something. Potoroos are "rat" kangaroos. They have gray and black stripes on their faces. Their ears are short. Potoroos are like jumping mice.
The potoroo is one of Australia's rarest animals. It wasn't discovered until 1980. It is 70-75 cm. long and finds food at night. It eats roots, fungus, and insect larvae.


The wallaby is a small kangaroo. This name comes from a word in the
Australian Aboriginals' language. Wallabies live in Australia, Tasmania, and
on the island of New Guinea.
The biggest wallabies are 35 inches long and the smallest are 12 inches. They hide in scrubs and bushes, so dingoes don't eat them. Wallabies eat grass, leaves, fruit and tree bark.
They carry their babies in pouches like kangaroos.
There are two types of wombat; Vombatus which has coarse fur and no hair on its nose, and Lasiorhinus with soft fur and a hairy nose.


Bandicoot, small marsupial mammal native to Australia and nearby islands. There are 19 species in eight genera. Bandicoots have long, pointed, shrewlike faces; gray or brown fur; and long, bushy, ratlike tails. They range in size from that of a rat to that of a rabbit. Their feet are equipped with sharp claws, used for digging food; they feed nocturnally on insects, worms, roots, and vegetables dug from the ground. The second and third toes of the hind legs are bound together and the paired claws are used as a comb for grooming the fur. Bandicoots are able to hop about like rabbits on their strong hind legs, but they also commonly creep on all fours. Bandicoots are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, order Marsupialia, family Peramelidae

Religions In Australia

Australia has no single established church, and its constitution guarantees freedom of worship. The population is predominantly Christian with a number of significant minority groups. The largest single denominations are the Roman Catholic church (26 percent of the population) and Anglican Church Australia (26 percent). Another 24 percent belong to other Christian denominations. Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim worshipers make up a growing portion of the population due to immigration. A significant portion of Australia´s population say they are nonreligious.


Kookaburras are birds that can be found in Australia and New Guinea. They are 18 inches long. They sometimes catch fish and live on large insects, mice, small birds, and small snakes. Kookaburras live in tree holes. The female lays 2 to 3 white eggs and the male protects their home against predators. The kookaburras' call sounds like a laugh.


The possum is the only marsupial that doesn't live only in Australia. The common possum gets to be about 50 cm. (20 in.) long, plus a long, hairless tail. It can weigh up to 6.5 kg. (14 lbs.). The possum is covered with coarse, gray hair. It has 50 teeth and a very large mouth. They are omnivores, eating mostly fruit and insects.


One of the great icons of Australia, the kangaroo shares center stage with the Emu on the Australian Coat of Arms. It is a variety of hopping marsupial, or pouched mammal, of the family Macropodidae. The 45 varities can range from the tiny rat kangaroo at 12 inches, to the Red Kangaroo at 9 feet tall and the Eastern Greys topping 200 pounds. Kangaroos have powerful hind legs designed for leaping, long feet, short forelimbs, and long muscular tails. The hind legs are also used to deliver blows at enemies when the animal is cornered; the feet are sharply clawed. The tail serves as a balance when the animal leaps and as a prop when it stands; the usual posture is bipedal. The handlike forepaws are used for grasping. As in most marsupials, females have a pouch surrounding the teats. The single young is born in an immature state after a gestation period of about 40 days and is suckled in the mother´s pouch for about six months. After it begins to graze it returns frequently to the pouch for shelter and transport until it is too large to be carried. Kangaroos feed on grass and other vegetation; they are the chief grazers of the Australian plains. Day-active animals, they move about in herds called mobs and sleep on the ground at night. Males are called boomers, females flyers; the young are called joeys. They inhabit all parts of Australia and in many areas compete with livestock for grazing land. Determining the state of the kangaroo population is difficult as interest groups on both sides of the issue give conflicting assesments. It is safe to say that the kangaroo population is strong but that there is an ongoing "culling" program.

Tasmanian Devil About

Tasmanian devil
Tasmanian devil, extremely voracious marsupial, or pouched mammal, of the dasyure family, now found only on the island of Tasmania. The Tasmanian devil, Sarcophilus harrisi, formerly found also in Australia, is about 2 ft (60 cm) long, excluding the 12–in. (30–cm) tail. It has a large head, with powerful jaws, and weak hindquarters. Its blackish fur is marked with white patches on the throat, on each side, and on the rump. The animal has a fierce appearance. It is very strong for its size and preys on animals larger than itself, such as small kangaroos, as well as on rodents, lizards, and other small animals. It lives in burrows in rocky areas. Like the related thylacine, or Tasmanian wolf, the Tasmanian devil has been relentlessly hunted because of its inroads on domestic livestock and poultry; however, it survives in fair numbers in remote areas of the island. It is classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Dasyuridae.


Nabarleks have light brown fur with a nearly white chest. They grow to be 50 to 65 cm. tall. They eat grasses and ferns that are native to Australia. Most of their babies are born during the winter. They stay in their mother's pouch for 26 weeks.

Eastern Highlands

Eastern Highlands, c.2,400 mi (3,860 km) long, general name for the mountains and plateaus roughly paralleling the east and southeast coasts of Australia (including Tasmania) and forming the Continental Divide (see Great Dividing Range); rises to Mt. Kosciusko (7,316 ft/2,230 m), Australia's highest peak. Rugged, with many gorges and few gaps, the Eastern Highlands long hindered westward expansion of British settlement. The slopes are covered with eucalyptus forests. Rich in minerals, the highlands contain most of Australia's coalfields; gold, copper, tin, oil, and natural gas are also extracted. The southern part of the region is a popular winter resort area. Major segments of the system are the Australian Alps, the New England Range, and the Blue Mts.

Darling Range

Darling Range, Western Australia state, Australia, at the edge of the Western Plateau, extending 200 mi (322 km) parallel with the southwest coast and rising to 1,910 ft (582 m) in Mt. Cooke. Gold and tin were mined there. The suburbs of Perth are on its slopes.


There are two main types of owls. They are the common owl and the barn owl. They range in size from the tiny elf owl to the largest, the great gray owl.

Owls' eyes are usually big and set on the front of their face. They have to turn
their head to see to the side of themselves. Owls can turn their heads 270 degrees. They have short, thick bodies, hooked beaks, and sharp claws called talons. Their feathers are so soft that when they fly, you can't hear a sound. Their feathers also make them look bigger than they are.


drongo , any of the insect-eating Old World birds of the family Dicruridae. Most species have black plumage with an iridescent purple or green shimmer and long, deeply forked tails. They have long pointed wings and stout, hooked bills ornamented with long bristles about the mouth. Most have ornamental crests or head plumes. Drongos range in body length from 7 to 15 in. (18–38 cm); the tail in some species is as long as 28 in. (71 cm). Solitary, arboreal birds of forests, wooded savannas, and fields, drongos are most numerous in S Asia, but also occur in S Africa and NE Australia. Typical of the family is the king crow, Dicrurus macrocerus, found from India to Java and Taiwan. Drongos are powerful, aggressive birds and will drive off birds much larger than themselves, incidentally providing protection to more docile species that nest in the same trees. Members of some species follow cattle in order to feed on the associated insects. There are about 20 drongo species, classified in two genera, Dicrurus and Chaetorhynchus, of the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Dicruridae.


Newcastle, city (1991 pop. 262,331), New South Wales, SE Australia, on the Pacific Ocean. It is the center of one of the country's largest coal-mining areas and is a large port. Coal, wool, iron and steel, and wheat are exported. The city has steel mills and shipyards; chemicals, glass, fertilizer, and textiles are also produced. The first permanent settlement on the site was made in 1804. The Univ. of Newcastle is in the city.

Australian Alps

Australian Alps, chain of mountain ranges, SE Australia, making up the southern part of the Eastern Highlands and forming the watershed between the Murray River system and streams flowing into the Tasman Sea. It is the site of the Snowy Mts. hydroelectric project. Mt. Kosciusko (7,316 ft/2230 m) in the Australian Alps is the highest peak in Australia.

The ACT's Reshuffled History

The Australian Capital Territory was called the Federal Capital Territory until 1938. Most of the territory consists of an area formerly known as Yass-Canberra, which was ceded to the Commonwealth by New South Wales in 1911. In 1915, New South Wales additionally ceded Jervis Bay, providing a potential port for Canberra. In 1988 the territory gained self-government with its own unicameral parliament, and Jervis Bay was separated from the territory. This may seem like a lot of reshuffling in such a small amount of time, but such is politics!


Whyalla, city (1991 pop. 25,526), South Australia state, S Australia, on Spencer Gulf. The city has shipbuilding and iron and steel industries. Iron ore and iron and steel products are exported.


Perth, city (1991 pop. 1,018,702), capital of Western Australia, SW Australia, on the Swan River estuary. Fremantle is Perth's port. Perth is a communications and transportation center and the state's financial, commercial, and cultural hub. The suburbs of Fremantle, Kwinana, and Welshpool have heavy industries. Perth was founded in 1829 but did not gain importance until the Coolgardie gold rush (1890s), the development of the port at Fremantle, and the construction of rail lines (early 20th cent.). Perth evolved into a modern metropolis in the late 20th cent. and saw much new construction. The Univ. of Western Australia and Murdoch Univ. are there. It is also the seat of Roman Catholic and Anglican archbishops. Perth is very isolated; Adelaide, the closest major city, is nearly 2,000 mi (3,219 km) away.

Frilled neck lizards

Frilled neck lizards inhabit Northern Australia. They have a frill folded up around their neck, and when they are startled, it spreads out and makes the lizard look twice as big as it normally is. Then the lizard makes hissing noises and shows its teeth. They're about 30 cm. (1 ft.), plus the tail. They eat insects and some small rodents.

Individual lizards' scales are different colors, depending on where they live. They reproduce by laying eggs.
Aside from Australia, monitors can be found in Africa, Asia, Indonesia, and New Guinea. Different species can grow to different sizes and weights. The short-tailed monitor is 20 cm. (8 in.) while the komodo dragon can get to be 3 m. (10 ft.) and weigh 135 kg. (300 lbs.).


phalanger [fulan'jur]
Pronunciation Key
phalanger , any of the numerous and varied marsupials, or pouched mammals, of the family Phalangeridae, found in Australia, New Guinea, and adjacent islands. Many are somewhat like squirrels in appearance. They are also called Australian opossums, although true opossums belong to a different marsupial family and are found in the Americas. The koala is a well-known but atypical phalanger. Typical phalangers are nocturnal, arboreal animals with woolly fur, long, often prehensile tails, dexterous forepaws, large claws, opposable first hind toes, and joined second and third hind toes. They feed on fruits, leaves, and insects. Commonest is the brush-tailed phalanger, or possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), with a thickly furred tail, heavy hindquarters, a pointed face, and large pointed ears. It is found throughout Australia and adjacent areas, especially in woods, but also in towns; it has adapted well to human settlement and clearing. Cuscus is a name applied to several species of slow-moving phalangers about the size of house cats. Cuscuses have rounded bodies and heads, inconspicuous ears, and large round eyes. They display a wide range of colors. The honey phalanger is a mouse-sized, shrub-dwelling animal of SW Australia, with a very long tongue used to gather nectar, pollen, and insects from flowers. Several types of phalanger have evolved a gliding mechanism consisting of a parachutelike fold of furry skin between the front and hind legs. These animals are called gliders, or flying squirrels, although they are not related to the true flying squirrels. Phalangers are classified in several genera of the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Phalangeridae.


Australia maintains contact with the rest of the world by such means as satellite, submarine telegraph cable, radio-telephone, and phototelegraph services. Since 1975 the Australian Telecommunications Commission has been responsible for telecommunications services within Australia; the Australian Postal Commission manages the postal services. In 1998 there were 512 telephone mainlines for every 1,000 people. Government and commercial radio and television systems operate concurrently. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is a statutory authority operating 108 medium-wave and 358 FM radio stations. Commercial stations number 149; unlike the national stations, these carry advertising. Television programs are transmitted within range of 99 percent of the population by the ABC's national television network and by some 45 commercial stations. Australia has about 530 newspapers, some 65 of which are dailies with a combined daily circulation of 5.4 million. The Australian is the national general newspaper; among the other large-circulation metropolitan dailies are the Sydney Morning Herald;The Age and Herald-Sun News Pictorial (both published in Melbourne); Courier-Mail (Brisbane); Advertiser (Adelaide); and West Australian (Perth).


Brisbane , city (1991 pop. 1,145,537), capital of Queensland, E Australia, on the Brisbane River above its mouth on Moreton Bay. Brisbane is Australia's third largest city and an administrative, commercial, industrial, and cultural center. It has shipyards, oil refineries, food-processing plants, textile mills, automobile and telecommunications plants, and railroad workshops, but in recent years tourism and commercial expansion have dominated the city's development. Extensive suburban growth has accompanied the city's rapid increase in population. The area was settled in 1824 as a penal colony, and the city was named in 1834 for Sir Thomas Brisbane, governor of New South Wales. In 1925 the Greater Brisbane Act unified the administration of 19 formerly separate localities. Brisbane is the seat of the Univ. of Queensland (1909), a national art gallery (1895), a museum (1871), and a performing arts complex.

Cape York Peninsula

Cape York Peninsula, 280 mi (451 km) long, N Queensland, Australia, between the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Coral Sea. It is largely tropical jungle and sparsely populated. The Northern Peninsula Aboriginal Reserve is there. Weipa (1991 pop. 2,510) is the largest town


South Australia, state (1991 pop. 1,236,623), 380,070 sq mi (984,381 sq km), S central Australia. It is bounded on the S by the Indian Ocean. Kangaroo Island and many smaller islands off the south coast are included in the state. Adelaide is the capital; other important cities are Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Whyalla, and Mt. Gambier. Two thirds of the state's population live in the Adelaide metropolitan area.... Read More: South Australia: Physical

Australian Economic Resources

Most of the rich farmland and good ports of Australia are in the east and particularly the southeast, except for the area around Perth in Western Australia. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide are the leading industrial and commercial cities. There has been considerable industrial development in the last two decades of the 20th cent., and the standard of living has remained generally high.

Australia is highly industrialized, and manufactured goods account for most of the gross domestic product. Its chief industries include mining (much of which is accomplished with the aid of Japanese capital), food processing, and the manufacture of industrial and transportation equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, machinery, and motor vehicles. Australia has valuable mineral resources, including coal, iron, bauxite, copper, tin, lead, zinc, and uranium. Some lumbering is done in the east and southeast. The country is self-sufficient in food, and the raising of sheep and cattle and the production of grain have long been staple occupations. Tropical and subtropical produce—citrus fruits, sugarcane, and tropical fruits—are also important, and there are numerous vineyards and dairy and tobacco farms. Australia maintains a favorable balance of trade. Its chief export commodities are metals, minerals, coal, wool (of which it is the world´s largest exporter), beef, mutton, cereals, and manufactured products. The leading imports are manufactured raw materials, capital equipment, and consumer goods. Australia´s economic ties with Asia and the Pacific Rim have become increasingly important.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island, small island, South Australia, S Australia, at the entrance to Gulf St. Vincent. It is 90 mi (145 km) long and 34 mi (55 km) wide. The chief products are barley, sheep, salt, gypsum, and eucalyptus oil. At its west end is Flinders Chase, a large reservation for native flora and fauna. There are many summer resorts. Kingscote (1991 pop. 1,443) is the principal settlement.

Numbats/marsupial anteaters description

Numbats or marsupial anteaters live in Australian forests and deserts. They are the only living species of the family Myrmecobiidae. They can grow up to 27.5 cm. (11 in.) long, plus a 17 cm (7 in.) tail. They can weigh up to .45 kg. (1 lb.). They have gray, brown, or dull red backs which are crossed by six or seven white stripes. They have 52 small teeth and a long, sticky tongue that they use to pick up ants and termites.

Port Augusta

Port Augusta, city (1991 pop. 14,595), South Australia, S Australia, at the head of Spencer Gulf. It is a railroad center.


A kultarr, when full grown, is 18 to 25 cm. long. Their fur is long, soft, grey on top, and white on their stomachs. People call them the Jumping Pouched Mice. Their nose is pointed and their ears are oval shaped. Kultarrs like to jump. They eat insects, spiders, and lizards. This Jumping Pouched Mouse has about 4 babies at a time. Kultarrs are marsupials, so they carry their young in their pouches.


Monitors have small scales, a slender head and neck, four legs, five toes with claws on each foot, and most have long tails. Monitors eat almost any kind of small animal they can get, usually rodents

Port Pirie

Port Pirie [pir'E]

Port Pirie , city (1991 pop. 14,110), South Australia, S Australia, on an inlet of Spencer Gulf. It is a railroad center and has uranium refineries and smelting works for the silver-lead mines at Broken Hill. Silver-lead ore and refined lead are exported.

Bathurst Island

Bathurst Island, c.1,000 sq mi (2,590 sq km), Northern Territory, N Australia, near Melville Island, between the Timor and Arafura seas. The island is a reservation owned by the Tiwi people


Kalgoorlie [kalgoor'lE]

Kalgoorlie , town (1991 pop. 25,016), Western Australia, SW Australia. It is the chief mining town of the state and the center of the East Coolgardie Goldfield. Gold was found at nearby Coolgardie in 1892; nickel is also mined. The Western Australia School of Mines (1902) was transferred (1903) from Coolgardie to Kalgoorlie.

East Coolgardie Goldfield


East Coolgardie Goldfield , Western Australia, SW Australia. It is the richest gold field in Australia. The chief mining center is the town of Kalgoorlie. Coolgardie, of little importance today, was the first gold-rush town in the area. Gold was discovered there in 1892.


Tasmania [tazmA'nEu]
Tasmania , island state (1991 pop. 359,286), 26,383 sq mi (68,332 sq km), SE Commonwealth of Australia. It is separated from Australia by the Bass Strait and lies 150 mi (240 km) south of the state of Victoria. Tasmania includes many offshore islands, among which are Bruny, the Hunter Islands, the Furneaux Group, King Island, and Macquarie Island....Read this entire Article:About Tasmania


The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), carved out of southeastern New South Wales in two steps (1911 and 1915), contains the national capital, Canberra. The terrain consists of rolling grasslands called the Canberra Basin and is ringed by the Australian Alps. It covers 2,400 sq km (927 sq mi), including Jervis Bay Territory (70 sq km/27 sq mi), part of the ACT from 1915 to 1988. The elevation of the basin is about 580 m (1,900 ft). The population of the Australian Capital Territory is 299,400 (1993 est.), and nearly all residents live in Canberra. Parliament moved from Melbourne to carefully planned Canberra in 1927.


Sydney, city (1991 pop. 3,097,956), capital of New South Wales, SE Australia, surrounding Port Jackson inlet on the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is Australia's largest city, chief port, and main cultural and industrial center. The city serves as the center for retail and wholesale trade as well as public administration and finance. Its main exports are wool, wheat, flour, sheepskins, and meat; the chief imports are petroleum, coal, timber, and sugar. Sydney has shipyards, oil refineries, textile mills, brass foundries, and automobile, electronics, and chemical plants.


Fremantle , city (1996 pop. 24,276), Western Australia, SW Australia, a suburb of Perth, on the Indian Ocean at the mouth of the Swan River. It is the terminus of the Trans-Australian RR and the chief commercial port of the state. The chief exports are wheat, wool, fruit, and flour; oil, steel, and phosphates are imported. The 1987 America's Cup challenge was held here.

Darling Downs

Darling Downs, tableland, 27,610 sq mi (71,510 sq km), SE Queensland, Australia, W of the Great Dividing Range. Settled in 1840 by sheep grazers, this grassland region has become an important farming and dairying area; it is in Australia's wheat belt.

Christmas Island

Christmas Island (1995 est. pop. 890), 60 sq mi (155 sq km), in the Indian Ocean, c.200 mi (320 km) S of Java. The majority of the inhabitants are Chinese and Malays who work the extensive phosphate deposits. The island was annexed by Great Britain in 1888 and became part of the former Straits Settlements in 1889. In 1958 it was ceded to Australia.

Gold Coast

Gold Coast, city (1991 pop. 256,275), Queensland, E Australia, on the Pacific Ocean. The city, a major resort, stretches for many miles along the coast and extends into New South Wales. In 1994 Queensland decided to amalgamate the city with Albert Shire to create one of three new “super cities.” The amalgamation made Gold Coast the second largest municipality in Australia after Brisbane. Its new boundaries extend south to Coolangatta on the border with New South Wales, west to Mt. Tamborine in the remote interior, and north to Beenleigh on the edge of Brisbane.


bushrangers, bandits who terrorized the bush country of Australia in the 19th cent. The first bushrangers (c.1806–44) were mainly escaped convicts who fled to the bush and organized gangs. Their crimes were checked effectively by various Bushranging Acts passed after 1830. With the discovery of gold, however, bushrangers of a new type flourished from 1850 to 1880, largely brigand-adventurers who attacked gold convoys. The last of these were the men of the Kelly gang. This band of desperadoes was exterminated in 1880 when three members were trapped and killed at a hotel in Glenrowan, Victoria, and Edward (Ned) Kelly was hanged at Melbourne. Despite the frequent brutality of the gangs, they often held the status of folk heroes among the poor.
See studies by W. F. Wannan (1963) and T. A. Prior (1966).

Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains, region of New South Wales, SE Australia. Located W of Sydney, this elevation is actually a plateau forming part of the Great Dividing Range.


State (1991 pop. 1,409,965), 975,920 sq mi (2,527,633 sq km), Australia, comprising the entire western part of the continent. It is bounded on the N, W, and S by the Indian Ocean. Perth is the capital. Other important cities are Kalgoorlie, a gold-mining center; Fremantle, the chief port; and Bunbury, a port S of Perth. Western Australia is the largest state of the commonwealth, but only its southwest corner is fertile and substantially settled; the rest is arid and scarcely habitable. Half the population lives in the Perth metropolitan area. Western Australia's population of Australian aborigines numbers about 25,000. State-owned goldfields cover much of Western Australia, and there is a vast central desert. The King Leopold, Hamersley, and Stirling ranges are actually high plateaus. The large lakes in the interior are usually dry, and the northern rivers (the Fortescue, Fitzroy, and Ashburton) are intermittent; the only important river is the Swan in the southwest. The climate is tropical in the north and temperate in the southwest. Agriculture is confined primarily to the southwest and around Perth. About one half of the cultivated land is in wheat. Sheep graze in the north and southwest, and wool is a major product. Meat, dairy products, and timber are also important. The mining of iron, gold, and bauxite has played a major role in the state's economy for many years. Industry expanded significantly during the 1960s; industrial metals, machinery, and transportation equipment are the main manufactures. Dirck Hartog, a Dutchman who arrived in 1616, was the first white man known to have visited the coast. A penal colony was founded at Albany in 1826, and the first free settlement was established in the Perth-Fremantle area in 1829. During the 1850s, Britain sent some 10,000 convicts to aid the settlers, most of whom had migrated from E Australia. In the 1860s the first livestock farmers arrived in the northwest. Gold was discovered in the 1880s. Governed at first by New South Wales, Western Australia received its own governor in 1831 and a full constitution as a separate colony in 1890. In 1901 it became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia. The state government consists of a premier, a cabinet, and a bicameral parliament. The nominal chief executive is the governor, appointed by the British crown on advice of the cabinet.

Marsupial moles

Marsupial moles are small, burrowing mammals with sensitive snouts, nearly blind eyes, no ears, and large claws that they use for digging. They have fine, velvety fur that can be white or golden red. They range in length from 6-21 cm. (2.5-8.5 in.) and in weight from 10-170 g. (.3-6 oz.). Although they may be similar in appearance to normal moles, they are marsupials. In good soil, they can dig as fast as 5.5 m. (18 ft.) per hour. They dig deeper for living quarters and nurseries. Mating occurs during spring. The young are born in 4-6 weeks with 2-5 young in a litter. They usually live about two to four years. They eat insects and worms, eating their own body weight in food every day. They sometimes starve if they go 12 hours without eating.


Cairns, city (1991 pop. 64,463), Queensland, NE Australia, on Trinity Bay. It is a principal sugar port of Australia; lumber and other agricultural products are also exported. The city's proximity to the Great Barrier Reef has made it a tourist center. In 1994 the state decided to amalgamate the city with Mulgrave Shire and the tip of Douglas Shire to create one of three new “super cities.”


dasyure [das'Eyoor"]: name for several small, predatory marsupials, or pouched mammals, of the family Dasyuridea, found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. Typical dasyures, known in Australia as native cats, are furry animals with large eyes, pointed snouts, and long tails. The largest are the size of house cats; most are somewhat smaller. They are variously colored, and most species are spotted. Dasyures hunt by night and are able to climb trees. Once found all over Australia, they are now extinct in many regions. They are not related to true cats. The fierce Tasmanian devil is a large, atypical dasyure. Dasyures are classified in several genera of the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Dasyuridae.

Australian Literature: 19th Century

Early attempts at producing literary works in Australia were rather gentrified, written in the English style for an English audience. A good example is W. C. Wentworth's 'Australasia, an Ode' (1823), which is sadlyimitative. During the next few decades Australian writers began to work within their environment, increasingly finding inspiration in their homeland, with the interpretive nature poetry of Charles Harpur (1813–68) and Henry Kendall (1839–82) and with the novels of Henry Kingsley (brother of Charles Kingsley), who wrote about pioneer life.

The bush ballad, begun by Adam Lindsay Gordon, flowered in the work of Henry Lawson (1867–1922) and A. B. (“Banjo”) Paterson (1864–1941), whose 'Man from Snowy River and Other Verses' (1895) includes the famous song “Waltzing Matilda.” Convict life was depicted in Henry Savery´s Quintus Servinton (1830), but it was not until almost a century after the first prisoners arrived that they received their due, in Marcus Clarke´s classic account of life in a penal colony, 'For the Term of His Natural Life' (1874). Less powerful, but true to life in the bush, were the novels of Rolfe Boldrewood (pseud. of Thomas A. Browne) and James Tucker, whose 'Ralph Rashleigh '(1844) was the first book to focus on Australia´s unique combination of prison life, aborigines, and bushrangers.

Other important 19th-century novelists were Miles Franklin (1879–1954), whose 'My Brilliant Career' (1901) is often designated the first authentically Australian novel, and diarist-novelist Tom Collins (pseud. of Joseph Furphy, 1843–1912). Poets of note include Hugh McCrae (1876–1958) and Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962).

British Empire

British Empire, overseas territories linked to Great Britain in a variety of constitutional relationships, established over a period of three centuries. The establishment of the empire resulted primarily from commercial and political motives and emigration movements (see imperialism); its long endurance resulted from British command of the seas and preeminence in international commerce, and from the flexibility of British rule. At its height in the late 19th and early 20th cent., the empire included territories on all continents, comprising about one quarter of the world's population and area. Probably the outstanding impact of the British Empire has been the dissemination of European ideas, particularly of British political institutions and of English as a lingua franca, throughout a large part of the world

Canberra: At a Glance

Canberra [kan´buru] Pronunciation Key Canberra , city (1991 pop. 276,162), capital of Australia, in the Australian Capital Territory, SE Australia.

Canberra has many walk ways and national parks, enjoyable for bushwalking. Visitors can also enjoy other sites such as: the Australian War Memorial, the National Library, and the Australian National University, Parliament House and many other sites that deal with national issues, including the Royal Mint, National Film and Sound Archive; and a large array of galleries, including the National Gallery of Australia.

The federal government is the largest employer in Canberra. In 1913, Canberra officially became the second capital of the commonwealth (succeeding Melbourne); however, although the Parliament first met there in 1927, the transfer of federal functions was not completed until after World War II.


Lismore [liz'môr]

Lismore , city (1991 pop. 27,246), New South Wales, E Australia, on the North Arm of the Richmond River. An important industrial city, Lismore is a leading producer of butter. Its port is Ballina.


Melbourne, city (1991 pop. 2,761,995), capital of Victoria, SE Australia, on Port Phillip Bay at the mouth of the Yarra River. Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, is a rail and air hub and financial and commercial center. Wool and raw and processed agricultural goods are exported. The city is heavily industrialized; industries include shipbuilding and the manufacture of farm machinery, textiles, and electrical goods. Included in the Melbourne urban agglomeration are many coastal resorts.
Settled in 1835, it was named (1837) for Lord Melbourne, the British prime minister. From 1901 to 1927 the city was the seat of the Australian federal government. Melbourne has campuses of several universities, including the Univ. of Melbourne (1853), Monash Univ. (1958), and La Trobe Univ. (1964). Melbourne Technical College, the Australian Ballet School, the National Gallery, and the Victorian Arts Centre are also in the city. Melbourne is the seat of Roman Catholic and Anglican archbishops. The botanical gardens are a notable attraction. The Melbourne Cup Race is run annually at the Flemington Racecourse, and the city hosts a Formula One Grand Prix race. Melbourne was the site of the 1956 summer Olympic games.

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.

Botany Bay

Botany Bay
Botany Bay, inlet, New South Wales, SE Australia, just S of Sydney. It was visited in 1770 by James Cook, who proclaimed British sovereignty over the east coast of Australia. The site of the landing is marked by a monument on Inscription Point. The bay was named by Cook and Sir Joseph Banks because of the interesting flora on its shores. Although Australia's first penal colony was often called Botany Bay, its actual site was at Sydney on Port Jackson. The bay is now an important cargo port with chemical facilities and an oil refinery.

Broken Hill

Broken Hill, city (1991 pop. 23,263), New South Wales, SE Australia, near the South Australia border. Since 1883 it has been a principal center of zinc and silver mining in Australia.

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 River , 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.


Bundaberg, city (1991 pop. 38,074), Queensland, E Australia, on the Burnett River. It is a sugar-refining center and a port.

Australian languages

Australian languages, aboriginal languages spoken on the continent of Australia. The Australian languages do not appear to be related to any other linguistic family. The exact number of these languages and their dialects is not known, but has been estimated at about 200. Probably less than 100,000 persons still speak them. Many of the Australian languages have already died out. The Australian languages fall into two groups: the large Pama-Nyungan group, and the much smaller non-Pama-Nyungan group. Although their respective grammars exhibit a great degree of variation, the Australian languages still show many similarities. All of them inflect the noun, some having as many as nine cases. The verb lacks a passive voice. Postpositions are used instead of the prepositions typical of Indo-European languages. Most of the Australian languages have three markings for number: singular, dual, and plural. Word order tends to follow a similar pattern in the different tongues. They also show considerable similarity phonetically and have a small common vocabulary. Because of so many shared phonetic and grammatical characteristics some scholars believe that the Australian languages have all evolved from a single ancestor language and therefore belong to the same linguistic family. Others, however, feel that the term “Australian languages” constitutes a geographical rather than a linguistic classification. To date, few of these languages have been studied intensively; classification and other matters remain uncertain.
See S. A. Wurm, Languages of Australia and Tasmania (1972); R. M. W. Dixon, The Languages of Australia (1980).


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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Darling, river

1,702 mi (2,739 km) long, rising in the Eastern Highlands, NE New South Wales and SE Queensland, Australia, and flowing SW across New South Wales into the Murray River at Wentworth. It is the longest river in Australia. Although it receives numerous tributaries in its upper course, the Darling has dried up on several occasions. The river is used extensively for irrigation. It was visited in 1828 by Charles Sturt, an English explorer

Arafura Sea

Arafura Sea , shallow part of the Pacific Ocean, between the Timor and Coral seas, separating Australia from New Guinea. It contains several islands of Indonesia. The Torres Strait to the east is a treacherous passage.

Great Dividing Range

Great Dividing Range, crest line of the Eastern Highlands of Australia. For the most part it separates rivers draining into the Pacific Ocean from those flowing into the Indian Ocean and the Arafura Sea.

Melville Island

Melville Island, 2,240 sq mi (5,802 sq km), Northern Territory, N Australia, in the Timor Sea 16 mi (26 km) off the coast. It is 65 mi (105 km) long and 45 mi (72 km) wide and is separated from Bathurst Island by Apsley Strait. This aboriginal reservation consists largely of mangrove jungle with sandy soil.

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Where is Brisbane?

What is the history of literature in Australia?

What will I find on the East Coast Tasmania?

What is Government in Australia?

What is the history of Political Institutions in Australia?

What is the Melbourne Cup?

What is the history of Australia?

What animals can be found in Australia?

What are the busses like in the ACT?

What is an Echidna?

Is the Australian Echidna marsupial or mammal?

What is the history of The Founding of Sydney ?

Where is Heron Island?

What wildlife can be found in our oceans?

How do I get an Australian Visa?

Can I get traditional Christmas food in Australia?

Where is Townsville?

What is education in Australia?

What are Australian dollar coins made of?

How much cash can I bring into Australia?

Who was Sir Garfield Barwick ?

What is the #3 Beach resort in Australia?

Where is the Sheraton Mirage Resort, Port Douglas?

Where are the The Victorian Goldfields?

What are the Natural Resources of Australia?

What can I see in Queensland?

What can I see in Queensland?

What is Surfing life in Australia?

What Was Australia´s view of the Interwar Years?

Who is Thomas Alexander Browne?

Where is Arnham Land?

What can I see in WA?

What is golf in Australia

Where is Kakadu National Park?

What can I see in Queensland?

What can I see in Queensland?

Where is Noosa Heads?

Who is William Charles Wentworth?

What are some places to visit in Perth?

What is slang?

What is the history on Australia´s New Settlements ?

What is Australian Rules football?

Who is Christina Stead?

Where is Bendigo?

What is the Government of Australia?

What do I do if attacked by a Crocodile?

What events take place in the ACT?

What is the #1 beach resort in Australia?

What is the history of north east of Victoria?

How do I get around Canberra?

How do I drive in Australia?

Who was Sir Henry Parkes ?

What is the history of Australia?

What is the history of Australia?

What are Australia´s States and external dependants?

How many states are there in Australia?

How do Australians celebrate Valentines Day?

What can I do in Ballarat?

Who is Phar Lap?

Who was Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson ?

Where do I get tourist information in Australia?

What is Australia´s Defense force?

What towns/cities are in South Australia

What towns are in NSW?

What animals are native to Australia?

Who was Truganini ?

What is the history of Australia?

How do I stay safe on Australias Beaches?

What safety precautions should I take at the beach?

Who is Henry Handel Richardson?

What is Forestry and Fishing in Australia?

Where can I find information on the Western Australian State Governmen

Where is the Australian War Memorial?

Who was Louisa Lawson ?

What is Aussie slang?

What memorials should I see in Canberra?

What towns/cities are in the ACT?

What is the Olympic Games Motto?

Who was Gladys Moncrieff ?

What can I do in the ACT?

What animals can be found in Australia?

Where is Sydney?

What is Currency and Banking in Australia?

What was the Goldrush?

What is a bogong moth?

Who is Able Tasman?

What was Australia´s Expanding Colonization From the 1820s to the 18

What is the climate in Australia?

What can I see in Queensland?

What is the Olympic Arts Festival ?

What is the history of Australia?

What is an Australian kelpie?

Where is Bowen?

Where is Lanyon Homestead?

Where is the National Gallery ?

Are there old historic dwellings in Canberra, ACT, Australia

Can I see many art galleries in Canberra?

Where is Melbourne?

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Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson