Australia - Geography
Australia belongs to the highly developed, industrialized part of the world,
but is isolated in relation to it. There are 15,000 km to Europe, 12,000 km to
the United States and 7,000 km to Tokyo. Australia has huge uninhabited areas
and large parts are little explored. Until the arrival of Europeans in the
mid-1700's. the Aborigines had lived relatively isolated and unchanged for
millennia. For the past 200 years, the country has been characterized by
large-scale immigration, which has changed the country dramatically.
The residents are partly the indigenous population, partly descendants of
European immigrants as well as new immigrants from both Europe and SEA-Asia. The
vast majority of the population are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Out
of a population of 23.8 million. (2015) Aborigines and other Australian
indigenous peoples make up approximately 670,000 (2011). This is a strong growth
since World War II (60,000 Aborigines in 1954), but the figure is still lower
than the estimated number of 750,000 in 1788, when European immigration began,
and the numbers are uncertain, as Aborigines were not included in the country's
censuses until 1967.
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Before colonization, more than 200 indigenous Australian languages were
spoken; today fewer than 100 are spoken, most only by quite a few. Nearly 2,000
Aborigines still live as hunters and gatherers; the majority of the others live
at cattle stations, mining areas and in small towns in the hundreds of reserves
located in northern, western and central Australia. The living conditions of the
Aborigines, especially in the reserves, are poor. Health conditions are poor,
unemployment is high, alcohol abuse is widespread, and the public sector must to
a large extent ensure the welfare of indigenous peoples. See also Aborigines.
|States and territories
||population in mio. (2014)
|New South Wales
|Australian Capital Territory
European immigration. The first immigrants were English convicts, who in 1788
were sent to SEA Australia, a total of approximately 170,000, of which 30,000
women. Gold finds in the 1850's led to a large influx of immigrants, and since
then this has continued. The vast majority came from the United Kingdom, some of
which were supported by the colonial government with travel money (assisted
immigration). Throughout the 1900's. Australia has administered restrictive
immigration laws, which prevent the immigration of the uneducated from
developing countries but encourage the immigration of the highly educated. In
the early 1990's, immigration was over 100,000 a year; still most are Europeans,
but an increasing proportion are well-educated young people from Asia.
Danish immigration. In the early 1990's, Australia had approximately 9000
citizens who were born in Denmark. A Danish sailor arrived with The First Fleet
in 1788 and was later active in the colonization of Tasmania. Almost 3,000 Danes
came to Queensland in the 1870's during a recruitment campaign. For the past 100
years, Danes have had a significant influence on the dairy sector in the state
of Victoria. Danish-born Australians have also made a name for themselves in
sugar production and breweries. In 2006 there were approximately 9000 Danish
first-generation immigrants in Australia and approximately 11,000 of the second
generation. The Danes mainly live in the states of New South Wales, Queensland
The natural population growth. Pga. the many immigrants, who are often young
people, the birth rate has been high compared to other countries: the birth rate
has been high and the death rate low. The natural population growth was 0.7% in
2012, corresponding to 161,300 people. Since the 1970's, the frequency of births
has decreased, because Australian women are increasingly working outside the
home. In the 1990's and onwards, the population grew by just over 1% per year;
the growth is divided between an annual birth surplus of approximately 100,000
children and a corresponding immigration surplus.
The population density is very low, less than 2 residents per km2.
The majority of the population lives near the SE coast. In the few densely
populated areas, the population lives primarily in and around the major cities;
70% live in the capitals of the states or in cities with more than 100,000
residents. In large parts of Central and NW Australia there are no business
opportunities other than mining, and in Northern Australia the climate due to
high temperatures and high humidity is not pleasant for at least ten months of
the year. The isolation of the remote areas in itself helps to make them
unattractive to any newcomers. The urban pattern is characterized by a few large
cities; in Sydney and Melbourne alone occupy 40% of the country's residents. The
larger cities are all, with the exception ofCanberra, laid out by natural
harbors. The urban areas are large in relation to the population. It is common
to live in one's own house with garden; in Australia, land is cheap. Urban
growth has been strong since the 1950's, made possible by a sharp increase in
private motoring; public transport, on the other hand, is poorly developed.
Population policy has for long periods been characterized by the government's
desire for a larger population. The current 24 million does not constitute a
sufficiently large domestic market for modern industrial production, and the
resources of both agriculture and mining will undoubtedly be able to meet the
needs of a population of double size.
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Business development is reminiscent of the development that has taken place
in Europe, albeit with a certain shift. During the first half of the 1900-t.
industry replaced agriculture as the leading industry, and in the 1970's the
service industries took the lead. This sector has grown by 50% since the 1950's.
Since the 1960's, the number of public employees has increased and amounts to
approximately 25% of the workforce. The development is known from most
developing countries: service is specialized, more tasks are placed outside the
family, leisure time is increased, and employment within e.g. tourism and rides
As one of quite a few countries in the world, Australia has a mining sector
that is of great and growing economic importance.
The productivity of the manufacturing industries has increased and has
reached an annual increase of 2%. This has reached the level of the other
developed countries, while Australia was previously at a growth level of around
Until the Australian colonies were united in 1901, there was no connection
between the business life of the various states. Each had their industries based
on their own needs and their own raw materials. Furthermore, the large distances
made it difficult to exchange goods. The distance to Europe meant that there was
no particular competition from outside and the industry could develop steadily
and diversely. After World War II, growth has been significant, against the
background of large foreign investment. In 1991, 35% of industry and 45% of
mining were in foreign hands.
Three quarters of the industry is located in New South Wales and Victoria
with Sydney and Melbourne as the major industrial centers. The Australian
domestic market is too small to take full advantage of modern industrial scale,
and as industrial exports are limited, industry has for long periods been
protected by high tariffs. This import duty has meant that the requirements for
efficiency and quality have not been high and it has put Australian industry in
a difficult competitive situation on the world market. Only one Australian
company, Broken Hill Proprietary, has a format that makes it internationally
effective. BHP has wide-ranging interests in mining, oil and gas, steel
production, chemical industry, etc. The company focuses on research and
development and exports know-how to the whole world. BHP has interests in over
50 countries and has approximately 60,000 employees in Australia a dominant
At the founding of the penal colony, the British bet that the colony should
be self-sufficient in food. It succeeded after a few years, and early on they
began to export wool from the growing sheep population. The convicts were set to
build roads and ports, and the agricultural areas gained transport connection to
the world market. The wheat became important when the railways were built in the
1870's and onwards. Wheat exports rose sharply in the 1890's with the
introduction of dry farming techniques and harvesters.
The sharp increase in agricultural production after World War II took place
in step with the expansion of agricultural land and the introduction of newly
developed cereals and livestock breeds. The increase in agricultural production
has not required more employees; on the contrary, the agricultural population
has been halved in the same period due to mechanization. Agriculture is at the
same high level of mechanization as the American. The depopulation of rural
areas has meant that the rural population has become further isolated. Financing
companies have in many cases taken over the farms.
After the United Kingdom joined the Community in 1973, it has been difficult
to sell production at profitable prices, and Australia has had to restructure
parts of its production and seek new markets in the United States, Japan and
Up to 5 million km2 is included (2014) in the operation of the
Australian farms. Only 4% is arable land, while the remaining part is used for
grazing for the huge flocks of sheep and cattle. For every resident of Australia
there are approximately 10 sheep and 1 1/2 paragraphs.
cattle. The size and mode of operation of farms varies greatly. In addition to
the natural conditions, transport conditions, such as the distance to the
market, play a major role for the farms. On average, the holdings are no less
than 2800 ha. It ranges from horticulture with vegetables in Victoria on 10
hectares to cattle farms, cattle stations, in the Northern Territory of over
300,000 ha. Overgrazing, salinization in connection with irrigation and water
erosion are consequences of the increased production, and alternative
agricultural techniques are being experimented with in many places. When the
ecological damage hits so hard, it is due to the poor rainfall, the long periods
of drought and the nutrient-poor soil with poor ability to retain nutrients and
Fishing is not very important. Australian waters are not as rich in nutrients
and fisheries as European ones; they have a great richness of species, but it is
difficult to fish the stocks with industrialized methods.
Whaling was the main export industry in the colony's first 50 years, and
until 1950 there was significant whaling based in Australian ports. The last
whaling station was closed in 1978, when predation had destroyed whale
populations and, like most other countries, Australia introduced a hunting ban.
Mining is both old and new. The great gold discoveries of the 1850's and
1860's led to a tremendous gold rush and a great deal of interest in the
underground. However, the high transport costs to the market in Europe meant
that it was not profitable to exploit the less valuable mineral deposits such as
coal and iron ore. Only after the establishment of the federation in 1901 did
the company Broken Hill Proprietary establish an Australian steelworks based on
local coal and iron ore.
After World War II, transportation costs on the world market have dropped
significantly; especially the development of the very large bulk carriers has
meant that it is now possible to transport cheap raw materials across the
world's oceans profitably. Since the 1960's, colossal discoveries have been made
in Australia; new geological exploration methods have made it possible to
explore the enormous desolate areas, from aircraft. Australia has become
self-sufficient in all mineral resources and energy, and is one of the world's
leading mineral exporters. Abroad is interested in Australia's ores, as the
value is high and the ores are usually cheap to mine in open pit mines.
Furthermore, mine production is established at such a late stage that working
methods are highly automated and most Australian mines are generally very
competitive. Especially in mining, there has been a significant increase in
efficiency, so that Australia today (2006) is the world leader in terms of
production of ore per. working hours. Coal production accounts for 1/3
of the mining and the country is the world's fourth largest coal producer (2012;
after the US, China and India). Oil and gas production is growing, while several
gold mines are closed under the impression of low world market prices.
Energy production includes most forms of energy. The reserves of hard coal
and lignite are very large. Japan, which accounts for half of its exports, is
helping to finance mining in New South Wales and Queensland. The lignite is not
exported, but is used on site for electricity generation. The oil and gas
reserves are smaller, but are utilized both onshore and offshore. Most major
cities are connected by gas pipelines to the fields. The uranium deposits
potentially represent far greater amounts of energy than the others; production
is exported. Wind and solar energy should have rich opportunities, but as the
state is involved in large coal and oil projects, and as the prices of fossil
energy are low, the development of renewable energy projects has been limited.
Australia is an ancient continent; large parts are older than 545 mill. years
(Precambrian) and due to millions of years of erosion, Australia is the flattest
of the continents. Off the northern part of the east coast lies the 2000 km long
Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef. Along the east coast runs
the over 3000 km long mountain range Great Dividing Range; Mount Kosciusko in
the southeast is with its 2230 m the highest point of the country. The mountain
range separates the narrow, lush coastal plain from the large inland, which to
the south consists of fairly fertile river plains drained by Murray-Darling
river system. To the west and north, Outback lies the large, desert-shaped
inland with salt lakes, Lake Eyre, and single, heavily eroded mountain ranges.
Many of the rivers here do not reach the sea and are only water-bearing after
heavy rain showers. Tasmania differs from the mainland by being lush and
The northern part of Australia has a tropical climate, the rest is
subtropical; however, Tasmania has a temperate climate. In the central part of
the country there is a mainland climate with large temperature differences.
Australia is the driest continent after Antarctica. The average rainfall of 250
mm covers large variations: In the tropical coastal areas there can be an annual
rainfall of 2200 mm, while in the dry, inner part there can be years between
In Northern Australia there is tropical savannah and savannah forest with
eucalyptus and acacias, on the east coast rainforest, subtropical forest and
savannah, to the southwest maki, and to the south temperate rainforest with
eucalyptus, beech and fern. In the dry interior, the vegetation moves from grass
steppe and shrub steppe with low, gray-green acacia bushes (mulga) into the
desert. The country has a unique wildlife, where the marsupials are completely
dominant among the mammals, such as the marsupial koala and kangaroos. Many bird
families, such as the emu, are unique to Australia or the Australian territory,
and there are many parrots.
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Until World War II, foreign trade was marked by its former colonial
affiliation with Britain. In the early 1990's, Japan and the United States
dominated. Exports consist mostly of raw materials and imports of finished
goods. Japan has been the most important trading and cooperation partner since
1980. Since 1984, there have been annual meetings at Prime Ministerial level
between the two countries to adjust trade, investment and other forms of common
Australia has administered several overseas territories. The most important,
Papua New Guinea, became independent in 1975. Development aid is relatively
modest (0.35% of GDP); the majority goes to Papua New Guinea. Australia has had
permanent bases in Antarctica since 1911 and is a co-signatory of the Antarctic
Treaty. The Australian Antarctic Territory is made up of the traditional
Australian requirements in Antarctica, but in the light of the international
agreements for this area, the requirements are not pursued.
Australia - Plant Geography
The Australian Flora includes the Australian continent and nearby smaller
islands. Farthest to the northeast are areas of tropical rainforest that are
species-related to the forest in the Indomalay area, ie. Among other things,
Bagindia, Sri Lanka and New Guinea. The tropical parts are otherwise dominated
by open dry forest and savannah.
In the southwestern part of the country, where there is winter rain, there is
a very species-rich vegetation, reminiscent of the Mediterranean, but where the
vast majority of the species are found only in Australia. In the mountainous
areas of the southeast and in Tasmania, wetter types of vegetation occur, and
many of the species are also found in New Zealand (eg southern beech and tree
The vegetation in the interior of the continent is strongly drought-prone; it
is often dominated by gray-green acacia shrubs (mulga) and prickly,
cushion-shaped grasses (spinex). After rain, there may be a short-lived
flowering of annual species, many of which are from the basket flower family.
Australia's flora includes approximately 25,000 species of vascular plants,
of which 80% are estimated to be endemic, ie. that they do not occur elsewhere.
Most vegetation types are dominated by Eucalyptus, a genus in the myrtle
family with approximately 600 species, almost all from Australia; they range
from almost 100 m tall trees to multi-stemmed shrubs with woody underground
tuber (mallee); the forest boundary on Mt. Koscius shoes are also formed by a
Eucalyptus species, "snow gum". The genus Acacia is rich in species; unlike, for
example, the African species, most Australians are not thorny and carry phyllods
(flat leaf stalks that replace the actual leaf plate). A prominent family is
Proteaceae with the genera Banksia and Grevillea; the family is found in the
southern hemisphere and is also richly represented in South Africa. Similar
distribution has Restionaceae, a family of monocotyledons reminiscent of
Purely Australian are the iron tree family (Casuarinaceae) and the family
Epacridaceae; the latter is related to the heather family and can be said to
replace the bell heather species of the South African Cape. Very distinctive is
the grass tree family (Xanthorrhoeaceae), where the grass-like leaves sit in
rosettes at the end of stems up to 3 m high.
Australia - language
The common language in Australia is English, and the vast majority of
Australians are monolingual English speakers. Among new immigrants, however,
there are many bilinguals, and Italian and Greek in particular are strong.
Descendants of the indigenous people speak indigenous Australian languages,
English-based Creole languages or a form of adapted English called Aboriginal
Australian English does not differ significantly grammatically and
orthographically from other forms of English. The tone is less lively than in
BBC English, and the vocals are reminiscent of those found in the English
dialect cockney. Particularly noteworthy is the wording: Australian English has
partly borrowed words from the original languages (eg boomerang, kangaroo),
partly adapted English words to the special natural and cultural conditions (eg