Australia 2 Essay, Research Paper
The name of Australia comes from the Latin word Australis, which means southern. Since it lies
entirely in the southern hemisphere, Australia is most commonly referred to as “down under”.
Australia, being a country, is also a continent. In land area it’s the sixth largest for a country and the
Australia is a very dry, thinly populated country. Very few coastal areas receive enough rainfall to
support a large population. The largest group of Australian people live in two large cities, Sydney and
Melbourne. The vast interior is mainly desert or grassland and there are very few settlements. As a
whole, the country has a density of six people per square mile.
The down under is famous for vast wide-open spaces, bright sunshine, bikini-clad beauties, enormous
numbers of sheep and cattle, and unusual wildlife. Kangaroos, Koalas, platypuses, and wombats are
a few of the erotic animals that live here.
Australia was originally settled by Great Britain as a prison colony in the late 1700’s, so now most
Australian people are of British ancestry. The immigrants brought all the customs too, such as driving
on the left side of the road and their favorite warm drink, tea. They also speak English as the official
language with their own Australian terms.
The northern third of the Australian continent lies in the tropics and is warm or hot year round. The
rest of the country lies south of the tropics and has warm summers and mild cool winters. The rainfall
is seasonal in Australia.
In the wet season, heavy downpours and violent storms cause floods. But the droughts that plague
the nation are far more serious than any flood. Just about every section of Australia has a drought in
the dry season. These droughts cause severe water shortages and cause the need for dramatic
conservation laws as well as droughts there is also brush fires.
Rivers in Australia are one of its most vital resources. They supply the cities and towns with the
much-needed water. They also supply the farms with irrigation water. Though the rivers are dry most
of the year, dams and reservoirs keep water during the dry season.
Australia can basically be split into 3 parts-the eastern highlands, central lowlands, and the western
The highlands consist mainly of high plateaus and broken-in places by hills, low mountain ridges, and
gorges. Grasses or forest cover most of the plateaus, but some have fertile lands for crops. The
southern part is most likely the most heavily populated part in all Australia, from Brisbane to
Melbourne. In the southern region lie the Australian Alps. The Murray River, Australia’s only river that
constantly flows from the Alps, is the longest river.
Australia’s second major region, the central lowlands, is generally a flat area with infrequent rainfall
along the north and south coasts and near the eastern highlands. Farmers in the southern region
grow wheat but most of the region is to hot or to dry for crops. However the course grass or shrubs
that cover the land make it suitable for livestock. The two large towns in the region have fewer than
Australia’s third major region, the western plateau, covers the western two thirds of Australia. A vast,
dry, treeless plateau extends about 400 miles along the regions southern edge; while the central part
is mostly desert. A lot of the desert area consists of swirling sands that often drift into giant dunes. In
places the desert gives way to land covered by grass and shrubs. Grazing livestock can then use the
land. The north and south has the regions heaviest rainfall. The regions two largest cities are Adelaide
The bush, as the Australians call it, refers to the countryside. The term outback refers specifically to
the interior of the country, with is mainly open countryside including vast expanses of grazing land.
About 13 percent of Australia’s people live in these rural areas. Many people live extremely isolated
lives on sheep and cattle ranches called stations. Some of the largest stations cover more than 1,000
square miles from the nearest town.
The outback has few paved roads so travel by car is difficult or impossible. Floods sometimes close
roads for weeks at a time. Most wealthy farm families own a light airplane, which they use to travel to
town. Other families get to town only a few times a year making it difficult to maintain necessities.
The largest settlements in rural Australia are widely spread towns that have developed to support
mining towns. For example, Kalgoorie, a town in western Australia, is the center of Australia’s major
gold and nickel fields. The town is in the arid region about 375 miles away from Perth and water must
be pumped there.
All rural areas in the outback are subject to floods, droughts, and brush fires. Because they share the
constant threat of disaster, the Australian communities have developed strong ties with each other.
Many towns have their own traditional fairs, festivals, and sport competitions.
Outback animal life is varied and includes native species such as kagaroos, wallabies, and emus,
and introduced species, such as rabbits. The large size of agricultural stations makes it prohibited to
fence off crops from wildlife. Some animals have caused extensive damage to crops and grazing
lands. Wild rabbits especially have been destructive. Recently rabbits have been targeted in a drive to
wipe them out with a deliberately introduced disease.
The great majority of Australians belong to the middle class. Most all Australians have similar
educational backgrounds and hold similar values and attitudes. The way of life throughout the country
is unusually similar. Even differences from rural to cities are very minimal.
Most Australians are of European descent from immigrants. Aborigines make up only one percent of
the population. Australia relies heavily on immigrants to build up the work force. So many immigrants
come to Australia by promise of high paying jobs.
Australia has admitted about 4 million immigrants since World War II (1939-1945). About half of the
newcomers come from Great Britain. Most of the others come from mainland Europe, especially Italy,
Greece, Germany, and the Netherlands. Since the 1970’s the number of immigrants from New
Zealand and southwest Asia has increased rapidly.
About 70 percent of Australia’s people live in cities of more that 100,000 people. Most city dwellers
live in suburbs, the residential areas that extend outward from a central business district. Most
families live in single story houses with their own yard and garden. Australian cities have few
The official language of Australia is English. The Australian English includes many British terms but
is different from British English in certain ways. The British settlers developed a new vocabulary to
describe the many new plants and animals. In some cases they borrowed words from the Aborigines.
For example Kangaroo and Koala are Aborigine words. Pioneer settlers in the Australian interior also
invented a large and different vocabulary. Ranches became know as stations, wild horses as
brundies, and bucking broncos as buckjumpers. Understanding Australia’s most famous song,
“Waltzing Matilda,” requires translation of many local terms. A matilda is a bedroll and to waltz is “to
tramp the roads.”
Every Australian state and the Northern Territory has its own law about education. The federal
government regulates education in other areas not assigned to a state or territory, such as islands.
Australian children attend elementary school for six to eight years, in some cases including a year of
kindergarten, depending on which state or territory. The secondary schools of Australia offer five to six
years of education. Half of the students leave school when they reach the age requirement, they may
only complete three or four years of secondary education. Most students when graduated from a
secondary school go attend a college or university.
The Australian Constitution forbids a state religion and guarantees religious freedom. The great
majority are Christians, but many do not attend church regularly. Roman Catholics make up 30
percent and Protestant 23 percent.
Outdoor sports in Australia are extremely popular. Many people enjoy skin diving, surfing, swimming,
and boating, as well as golf and tennis. Team sports are a national pastime. Australians started to
play team sports in elementary school and many continue through high school and even after school.
Best players work their way up through local and state competitions to spots on the national teams.
Australia’s professional sports have large enthusiastic followings.
The ancestors of the first people in Australia are called Aborigines, and are of the mongoloid race.
The name comes from the Latin phrase ab origine, meaning from the beginning. Most scientists
believe today’s Aborigine descendents came to Australia about 40,000 years ago from southwest
Asia. By the time Europeans arrived, 500 tribes each with their own language had formed.
Aborigines traditionally lived by hunting and gathering. They did not settle but were nomadic people
over limited areas of the countryside and made tools and utensils from local resources. The men’s
most important weapon was their spear. Women gathered vegetables and small animals.
Australia’s first people live close to nature and knew the habits of all plants and animals around them.
All adult Aborigines knew they would find water in their territory. Little girls went out and gathered with
their mothers and other women and young boys started practicing throwing toy spears quite early as
The tribe size depended partly how much food and water they had on their territory. A tribe had no
political chief or formal government, but older respected men made important decisions. Every tribe
consisted of various subgroups. Based on their ties to a common ancestor, the family groups
conducted certain rituals and owned certain land.
The Aborigines religion linked them to nature through ancestral beings that created the world in a time
called Dreamtime long ago. The beings never died but merged with nature to live in sacred beliefs and
rituals. Aborigines could renew ties with the Dreaming through rituals.
1700’s and on
At first, Aborigines believed that the Europeans that came in the 1700’s were spirits of their dead
relatives because of their pale skin. Soon their image of the Europeans changed as they forced them
from their homes and killed some of them. Other Aborigines died from diseases such as smallpox
Now Australia has only around 206,000 Aborigines, which is about one percent of the countries
population. Some Aborigines still live partly as their ancestors did with their own customs, beliefs,
and language. Others lost most or all of their traditions but were excluded from society until 1967
when the Australian Constitution was changed so Aborigines got to vote and to have service benefits.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
Along the northwest coast of Australia lies the Great Barrier Reef, the largest group of reefs in the
world. This chain consists of about 2,500 reefs. In all, the reefs are also many small islands that
extend for about 1,200 miles. It lies around 10 to 100 miles from the Australian coasts.
Coral reefs are limestone formations that lie under the sea or just above the surface. The Great Barrier
Reef is made up of a coral of dead hardened animals call polyps, which are attached to the reef. The
diameter of the polyps is about 1 to 12 inches. The polyps are extremely colorful, just as all the sea
animals that live there.
The Great Barrier Reef supports about 400 species of polyps, about 1,500 species of fish and several
kinds of birds. Giant clams, sea turtles, and crabs also live in the reef. The warm waters around the
reef and the sheer beauty attract swimmers, skin divers and tourists from all over the world.
Australia is truly a magnificently beautiful place with many different climates and cultures.