Australia’s Geography and History
Australia is a unique continent because of several reasons. The continent of Australia has only one country, which is Australia itself! Since Australia is surrounded by water from all sides, it is also known as the island continent. It lies between the Indian ocean and Pacific ocean, and is approximately 3,200 km from north to south and 4,000 km from east to west. Area wise, it is the sixth largest country in the world. It is the flattest and the driest of continents, after Antarctica. It is also referred to as the ‘land down under’ because it lies below the equator.
Many unique animals like platypus—the mammal that lays eggs, kangaroo—the only animal that carries its young in a pouch, and emu—a unique flightless bird, call Australia home. The Australian landscape is so vast and varied; there are deserts, snow clad fields, flat lands, plateaus, rainforests and more.
The first occupants of this continent were the aboriginal people who arrived in Australia about 60,000 years ago. The credit for the European discovery of Australia goes to Captain James Cook in 1770.
12 Interesting Facts about Australia
- Australia is the largest island and the smallest continent in the world. It is two times larger than India.
- Geologists believe Australia to be the world’s oldest continent.
- The name Australia is derived from a Latin word ‘Australis’ that means ‘Southern’. It is thus named because it lies entirely to the south of the equator.
- Australia’s capital city is Canberra.
- Officially, Australia is also known as ‘The Commonwealth of Australia’.
- Two-thirds of Australia is made up of flat desert area.
- Sydney is the biggest city in Australia. It is also the most populous city in Australia.
- The highest point in the continent is Mount Kosciusko.
- The 2000 km long Great Barrier Reef located in Australia is the world’s largest coral reef.
- The population of Australia is more than 19 million. But it is interesting to note that Australia’s sheep population is fourteen times more than its human population! It is because of this reason that Australia stands at number one in the production and export of wool in the entire world.
- Australia achieved freedom from its British colonists in 1901.
- Australia is regarded as the world’s thirteenth largest economy.