Do you think you know a lot about Australia? Here are some fascinating facts about it for kids and adults alike.
Where Is Australia?
Australia is in Oceania. It occupies the whole of the Australian continent, neighboring Tasmania, and many small islands. Therefore, it does not share land borders with any other country.
Its neighboring nations are Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea to the north; New Zealand to the south-east; Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands to the northeast.
Did you know that Australia is the 6th largest country in the world? No wonder, when Australia is the only country that occupies a whole continent.
Australia’s total area is 2,969,907 sq mi (7,692,024 km2)
Where’re All the People?
Despite Australia’s size, it only has a population of 24,866,800. Most of them live in and around the big cities of Sidney, Melbourne, or Perth.
Over 80 percent of the people of Australia live within 62 miles of the coast.
It is estimated that the number of sheep in the country is three times bigger than that of people!
What Is the Capital of Australia?
Although the largest city is Sidney, the federal capital is Canberra.
What Are the People of Australia Called?
Formally, they are referred to Australia but, informally, they are also referred to as Aussies.
Australia itself is sometimes referred to as Oz.
Every country is like a particular type of person. America is like a belligerent adolescent boy; Canada is like an intelligent, 35-year-old woman. Australia is like Jack Nicholson. It comes right up to you and laughs very hard in your face in a highly threatening and engaging manner. – Douglas Adams
From British Colony to An Independent Nation
Australia was colonized by the British in the 18th and 19th century, particularly after the loss of their main colonies in North America, which then became the United States of America.
Australia did not become fully independent until the signature of the Australia Act in 1986.
God Save the Queen
But Australia is still a monarchy. Its monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who is also the monarch of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and other countries.
Australian States and Territories
Australia is administratively divided into different states and territories.
Here is the full list of States and their capitals:
- New South Wales (NSW). Capital: Sydney.
- Queensland (Qld). Capital: Brisbane.
- South Australia (SA). Capital: Adelaide.
- Tasmania (Tas). Capital: Hobart.
- Victoria (Vic). Capital: Melbourne.
- Western Australia (WA). Capital: Perth.
And here are its territories:
- Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Capital: Canberra.
- Jarvis Bay Territory (JBT).
- Northern Territory (NT). Capital: Darwin.
There are also some external territories in Australia:
- Ashmore and Cartier Islands.
- Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT). Capital: Davis Station.
- Christmas Island. Capital: Flying Fish.
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Capital: West Island/Pulu Panjang.
- Coral Sea Islands.
- Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI).
- Norfolk Island. Capital: Kingston.
Almost as Many Greeks As Athens
Did you know that the second largest “Greek” city in the world after Athens is Melbourne in the State of Victoria in Australia?
That Australian city has the second largest Greek population on the planet.
Flora and Fauna
Although Europeans imported many different species of flora and fauna to Australia, most of the plants and animals that can be found in Australia cannot be found anywhere in Australia.
It is estimated that 91 percent of the total land of Australia is covered in vegetation.
The national floral emblem is the wattle, which was adopted as such in 1912.
Flag of Australia
The current flag was adopted in 1903, although it was slightly modified in 1908.
The flag is a defaced Blue Ensign with a big seven-pointed star known as the Commonwealth or Federation Star, and the five stars of the Southern Cross. The Union Jack (the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) occupies the upper hoist quarter.
The Southern Cross is a constellation that can be easily observed in the Southern Hemisphere. For that reason, it has been used as a representation of Australia since the time of the first British settlement.
Although English is the main language, many Australians speak other languages. There are 45 different Indigenous languages. But the most commonly spoken languages after English are Greek, Italian, Cantonese, Arabic, Mandarin, and Vietnamese.
Where Do Australians Come From?
Although some people outside Australia may just think that Australians are either Indigenous or the descendants of British colonizers from previous centuries, as many as 25% of Australians were born in another country.
Although Australia attracts mainly immigrants for Asian countries these days, the first big wave of immigration came from Eastern Europe and Mediterranean nations (chiefly, Italy and Greece) after the end of World War II in 1945.
For most of the 20th century, there was a White Australia Policy that encouraged immigration from Europe. But this ended effectively in 1973. Since then, more people from Asia and the Middle East have settled in Australia.
The most popular sport in Australia is Australian Football. It is believed that its rules were inspired by Mangrook, a popular Aboriginal game.
Yes, They Eat Kangaroos in Australia!
Although this might seem shocking to outsiders, many Australians eat kangaroo meat, which can be ordered in restaurants or bought in grocery stores.
This kind of meat is considered by many to be healthier than lamb or beef.
And talking about health, despite their kangaroo eating and all their football and surfing, Australia is the most obese country in the world, ahead of other infamously obese nations such as the United States, Mexico, or the United Kingdom.
Australia is famous for its fine wines. It is estimated that Australia produces the staggering amount of 1.35 trillion bottles of wine every year.