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Answering Your Questions About Australia

Aug 12, 2008
For over 42,000 years there has been one continent that stands out from the rest for its geographical beauty. The smallest continent in the world is home to the mighty nation of Australia.

It is a land filled with forests, deserts and the Great Barrier Reef home to thousands of different species of fish and coral. Australia has a long history dating back thousands of years and one that is sure to intrigue any would-be visitor.

With over 21.3 million residents this island is one of the largest in the world. For years before the colonization of Australia people only knew the great land as the "unknown land in the South" but since its discovery a new culture and demographic has opened up for the rest of the world to enjoy. This article will cover some of those interesting facts that may leave you intrigued enough to want to visit this great country and continent.

Who first discovered Australia?

The earliest settlers of Australia were the indigenous people that arrived via a land bridge over 48,000 years ago. Many early maps and histories suggest of a land in the South that was unknown but it was not until 1606 that Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon mapped this large continent.

In 1770 New South Wales was claimed for Great Britain and on January 26th, 1788 the British Crown Colony of Port Jackson was officially established by Captain Arthur Phillip. The Western part of Australia was claimed by Great Britain in 1829.

Who rules over Australia?

For many years it was the British that fully ruled over the land of Australia. It was not until 1986 that Australians became free to rule over themselves in the Australia Act. Before this time many of the legislative decisions were handled by the Queen and Parliament. The three branches of government worked together with British officials and Australian officials to govern the land fairly and with proper representation.

What is the Australia Act?

The Australia Act of 1986 was a revolutionary act that allowed the inhabitants of Australia full power over their judiciary and legislative branches from the United Kingdom. No longer would the individual states have someone put into office by people a thousand miles away.

It was essentially giving Australia even more rights under its own nationhood. The independent states of Australia benefited greatly under this act unlike its predecessor the Statute of Westminster 1931 which gave more power to the Australian people as a whole but lacked giving the individual states more power away from the British throne.

What is the environment and geography like of Australia?

Australia is a very diverse land mass. While the majority is made up of arid, dry land called the outback, there are also many different ecosystems to be found. There are tropical rainforests, mangrove swamps, the coastline and let's not forget the Great Barrier Reef. Australia is home to the largest naturally occurring reef system in the world.

It spans over 1,200 miles. There are also temperate land areas where a majority of Australia's crops are grown. An interesting fact about Australia's geography is that the ocean currents greatly affect the weather and the climate of the continent, often producing cyclones.
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