Australia: detail about the country

Australia – a combination of exotic wildlife and sparkling super modern cities. History of discovery, geography and climate. Hydrology and environment, demographics and language. Religion of this country. Education, health and culture (arts and cuisine).

Рубрика География и экономическая география
Вид реферат
Язык английский
Дата добавления 19.06.2014

Introduction

Stretching from the Indian Ocean to the central part of Pacific Ocean, cover a vast area of our planet. However, because a large part of their territory is ocean, they have a relatively small population. Australia area is much larger, so that it is considered a continent. Oceania consists of thousands much smaller islands scattered in the Pacific. They share of three groups: Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia, which includes the large island of New Zealand. Islands in the Pacific are two types: high, with rugged terrain; and coral atolls. Many of Pacific's islands are very small and we can't see them in different maps.

Australia. This name got for many islands in the Pacific from borders of Asia and Indian Ocean to borders of America. Now Australia is island continent and Tasmania Island; every other islands is Oceania.

Australia is the continent, which is equal in magnitude to the United States. but here population is less than in Texas. Vast and arid interior regions of the country, mainly deserts and grasslands are considered sparsely populated, uninhabited areas. These areas are used for grazing sheep and a huge number of cattle, but they are almost uninhabited. Many Australians live in cities and suburbs along the eastern, south-eastern and south-western coasts, where the climate is temperate and land is fertile. Many Australians are natives and aborigines. They live in the cities but many of them, hold old traditions and stay in sparsely populated parts of the country.

Australia - a combination of exotic wildlife and sparkling super modern cities. Wonderful country roads, infinite ocean beaches and coral reefs. The main attraction of Australia - Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of the United Nations, with its world-renowned resort island - is the best place in the world for diving and yachting.

Tourism has become a dynamic and important component of the Australian economy. To find out exactly what attracts tourists to Australia, and what factors in the development of tourism in this country must be detailed economic and geographical characteristics of the region.

1. History of Discovery

Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago, possibly with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now South-East Asia. These first inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. At the time of European settlement in the late 18th century, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers, with a complex oral culture and spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime. The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, were originally horticulturalists and hunter-gatherers. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited sporadically by fishermen from Maritime Southeast Asia.

The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland, and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent, are attributed to the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon. He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in early 1606, and made landfall on 26 February at the Pennefather River near the modern town of Weipa on Cape York.

A British settlement was established in Van Diemen's Land, now known as Tasmania, in 1803 and it became a separate colony in 1825. The United Kingdom formally claimed the western part of Western Australia (the Swan River Colony) in 1828. Separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales: South Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, and Queensland in 1859. The Northern Territory was founded in 1911 when it was excised from South Australia. South Australia was founded as a «free province» - it was never a penal colony. Victoria and Western Australia were also founded «free», but later accepted transported convicts. A campaign by the settlers of New South Wales led to the end of convict transportation to that colony; the last convict ship arrived in 1848.

Britain's Statute of Westminster 1931 formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and the UK. Australia adopted it in 1942, but it was backdated to 1939 to confirm the validity of legislation passed by the Australian Parliament during World War II. The shock of the United Kingdom's defeat in Asia in 1942 and the threat of Japanese invasion caused Australia to turn to the United States as a new ally and protector. Since 1951, Australia has been a formal military ally of the US, under the ANZUS treaty. After World War II Australia encouraged immigration from Europe. Since the 1970s and following the abolition of the White Australia policy, immigration from Asia and elsewhere was also promoted. As a result, Australia's demography, culture, and self-image were transformed. The final constitutional ties between Australia and the UK were severed with the passing of the Australia Act 1986, ending any British role in the government of the Australian States, and closing the option of judicial appeals to the Privy Council in London.

2. Climate

Australia's size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with tropical rainforests in the north-east, mountain ranges in the south-east, south-west and east, and dry desert in the centre. It is the flattest continent, with the oldest and least fertile soils; desert or semi-arid land commonly known as the outback makes up by far the largest portion of land. The driest inhabited continent, only its south-east and south-west corners have a temperate climate. The population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometer, is among the lowest in the world, although a large proportion of the population lives along the temperate south-eastern coastline.

Eastern Australia is marked by the Great Dividing Range, which runs parallel to the coast of Queensland, New South Wales and much of Victoria. The name is not strictly accurate, because parts of the range consist of low hills, and the highlands are typically no more than 1,600 metres in height. The coastal uplands and a belt of Brigalow grasslands lie between the coast and the mountains, while inland of the dividing range are large areas of grassland. These include the western plains of New South Wales, and the Einasleigh Uplands, Barkly Tableland, and Mulga Lands of inland Queensland. The northernmost point of the east coast is the tropical - rain - forested Cape York Peninsula. The landscapes of the northern part of the country-the Top End and the Gulf Country behind the Gulf of Carpentaria, with their tropical climate-consist of woodland, grassland, and desert. At the north-west corner of the continent are the sandstone cliffs and gorges of The Kimberley, and below that the Pilbara. At the heart of the country are the uplands of central Australia; prominent features of the centre and south include the inland Simpson, Tirari and Sturt Stony, Gibson, Great Sandy, Tanami, and Great Victoria deserts, with the famous Nullarbor Plain on the southern coast.

The climate of Australia is significantly influenced by ocean currents, including the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, which is correlated with periodic drought, and the seasonal tropical low-pressure system that produces cyclones in northern Australia. These factors cause rainfall to vary markedly from year to year. Much of the northern part of the country has a tropical, predominantly summer-rainfall climate The southwest corner of the country has a Mediterranean climate. Much of the southeast (including Tasmania) is temperate.

3. Hydrology

Because much of Australia's interior is arid, the low average annual rainfall means interior rivers are often dry and lakes empty. The headwaters of some waterways are located in tropical regions where summer rains create a high rate of discharge. Flood events drastically alter the dry environment in which the ecology of central Australia has had to adapt to the boom and bust cycle.

The Great Artesian Basin is an important source of water, the world's largest and deepest fresh water basin. Access to water from the basin has led to the expansion of grazing into areas that were previously far too dry for livestock. Towns and cities across the country sometimes face major water storage and usage crisis in which restrictions and other measures are implemented to reduce water consumption. Water restrictions are based on a gradient of activities that become progressively banned as the situation worsens.

Billabong is the Australian name given to the oxbow lakes that can form along a meandering river's course. In a world-wide comparison of height, Australia's waterfalls are relatively insignificant, with the longest drop ranked 135th according to the World Waterfall Database.

4. Environment

Although most of Australia is semi-arid or desert, it includes a diverse range of habitats from alpine heaths to tropical rainforests, and is recognized as a megadiverse country. The fungi typify that diversity; the total number that occur in Australia, including those not yet discovered, has been estimated at around 250,000 species, of which roughly 5% have been described. Because of the continent's great age, extremely variable weather patterns, and long-term geographic isolation, much of Australia's biota is unique and diverse. Approximately 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are endemic. Australia has the greatest number of reptiles of any country, with 755 species.

Australian forests are mostly made up of evergreen species, particularly eucalyptus trees in the less arid regions, wattles replace them in drier regions and deserts as the most dominant species. Among well-known Australian animals are the monotremes (the platypus and echidna); a host of marsupials, including the kangaroo, koala, and wombat, and birds such as theemu and the kookaburra. Australia is home to many dangerous animals including some of the most venomous snakes in the world. Many animal and plant species became extinct soon after first human settlement, including the Australian megafauna. Any of Australia's ecoregions, and the species within those regions, are threatened by human activities and introduced animal, fungal and plant species. The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is the legal framework for the protection of threatened species. Numerous protected areas have been created under the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity to protect and preserve unique ecosystems; 65 wetlands are listed under the Ramsar Convention, and 16 natural World Heritage Sites have been established. Australia was ranked 51st of 163 countries in the world on the 2010 Environmental Performance Index.

5. Demographics

For almost two centuries the majority of settlers, and later immigrants, came from the British Isles. As a result the people of Australia are primarily of British and/or Irish ethnic origin. The 2011 Census asked respondents to provide a maximum of two ancestries with which they most closely identify. The most commonly nominated ancestry was English (36.1%), followed by Australian (35.4%), Irish (10.4%), Scottish (8.9%), Italian (4.6%), German (4.5%), Chinese (4.3%), Indian (2.0%), Greek (1.9%), and Dutch (1.7%). Because Australia's census doesn't ask for racial background, it is unclear how many Australians are descendants of Europeans. Estimates vary from 85% - 92%. Asian Australians make up 12% of the population.

Australia's population has quadrupled since the end of World War I. Nevertheless, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometer, remains among the lowest in the world. Much of the population increase came from immigration. Following World War II and through to 2000, almost 5.9 million of the total population settled in the country as new immigrants, meaning that nearly two out of every seven Australians were born in another country. Most immigrants are skilled, but the immigration quota includes categories for family members and refugees. By 2050, Australia's population is currently projected to reach around 42 million.

The rural population of Australia in 2012 was 2,420,731 (10.66% of the total population). The Indigenous population-Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders-was counted at 548,370 (2.5% of the total population) in 2011, a significant increase from 115,953 in the 1976 census. The increase is partly due to many people with Indigenous heritage previously having been overlooked by the census due to undercount and cases where their Indigenous status had not been recorded on the form.

Indigenous Australians experience higher than average rates of imprisonment and unemployment, lower levels of education, and life expectancies for males and females that are 11-17 years lower than those of non-indigenous Australians. Some remote Indigenous communities have been described as having «failed state» - like conditions.

In common with many other developed countries, Australia is experiencing a demographic shift towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. In 2004, the average age of the civilian population was 38.8 years. A large number of Australians (759,849 for the period 2002-03; 1 million or 5% of the total population in 2005) live outside their home country.

6. Language

Although Australia has no official language, English has always been entrenched as the de facto national language. Australian English is a major variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon, and differs slightly from other varieties of English in grammar and spelling. General Australian serves as the standard dialect. According to the 2011 census, English is the only language spoken in the home for close to 81% of the population. The next most common languages spoken at home are Mandarin (1.7%), Italian (1.5%), Arabic (1.4%), Cantonese (1.3%), Greek (1.3%), and Vietnamese (1.2%); a considerable proportion of first - and second-generation migrants are bilingual. A 2010-2011 study by the Australia Early Development Index found the most common language spoken by children after English was Arabic, followed by Vietnamese, Greek, Chinese, and Hindi.

Between 200 and 300 Indigenous Australian languages are thought to have existed at the time of first European contact, of which only about 70 have survived. Many of these are exclusively spoken by older people; only 18 Indigenous languages are still spoken by all age groups. At the time of the 2006 census, 52,000 Indigenous Australians, representing 12% of the Indigenous population, reported that they spoke an Indigenous language at home. Australia has a sign language known as Auslan, which is the main language of about 5,500 deaf people.

7. Religion

Australia has no state religion; Section 116 of the Australian Constitution prohibits the federal government from making any law to establish any religion, impose any religious observance, or prohibit the free exercise of any religion. In the 2011 census, 61.1% of Australians were counted as Christian, including 25.3% as Roman Catholic and 17.1% as Anglican; 22.3% of the population reported having «no religion»; 7.2% identify with non-Christian religions, the largest of these being Buddhism (2.5%), followed by Islam (2.2%), Hinduism (1.3%) and Judaism (0.5%). The remaining 9.4% of the population did not provide an adequate answer.

Prior to European settlement in Australia, the animist beliefs of Australia's indigenous people had been practiced for millennia. In the case of mainland Aboriginal Australians, their spirituality is known as the Dreamtime and it places a heavy emphasis on belonging to the land. The collection of stories that it contains shaped Aboriginal law and customs. Aboriginal art, story and dance continue to draw on these spiritual traditions. In the case of the Torres Strait Islanders who inhabit the islands between Australia and New Guinea, spirituality and customs reflected their Melanesian origins and dependence on the sea. The 1996 Australian census counted more than 7000 respondents as followers of a traditional Aboriginal religion.

An international survey, made by the private and not-for profit German think-tank, the Bertelsmann Foundation, found that «Australia is one of the least religious nations in the western world, coming in 17th out of 21 [countries] surveyed» and that «Nearly three out of four Australians say they are either not at all religious or that religion does not play a central role in their lives.» While weekly attendance at church services in 2001 was about 1.5 million (about 7.8% of the population), a survey of 1,718 Australians by the Christian Research Association at the end of 2009 suggested that the number of people attending religious services per month in Australia has dropped from 23% in 1993 to 16% in 2009, and while 60% of 15 to 29-year-old respondents in 1993 identified with Christian denominations, 33% did in 2009.

8. Education

School attendance, or registration for home schooling, is compulsory throughout Australia. Education is the responsibility of the individual states and territories so the rules vary between states, but in general children are required to attend school from the age of about 5 up until about 16. In some states children aged 16-17 are required to either attend school or participate in vocational training, such as an apprenticeship.

Australia has an adult literacy rate that was estimated to be 99% in 2003. However, a 2011-12 report for the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that Tasmania has a literacy and numeracy rate of only 50%. In the Programme for International Student Assessment, Australia regularly scores among the top five of thirty major developed countries. Catholic education accounts for the largest non-government sector.

Australia has 37 government-funded universities and two private universities, as well as a number of other specialist institutions that provide approved courses at the higher education level. The University of Sydney is Australia's oldest university, having been founded in 1850, followed by the University of Melbourne three years later. Other notable universities include those of the Group of Eight leading tertiary institutions, including the University of Adelaide (which boasts an association with five Nobel Laureates), the Australian National University located in the national capital of Canberra, Monash University and the University of New South Wales.

9. Health

Australia has the fourth highest life expectancy in the world after Iceland, Japan and Hong Kong. Life expectancy in Australia in 2010 was 79.5 years for males and 84.0 years for females. Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, while cigarette smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease, responsible for 7.8% of the total mortality and disease. Ranked second in preventable causes is hypertension at 7.6%, with obesity third at 7.5%. Australia ranks 35th in the world and near the top of developed nations for its proportion of obese adults.

Total expenditure on health (including private sector spending) is around 9.8% of GDP. Australia introduced universal health care in 1975. Known as Medicare, it is now nominally funded by an income tax surcharge known as the Medicare levy, currently set at 1.5%. The states manage hospitals and attached outpatient services, while the Commonwealth funds the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and general practice.

10. Culture

Since 1788, the basis of Australian culture has been strongly influenced by Anglo-Celtic Western culture. Distinctive cultural features have also arisen from Australia's natural environment and Indigenous cultures. Since the mid-20th century, American popular culture has strongly influenced Australia, particularly through television and cinema. Other cultural influences come from neighboring Asian countries, and through large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking nations.

11. Arts

Australian visual arts are thought to have begun with the cave paintings, rock engravings and body painting of its Indigenous peoples. The traditions of Indigenous Australians are largely transmitted orally, through ceremony and the telling of Dreamtime stories. From the time of European settlement, a major theme in Australian art has been the natural landscape, seen for example in the works of Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and others associated with the Heidelberg School and Albert Namatjira.

The country's landscape remains a source of inspiration for Australian modernist artists; it has been depicted in acclaimed works by the likes of Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Fred Williams, Margaret Preston and Clifton Pugh. Australian artists influenced by modern American and European art include surrealist James Gleesonand pop artist Martin Sharp. Contemporary Indigenous Australian art is the only art movement of international significance to emerge from Australia and «the last great art movement of the 20th century»; its exponents have included Emily Kngwarreye. Art critic Robert Hughes has written several influential books about Australian history and art, and was described as the «world's most famous art critic» by The New York Times. The National Gallery of Australia and state galleries maintain Australian and overseas collections. Australia has one of the world's highest attendances of art galleries and museums per head of population-far more than Britain or America.

12. Cuisine

The food of Indigenous Australians was largely influenced by the area in which they lived. Most tribal groups subsisted on a simple hunter-gatherer diet, hunting native game and fish and collecting native plants and fruit. The general term for native Australian flora and fauna used as a source of food is bush tucker. The first settlers introduced British food to the continent, and much of that is now considered typical Australian food; the Sunday roast has become an enduring tradition for many Australians. Since the beginning of the 20th century, food in Australia has increasingly been influenced by immigrants to the nation, particularly from Southern European and Asian cultures. Australian wine is produced in 60 distinct production areas totaling approximately 160,000 hectares, mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country. The wine regions in each of these states produce different wine varieties and styles that take advantage of local climates and soil types. In 1995, an Australian red wine, Penfolds Grange, won the Wine Spectator award for Wine of the Year, the first time a wine from outside France or California achieved this distinction.

Conclusion

Аustralia - it is a cloudless blue sky, bright sun, many kilometers of beaches with white sand and ocean to the horizon. Along the northeastern coast of Australia stretches Great Barrier Reef where there is a unique Marine National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Great Barrier Reef - a ridge of coral reefs and islands in the Coral Sea, some of which are luxury hotels.

Australian continent - an ideal place to practice any water sports. Surfing, windsurfing, scuba diving, water skiing, boating and sailing - all this to the guests on the coast. If it does not appeal to you, go for a walk along one of the many nature reserves, cycling or riding. Additionally, you can go on a safari or climbing. Australia attractiveness lies not only in the nature of the continent. Make a contribution here and landscaped city centers of cultural and business life of the state. In all metropolitan areas - be it Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne or any other major city - historical sites neighbor with skyscrapers, cozy parks - with crowded streets, and a variety of museums - from luxury shops. When you leave Australia, you certainly want to take with them something to remember, something that will remind you travel to this wonderful country. In souvenir shops you can purchase a variety of handmade products created by aborigines clothes from the finest sheep's wool, and in jewelry stores - jewelry from famous Australian opals, pearls or elegant pink diamonds.

Bibliography

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia

2. http://australia-ru.com/

3. http://www.vokrugsveta.ru/encyclopedia/index.php? title=Австралия

4. http://www.worlds.ru/australia/australia/

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