FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS DE LA EDUCACIÓN HUMANAS Y
ESCUELA DE IDIOMAS
Subject: Descriptive Linguistics
By: Isabel Alvaro
This work contains important general information about Australia in relation to many
aspects as it is a unique and diverse country in many ways - in culture, population, climate,
geography, and history and other relevant data. It is a place surrounded by extraordinary
natural beauties like beaches, national parks, flora, fauna and more! Also, Australia is a
country with an advanced vision of the world.
OBJETIVOS FALTAN ~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. GENERAL INFORMATION
Location:Located south of the equator, Australia, the Island Continent,
is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the west and Pacific Ocean in the eas.
To the south of the countries of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and
west of New Zealand.
Official Name: Commonwealth of Australia.
Year Founded: 1996
Capital: Canberra (325.000 inhabitants).
Important cities: Sydney (4,256,000 Hab.)
Melbourne (3,636,000 Hab.), Brisbane (1,817,000 Hab.),
Perth (1,478,000), Adelaide (1,129,000 Hab.)
Currency: Australian Dollar.
Religion: Anglican (19%), Catholics (26.6%), other Christians (24.3%).
Flag: Blue backgrounds, with the Union Jack in the top left, and below
a big star representing the Federation, plus five smaller stars on the right
represent the constellation "Southern Cross".
Population: 21,149,573 inhabitants (2007): 92% European (mostly of
British origin), 2.4% Aboriginal, 6% Asian.
Divisions: Federal State divided into six states (New South Wales,
Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and
Tasmania) and two territories (Northern Territory and Federal Capital
Territory - ACT).
Seasons:The seasons are reversed to the northern hemisphere, and dress
is standard for business, tending to comfortable and informal, with
lightweight clothing suitable for most of the year, although southern
states, highlands and desert regions can get below zero at night and
during the cooler months.
Summer: December - Febuary: Summer Solstice - 21 December
Autumn (Fall): March - May: Autumn Equinox -21 March
Winter: June - August: Winter Solstice - 21 June
Spring: September - November: Spring Equinox - 21 September
2. LANGUAGES IN AUSTRALIA
English is the primary language used in Australia. Yet their colorful
vocabulary, accent, phonetics system and slang ('Strine') can take a lot of
getting used to. In 1788, there were about 250 separate Aboriginal languages
spoken in Australia, plus dialects. Today, only two thirds of these languages
survive and only 20 of them (eight per cent of the original 250) are still strong
enough to have chance of surviving well into the next century. In addition to
these there are also the languages of immigrants from Europe, the Middle East
and Asia. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 1.6%, Italian
1.4%, Arabic 1.3%, Cantonese 1.2% and Greek 1.2%.
An idiom is defined as "a form of expression, phrase, peculiar to a language
Blood is worth bottling
If an Australian says to you "Your blood is worth bottling", he/she is complimenting
or praising you for doing something or being someone very special.
Cut down the tall poppies
If people cut down the tall poppies, they criticise people who stand out from the
When political parties have policies that will appeal to racists while not being
overtly racist, they are indulging in dog-whistle politics.
Dry as a wooden god
Very dry area or very thirsty: That desert is as dry as a wooden god.
See which way the cat jumps
If you see which way the cat jumps, you postpone making a decision or acting until
you have seen how things are developing.
She'll be apples
A very popular old Australian saying meaning everything will be all right, often
used when there is some doubt.
Stone the crows
Stone the crows is used to convey shock or surprise similarly to "Oh my God".
"Stone the flamin' crows" is a more emphatic form of the expression.
Up a gum tree
If you're up a gum tree, you're in trouble or a big mess.
Australian slang is almost a language of its own. Aussies (as they’re also called) love to
play with words, and to use shortened terms to explain things. Though some of them have
roots in British English, Australian English has grown and changed into its own interesting
type of language.
cya this arvo – See you this afternoon. “Cya this arvo in class”
heaps– a lot, lots. “Thanks heaps for your help.”
spiffy – great-looking. “It blue thongis pretty spiffy, I’ll buy it.”
hooroo – goodbye. “Hooroo mate, see ya tomorrow.”
Bludger : lazy person, layabout, somebody who always relies on other
people to do things or lend him things.
Cut lunch :sándwiches
Vedgies : vegetables
Jumbuck : sheep
Handle : beer glass with a handle.
Good onya : good for you, well don
Australia’s system of government is founded in the liberal democratic tradition. Based on
the values of religious tolerance, freedom of speech and association, and the rule of law,
Australia’s institutions and practices of government reflect British and North American
models. At the same time, they are uniquely Australian.Australia’s government is based on
a popularly elected parliament with two chambers: the House of Representatives and the
Senate. Ministers appointed from these chambers conduct executive government, and
policy decisions are made in Cabinet meetings. Apart from the announcement of decisions,
Cabinet discussions are not disclosed. Ministers are bound by the principle of Cabinet
solidarity, which closely mirrors the British model of Cabinet government responsible to
Although Australia is an independent nation, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is also
formally Queen of Australia. The Queen appoints a Governor-General (on the advice of the
elected Australian Government) to represent her. The Governor-General has wide powers,
but by convention acts only on the advice of ministers on virtually all matters.
6. A WRITTEN CONSTITUTION
Like the United States and unlike Britain, Australia has a written constitution. The
Australian Constitution defines the responsibilities of the federal government, which
include foreign relations, trade, defence and immigration. Governments of states and
territories are responsible for all matters not assigned to the Commonwealth, and they too
adhere to the principles of responsible government. In the states, the Queen is represented
by a Governor for each state.
The High Court of Australia arbitrates on disputes between the Commonwealth and the
states. Many of the court’s decisions have expanded the constitutional powers and
responsibilities of the federal government.
7. AUSTRALIAN ETIQUETTE
Australians are not very formal so greetings are casual and relaxed.
A handshake and smile suffices.
While an Australian may say, 'G'day' or 'G'day, mate', this may sound patronizing from a
Visitors should simply say, 'Hello' or 'Hello, how are you?'
Aussies prefer to use first names, even at the initial meeting
Gift Giving Etiquette
Small gifts are commonly exchanged with family members, close friends,
Trades people such as sanitation workers may be given a small amount of
cash, or more likely, a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer!
If invited to someone's home for dinner, it is polite to bring a box of
chocolates or flowers to the hostess. A good quality bottle of wine is always
appreciated. Gifts are opened when received.
The climate of Australia can vary a great deal from place to place, although in summer it’ s
basically hot everywhere in varying degrees (little weather joke there)Australia is an
essentially arid continent, with 80% of the land having a rainfall less than 600 millimetres
per year and 50% having even less than 300 millimetres per year.Australia is in the
southern hemisphere so our seasons are opposite from the northern hemisphere; this means
that Christmas in Australia is in summer when it’s hot, and summers can get quite a bit
hotter than they do in the northern hemisphere.
If you would like to know more about the climate of Australia's different states and
territories, including the average temperatures of the capital cities, or you want to check out
some interesting and extreme weather facts about Australia, just click on the links below.
New South Wales climate is broad from the mild Sydney weather to the dry
heat of the bush in the north western corner of the state.
Victoria climate is also broad despite its small size but the southern position
of Victoria means it tends to be a bit cooler and wetter.
Queensland climate due to it’ s size has a wide variation, from the tropical
coasts in the north to the highlands of the south east, were snow has fallen.
South Australia climate varies from the mild wetter regions of the south
east coast and Mount Lofty Ranges to the hot and dry interior.
Western Australia climate is one of the most diverse in the country due to
its size, from the tropical north to the temperate south west coastal areas.
Tasmania climate is temperate maritime with four distinct seasons, from
the warm sunny days of summer to the sudden storms of winter.
ACT and Canberra climateis relatively dry and continental with marked
seasonal and daily temperature changes.
Northern Territory climate is in two zones, the tropical north which
includes Darwin, and the desert environment of Central Australia.
Weather Facts and climate extremes: highest maximum temperature, lowest
minimum temperature, longest heatwave and much more.
There is no official religion in Australia. Because of this complete religious freedom it is
illegal to discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of their religious beliefs.
Nearly two thirds (64%) of the population claim at least nominal adherence to a Christianbased religion, but nearly one third (30%), do not identify with any religion. The remaining
population is a diverse group that includes fast-growing Islamic and Buddhist communities.
New census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012 indicates that Christians
now form 61.1% of the population, with Buddhists at 2.5% and Muslims at 2.2%.
Catholics make up 25.3% of the population, Anglican 17.1%, Uniting Church 5.0%,
Presbyterian and Reformed 2.8%, Baptist 1.6%, Lutheran 1.2%, Pentecostal 1.1%, Eastern
Orthodox - 2.6%, Other Christians 4.5%.
Also, in Australia there is a very small percentage of the traditional indigenous people who
have their own spirituality which does not fit into any of the above categories (except
"unspecified"). 22.3% of the population described themselves as having no religion,
including 28% of people aged 15-34. 'Not stated' is not yet available. It is important to note
that Australia has no official state recognised religion and freedom of religion is guaranteed
by the constitution. Some Australians do not identify with any particular religious faith and
may describe themselves as spiritual, agnostic or atheist.
Australian culture is founded on stories of battlers, bushrangers and brave soldiers. Of
sporting heroes, working heroes and plucky migrants. It’s all about a fair go, the great
outdoors and a healthy helping of irony. Today Australia also defines itself by its
Aboriginal heritage, vibrant mix of cultures, innovative ideas and a thriving arts scene.
Aboriginal culture: a rich and timeless tradition
The Dreamtime is the sacred ‘time before time’ of the world’s creation. According to
Aboriginal belief, totemic spirit ancestors emerged from the earth and descended from the
sky to awaken a dark and silent world. They created the sun, moon and stars, forged
mountains, rivers, trees and waterholes and changed into human and animal forms. Spirit
ancestors connect this ancient past with the present and future through every aspect of
Aboriginal culture. Rock art, craft and bark painting reveal Dreamtime stories, mark
territory and record history, while songs tell of Dreamtime journeys, verbally mapping
water sources and other essential landmarks. Their special lyrics have been passed down
virtually unchanged for at least 50,000 years, and are often accompanied by clapsticks or
the deep throb of the didgeridoo. Similarly, traditional dances reveal creation myths, enact
the deeds of Dreamtime heroes and even recent historical events.
11.Traditions of Australia
Australia is a multicultural country, has been influenced by European and U.S. lately but
remains true to its culture. Respect for her Indian heritage. The mixture of traditions results
in different forms of life and food.
Christmas in Australia:
In Australia this day is celebrated in summer, with temperatures reaching 38 degrees
In Melbourne, since 1937, hosts an event called "carols at Candlelight". People gather and
sing carols on Christmas Eve.
When Santa Claus in Australia is called Swag Man, in the antipodes, children are visited by
this character, which has a blue shirt and shorts.
For New Year in Sydney at 24:00 with fireworks, on a very nice show and seen by people
around the world on television.
The typical meal:
They are famous meat pies and accompanied by vegetables. The dish is meatloaf. Another
famous delicacy is the Cabanossi country, which is similar to salami.
It is customary to eat meat of animals like the kangaroo and buffalo.
12.Medicine and Health Care
Most medical health care is subsidized or paid for by the government, for which a small
levy is paid by all citizens. Public hospitals often provide free services. People can select a
private general practitioner, usually in their neighborhood. The general practitioner
provides referrals to specialist doctors where necessary, and payment is usually on a feeforservice basis. Health professionals may work privately or in a hospital setting. In recent
years there has been an attempt to increase the level of private health insurance coverage
Prevention of illness is a high priority of the government, with several programs such as
vaccination, public health warnings about smoking and AIDS, public education campaigns
on nutrition and exercise, and public awareness campaigns regarding heavy drinking and
illicit drugs. Individuals are held to be responsible for their own health problems, and most
investment goes to individually oriented, high-technology curative medicine. In the 1970s
community health centers were established to focus on groups with special needs, such as
women, migrants, and Aboriginal people. These centers provide more holistic care by
addressing personal and social problems as well as health conditions.
13.Marriage, Family, and Kinship
Marriage. Most heterosexual couples marry for love and to confirm a long-term emotional,
financial, and sexual commitment. Arranged marriages occur in some ethnic groups, but are
not considered desirable by most people. Marriage is not essential for a cohabiting
relationship or child rearing, but nearly 60 percent of people over fifteen years of age are
married. The law grants members of de facto relationships legal rights and responsibilities
equivalent to those of formally married couples. Homosexual couples are not recognized by
law as married regardless of a long-term relationship. Marriage occurs with a civil or
religious ceremony conducted by a registered official and can take place in any public or
private location. The ceremony usually is followed by a celebration with food, drink, and
music. Guests provide gifts of household goods or money, and the parents of the couple
often make substantial contributions to the cost of the wedding. No other official exchange
of property occurs.
Divorce has been readily available since 1975 and involves little stigma. It requires a oneyear separation period and occurs in approximately 40 percent of first marriages. Upon
divorce, the husband and wife agree to divide their mutual property and child-rearing
responsibilities; law courts and mediators sometimes to assist with this process. Remarriage
is common and accepted. A significant trend in family formation is a dramatic increase in
the proportion of marriages preceded by a period of cohabitation.
Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is widely considered the norm; the most common
household unit in the 1996 census was the couple, followed closely by the couple with
dependent children, then the one-parent family with dependent children, the couple with
nondependent children, and other family groups.
Inheritance. Citizens have "testamentary freedom" or the right to declare how they wish
their property to be distributed after death. With this freedom, individuals can legally
enforce their cultural practices. They also can choose to remove relatives from the will and
pass their property to a charitable organization or an unrelated person. If an individual dies
without a valid will, the property is distributed to the spouse, then the children of the
deceased, and then the parents and other kin. If there are no relatives, the property goes to
Kin Groups. Broad kin groups are not a significant feature of the national culture, but
extended families exist across households and are the basis for emotional, financial, and
social support. Many minority ethnic groups recognize kin networks of considerable
breadth. Aboriginal cultures encompass principles of traditional kinship in which large
networks of relatives form the significant communities of everyday life.
The food of Indigenous Australians was largely influenced by the area in which they lived.
Most tribal groups subsisted on a simple hunter, hunting native game and fish and
collecting native plants and fruit. The general term for native Australian
flora andfauna used as a source of food is bush tucker. The first settlers introduced British
food to the continent which much of what is now considered typical Australian food is
based on 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
European and Asian
cultures. Australian wine is produced in 60 distinct production areas totalling
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. The predominant varieties
are Shiraz, Ssauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Semillon, Pinot noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon
blanc. In 1995, an Australian red wine enfolds, won the Wine Spectator award for Wine of
the Year, the first time a wine from outside France or California achieved this distinction.
Lamingtons.-Lamington is a tempting, traditional cube-shaped dessert of
Australian origin. It is a sponge cake which is dipped into a mixture of chocolate
coating. The cake is then covered with desiccated coconut. They are also served
with a layer of strawberry jam or cream in between two halves. Lamingtons are
renowned and are available in many bakeries in this country as well as other parts of
the world. July 21, 2006 was celebrated as the National Lamington Day in
Australian Meat Pie.-The meat pie is a dish that is savored in different forms all
over the world. However, the meat pie of Australia has attained the status of a
national dish. Hot pies are actually a favorite with all the local people. Such is the
fame of the meat pie that an annual Great Aussie Pie contest is celebrated to attract
various pie makers. The prize is given to those pie makers who meet the required
standards of quality. Typically, an Australian meat pie contains minced meat with
some gravy. It is also served with onions, mushroom, and cheese. It is a takeaway
snack that is a favorite among people during games.
Pavlova.-Named after a Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova, pavlova is a notable dessert
in Australia. It is a meringue-based dessert that is soft on the inside and has a crispy crust
outside. The pavlova is different from meringue as a result of the addition of cornflour,
which gives it the crunchy crust on the outside and a soft texture on the inside. This
dessert tends to deflate if it is exposed to cold air and thus, is left in the oven until it cools
down. Fresh fruits like strawberries, kiwifruit, bananas are used along with whipped cream
Australian Social Customs
This term means the common or usual way Australian behave in their day-to-day life. As a
tolerant society with people from many cultures, each person is encouraged to maintain and
share their cultural beliefs and practices. At the same time, we respect the right of others to
do the same.
Being aware of some common customs helps you to adapt to life in the community.
Handshaking is the customary form of greeting.
Australia is a very informal and laid-back country. As a result, first names are
generally used from first meetings and casual clothing is the norm.
When invited to a private home for a meal it is polite to take a gift of confectionary
and/or a bottle of wine.
Australians expect that people drinking with each other will take it turn and turn
about to pay for the drinks (this is called "having a shout").
1.11. TOURIST PLACES
There are some fantastic cities in Australia:
Sydney, with its glorious harbour and the twin icons of the Opera House and the Harbour
Melbourne, with its laneways, cosmopolitan café culture and plethora of sporting arenas;
Brisbane, with its subtropical colonial architecture and burgeoning Southbank;
Canberra, with its excess of museums and galleries;
Adelaide, with its churches and parks;
Perth, with its river and atmospheric old port;
Hobart, with its colonial heart and mountain backdrop;
Darwin, with its frontier town flavour;
Gold Coast has its admirers for the sheer hubris of its high-rise development. And don’t
forget, the large majority of the country’s 22 million inhabitants live in these cities.
Around 24 per cent of Australians over the age of 15 regularly participate in organised
sporting activities in Australia. Australia has strong international teams in cricket, field
hockey, netball, rugby league, and rugby union, having been Olympic or world champions
at least twice in each sport in the last 25 years for both men and women where
applicable. Australia is also powerful in track cycling, rowing, and swimming, having
consistently been in the top-five medal-winners at Olympic or World Championship level
since 2000. Swimming is the strongest of these sports; Australia is the second-most prolific
medal winner in the sport in Olympic history.
Some of Australia's most internationally well-known and successful sports people are
swimmers Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose, Shane Gould, and Ian Thorpe; sprinters Shirley
Strickland, Betty Cuthbert, and Cathy Freeman; tennis players Rod Laver, Emerson,
Ken, Evonne Goolagong, and Margaret Court; cricketers Donald Bradman and Shane
Warne; three-time Formula One world champion Jack Brabham; five-time motorcycle
grand prix world champion Mick Doohan; golfers Greg Norman and Karrie Webb;
cyclist Hubert Opperman, prodigious billiards player Walter Lindrumand basketball
players Andrew Bogut and Lauren Jackson. Nationally, other popular sports
include Australian Rules football, horse racing, squash, surfing, soccer, and motor racing.
The annual Melbourne Cup horse race and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race attract intense
Australia has participated in every summer Olympics of the modern era, and
every Commonwealth Games. Australia hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne
and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and ranked among the top six medal-takers for
the games of 2000, 2004 and 2008. In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Australia
was placed 10th in the medal table. Australia has also hosted the 1938, 1962, 1982, 2006
Commonwealth Games and will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Other major
international events held in Australia include the Australian Open tennis grand
slam tournament, international cricket matches, and the Australian Formula One Grand
Prix. Australia hosted the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the annual Australia–New
Zealand Bledisloe Cup is keenly watched. The highest-rating television programs include
sports telecasts such as the summer Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Rugby League State of
Origin, and the grand finals of the National Rugby League and Australian Football
League.Skiing in Australia began in the 1860s and snow sports take place in the Australian
Alps and parts of Tasmania.
1.13. FLORA AND FAUNA
Australia is a land like no other, with about one million different native species. More than
80 per cent of the country’s flowering plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to
Australia, along with most of its freshwater fish and almost half of its birds.
Australia’s marine environment is home to 4000 fish species, 1700 coral species, 50 types
of marine mammal and a wide range of seabirds. Most marine species found in southern
Australian waters occur nowhere else.
Australia’s geographic isolation has meant that much of its flora and fauna is very different
from species in other parts of the world. Most are found nowhere else. However, some
closely related species are found on the continents which once made up the ancient
southern supercontinent Gondwana.
Covered in rainforest and ferns 300 million years ago, Gondwana included South America,
Africa, India and Antarctica. Most of Australia’s flora and fauna have their origins in
Gondwana, which broke up about 140 million years ago.
Australia separated from Antarctica 50 million years ago. As it drifted away from the
southern polar region, its climate became warmer and drier and new species of plants and
animals evolved and came to dominate the landscape.
Most of the Gondwanan forests were replaced by tough-leaved open forests of eucalypts
and acacias. Some isolated remnants of the ancient Gondwanan forests remain. These
include the cool and warm temperate rainforests of Tasmania and eastern Australia and the
dry rainforests or scrub forests of northern Australia. These forests have high conservation
In 1994, the Wollemi Pine was found in a remote valley in the Blue Mountains of New
South Wales. It is believed to be representative of a now extinct group of trees that existed
at the time of the dinosaurs, making it a species that has been around for 65 million years.
There are now an estimated 20 000 vascular and 7700 non-vascular plants, and 250 000
species of fungi in Australia. Plants include living fossils such as the cycad palm and the
grass tree, and brilliant wildflowers such as the waratah, Sturt’s desert pea, banksia and
Australia has over 1000 species of acacia, which Australians call ‘wattle’, and around 2800
species in the Myrtaceae family, which includes eucalypts (or gum trees) and melaleucas.
Wildflowers, including everlasting daisies, turn the arid and savanna grassland areas of
Australia into carpets of colour after rain. Native forests are limited to wetter coastal
districts, and rainforests are found mainly in Queensland.
The high diversity of flora includes large numbers of species in ecologically significant
genera such as Acacia, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Grevillea and Allocasuarina. Acacias tend
to dominate in drier inland parts of Australia, while eucalypts dominate in wetter parts.
Australia’s unique flora includes the Proteaceae family of Banksia, Dryandra, Grevillea,
Hakea and Telopea (waratah).
The most common vegetation types today are those that have adapted to arid conditions,
where the land has not been cleared for agriculture. The dominant type of vegetation in
Australia—23 per cent—is the hummock grasslands in Western Australia, South Australia
and the Northern Territory. In the east eucalypt woodlands are prevalent, and in the west
there are Acacia forests, woodlands and shrublands. Tussock grasslands are found largely
In Australia there are more than 378 species of mammals, 828 species of birds, 300 species
of lizards, 140 species of snakes and two species of crocodiles. Of the mammals, almost
half are marsupials. The rest are either placental mammals or monotremes.
Among Australia’s best-known animals are the kangaroo, koala, echidna, dingo, platypus,
wallaby and wombat.
Australia has more than 140 species of marsupials, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas,
wombats and the Tasmanian Devil, which is now found only in Tasmania.
There are 55 different species of kangaroos and wallabies—macropods—native to
Australia. Macropods vary greatly in size and weight, ranging from half a kilogram to 90
kilograms. The main difference between wallabies and kangaroos is in size— wallabies
tend to be smaller. Some stand as tall as humans and others are as small as domestic cats.
In many rural areas where their populations are high, kangaroos are regarded as pests
because they compete with sheep and cattle for scarce pasture and water. Kangaroo
harvesting contributes to the sustainability of the Australian environment. Estimates of
Australia’s kangaroo population vary between 30 and 60 million.
The dingo is Australia’s native wild dog and its largest carnivorous mammal. In some
pastoral areas, dingoes are also regarded as pests due to the threat they pose to sheep and
other farm animals. In an effort to keep fertile south-east Australia relatively free of
dingoes, the world’s largest fence was built, spanning 5320 kilometres from Queensland to
Australia hosts another unique animal group, the monotremes, which are egg-laying
mammals, often referred to as ‘living fossils’. The most distinctive is the platypus, a
riverdwelling animal with a duck-like bill, a furry body and webbed feet.
Of the 828 bird species listed in Australia, about half are found nowhere else. Isolation has
also contributed to the development and survival of unusual birds. These range from tiny
honeyeaters to the large, flightless emu, which stands nearly two metres tall. In between is a
vast array of waterbirds, seabirds and birds that dwell in open woodlands and forests. Some
outstanding examples are cassowaries, black swans, fairy penguins, kookaburras, lyrebirds
and currawongs. There are 55 species of parrots in Australia. Many of these birds are as
numerous as they are colourful, including a spectacular variety of cockatoos, rosellas,
lorikeets, cockatiels, parakeets and budgerigars.
Australia has more species of venomous snakes than any other continent (21 of the world’s
25 deadliest snakes). Fear of snake bites is common among people planning to travel in
Australia. However, bites are rare and most often occur when a snake is deliberately
provoked by a human.
Australia’s diverse oceans support around 4000 of the world’s 22 000 types of fish, as well
as 30 of the world’s 58 seagrass species. Australia is also home to the world’s largest coral
reef system, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Marine species of note
include the predatory great white shark, which grows up to six metres in length; the giant
filter-feeding whale shark, which can reach lengths of 12 metres; the bluebottle or
Portuguese man-of-war, which is a common hazard at many Australian beaches; and the
box jellyfish, which is one of the most venomous animals in the world.
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australiasince 2010
States and territories of Australia
St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Sydney, built to a design by William Wardell.
About a quarter of Australians are Roman Catholic.
The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne was the first building in Australia
to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004
Bailed up by Tom Roberts depicts the robbing of a coach from the gold
The Pavlova has been consumed in Australia since the 20th century.
Cricket has been an important part of Australia's sporting culture since the 19th
BANDER Y ESCUDO DE ARMAS VER Q SIGNIFICA LA