Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. It’s about the same size as the 48 mainland states of the USA and 50 per cent larger than Europe. It has the lowest population density in the world – only about four people per square mile. Total population is about 20,000,000, who live in a total of six states and two territories.
“Terra Australis” was the last landmass to be discovered by European explorers. Talk of this mystical land and the riches it held inspired explorers to sail into the unknown. It wasn’t until Captain James Cook arrived in Botany Bay in 1770 that the great southern land was officially discovered by Europeans. It was the explorer and botanist Joseph Banks who, in 1779, suggested that New South Wales would be a fine site for a penal colony! Approximately 160,000 convicts were sent to Australia as the first settlers in the first four years.
Since that time long ago, Australia has grown. The majority of the population live on the Eastern coast in three main cities: Melbourne, in the south, with 3 1/2 million people; Sydney, in the center, with 4 1/2 million people; and Brisbane, in the north, with about 2 million people.
The popular wildlife is described here!
Some other miscellaneous facts about Australia:
- With 24 million head of cattle, Australia is the world’s largest exporter of beef.
- Australia’s 140 million sheep produce more than 70 per cent of the world’s wool.
- The longest stretch of straight railway track in the world crosses the Nullarbor Plain. From Nurina in Western Australia to near Watson in South Australia, the track is dead straight for 292 miles.