About Australia
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, which is an island continent, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north; the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.

Australia's first inhabitants, the Aboriginal people, are believed to have migrated from some unknown point in Asia to Australia between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago, who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups. After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain, while Captain James Cook is credited with Australia's European discovery in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing Crown Colonies were established. Originally established as a penal colony, by the 1830s the number of free settlers was increasing. Transportation of convicts to the eastern colonies was abolished in 1852 and to the western colonies in 1868.

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The federation comprises six states and several territories. The population of 22.7 million is heavily concentrated in the Eastern states and is highly urbanised.

Australian culture is as broad and varied as the country's landscape. Australia is multicultural and multiracial and this is reflected in the country's food, lifestyle and cultural practices and experience. Australia has an important heritage from its indigenous people, which plays a defining role in the cultural landscape. This diversity of influences creates a cultural environment in Australia that is lively, energised, innovative and outward looking.

A highly developed country, Australia is the world's 13th-largest economy and has the world's sixth-highest per capita income. Australia's military expenditure is the world's 13th-largest. With the second-highest human development index globally, Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights.

Australia comprises six states and various territories; the Australian mainland is made up of five states and three internal territories (ACT, NT and JBT), with the sixth island state of Tasmania to the south of the mainland. In addition, there are six island territories, known as external territories, and Australian Antarctic Territory. All states and two internal territories (ACT and NT) have their own parliaments and administer themselves; all remaining territories are administered by the federal government, but with Norfolk Island having self-government.
Australia at a Glance
National Symbols
State Portal
Tourism Portal
Maps of Australia
Australian Holidays
Australian States
(6 Federated states)
New South Wales Queensland
South Australia Tasmania
Victoria Western Australia
(3 Self-governing territories)
Australian Capital Territory Northern Territory Norfolk Island
(7 Federal government administered territories)
Ashmore and Cartier Islands Australian Antarctic Territory Christmas Island
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Coral Sea Islands Jervis Bay Territory
Heard and McDonald Islands    
Australia History Map
Australia Folio Map

Australia at a Glance

Oceania. Surrounded by the Indian ocean and Pacific ocean, it is separated from Asia by the Arafura and Timor seas, with the Coral Sea lying off the Queensland coast, and the Tasman Sea lying between Australia and New Zealand. The world's smallest continent and sixth largest country by total area. Australia, owing to its size and isolation, is often dubbed the "island continent", and is sometimes considered the world's largest island.
Geographic Coordinates:  
27°00' S, 133°00' E. Lying entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, the Country lies between latitudes 9° and 44°S, and longitudes 112° and 154°E.
Border Countries:  
Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north; the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.
7,741,220 square kilometres; out of which 7,682,300 sq km of land and 58,920 sq km of water. the country is approximately 4,000 km from east to west and 3,200 km from north to south.
Total 59,736 km coastline, out of which 35,877 km in mainland and 23,859 km in offshore islands.
The majority of Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year. The northern states of Australia are typically warm all the time, with the southern states experiencing cool winters but rarely sub-zero temperatures. Snow falls on the higher mountains during the winter months. The nation is four seasons; (i) Summer (December to February), (ii) Autumn (March to May), (iii) Winter (June to August), (iv) Spring (September to November).
The mainland comprises mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast. Highest point is Mt. Kosciuszko (2228 m) situated in New South Wales. Total arable land in australlia is 6.15%.
Natural Resources:  
Coal, Bauxite, Iron ore, Copper, Tin, Silver, Uranium, Nickel, Tungsten, Mineral sands, Lead, Zinc, Alumina, Natural gas, Petroleum, Gold, Diamonds, and gemstones.
Natural Hazards:  
Drought, bushfires, heatwaves, floods, cyclones, earthquakes and landslides.
Eastern Standard Time:  
GMT + 10:00
Daylight Saving Time:  
DST is the practice of advancing clocks one hour during the warmer months of the year. In Australia, Daylight saving is observed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Australian Capital Territory. Daylight Saving Time begins at 2am on the first Sunday in October and ends at 2am (which is 3am DST) on the first Sunday in April.
Telephone Country Code:  

As of 31 December 2015, Australia's population is approximately 24,000,000. The most populous cities are Sydney, capital of New South Wales and Melbourne, capital of Victoria. Australia's population is concentrated along the coastal region of Australia from Adelaide to Cairns, with a small concentration around Perth, Western Australia. The centre of Australia is sparsely populated. Watch Population Clock
Population Growth Rate:  
An overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 32 seconds.
Birth Rate:  
1 birth is registered in the country every 1 minute and 47 seconds.
Death Rate:  
1 death is registered in the country every 3 minutes and 35 seconds.
Life Expectancy Rate:  
79.5 years for Males; 84.0 years for Females as of 2008 - 2010.
Sex Ratio:  
100 males per 100 females.
Ethnic Groups:  
White 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%.
According to the 2006 census, out of the total population of 22 million in the Country, Christian constituted the majority with 63.90 %, No Religion came second at 18.70%, followed by Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and others. The Australian Bureau of Statistics Census Dictionary defines "No Religion" as a category of religion which has sub categories such as agnosticism, atheism, Humanism and rationalism.
English is the major and official Language. Other than English, the major spoken languages at home are Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnamese, German, Mandarin, Spanish, etc.
Literacy Rate:  
99% of the total population (age 15 and over) can read and write;, 99% for males and 99% for females as of 2003.

Country Name:  
Commonwealth of Australia
Administrative Divisions:  
6 Federated states, 3 Self-governing territories and 7 Federal government administered territories.
Government Type:  
Australia follows a Westminster system of government and law inherited from the British who originally colonised the country. There are two main political parties and a number of minor parties, which make up the Commonwealth Parliament. Each state and territory also has its own government.
The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act entered into force on 1 January 1901, at which point the Commonwealth of Australia came into being.
Legal System:  
The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution is the fountain source of the legal system in the Country.
Executive Branch:  
Australia is a constitutional monarchy with The Queen of Australia as Sovereign who is also The Queen of United Kingdom. The Governor-General is The Queen's representative in Australia. As such, governor general performs the same constitutional role in Australia as The Queen does in United Kingdom. Whereas the Prime Minister is the Head of the Government and Prime Minister nominates from among members of Parliament, following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general, and runs office with the support of the Council of Ministers who form the Cabinet Ministry.
Legislative Branch:  
Bicameral Federal Parliament consists of the Senate (76 seats; 12 members from each of the six states and 2 from each of the two mainland territories; one-half of state members are elected every three years by popular vote to serve six-year terms while all territory members are elected every three years) and the House of Representatives (150 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve terms of up to three-years; no state can have fewer than 5 representatives).
Judicial Branch:  
High Court is the apex body of the Australian legal system. The chief justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general acting on the advice of the government.
National Day:  
Australia Day is celebrated as Australia's official National Day on the 26 January. Formerly known as the Foundation day, Australia day marks the landing of the First Fleet on 26 January 1788 under Captain Arthur Phillip when he became the first governor after gaining sovereignty over the colony of New South Wales.

Economy Overview:  
Australia's abundant and diverse natural resources attract high levels of foreign investment and include extensive reserves of coal, iron ore, copper, gold, natural gas, uranium, and renewable energy sources. A series of major investments, such as the US$40 billion Gorgon Liquid Natural Gas project, will significantly expand the resources sector. Australia also has a large services sector and is a significant exporter of natural resources, energy, and food. Key tenets of Australia''s trade policy include support for open trade and the successful culmination of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, particularly for agriculture and services. The Australian economy grew for 17 consecutive years before the global financial crisis. Subsequently, the former RUDD government introduced a fiscal stimulus package worth over US$50 billion to offset the effect of the slowing world economy, while the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to historic lows. These policies - and continued demand for commodities, especially from China - helped the Australian economy rebound after just one quarter of negative growth. The economy grew by 1.4% during 2009 - the best performance in the OECD - by 2.7% in 2010, and by 1.8% in 2011. Unemployment, originally expected to reach 8-10%, peaked at 5.7% in late 2009 and fell to 5.0% in 2011. As a result of an improved economy, the budget deficit is expected to peak below 4.2% of GDP and the government could return to budget surpluses as early as 2015. Australia was one of the first advanced economies to raise interest rates, with seven rate hikes between October 2009 and November 2010. The GILLARD government is focused on raising Australia''s economic productivity to ensure the sustainability of growth, and continues to manage the symbiotic, but sometimes tense, economic relationship with China. Australia is engaged in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and ongoing free trade agreement negotiations with China, Japan, and Korea.
GDP Real Growth Rate:  
1.8% as of 2011.
GDP Purchasing Power Parity:  
$917.7 billion GDP in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
GDP Per Capita:  
US$ 40,800 as of September 2011.
GDP Composition by Sector:  
4% in Agriculture, 24.6% in Industry, 71.4% in Services as of 2011.
Labour Force:  
12.05 million in 2011.
Unemployment Rate:  
5.1% in August 2012.
Population below Poverty Line:  
9.9% of Australians, or nearly 2 million people, fell below the international poverty line in 2004.
Inflation Rate:  
1.20% as of April 2012.
Public Debt:  
22.86% of annual gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011.
Moneraty Policy:  
Reserve Bank of Australia is responsible for Australia's monetary policy. View Exchange Rates
Agriculture Products:  
Major agricultural products are Cattle and Calves, Wheat, Milk, Fruit and Nuts, Vegetables, Wool, Barley, Poultry, Lambs and Sugar cane.
Major industries of are Mining (Australia is rich in a variety of natural resources), Agriculture (sheep and cattle; grain and fruit crops) and Tourism.
Fiscal Year:  
1 July to 30 June.