Australia

HISTORY

The Origin of The Sun Gnowee,the Sun was once a woman, who lived upon the earth when it was dark all the time and people had to walk about with the aid of bark torches. One day she left her little boy asleep while she went out to dig roots for food.Yams were scarce and Gnowee reached the end of the earth and continuing her wanderings , passed under it. Not knowing wher she was,as it was dark, she could not fiind her littlr boy anywhere. So she went into the sky carrying her great bark torch and still wanders across it and then travels under the earth looking for him.

THE DREAMTIME

Most people wonder about the mysteries of life. Such as how did it all begin,where did the animals come from? The Aboriginal people were given their anwsers in the Dreamtime stories,which were passed down and added to from generation to generation.All Aboriginals believed in a Supreme Being, who was knnow by different names in different areas. The Rainbow Serpant legends are perhaps the most well-known stories and he is named as the cause of many of Australias landscape like rivers, mountains etc.Aboriginal people were the first Australians.Aboriginal history is Au

ustralian history.The history of mankind on the Australian continent did not commence when Captain Cook landed on the eastern coast , but 40 000 years before when the ancient predecessors of the Aboriginal people began their sea voyages south. It is believed that they have traveled from Asia along transitory land bridges created by the rising and ebbing seas of the Ice Age. WE BELONG TO THE GROUND IT IS OUR POWER AND WE MUST STAY CLOSE TO IT OR MAYBE WE WILL GET LOST

The first Australians

There were people in Australia long before Europeans ‘discovered’ the continent in the 1600s. The ‘Aborigines’ arrived there about 12,000 years before from Southeast Asia.
They lived by collecting food hunting with spears and boomerangs.They didn’t have metal orr pottery, but they had very rich forms of art,painting, song, poetry and mythology. There were over 500 different languages and tribes, with complex systems of trade. The lives of the Aborigines stayed almost the same for thousands of years until the Europeans came to live in Australia in 1778.
Aborigines continue to live in Australia but their culture is under threat. In 1770, there were about 300,000 Aborigines. Now there are about 120,000.

Australia’s indigenous peoples

White Australians and the international community have grouped Au

ustralia’s indigenous peoples under the term Aborigines since the British invaded in 1788. At the recent insistence of these indigenous groups, we are coming to recognize many separate surviving indigenous cultures and lament the loss of others by deliberate or accidental genocide since invasion. Today these surviving cultures include highly urbanized Koorie communities in Sydney and Melbourne, semi-nomadic groups such as the Pitjantjatjaras and Warlpiris living a relatively traditional lifestyle in the central and western deserts, and the seafaring Merriam and Tiwi peoples of the small islands north of the mainland. If there is any thread linking these groups, it is the cultural revival experienced over the last twenty years. Under the banner of national political movements, all of these groups have renewed their commitment to organizing their social world according to extensive kin networks, to re-establishing close religious and legal relationships to the land, and to maintaining and revitalizing their cultures and languages.

AUSTRALIA TODAY

Today,Australia is a modern, industrial country, independent from Britain. In total, about eighteen million people live there. It is the world’s biggest producer of wool and an important producer of wheet, meat, sugar and fruit. The biggest city is Sydney, where about four million people live. Th

he capital, Camberra, is much smaller, with a population of about 285,000.

The Make Up of Australia’s Population

The rich mosaic of people who make up the Australian nation have joined the original inhabitants, the Aborigines and Torres Islanders, with their 50,000 years of culture to form a nation of more than 18 million people. Australia was one of the main migration destinations of the second half of the 20th century: since 1945, immigration has almost doubled the Australian population. This influx has permanently altered the Australian character, and has contributed to the multicultural society of modern Australia. Less than 15 per cent of Australians live in rural areas. The vast majority lives in the ten largest cities, and the bulk of the population is in the southeastern corner. Australians enjoy sports, relaxing outdoors, and cultural events. Australia is recognised as one of the most successful nations in building a tolerant, inclusive and culturally diverse society. Australia’s multicultural policy rests on three principles: the right to cultural identity, the value of social justice and the interest in economic efficiency. The 1996 census found more than four million people, or 23 percent of the Australian population, were born overseas.

Where today’s Australian were born% Australia 76,7 Britain and Ireland 6.6 Continental Europe 6.

.4 Asia 5.0 Oceania 2.1 Middle East and North Africa 1.2 Other parts of the world 2.0

Government

The Australian Government took possession of 2 357km2 of land from NewSouth Wales (NSW) in 1911 to form the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) as the site for the Australian national capital. That capital, Canberra, lies between Sydney, 307km north-east, and Melbourne 655km south-west. The majority of the population live and work in Canberra.
A second territory, at Jervis Bay, was acquired from NSW in 1915. This transfer was in accordance with the Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1908 which stated that the seat of government (ACT) should have access to the sea. The Jervis Bay territory was to be that access.
Jervis Bay is administered by the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories on behalf of the Australian Government. It has been used for defence activities, grazing, forestry, water catchment purposes, conservation and recreation. Its total area is 7360ha.

Language

English is the Australian language and the main language of instruction in its schools, but courses are taught in other languages and some schools have bilingual programs. One in four Australians was either born in a non-English speaking country or has at least one parent from such a country. At least 17 per cent of the population speak a language other than English at home. Linguistic diversity is regarded as an important cultural and economic asset. Government language support programs place special emphasis on Asian languages. The four priority languages are Japanese, Indonesian, Korean and Mandarin. Many Australian schools offer students a choice of an Asian or a European language. Since 1990 more students have studied Japanese than any other language for the final school year examination and at university. Italian remains the most widely taught language, reflecting the extensive community-based programs in Australia’s second most widely spoken language.

Australia’s Climate

Australia is bisected by the tropic of Capricorn; much of Australia is closer to the equator than any part of the USA. Accordingly, the northern Australia enjoys a tropical climate, and southern Australia a temperate one.
The tropical states Queensland and the Northern Territory have highly predictable weather. In “winter”, typical daily maximums are from 20 to 24 degrees Celsius (68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and rain is rare. The beaches and tropical islands of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef are perhaps at their most pleasant at this time of year. Further south, the weather is less dependable; in Melbourne in August maximums as low as 13 (56F) degrees are possible, but can reach as high as 23 (72F) degrees.
In summer, the northern states are hotter and wetter, while the southern states are simply hotter, with temperatures up to 41 (105F) in Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne but generally between 25 and 33 – very pleasant indeed.
Snow is rare in the southernmost capitals Melbourne and Hobart, falling less than once every ten years, and in the other capitals it is unknown. However, there are extensive, well-developed ski fields in the Great Dividing Range, a few hours drive from Melbourne and Sydney. Late August marks the peak of the snow season, and the ski resorts are a popular destination; perhaps too popular for some tastes. An alternative skiing destination is New Zealand, which provides skiers with excellent snow and facilities at lower cost.

Australian Flora & Vinyards

Isolation and a harsh environment have resulted in a unique Australian flora. Over the immensity of the land there are many varieties of habitat, including: tropical rainforest, temperate rainforest, sclerophyllous forests (Schlerophylls are plants which have adapted leathery, hard or spiny leaves) and woodlands (wet and dry), mulga scrub, savanna and steppe, alpine grasslands, and deserts. In all these areas except the rainforests the omnipresent tree is the eucalypt. With over 500 species it is the most common tree in the country. Its species dominate the forests and woodlands of the better watered regions of Australia, while vast areas of the drier country, particularly to the south, are covered by eucalypt mallee scrubs. Another major species in the Australian landscape is the acacia or wattle tree . There are over 600 species in Australia. In the drier woodlands and semi arid areas wattles are co-dominant with the eucalypts.Evolution has resulted in species that generally can take advantage of every fall of rain, particularly in desert areas. This results in dramatic flowerings in areas generally considered barren. The Kangaroo Paw and Sturt Desert Pea both flower readily after desert rains. With the unique variety of birds and insects that are available to pollinate flowering plants, many Australian plants have developed distinctive methods of attracting particular species. These include dramatically coloured flowers, unusual shapes designed to brush against birds or insects as they feed, and abundant supplies of nectar. The Kangaroo Paw, Grevillea, and Hakea are examples of this. Some Australian trees and plants (for example banksias )produce hard woody fruits and seeds, which not only survive fire but require fire to germinate. Fire also burns back undergrowth. Some species’ seeds are adapted to germinate only in the presence of those nutrients available after a fire’s burning. The presence of eucalypts can also dramatically affect the way a fire burns. The volatile oils in eucalyptus leaves rise above the vegetation in advance of a fire front, and can literally explode, ahead of man-made and natural fire breaks. The ancient soils which are characteristic of Australia are nutrient-deficient after millennia of leaching without renewal from volcanic activity. In some parts of desert Australia the lack of vegetation is an effect of poor soils rather than lack of rainfall. Salt is also becoming a problem over large areas of land as human use of available water lowers the water table. This further reduces the ability of the soil to provide sustenance for seeds.

Flora in Deserts and Arid Areas

Despite the country’s extensive arid regions, there is no native equivalent to the cactus, although the dry, spiky spinifex, or porcupine grass, the succulent samphire with its curiously jointed stem, and the aptly named saltbush, come closest in their ability to survive extreme temperatures. After a rain, smaller desert plants rush to bloom and seed, covering the ground in a spectacular blanket of colour, a phenomenon for which Australia’s Outback regions are well known. On a larger scale, the Outback is dotted with stands of hardy mulgas and wattles, which superficially resemble scrawny eucalypts but have different leaf structures, as well as scattered groups of bloated, spindly-branched bottle trees, whose sweet, pulpy, moisture-laden cores can be used as emergency stock feed in drought conditions. The similar but far larger boab, found in the Kimberley and northeastern Northern Territory, is thought to be an invader from East Africa. Mallee scrub is unique to the southeastern Outback, where clearing of these tangled, bush-sized eucalypts for grazing has endangered both scrub and those animals who rely on it – the mound-building mallee fowl being the best known. Mangrove swamps, found along the tropical and subtropical coasts, are tidal zones of thick grey mud and mangrove trees, whose interlocked, aerial roots make an effective barrier to exploration. They’ve suffered extensive clearing for development, and it wasn’t until recently that their importance to the estuarine life-cycle won them limited government protection – though Aboriginal people have always found them a rich source of animal and plant products. Rainforest once covered much of the continent, although today it survives in only a small portion of its former abundance. Nevertheless, you’ll find pockets everywhere, from Tasmania’s richly verdant wilderness to the monsoonal examples of northern Queensland and the Top End in the Northern Territory. Trees grow to gigantic heights, as they compete with each other for light, supporting themselves in the poor soil with aerial or buttressed roots. The extraordinary banyan and Moreton Bay fig trees are fine examples of the two types. They support a superabundance of plant species, with tangled vines in the lower reaches and orchids, elkhorns and other epiphytes using larger plants as roosts. Palms and tree ferns, with their giant, delicately curled fronds, are found in more open forest where there’s regular water. Some forest types illustrate the extent of Australia’s prehistoric flora. Antarctic beech or nothafagus, found south of Brisbane as well as in South America, along with native pines and kauri or karri from Queensland and Western Australia, which also occur in New Zealand, are all relict evidence of the prehistoric supercontinent Gondwana. Other “living fossils” include primitive marine stromatolites – algae corals – still found around Shark Bay, Western Australia, or in fossilized form in the central deserts. As long as you don’t eat them or fall onto the pricklier versions, most Australian plants are harmless – though in rainforests you’d want to avoid entanglement with spiky lawyer cane or wait-awhile vine. However, watch out for the large, pale green, heart-shaped leaves of the stinging tree (gympie) – a scraggly “regrowth” plant found on the margins of cleared tropical rainforest. Even a casual brush delivers an agonizing and prolonged sting; if you’re planning on bushwalking in the tropics, learn to recognize and avoid this plant.

Australian Fauna
Australia’s very distinctive fauna includes 800 species of birds of which
400 are found nowhere else, 300 species of lizards, 140 species of snakes, 230 species of native mammals, and 2 species of crocodile. These unique animals evolved during the 55 million years that the continent has been isolated from other land masses. There are two predominant kinds of native mammals in Australia, the monotremes and the marsupials. The monotremes are egg laying mammals; the marsupials give birth to young in a very immature state which are carried in a maternal pouch. There are two kinds of monotremes; the platypus and echidna. There are hundreds of kinds of marsupials, including koalas, wombats, and more than 50 species of kangaroo. Monotremes are often called “living fossils” because they are egg laying mammals and are considered to represent the stage of evolution between reptilian and placental mammals. Isolation also allowed for the evolution of exotic birds. Over 400 species of bird are found nowhere else, and the birds are as numerous as they are colourful. They range from the tiny honeyeaters to the large, flightless Emu which stands over two meters tall. There are 55 species of parrots in Australia; an early map by one of the earliest navigators suggested the Australian continent should be called “Terra psittacorum”, Latin for “land of Parrots”.

Kangaroos
The Kangaroo is unique to Australia and New Guinea, its hind limbs are longer than its forelimbs, it has a front opening pouch, and a large muscular tail. A baby kangaroo is only partially developed at birth, and must reach the safety of its mother’s pouch unassisted. Kangaroos are extremely social animals, and travel in groups.
Koalas
Koalas rarely leave their trees, and then it is only to reach the safety of another tree. Koalas mature slowly over a period of three to four years, once they are mature they are capable of reproducing every year. Despite heavy hunting, disease, and the loss of their habitat, koalas, now protected, are making a comeback.
Wombats
Wombats are small, bear-like animals, with a large blunt head and short-legs. The female has a pouch containing two teats. The baby wombat is born in Autumn and weaned in the Spring. A slow animal, the wombat can sometimes obtain speed in a clumsy gallop.

Platypus
The platypus can only remain under water for two to three minutes before it has to resurface. It is notable for its unusual appearance, and it is often regarded as the missing link between sea mammals and land mammals. It collects food from along the river-bed, and stores it in a pair of duck-like cheek pouches.
Echidna
The echidna is a small monotreme, with a long slender snout, short-legs, long spines, and sticky tongue, for the collection of ants. It is most famous for its bizarre defensive manoeuvre of digging itself vertically into the ground. The echidna lays its egg directly into the pouch, where it is hatched, and the young is kept there until the development of its spines.
Emus
Emus are the world’s second largest bird, and Australia’s largest. They stand 1.5m high and weigh up to 55kg. Flightless, they can run up to 50kph. It breeds from April to November, laying six to twelve eggs. Their nests are a circle of stone and grass.
Parrots
There are fifty-five Australian species of Parrots, more than a fifth of the world’s parrot population. These colourful birds vary widely from region to region. Most have a strong hooked bill, and two claws, two toes in front and one in the back. Most nest in trees, but some nest on the side of cliffs, and lay two to four eggs.
Crocodiles
Australia has two species of crocodile, freshwater and saltwater, and although their fearsomeness has often been exaggerated, they are a dangerous animal. Crocodiles are the closest living relative to the dinosaurs, and can out-run a man on land. It is not uncommon to hear about one taking cattle or horses, and they have been known to attack humans.
Snakes
Out of the 2,400 species of snakes currently recognized around the world, 170 of them, in five families, are found in Australia and its coastal waters. The five families found in Australia are Blind or Worm snakes, Pythons and Boas, Colubrid snakes, File snakes, and Elipids and Sea snakes.
Lizards
There are over 520 species of lizards found in Australia, out of these only one group of lizards appears to have evolved completely in the Australian region. The five main families of lizards are Geckos, Legless lizards or Snake lizards, Dragon lizards, Monitor lizards or Goannas, and Skinks.

Leave a Comment