A document about Australia, its history and its fauna and flora; an audio version is available.

The capital of Australia is Canberra but the largest city is Sydney with 3.4 millions inhabitants in 1999. This federal republic counts 18 millions inhabitants and 7.7 millions meters square. It was declared an independent nation on January 1st 1901.

There are 7 states in Australia:

Australia was discovered by the Aborigines at about 60 000 B.C. and was discovered again by James Cook, in 1770.

The climate in Australia is very hot: in the North, the dry and hot season keeps on 8 months. In the South, there is a winter which is sweet and a little more humid. So, the best time of the year to go surfing is Christmas!

A flying doctor is a doctor who goes to visit his patients by air plane or helicopter because some people live very far of the towns and planes go faster than cars. The flying doctors say they can arrive at any place in 90 minutes! There are 13 flying doctor bases in Australia with 38 aeroplanes and helicopters. They visit 150 000 people every year in outback, farms and mines.

Probably, Aborigines arrived in Australia by rafts about 40 000 years B.C. Today, they are about 250 000. Before colonialism, Aborigines were divided in 500 tribes and had 700 languages and dialects. They were hunters and half-nomads according to the seasons and built some huts. Their weapons were lances, javelins and boomerangs. Their art is constituted by various objects, barks painted which describes some animals, pictures embossed and wall pictures. In their mythology, the men are in constant communion with the nature. Ayers Rock, in the centre of the country, was a holy mountain for them. They called "Uluru" this 348-meter-high mountain.

The main resources are mining industry (with diamonds, zinc and iron), agriculture and farming: the "sheep station" (stock farming of sheeps) is very practised. Australians export their very good wines and scare French winemakers because Australian wines are cheaper for the same quality.

That's why Australia is often referred to the country of "Sun, Sheep and Spirits": because the climate is very hot and sunny, there are a lot of farms and the Aborigines' religion takes an important place in Australian culture which is characterised by identity problems: differences between Aborigines and the rest of the population are still very important.

Another strange phenomenon is gambling: more than 80% of Australians gamble, half of them at least once a week. It's a sort of disease that might be a way of expressing the feeling of being ill at ease...

Animals and plants

The most famous birds of Australia are:

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 79 Kio] Lille - Le zoo : kookaburra. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 55 Kio] Lille - Le zoo : kookaburra. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 66 Kio] Lille - Le zoo : kookaburra. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 171 Kio] Shanghai - Le zoo : casoar. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 114 Kio] Shanghai - Le zoo : casoar.

Other famous animals are:

And the most famous plants are:

Personal reflexion

What does particularly appeal to you about Australia and how would you benefit from you studies there?

Since I am keen on biology, I find Australia particularly interesting by its diversity. On the one hand, it is a very large territory which hosts a huge number of species that have stood out among all others for ages and have become quite different and unique in the world. On the other hand, the landscapes you can admire there are more beautiful than anywhere else, from the Outback, the giant desert in the centre of the country, to the Bush and its eucalyptus forests and endemic birds. But to me, the most wonderful place is the Great Barrier Reef, that I wish to visit, as every scuba diver does.

As far as my studies are concerned, I know that the University of Western Australia, in Perth, has faculties of Natural and Life Sciences. If I was to go to Australia, I would stay there one year and follow courses in a double degree program in that University to graduate in biology. This would leave me enough time to visit the main cities and a lot of remarkable places in that country. Thus, studying in Australia would allow me to improve my skills both in English and in biology, not only with the courses, but also by living in an English-speaking country with extraordinary flora and fauna. Finally, such an experience would be consistent with my aim of becoming an engineer in biotechnologies.

Audio version

I've made an audio version of this page, using text2wav.


Cette page en anglais a été créée par Peter à partir de sources multiples et d'un exposé scolaire, 15 juin 2001 et modifiée pour la dernière fois 25 août 2020. Son avancement est noté 2/3.