Australia is well known for its sunshine, beaches and surfing and is considered to be one of the best places in the world to live in terms of health and well being and income and outdoor lifestyle.
Sport plays a huge part in the culture of Australia – rugby union, rugby league, cricket, swimming and Australian rules football are all very popular. Australian national teams in many different sports do well in competitive events for example the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games and the Commonwealth Games.
Australia was established in 1788 when the first British settlers arrived. Many of the first settlers were convicts but after the discovery of gold in the 19th century many more people settled there. The Aboriginal population which was around a few hundred thousand had lived in Australia long before the British arrived but now only around 3% of Australia’s population is of Aboriginal descent.
The treatment of and discrimination of Aborigines has been a contentious issue in Australia and in 2008 the Australian Government formally apologised for its treatment of them.
The last few remaining constitutional links with the United Kingdom were severed in 1986, although Australia remains part of the Commonwealth, and the Queen is the head of state, represented by a governor-general. Currently this is General Sir Peter Cosgrove since March 2014. Sir Peter retired in June 2019 and the Queen has chosen David Hurley to succeed him. The Head of Government is the Prime Minister and this is Scott Morrison since 2018.
Australia is a country with many diverse landscapes – deserts, mountains, tropical regions and coral reefs and is also home to many interesting animals – kangaroos and koalas for example.
At a glance facts
- Population – 24,772,247 (2018)
- Languages – English
- International Dialling Code – 61
- Time – Australia is 10 hours ahead of the UK
Australian Dollar (AUD)
Australasia, member of the Commonwealth