Australia

An increasing multicultural country

Facts

Capital - Canberra

Language - English

Currency - Australian dollar (AUD)

Area - 7,692,024 km2

Population - 24,072,500

Population Density - 2.8/km2

Government - Federal Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy

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Important cities

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney, Australia, identified as one of the 20th century's most distinctive buildings. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the building was formally opened on 20 October 1973[4] after a gestation beginning with Utzon's 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition. On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

CUlture

Since 1788, the basis of Australian culture has been strongly influenced by Anglo-Celtic Western culture. Distinctive cultural features have also arisen from Australia's natural environment and Indigenous cultures. Since the mid-20th century, American popular culture has strongly influenced Australia, particularly through television and cinema. Other cultural influences come from neighbouring Asian countries, and through large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking nations.

Cultural Aspects

Arts

The rock art of Australia's Indigenous peoples is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Traditional designs, patterns and stories infuse contemporary Indigenous Australian art, "the last great art movement of the 20th century".

Australian literature grew slowly in the decades following European settlement though Indigenous oral traditions, many of which have since been recorded in writing, are much older.

Music

The music of Australia has an extensive history made of music societies. Indigenous Australian music is a part of the unique heritage of a 40,000–60,000 year history. Contemporary fusions of Indigenous and Western styles mark distinctly Australian contributions to world music. During its early western history, Australia was a collection of British colonies, and Australian folk music and bush ballads such as Waltzing Matilda were heavily influenced by Anglo-Celtic traditions, while classical forms were derived from those of Europe. Contemporary Australian music ranges across a broad spectrum with trends often concurrent withthose of the US, the UK, and similar nations – notably in the Australian rock and Australian country music genres. Tastes have diversified along with post-World War II multicultural immigration to Australia.

Joel Adams - Please Don't Go (Official Music Video)

Cuisine

Most Indigenous Australian tribal groups subsisted on a simple hunter-gatherer diet of native fauna and flora. The first settlers introduced British food to the continent, much of which is now considered typical Australian food, such as the Sunday roast. Multicultural immigration transformed Australian cuisine.

Post-World War II European migrants, particularly from the Mediterranean, helped to build a thriving Australian coffee culture, and the influence of Asian cultures has led to Australian variants of their staple foods, such as the Chinese-inspired dim sim and Chiko Roll. Vegemite, pavlova, lamingtons and meat pies are regarded as iconic Australian foods. Australian wine is produced mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country.

Holidays & Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year's Day - 1 January
  • Australia Day - 26 January
  • Royal Hobart Regatta - 2nd Monday in February
  • Labour Day - 1st Monday in March
  • Adelaide Cup - 2nd Monday in March
  • Canberra Day
  • Eight Hours Day
  • Good Friday - variable date
  • Easter Eve - variable date
  • Easter Sunday - variable date
  • Easter Monday - variable date
  • Easter Tuesday - variable date
  • ANZAC Day - 25 April
  • May Day - 1st Monday in May
  • Western Australia Day - 1st Monday in June
  • Queen's Birthday - 2nd Monday in June
  • Picnic Day - 1st Monday in August
  • Queen's Birthday - September/October
  • Queen's Birthday - first Monday in October
  • Family & Community Day - 1st Monday of 3rd term school holidays (Sept/Oct)
  • Recreation Day - 1st Monday in November
  • Melbourne Cup - 1st Tuesday of November
  • Christmas Eve - 24 December
  • Christmas Day - 25 December
  • Boxing Day - 26 December
  • Proclamation Day
  • New Year's Eve - 31 December

Festivals

Sydney Festival (January)

Each year the Sydney Festival offers a rich and diverse program spanning all art forms and including dance, theatre, music, visual arts, film, forums and large-scale free outdoor events. For three weeks in January the festival hosts around 80 events involving upwards of 500 artists from Australia and abroad. In any given year, it makes use of most of the main theatres across the breadth of the city and also has a commitment to the presentation of quality, large-scale outdoor events.


National Multicultural Festival, Canberra (February)

The National Multicultural Festival is held over four days and features the very best in local, national and international music, dance, food and creative arts. Festival favourites include the Food and Dance Spectacular, the Greek Glendi, Carnivale, the International Concert and the Pacific Islander Showcase. The Festival Fringe complements the mainstream festival, and provides a place for artists who break traditional barriers to bring their work to a wider audience.


Perth International Arts Festival (February–March)

The Perth International Arts Festival is the oldest annual international multi-arts festival in the southern hemisphere and is Western Australia's premier cultural event. The first Perth Festival was in 1953 and it now offers the people of Western Australia some of the best international and contemporary drama, theatre, music, film, visual arts, street arts, literature, comedy and free community events. Some other events in the festival include the Contemporary Culture program and the Perth Visual Arts Festival.


Adelaide Festival of Arts (March)

The Adelaide Festival of Arts has created a strong tradition of innovation since 1960, inspiring, challenging and entertaining artists and performers across theatre, dance, music, visual arts, literature and more. Held in the warm South Australian autumn every year, this vital and prestigious celebration of art from around the globe has defined South Australia as the nation’s premier festival state.


Ten Days on the Island, Tasmania (March)

Tasmania's flagship celebration of island arts and culture, Ten Days on the Island, boasts a multitude of events in 50 locations across the island. Events and activities range across all types of music, dance, visual arts, theatre, literature, food and film. Individual artists and companies come from all corners of the globe, and a number of local artists also take part.

Independent festivals

Chinese New Year (February)

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The new year begins on the first day of the Chinese calendar, which usually falls in February, and the festivities continue for 15 days. During Chinese New Year celebrations, people wear red clothes, give children 'lucky money' in red envelopes, and set off firecrackers.


Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (February–March)

From a protest rally to one of the world's largest gay and lesbian festivals, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has come a long way. In 1978, a group of 1000 people marched down Oxford Street to mark International Gay Solidarity Day. The event has continued to evolve, adding an arts festival in 1983, and it has grown to attract an audience of hundreds of thousands of participants from all over the world. The festival forms a huge celebration and reflection on gay and lesbian life.


WOMADelaide (March)

Over three days, WOMADelaide runs six outdoor stages featuring performances and intimate workshops by around 35 groups from over 20 countries. It also presents a KidZone, visual arts and street theatre programs, and an amazing Global Village of 100 arts, crafts, international cuisine, and educational display stalls and three bars. Thousands of people of all ages bliss out as they enjoy the sounds of the planet while catching up with friends in the sunshine, lazing under the trees, shopping, eating, drinking and having fun with their family.

Landforms

Australia is located on the Indo-Australian Plate. Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is separated from Asia by the Arafura and Timor seas, with the Coral Sea lying off the Queensland coast, and theTasman Sea lying between Australia and New Zealand. The world's smallest continent and sixth largest country by total area.

The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef, lies a short distance off the north-east coast and extends for over 2,000 kilometres. Mount Augustus, claimed to be the world's largest monolith, is located in Western Australia. At 2,228 metres (7,310 ft), Mount Kosciuszko on the Great Dividing Range is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland. Even taller are Mawson Peak (at 2,745 metres or 9,006 feet), on the remote Australian territory of Heard Island, and, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Mount McClintock and Mount Menzies, at 3,492 metres (11,457 ft) and 3,355 metres (11,007 ft) respectively.

Maori

There was no known prehistoric contact between Australian Aboriginal people and New Zealand Māori, although the Māori's Polynesian ancestors were accomplished navigators. The first Māori known to have visited Australia travelled to Sydney in European trading ships from 1795 onwards. Māori chiefs traded with Europeans in Australia, bringing back rare goods to New Zealand. An 1823 image of Sydney depicts the presence of Māori.

Places to visit

Things to Do

  • Visit the Sydney Opera House
  • Go diving and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Go shopping at Melbourne and hang out at night in the street lights
  • Explore the many national parks of Australia
  • Surf in Australian beaches and get a tan
  • Explore mountain trails and get to know the fauna and flora (at least safe ones)

Did you Know?

  • Horse-sized ducks lived in Australia 20k-50k years ago
  • There is a plant in Australia that will make you vomit in pure agony if you touch it
  • Lake Hiller is a bubble gum pink lake in the middle of an island located in Western Australia
  • Saudi Arabia imports camels from Austrlia; the only wild camels in the world are in Australia