Friday, March 18, 2011

Land Down Under - Facts and Comparisons

It occurred to me from watching Oprah in Australia that people from other countries are fascinated by Australia. I’ve also seen this interest first hand myself, through overseas travel. A large portion of my readers are non-Aussies, so I thought that I would dedicate a section of this blog to sharing with you a ‘Virtual Tour to the Land Down Under’.
I’ll share the readily found facts and then provide my personal views and memories. I love Australia and I’m proud to be
an Aussie; so I hope you enjoy the journey.

· Size - Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. It's about the same size as the 48 mainland states of the USA and 50 per cent larger than Europe, but has the lowest population density in the world - only two people per square kilometre.

· People – Australia has a population of roughly 22.5 million people, compare that with more than 150 million sheep and 40 million kangaroos in Australia

Australia 22.5 million people – Land area of 7.7million km2
China 1.4 billion people – Land area of 9.5 million km2
United States of America 352 million people - Land area of 9.1 million km2
Russia 142 million people – Land area of 17 million km2
Japan 127 million people – Land area of 377,835 km2

· Beaches - Although Australia is surrounded entirely by water and could by definition be considered the largest island in the world, it’s actually large enough to be called a continent. The magnificent coastline is almost 50,000 kilometres long and has almost 10,000 of the most beautiful beaches, more than any other country in the world. Up to 85 per cent of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast and no part of Australia is more than 1000 km from the ocean and a beach.

· Culture - Since 1945 more than six million people from across the world have come to Australia to live. Today, more than 20 per cent of Australians are foreign born and more than 40 per cent are of mixed cultural origin. In our homes we speak 226 languages - after English, the most popular are Italian, Greek, Cantonese and Arabic.

· Climate - Australia experiences a variety of climates due to its size. The weather can range from below zero temperatures in the Snowy Mountains to intolerable heat in the north. It is considered to be one of the driest continents on earth.
The south of Australia has cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. In the north, the weather is tropical with a warm, dry winter and a hot, wet summer. The inland deserts can remain totally dry for years whilst rains can produce floods. Dorothy McKellar summed up the beauty of this sunburnt country with her iconic poem ' My Country - which you can find here
· Lifestyle - The lifestyle is quite laidback and relaxed. Sunshine and good weather makes getting out in the great outdoors a way of life. In times of adversity Australians work together – mateship is strong. Australians are generally easy going and friendly people.

Memories of my childhood growing up in Australia
- Driving across Australia with my parents – it was vast, with lots of red dirt and very hot.

- Swimming, the beach and backyard pool
- School camps
- Beach - fishing, swimming, boating
- Picnics in the park
This is Adelaide - my home!
Next week I'll bring you the tourist places to visit and also my favourite places. I hope you enjoy the sneak peak at my country.
All posts will be available via the 'Land Down Under' tab on my blog.
'There's no place like home' ~ Dorothy from the 1939 movie The Wizard of OZ

- Moving to Kalgoorlie – a small mining town in Western Australia – it was dry with lots of red dirt, a place where a kangaroo in the main street wasn't uncommon
- Backyard cricket or beach cricket
- Paddy melon bowls (they grew wild in the mining town I lived in)
- Camping out – beside the river and next to salt lakes, campfires and hiking
- Barbecues – celebrations always meant an outdoor barbecue

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