Australia is the 6th biggest countries in the world; it is a federal state divided into 8 states and territories
New South Wales (NSW), Sydney, 50
Victoria (VIC), Melbourne, 37
Queensland (OLD), Brisbane, 27
South Australia (SA), Adelaide, 12
Western Australia (WA), Perth, 15
Tasmania (TAS), Hobart, 5
Northern Territory (NT), Darwin, 2
Australia Capital Territory (ACT), Canberra, 2
In terms of geography, Australia is mostly flat having three vast deserts, the Great Sandy Desert, the Gibson, and the Great Victory, where the popular Ayers Rock can be found. But, what is Ayers Rock exactly?
Ayers Rock (NT) is actually named Uluru and it is sacred to the Aboriginals. It is a sandstone formation well-known when it glows read at dawn and sunset. It is a World Heritage Site.
SA is covered with tropical forests and savannah with creeks and rivers and that flow into lakes.
The Australian Cordilleras stand along the eastern coast and TAS. Their northern part is known as The Great Diving Range with begins in the York Peninsula, wheareas the southern tip is the Australian Alps, with Mt Kosciusco as the highest peak.
Although there is a national flag, the one with the Union Flag and five stars, two other flags are displayed, the Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander.
The national anthem has been "Advance Australia Fair" since 1977
The Queen of UK is the head of the State, represented by a Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove since 2014; the Executive power is held by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull since Sep 2015; every state/territory has a Premier, a.k.a as the Chief Minister.
Their legislative power has two chambers, the Senate, representing the States (12 members from each of the States and two from each Territory) and a House of Representatives to stand for the people depending on each state's population with a total of 150 members. In Australia, voting is compulsory.
The judiciary system has got magistrates's courts at a local community, higher courts and the Hight Court of Australia.
The political panorama has got two main parties ruling the country, the Labor and the Liberal
Some history in a nutshell
Although the Dutch were the first settlers, Captain Cook claimed for Britain in 1770. On Jan 26 (Australia's Day) 1788, the first Fleet of 11 ships, carrying 1,500 people, half of the convicts, arrived in Sydney Harbour. By 1840 the free settlers outnumbered the convict population (this is why people insult Australian naming them as "convicts"); that was because of a policy of "land giveaways" in England.
There was a Gold Rush in 1851, bringing more people into Australia, being the first time that quota systems were implemented to reduce the number of "non-white" immigration.
Australia become a nation on Jan 1st 1901 as the Commonwealth of Australia; the capital wasn't chosen until 1913, avoiding rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne.
In 1942 with the Statute of Westminster, Australia was enabled to follow its own foreign policy and appoint its own ambassadors as an independent country.
There were up to a million people living in about 700 different small groups, speaking between 200-250 languages. The Torres Strait Islanders are racially and culturally related to Melanesian people (Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands); on the other hand, the Aborigines, whose system of beliefs and laws is known as the "Dreaming". The Dreaming is composed of beliefs about the creation of the universe and all living and non-living things (cosmogony), concepts which give meaning and order to life (cosmology) and knowledge and responsibility for living with each other and the land (a kind of legal systems).
Among other features, they have totemic and kinship affiliation, most societies and patrilineal; the elders are highly respected as custodians of the "Dreaming"...and they are the inventors of boomerang. Some other words that you would know in Aboriginal languages are didgeridoo, a wind instrument, walkwabout, a long journey on foot.
If you wish to know more about them in an entertaining and at the same time spiritual way, read The Voices of the Desert by Marlo Morgan, a woman's spiritual odyssey through the Outback.
This is the reason why, Australia's Day is not well received among everybody as the colonisation brought them cultural clashes, deprived them of their lands and way of life, and what'smore and worse, higher mortality rate due to viruses, malnutrition and alcoholism. Since 1970s aboriginal activists call it "Survival Day" or "Invasion Day".
The formation of Australia as a nation coincided with the development of Social Darwinism, which segregated races according to a hierarchical scale of human development and Eugenics, the stury of methods to improve the mental and physical abitilies of humna beings by choosing who should become parents!! With these two stupid theories, the disappearance of Aboriginal people was seen as "natural evolution".
Fortunately, the Federal Parliament set up the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 1991 to respect identities, to rewrite the history
ANZAC Day is a public holiday since 1916 and it is observed on Apr 25th (the day the Gallipoli campaign began in 1915). The day symbolically begins with the "dawn service", which marks the ill-fated landing of the soldiers on the beaches of Gallipoli, at the time in the Otoman Empire.
There are also marches and people gathering at memorial for speeches, prayers and hyms.
Bibliography, Mackie, J, Australia