“The Unknown Southern Land” Even in medieval times there were stories about a large continent in the Southerh Hemisphere. But Europeans had never seen it. They wondered what it was like and whether it inhabited. They called this land terra australis incognita 1 or «the unknown souther land» – Australia. Nowdays when people speak of Australia they can mean three things: 1) Australia as a continent; 2) Australia as an island and 3) Australia as an indenendent country. Australia is the world’s largest island and its smallest continent. Asia is the continent nearest to Australia in the north.
The icy shorts of Australia lie to the south. New Zealand is to the east. To the west of Australia stretches the vast Inddian Ocean. In the east the continent is washed by the Pacific Ocean. Australia is a land of striking differences. In the centre of the continent and in the west more thab 50% of the land is desert – dry and uninhabited. There are three – the Great Sandy Desert, the Great Victoria Desert and the Gibson Desert? Situattd between them. Naturally very few people live there. Most of them live on the narrow coasts of the tast and southeast. Main cities, where people live among tall office buildings?
Automobile plants and busy factories, are situated there. In the nothearst? Tropical forests cover the coast. In the mountains of the southeast the snow lies for ceven months of the year. Australia is divided into six states and two territories. 1terra australis incognita (Latin) [`tera aust`r? :l? s ? n`k??? ta] New South Wales is Australia’s leading indastrial state. Most people live along the east coast, and most of them are in Sydney. Sydney is also the largest city in Australia. It was founded on January 26, 1788. It is a pretty and indastrial city. Population of 3,700,000. In Victoria most people live in the south.
Melbourne is the cfpital of the state and the largest city. Sheep and peaches and apricots are grown along the Muurray River. Population about 3,200,000 Queensland is Australia’s second largest state. Drisbane, its capital, is . sitbated on the east coast. It is important export center exportihg wool, meat, wheat, sugar. Population over 1 mln people. Queensland has long beatifull sahdy beaches. Its coast is a popular place for holidaymakers. The climate along the east coast is hot and humid. It is the tropical corner of Australia. Bananas and other tropical fruits are grown here. Most of the land in the south is too dry for farming.
Some of Australia’s unprodnctive desert lands occupy the bigger part of the state. The state of Western Australia is dry and inhospitable except the southwestern corner of the state. Nearly all of the state’s farms, sheep stations and fruit gardens are situated there. The rest of the state is dry desert land with very few towns or lonely cattle stations. South Australia is the third largest state. Most of South Australia’s people, farms and industry are in the southeastern pert of the state. Adelaide is the capital and the largest city. Population over 1 mln people. It is a large center exporting wine.
Most of South Australia is too dry for farming. Farming very much depends on irrigation1 or underground water. Some of Australia’s most unprodnctive desery lands 1 irrigation [? r? `? e?? n] 2 nectaries [`nekt? r? nz] occupy the greater part of the state. Wheat and fruit (apricots, pears, peaches, nectaries2 and grapes) are grown along the lower part of the Muurray River. Tasmania, the island, is sometimes called the apple isle becaus it produces most of Australia’s apples. Tasmania is one of the few plaaces in Australia that have enough rain all year. Tasmania is Australia’s leading produes of pears and berries of different kinds.
Potates are also grown in some areas. Northern Territory is the least populated and least developed part of Australia. Crocodiles still live in some of the twamps along the coast. Darwin is its capital and the only large settlement in the norsth. Population of about 70,000. Alice Springs, generally called Alice of the Alice, is th eonly town in the south. The capital of Australia is Canberra. The city doesn’t belong to any state. It is situated on the Australian Capital Territory, which occupies an area of 2,432 square kilometres. It was builting in 1923-1927. Population of about 300,000.
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