According to Encyclopedia Britannica,
... Australia the smallest continent and one of the largest countries on Earth, lying between the Pacific and Indian oceans in the Southern Hemisphere. The capital is Canberra. The continent is bounded by latitudes 10° and 44° S (about 2,450 miles [3,940 km] from Cape York Peninsula in the north to Tasmania in the south) and by longitudes 112° and 154° E (about 2,700 miles [4,350 km] from east to west). Australia is separated from Indonesia in the northwest by the Timor and the Arafura seas; from Papua New Guinea in the northeast by the Torres Strait; from the Coral Sea Islands Territory (in the Coral Sea), also in the northeast, by the Great Barrier Reef; from New Zealand in the southeast by the Tasman Sea; and from Antarctica to the south by the Indian Ocean. Area (including Tasmania) 2,966,200 square miles (7,682,300 square km). Pop. (1996) 17,892,423; (1997 est.) 18,508,000.
According to the CIA,
... Australia became a commonwealth of the British Empire in 1901. It was able to take advantage of its natural resources to rapidly develop its agricultural and manufacturing industries and to make a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. Long-term concerns include pollution, particularly depletion of the ozone layer, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef. A referendum to change Australia's status, from a commonwealth headed by the British monarch to a republic, was defeated in 1999 ...
But, to find out more about what's going on here you would have to visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) web-site.
The following table lists a very small pseudo-random sample.
Fact Source Kangaroos are native to the Australian continent and to parts of Papua New Guinea. Most species are only found in Australia.
There are over 60 different species of kangaroo and their close relatives. While it is impossible to determine the exact number of kangaroos in Australia, the population of the four most common species is thought to be more than 50 million. All kangaroos belong to the super-family Macropodidae (or macropods, meaning 'great-footed').
DFAT Tasmania is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products; government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate CIA Total area of Australia 7,686,850 sq km
water: 68,920 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states.
CIA Population: 19,731,984 (July 2003 est.)
Male/Female ratio in population:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Major cities (1995):Sydney 3,772,700
Gold Coast-Tweed 326,900
I have lived in Australia since 1989, but .... so far, have done hardly any traveling in this beautiful country, to speak of! So do not ask me for advice on travel/tourist matters. I suggest that you contact the Australian Tourist Commision for this purpose.
You are cordially invited to join us watch the practice session of the Australian Open Hopping Championship.