COUNTRIES

AUSTRALIA

Programs Offered

Sydney: Hotel School Sydney

Sydney: University of New South Wales

A few facts about the country:

OFFICIAL NAME: Commonwealth of Australia

GOVERNMENT TYPE: Federal Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy

GOVERNOR-GENERAL: Quentin Bryce

MONARCH: Queen Elizabeth II

PRIME MINISTER: Kevin Rudd

POPULATION: 21,700,000

LOCATION: Southern Hemisphere in the Pacific Ocean, neighboring countries: Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea to the North, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia to the Northeast, and New Zealand to the Southeast

TERRAIN AND CLIMATE: 10% of Australia has an average annual rainfall greater 39 inches. The coasts of Australia are generally warm with a Mediterranean climate including dry summer and moist winters. The region called The Western Plateau, is desert with grass and low shrubs found surrounding it. In the Northern part of Australia there is the rainforest and savanna.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: English

GENERAL HISTORY: Australia’s Aboriginal people were thought to have arrived here by boat from South East Asia during the last Ice Age, at leave 50,000 years ago. European explorers first stopped on land in the 17th century and at the time named it New Holland. At the time the continent’s population was about one million Aboriginals broken up into 300 clans and spoke 250 languages and 700 dialects. It was not until 1770 that Captain James Cook chartered the east coast and claimed it for Britain. The new outpost was put to use as a penal colony and on January 26, 1788, the First Fleet of 11 ships carrying 1,500 people, half of the convicts, arrived in Sydney Harbor. Until penal transportation ended in 1868, 160,000 men and women came to Australia as convicts. By 1820’s many soldiers, officers and emancipated convicts had turned land they received from the government into profiting farms. The appeal of cheap land and bountiful work is what attracted more and more adventurous migrants from Britain. By 1851, the goal rush in Australia brought wealth and many more migrants. By the 19th century, the continent was divided into 6 colonies which later became states. The states of Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia in 1901 formed a federation to create the Commonwealth of Australia. The First World War had a devastating effect on Australia. An estimated 60,000 men died and tens of thousands were wounded. It was also feeling the effect of the Great Depression. Between 1983 and 1996, the Hawke–Keating Labor governments introduced a number of economic reforms, such as deregulating the banking system and floating the Australian dollar. In 1996 a Coalition Government led by John Howard won the general election and was re-elected in 1998, 2001 and 2004. The Liberal–National Coalition Government enacted several reforms, including changes in the taxation and industrial relations systems. In 2007 the Labor Party led by Kevin Rudd was elected with an agenda to reform Australia’s industrial relations system, climate change policies, and health and education sectors.

ECONOMY: Australia is a very prosperous country. Its economy was originally based on agriculture, although crops can be grown on only 6% of the land. The country remains a major producer and exporter of farm products, particularly cattle, wheat and wool. Grapes grown from winemaking are also important. Australia is rich in natural resources and is a major producer of minerals, such as bauxite, coal, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, silver, tin, tungsten and zinc. Australia also produces some oil and natural gas. The majority of Australia’s imports are manufactured products. They include machinery and other capital goods required by factories. The country has a highly developed manufacturing sector; the major products include consumer goods. Tourism is a vital industry to the economy in Australia.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Generally Australia is a fairly safe country. As with every other foreign country it is wise to always be aware of your surroundings and travel in groups.