If I had a chance to go to some English – speaking country I would like to go to Australia. Australia seems to me and other people to be the upside-down world. The New Year is at midsummer, midwinter is in June. Hot winds blow from the north: cold winds blow from the south. The farther north you go, the hotter it gets. The trees look strange; it will seem odd to you that they never lose their leaves, and you will miss the bare branches in winter. Australia is a land of strange birds and beasts such as kangaroo, koala, echidna and dingo. Australia is the world’s largest island and the smallest continent. Its area is about the United States (without Alaska) -7,7 square km. Today there live about 17 million of people. Australia is a country of almost 3 million square miles far from other countries that’s why it wasn’t discovered for a long time. And only in 1606 Dutch sailors reached the shores of the unknown continent, but it was not settled till the English Captain Cook discovered the East Coast in 1770. When settlement began in 1788 the continent was inhabited by about 300 000 people, who are now called aborigines. Diseases brought by settlers caused many deaths among the aborigines and now there are only about 60 000 of them. At the beginning of the 19-th century the English colonists gave the fifth continent the name Australia or “the unknown southern land “. At first, nobody wanted to live there because it was used as a prison where the British government would send British prisoners. The most of Australia is a semi-desert so most people in Australia live in South – East. The climate is hot and Australian boast that they can sleep out – of – doors all the year round. The sun shines in winter and in summer. Snow and ice are rare, except the high mountains. There is not much rain, and drought is a constant anxiety. In bad times, and in the driest parts, many animals may die for want of water. Today Australia is an independent federative state consisting of 6 states and 2 territories. It is a member of the Commonwealth headed by the British Queen. The capital is Canberra.