Australia is a large country positioned between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Australia is an island, like Britain, but unlike Britain it is vast. Australia is, in fact, nearly twenty-five times as large as the British Isles. Its area is about 8,000,0000 km. The population of Australia is about 22 million. Most of Australia is semi-desert. People cannot live where there is no water, and so most of people in Australia live in the temperate south-east.
The first Australian people were dark-skinned Aborigines, and though the coming of the white settlers destroyed their tribal lives, some sixty thousand still survive in Australia today. They account for about 1 percent of the population. They can be found in the inland areas of the country. Some live in modern cities but it is not really easy for them. They have to fight for their rights. The first Europeans to land in this country were Dutch sailors.
The national holiday, Australia Day, is now celebrated on January 26th in memory of the landing of the British in 1788. The young country grew very fast. Today Australia is an independent federated state consisting of 6 states and 2 territories. It is a member of the Commonwealth headed by the British Queen. The national language is English. The capital of Australia is Canberra; the largest cities are Sidney, Melbourne, = Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
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