Australia, referred to as one of the oldest stable landmasses on earth, has been free of mountain-building forces for around a hundred million years. This country has been excluded from the super continent 'Gondwana'. The Portuguese were the ones who originally knew about the mysterious 'Terra Australis'. One of them, named Luis Vaes de Torres, sailed the narrow strait between the tip of Cape York and New Guinea in the 16th century. Accompanying him were Dutch navigators Dirk Hartog, Van Diemen and Abel Tasman. Together, they mapped much of the coastline but hardly showed enthusiasm in settling in a hostile and barren continent.
Captain James Cook was the first to spot the fertile east coast in 1770. He was from the British Royal Navy, then in command of his ship, the 'Endeavor'. He was fortunate enough to have several scientists and a botanist aboard his ship. The men made amazing discoveries of plants and animals, never seen before.
On his departure from the Botany Bay, Cook traveled north and charted the coastline. His reports revealed that the east coast was fertile and suitable for settlement. He named the land New South Wales and claimed it for the British Crown in the name of King George III.
In the meantime, since his ship needed to be repaired, he had to stop at Queensland. Cook made himself quite homely with the local aborigines and was impressed at their life styles.
Australia lies between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean in the Oceania region covering total area of 7,682,300 sq km.
Since Australia's seasons are the opposite of the northern hemisphere, spending Christmas at the beach or skiing in August can be quite possible. Here, summer starts in December, autumn in March, winter in June and spring in September. The size, geographical location and the lack of extensive high mountain ranges, are the main responsible factors for wide range of climates in Australia. Generally, the country does not face any extremes. Its average temperature ranges from 23-26°C above the Tropic of Capricorn. The southern areas are more temperate although subject to variations. Australia is supposedly, the driest continent on earth.
Three time zones prevail in Australia, namely, Eastern Standard Time (WEST) which operates in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland; Central Standard Time (CYST) in South Australia and Northern Territory; and Western Standard Time (WAST) in Western Australia. CYST is one half hour behind WEST, while WAST is two hours behind WEST. Australian States except Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland have daylight saving during the summer months.
In the tropics, it is preferable to wear lightweight (natural fibers) clothing all year round. Summers can be tolerable in the southern temperate regions, with lightweight clothes, that are suitable for daytime. It is still better to keep a jacket or sweater handy, as nights may, at times get very cool. For the southern winters (Jun-Aug) sweaters and warmer clothes are advisable. Generally, light clothes are required.
- Canberra (Capital)
- Alice Springs
- Food Processing