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The capital of Australia: Sydney or Canberra? Australia: map

Where is it located and what is the name of the capital of Australia? Sydney or Canberra - which of these cities performs the capital functions? To give the correct answers to these questions, we will go on an absentee journey to the distant continent. It was discovered later than America, but before Antarctica. Disputes about who was the first of Europeans landed on the coast of Australia, do not subside to this day. Also there is a discussion about which city of the country is the most beautiful and convenient for life.

Mainland Australia

Photo kangaroos and koalas - a kind of visiting card of the smallest continent of the Earth. Australia is almost 4.5 times smaller than Africa and only 2.5 times larger than the largest island of our planet - Greenland. On the continent is a large state - the Australian Union. School children often find it difficult to answer the question of how the capital of Australia is called: Sydney or Canberra? Melbourne or Sydney? And it's not just the remoteness of the mainland and the country. There are several reasons to think about before you name the capital city. The knowledge of the history of the discovery and settlement of the continent by Europeans will help explain the situation.

The main milestones of the first stage in the history of the discovery and development of Australia

The search for a sea route from European countries to India and China was actively pursued during the period of great geographical discoveries by the Spaniards, the Portuguese, and, after them, by the Dutch. Until the beginning of the XVII century in Europe did not know where Australia is. Sketchy information about the voyages of Portuguese sailors and merchants to the shores of the unknown southern land have been available since the 16th century, but there is little evidence collected.

It is known for certain that the seafarer from Spain Torres passed through the strait south of New Guinea in 1606, proving that it was an island and not part of an unknown southern continent. Torres saw through the strait, now bearing his name, the shore of some land (Australia). Great contribution to the study of the continent was made by the Dutch. For a long time it remained unknown how far the east stretches the territory of the southern mainland.

Europeans all seemed unusual in their open lands, located far to the south. First of all those who arrived from the Old World were surprised by marsupials, red color of soils, dry rivers. The most comfortable for immigrants from Europe were the territories in the east, where moist winds from the ocean are delayed by mountains, more rain falls than in the center of the mainland.

Swimming D. Cook and the role of the British in the settlement of the continent

Known for his voyages around the world, the Englishman James Cook, knowing where Australia is, set out to study the borders of the east coast in the years 1769-1770. Walking along the coast from New Zealand, Cook reached the northern tip of the continent. Since that time, the development of these lands by the subjects of the English crown began. On January 26, 1788, the first British colony was founded. Until the end of the XVIII century, the internal territories remained unexplored, which did not prevent the British from claiming the entire colonized continent. No one considered the opinion of the aborigines of Tasmania and Australia at that time.

Until now, there is still a debate about whether the genocide of the indigenous population took place in the historical past of the continent. There is no doubt about the answer to the question of which language is in Australia. The country is a member of the vast Commonwealth of Nations. Formally, the previous monarchs and the current Queen of Great Britain are the heads of the countries and dependent territories that are members of this union. In Australia, English is the official language.

The smallest continent of the Earth: the geographical position (GP)

In which hemisphere is Australia? Let's look at the map. As you can see, the continent lies south of the equator, that is, it is completely located in the Southern Hemisphere. The main elements of the Australian GP in latitude are:

  • Peninsula York is the northernmost point of the continent.
  • The southernmost position on the continent is Cape South Point.
  • The territory of Australia extends from the parallel 10 ° S. W. Up to 39 ° S. W.
  • The mainland is almost in the middle intersected by the Southern Tropic.

In which hemisphere is Australia: East or West? The mainland does not cross the meridians 0 ° and 180 °, which means that it is completely located in the Eastern Hemisphere. The main elements of the GP of Australia for longitude:

  • The extreme point in the west is Stip Point.
  • The extreme eastern position is occupied by Byron.
  • Australia lies east of the 113 ° c. Etc., west of 153 ° E. E.
  • The total area of the continent is about 7.659 million km 2 .

The continent stretches from the west to the east by about 4 thousand kilometers. The distance from the north of the mainland to its extreme point in the south is about 3.7 thousand km.


Mainland Australia is washed:

  • Timor and Arafura seas in the north;
  • Coral, Tasman Sea in the east;
  • The bays and straits of the Indian Ocean in the west and in the south.

Southeast of Australia is the island of Tasmania, in the north-east - about. New Guinea. Along the eastern coast is the largest on Earth accumulation of corals - the Great Barrier Reef. The natural "construction" reaches a length of 2 thousand km. Coral reefs, atolls hamper the approach from the east to the coast of mainland Australia (a photo of one of the smaller islands is presented below).

The Australian Union

Until the last decade of the XIX century, Australia consisted of six separate colonies with their own authorities, armed forces and other attributes of independence. In 1898 the development of the constitution of the Colonial Federation began. The first day of 1901 the Australians met as citizens of a single state - the Australian Union.

Rivalry between the cities of the country, occupying the sixth place in the world in terms of the size of the territory, began more than 100 years ago. The question arose: where will the capital of Australia be located? Sydney or Canberra - which of these cities are preferred? It should be noted that many Australians consider their continent to be the most unusual. Residents of Sydney and Canberra praise their cities, believing that they are the best. In Melbourne, they claim that their city is more picturesque, more popular.

What is the name of the capital of Australia: Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra?

Federal authorities after 1901 were placed on a specially established Australian metropolitan area. It was decided that the capital of Australia will be located here. Sydney or Melbourne - these two largest cities could become administrative centers of the Federation in the first decade after its creation. When the discussions were over, it was decided to put an end to the competition that had arisen. Temporarily they gave Melbourne a preference. This is the former capital of Australia, where a quarter of a century was the federal parliament.

The idea of building a new city for a long time was realized in the life of New South Wales, but not in Sydney, and a little further from the coast. Only in 1908 the location of the administrative and political center of the country was finally approved, and in 1911 its design and construction began. Functions of the capital Melbourne served until 1927.

Canberra: base and name of the city

A decade has passed since the creation of a single state on the mainland, and many people still find it difficult to answer the question: "The capital of Australia is Sydney or Canberra?"

In 1911, a competition was announced for the design of a new city. Won his American architect Walter Griffin. The authors of the idea of creating the capital had doubts about its name. The following options were offered: James Cook, Shakespeare, Olympus, but, after all, retained the historical name.

In March 1913, the foundation stone of the city was laid. The name of the new capital came from the same-named Canberra village on the Molongo River. The distance from here to Sydney in the northeast is about 280 km, to Melbourne to the south-west - 650 km. The word "canberra" in translation from the Australian aboriginal language can mean literally "the meeting place". The first settlement of the English appeared here in 1820. The national holiday - the Day of the founding of Canberra - is celebrated in Australia annually (the second Monday in March).

Growth, development and today's realities of the capital of Australia

Economic turmoil over the First World War delayed construction. Only in 1927 the Federal Parliament of the Australian Union moved from Melbourne to Canberra. The growth and development of the capital slowed down during the Great Depression and World War II. Only after 1945 Canberra began to flourish. Its population is about 392 thousand people. In the capital, the unemployment rate is lower, and the average income is higher than in the whole country. Initially, the project provided for the creation of a garden city, beautiful and comfortable for life. On the territory of Canberra, significant areas of natural vegetation have been preserved, new parks and squares have been destroyed. In the capital, the Parliament of the country sits, there is the Supreme Court, numerous state institutions. The historical sites and attractions of Canberra are as follows:

  • The buildings of the Parliament (former and current);
  • The Anglican Church of St. John the Baptist ;
  • St. John's churchyard;
  • National Museum;
  • Military memorial;
  • Australian National University;
  • Royal Military College;
  • National Gallery.

Features of administrative-territorial structure and population density

In addition to the territory of the federal capital, Australia includes several regions that differ in area, size and composition of the population. Less populated and developed territory is the Northern one. In addition, there are 6 separate states: Western and Southern Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. The largest regions of Australia are Queensland and Western Australia.

The largest cities of the country are located on the east coast, which is explained not only by the history of the discovery and settlement of the continent. From the side of the Pacific Ocean along the Australian coastline passes the mountain chain, its average height is 1500-2000 m. It is the Great Dividing Range, which protects the shore strip from dry hot winds blowing from the central desert areas.

The largest city on the east coast is Sydney. The population of the megalopolis is about 4.4 million people. In the photo of the city you can often see the beautiful white building of the Opera House, resembling the shape of a sail of yachts or orange slices. Opera in Sydney - one of the most beautiful architectural structures in the world - a symbol not only of the city, but of all of Australia. The author of the project of the theatrical building (Jorg Wzton) embodied a complicated technical solution for 10 years. The unusual interior decoration of the opera was called "space gothic".

Melbourne is south of Sydney and Canberra, its population is about 3.9 million people. The city is considered the sports capital of Australia: there are international tournaments for tennis, competitions for Formula 1 racers. Interesting original architecture of Melbourne attracts tourists. The city in less than two centuries, has turned from a fishing village into a metropolis.

Brief description of the main socio-economic indicators

The review of Australia will be incomplete, if not to lead the basic demographic indicators, not to mention other important socio-economic characteristics of the country. The total area of the federal state of the Australian Union is about 7,687 km 2 . The territory includes not only the continent, but also a number of the largest and small islands closest to it. The country's population - according to data for 2014 - 23.8 million people.

Adherents of the Anglican Church in the Australian Union have about 26% of the total number of inhabitants. Approximately the same number of Catholics in Australia and followers of other Christian dogmas. At the time of landing on the mainland European colonists, the indigenous population was at a low level of development. Australian aborigines were engaged in collecting fruits and seeds in the wild, hunting and fishing.

On the mainland from England began to deliver convicts, there were the first colonies and other permanent settlements. From the Old World to Australia, along with the alien population and domestic animals, the causative agents of diseases of man and animals. As a result of diseases, the number of indigenous people decreased significantly. Large damage to the wild flora was caused by rabbits and other acclimatized herbivores.

Australia has the richest reserves of natural resources, which are mainly mined in the northern and western regions of the country. Minerals include natural gas, oil, coal, ferrous and nonferrous metals, gold and uranium. Renewable sources of energy are used on the mainland: solar radiation, tides, wind. The main rivers - Murray and the Darling tributary - irrigate agricultural plantations in the southeast. Australia - the most important livestock region, especially developed here fine-fleece sheep breeding and the cultivation of cattle. Investments of local as well as foreign companies are invested in the extraction of fossil fuel raw materials (oil and gas). In the Australian Union, the extractive and processing industries are developing, raw materials, energy and agricultural products are exported. The country has a developed tertiary sector of the economy (service sector).

The role of the main currency is performed by the Australian dollar. According to GDP per capita, the Australian Union is among the top ten states, ranking sixth in the world. Australia, countries and capitals of Oceania attract the attention of tourists. For small island territories, the income from this branch of the economy is the main one.

Australia in Oceania

The control of the Australian Union extends to archipelagos and islands: Ashmore, Cocos, Cartier, MacDonald, Norfolk, Christmas, Heard (some of these territories do not have a permanent population).

The capitals of Australia and Oceania differ significantly in many respects. In most of the island states, the indigenous population predominates. Even the largest sovereign and dependent territories are ten times smaller than Australia. Thus, the area of the country north of Australia - Papua New Guinea - is about 463 thousand km 2 , the number of inhabitants is 7.1 million.

Riddles of a small continent

Travel to Australia is attractive to many people, because the continent is famous for its exotic. There are many endemic, nowhere else found representatives of flora and fauna. According to scientists, in ancient times Australia was part of the mainland, but due to its split and drift to the southeast it was removed from other continents. Thanks to the isolation in Australia and on about. Tasmania preserved relict plants and marsupials, long extinct in Africa and Eurasia.

According to the results of archaeological excavations, rock paintings, fossil remains of people, ancient tools of labor, the researchers determined the time of settling the continent. Finds indicate that the first people came to Australia from other inhabited continents. Perhaps the population has existed here for about 50 centuries, but it is more likely that the first inhabitants appeared about 21 thousand years ago.

Fauna of Australia researchers singled out in a special area, believing that in this region of the Earth the most ancient animals live. It is assumed that in the Paleozoic era there were land links with the Asian part of Eurasia. Then on the mainland, the animal world was not so diverse. Long before the Quaternary period began, marsupials came to Australia. Around the same time, a final division of the continents took place. In Australia, predators - representatives of higher mammals could no longer penetrate. Therefore, for the indigenous fauna of the continent we are considering, they are not typical. The most ancient placental mammals - platypus and echidna, marsupials - kangaroos, koalas and other unusual animals are found on the territory of Australia.

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