The Upside Down Under
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Welcome to The Upside Down Under blog site

G'day!!  During my travels and interactions with people I'm often amazed at how little is really known about this great country of Australia. So I started TheUpsideDownUnder blog with the intention of sharing all things Oz.

Even though the articles will be of interest to non-Australians, it might also be of interest to Aussies.  It's quite amazing how we can take things for granted simply because they're around us!

So here you'll see all sorts of different stuff.   Most of it will be true (facts) and some of it won't (furphies).   I'll leave it up to you to decide.   And please feel free to rally, rectify, rumorise or simply refute the information in my posts.   It's designed to be a bit of fun but please don't take the information as being reliable (although it probably is - maybe).

To read some interesting stuff about our wonderful country please head on over to my Blog Posts page.  Alternatively for some serious information and history continue to scroll down the page...

The Australian National Flag
The Australian National Flag

Australia is a country and continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Its major cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide – are coastal. Its capital, Canberra, is inland. The country is known for its Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, a vast interior desert wilderness called the Outback, and unique animal species like kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses.

Officially the Commonwealth of Australia,is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney.

For about 50,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who spoke languages classifiable into roughly 250 groups. After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states and several territories.

Australia has the world's 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income (IMF). With the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum. The population of 24 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. As of 2015, Australia had the 9th largest number of people born overseas, higher than Spain (10th) and Italy (11th).

 

The Australian Coat of Arms
The Australian Coat of Arms

The name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis ("southern land"), a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was naturally applied to the new territories.

Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 (as Nieuw-Holland) and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts. The name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth".

The first time that Australia appears to have been officially used was in April 1817, in which Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially by that name. The first official published use of the new name came with the 1830 publication of "The Australia Directory" by the Hydrographic Office.

Colloquial names include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under" (usually shortened to just "Down Under"). Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", and "the Wide Brown Land". The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country".

Map of Australia
Map of Australia

 


For more information please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia

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