On the 4th September 2014, the resident population of Australia was estimated to be 23, 587, 00. You can check Australia’s current population by using the Population Clock from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Australia is one of the least densely populated countries in the world. This is due to its small population and its large area of approximately 7.7 million square kilometres.

Australians are among the most urbanized people in the world. For example, just over 60% of them live in the capital cities and about 20% live in Sydney. Also, around 80% of the inhabitants of each state and territory live within 100 km of their capital cities. These statistics are from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) showing land areas and populations of States and Territories in 2007 (updated June 2008):


Australians pride themselves on their friendliness and cultural diversity. The population lives in a generally safe, friendly, sophisticated and harmonious society. Many ethnic groups are represented in Australia, making it one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.

Australia’s diversity is described here:

25% of Australians were born in another country;
25% of Australians have at least one parent who was born overseas;
Australian migrants are from more than 140 countries;
2% of Australians are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent.


Although English is the official language in Australia, there is more than 200 languages are spoken in Australian households.

The Australian accent is easy to understand. While there are some minor differences in accent between city and country areas, the difference is much less than you would find in the USA, Britain or Canada.


Australia is predominantly a Christian country; however, all religions are represented in Australian society. Australia’s respect the freedom of people to practise their choice of religion. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues are located in most major cities.


Australia has a relatively warm climate. However, extreme temperatures have been recorded such as:

53°C at Cloncurry (Queensland) in 1889,
-23°C at Charlotte Pass (NSW) in 1994.

Australia’s climatic zones are shown below from the Bureau of Meteorology:

This map indicates that summers tend to be hotter and more humid in the north and winters are usually colder in the south. These temperature differences are revealed in the average temperatures for Australia’s capital cities in this table (from the Australian Bureau of Statistics):

Overall Australian cities tend to have mild climates in comparison to other cities in English-speaking countries.


Australia has a low average annual rainfall but high falls occur in the north. The rainfall zones are shown below from the Bureau of Meteorology:

This map shows that northern and eastern regions have wet summers and that central Australia is very dry. This is revealed in the data of the rainfall in Australian cities as listed below (from the Australian Bureau of Statistics). It is clear that Darwin in the tropical north has the highest summer rainfall and highest annual rainfall.

Australia has a wide variety of unique distinctive flora and fauna. The major reason for this is related to its geological history. Initially, Australia was part of a larger continent but about 40 million years ago it separated fully and became an isolated continent.

After this separation, marsupial mammals best adapted to the Australian environment and eventually dominated it. Australia is one of the few places on Earth to have such a large number of marsupials, and to have the only two monotreme mammals. These two types of fauna can be explained as follows:

Marsupial mammals give birth to their young and carry them in a pouch.Examples – Kangaroo, Koala, Wombat.
Monotreme mammals lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.Examples - Platypus, Echidna.

Despite its long history, Australia’s biodiversity has changed dramatically in the last 200 years. Since European settlement many ecosystems have been radically simplified and fragmented. Also, many plants and animals have been introduced from around the world, and they have had serious environmental consequences. An example of this is the cane toad.
Natural Wonders

Australia is an island continent and its landscape consists mainly of low plateaus, which are sectioned off by several rugged mountain ranges. The Great Dividing Range is the longest mountain range that starts in central Victoria and ends in Northern Queensland and is several thousand kilometres in length.

The landscape in the tropical north consists of rainforest that leads into large areas of grasslands. These eventually merge into the central deserts, which are the largest in the world outside of the Sahara. This part of Australia is called the Red Centre, because of the unusual red colour of its sand.

Three unique natural wonders are described here:

1. Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2000 km and covers an area of almost 35 million hectares on the north-east continental shelf of Australia. It runs from north of Fraser Island to the tip of Cape York and provides habitats for many forms of marine life.

The Reef is a scuba divers paradise with 2,900 individual reefs, 71 coral islands, 350 different species of coral, and over 1,500 species of fish. Also, it provides a major breeding ground for humpback whales and a feeding ground for endangered species such as dugongs and turtles.

2. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park covers 132,566 hectares close to the centre of Australia and is owned by the Anangu Aboriginal people. It contains a range of remarkable geological and landform features including the spectacular monoliths of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas).

The park is co-managed by Parks Australia and the Anangu people. Uluru has been the focus of religious, cultural, territorial and economic inter-relations among the Aboriginal peoples of the Western Desert for thousands of years. It is 340 metres high and has a circumference of 9.4 kilometres.

Kata Tjuta means ‘many heads and rock formations consist of 36 steep-sided domes. Mount Olga is its highest peak at 500 metres high.

3. Tasmanian Wilderness

The island state of Tasmania is separated from mainland Australia. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area is one of the largest conservation reserves in Australia. It covers about 20 per cent of Tasmania (1.38 million hectares), and it is one of only three temperate wilderness areas remaining in the Southern Hemisphere.

This area contains rocks of every geological period and is a major centre for plant diversity. Its Huon pines, which can be up to 2000 years old, are some of the oldest trees in the world. Also, several animals that are now extinct on mainland Australia still survive there.


Australia is divided politically into six States and two Territories.

The States and Territories and their capital cities are briefly introduced below:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – Canberra

Canberra is Australians federal capital and the largest inland city. Set in a broad valley in the southern tablelands of New South Wales, Canberra is a well-planned lakeside city of parklands, impressive restaurants, beautiful bushland and leafy suburbs.

Canberra is only a three-hour drive or a 45-minute flight south-west of Sydney. It also has many national attractions, embassies and public buildings.

Canberra is famous for:

Parliament House.
The Australian War Memorial.
The National Gallery of Australia.
The National Museum of Australia.

New South Wales (NSW) – Sydney

New South Wales was founded in 1788 and is Australia’s oldest State. A narrow coastal plain runs the length of its east coast, and to the west is the Great Dividing Range. Beyond these mountains, a tableland gradually slopes down to the plains, which cover most of the State.

NSW is the most populous State in Australia and the majority of its inhabitants live along the coast. It has dense forests, alpine country, deserts, and golden-sand beaches and bays on its North Coast.

Australia’s longest river system, the Murray-Darling, is situated in this State. Agriculturally, it is renowned for its sheep and beef industry.

NSW is famous for:

The Sydney Opera House.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Blue Mountains – a national park about 1 hour west of Sydney.

Northern Territory (NT) – Darwin

The Northern Territory is known for its central desert called the ‘Red’ Centre. Here the main features are rugged mountain ranges and huge rocks rising from the desert plains. Uluru is the most famous geological feature in this region (see 1.3).

Its capital, Darwin, was established in 1869 as a port and centre for the cattle industry. Mineral wealth and tourism has become more important, and Darwin has recently reinvented itself as a gateway to Asia.

NT is famous for:

Kakadu National Park – east of Darwin.
Alice Springs – a town in the centre of the Northern Territory.
Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park – south-east of Darwin.

Queensland (Qld) – Brisbane

Queensland takes up about one-fifth of the area of Australia. Along its eastern coastline are fertile plains and river valleys, which sometimes extend up to 200 km inland. The Great Dividing Range borders these lowlands, stretching south from Cape York to the New South Wales border. The major agricultural products are tropical fruits, beef and wool.

Brisbane was settled by convicts in 1825 and with its sunny days and tropical weather, is now the fastest growing city. Just north of Brisbane are the beaches and coastal lakes of the Sunshine Coast, and to the south is the popular tourist destination of the Gold Coast.

Queensland is famous for:

The rainforests of Far North Queensland.
The Great Barrier Reef – a more than 2000 km long coral reef north-east of the mainland.
Fraser Island – the largest sand island in the world, which is 3 hours north of Brisbane.
The Gold Coast – a major holiday destination for national and international tourists.

South Australia (SA) – Adelaide

South Australia is the driest state in Australia. Over 60% of it is desert and 80% receives less that 250mm of rain per year. However, the south-east corner has dry warm summers and cool wet winters. Along with rich fertile soil, this climate makes it ideal for growing wine.

Adelaide contains some of Australia’s best-preserved Victorian architecture. This gracious city is surrounded by parkland and is home to 73% of South Australians.

SA is famous for

The Barossa Valley – a major wine producing area north-east of Adelaide.
Coober Pedy – a opal mining town that is underground.
The Adelaide Festival of Arts – held every 2 years.

Tasmania (TAS) – Hobart

Tasmania was cut off from mainland Australia at the end of the last Ice Age, and it is known for its unique wildlife, wilderness and unspoiled beauty. The National Parks offer one of the last great wilderness areas in the world. Tasmania’s capital Hobart was settled in 1803 when the British government in Sydney sent soldiers and convicts there to protect their sealing and whaling interests.

Tasmania has substantial farming, forestry, hydro-electric, and mining and fishery industries.

Tasmania is famous for:

Port Arthur Historic site – this once was a prison for convicts.
The Sydney to Hobart yacht race – starts every year on Dec 26th.
Its bushwalking – many wilderness areas are only accessible on foot.

Victoria (Vic) – Melbourne

Victoria is the smallest state on Australia’s mainland. It was settled in 1834 and separated from New South Wales in 1851 at the time when gold was discovered at Ballarat and Bendigo.

Its capital, Melbourne offers colonial and contemporary architecture, beautiful botanical gardens, excellent restaurants and a vibrant artistic community. Melbourne is also considered Australia’s sporting capital and holds the most famous horse race in Australia each November: the Melbourne Cup. Victoria’s High Country offers some of the best mountain climbing on the continent.

Victoria is famous for:

The goldfields of central Victoria.
Sporting events such as the Melbourne Cup horse race.
The Great Ocean Road – spectacular coastal scenery west of Melbourne.

Western Australia (WA) – Perth

Western Australia is the largest state in Australia. The capital, Perth is situated on the Swan River and has all the modern conveniences, while maintaining a friendly and relaxed feeling. White sandy beaches are only minutes from the city.

Rich farmland lies inland as well as some of the world’s most productive goldfields. The state’s wealth also includes iron, nickel, wheat and wool, which is mostly exported from the port of Fremantle.

The north of the state boasts a wide variety of attractions including gorges and national parks, the stunning beaches of Broome, and the friendly dolphins of Monkey Mia.

WA is famous for:

Kalgoorlie – a gold mining town located in the Western Desert.
Ningaloo Marine Park – 1,200 km north of Perth.
Fremantle (20mins south-west of Perth).


Australia has 3 levels of government:

Federal – State – Local


Australia is a liberal parliamentary democracy, similar to the USA and UK. It is based on:

freedom of speech and association,
religious tolerance.

Australia’s written constitution outlines all government activities. For example, the federal government is responsible for foreign relations and trade, defence and immigration. Other aspects of governance are shared between the States and the Federal Government. In particular, Federal and State governments cooperate in administering the laws that govern education.

The Australian government is based on a popularly elected Parliament with two chambers, the House of Representatives (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House). The party that holds the majority of seats in the House of Representatives forms the government. However, minority parties often hold the balance of power in the Senate, which serves to review the decisions of the government.

Government Ministers are appointed from the Lower House and Upper House to conduct executive government. Policy decisions are made in Cabinet meetings.

The Australian Legal System:


Why study in Australia:


Australian Legal System Hierarchy

Federal Courts:

High Court http://www.hcourt.gov.au/

Federal Court, http://www.fedcourt.gov.au/ and Family Court


Federal Circuit Court. http://federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/

State and Territory Courts:

Supreme Court http://www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au/utility/home/

County Court http://www.countycourt.vic.gov.au/

Magistrates’ Court http://www.magistratescourt.vic.gov.au/

Coroners’ court

Department of Immigration and Border Protection






Commonwealth legislation

Victorian legislation

Agencies and Government Departments:

The Legal Services Board

Law Institute of Victoria

Department of Justice

Victoria Legal Aid

Victoria Police

Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Victorian Law Reform Commission

Migration Institute of Australia

Migration Registration Authority

 Other links: