Governor of New South Wales
The Governor of New South Wales is the viceregal representative of the Australian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in the state of New South Wales. In an analogous way to the Governor-General of Australia at the national level, the Governors of the Australian states perform constitutional and ceremonial functions at the state level; the governor is appointed by the queen on the advice of the premier of New South Wales, for an unfixed period of time—known as serving At Her Majesty's pleasure—though five years is the norm. The current governor is retired General David Hurley, who succeeded Dame Marie Bashir on 2 October 2014; the office has its origin in the 18th-century colonial governors of New South Wales upon its settlement in 1788, is the oldest continuous institution in Australia. The present incarnation of the position emerged with the Federation of Australia and the New South Wales Constitution Act 1902, which defined the viceregal office as the governor acting by and with the advice of the Executive Council of New South Wales.
However, the post still represented the government of the United Kingdom until, after continually decreasing involvement by the British government, the passage in 1942 of the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 and the Australia Act 1986, after which the governor became the direct, personal representative of the uniquely Australian sovereign. The Office of Governor is required by the New South Wales Constitution Act, 1902; the Australian monarch, on the advice and recommendation of the premier of New South Wales, approves the appointment of governor with a commission issued under the royal sign-manual and Public Seal of the State, from until being sworn in by the premier and chief justice referred to as the governor-designate. Besides the administration of the oaths of office, there is no set formula for the swearing-in of a governor-designate; the constitution act stipulates that: "Before assuming office, a person appointed to be Governor shall take the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance and the Oath or Affirmation of Office in the presence of the Chief Justice or another Judge of the Supreme Court."
The sovereign will hold an audience with the appointee and will at that time induct the governor-designate as a Companion of the Order of Australia. The incumbent will serve for at least five years, though this is only a developed convention, the governor still technically acts at Her Majesty's pleasure; the premier may therefore recommend to the queen that the viceroy remain in her service for a longer period of time, sometimes upwards of more than seven years. A governor may resign and three have died in office. In such a circumstance, or if the governor leaves the country for longer than one month, the lieutenant governor of New South Wales, concurrently held by the chief justice of New South Wales since 1872, serves as Administrator of the Government and exercises all powers of the governor. Furthermore, if the lieutenant governor becomes incapacitated while serving in the office of governor or is absent from the state, the next most senior judge of the Supreme Court is sworn in as the administrator.
Between 1788 and 1957, all governors were born outside New South Wales and were members of the Peerage. Historian A. J. P. Taylor once noted that "going out and governing New South Wales became the British aristocracy's'abiding consolation'"; however though the implementation of the Australian Citizenship Act in 1948 established the concept of an independent Australian citizenship, the idea of Australian-born persons being appointed governor of New South Wales was much earlier. Coincidentally the first Australian-born governor, Sir John Northcott on 1 August 1946, was the first Australian-born governor of any state. However, as Northcott was born in Victoria, it was not until Sir Eric Woodward's appointment by Queen Elizabeth II in 1957 that the position was filled by a New South Welshman. Although required by the tenets of constitutional monarchy to be non-partisan while in office, governors were former politicians, many being members of the House of Lords by virtue of their peerage; the first governors were all military officers and the majority of governors since have come from a military background, numbering 19.
Samuels was the first governor in New South Wales history without either a political, public service or military background, being a former justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The first woman to hold this position is the first Lebanese-Australian governor, Dame Marie Bashir; as Australia shares its monarch with fifteen other countries in the Commonwealth of Nations and the sovereign lives predominantly outside New South Wales' borders, the governor's primary task is to perform the sovereign's constitutional duties on his or her behalf, acting within the principles of parliamentary democracy and responsible government as a guarantor of continuous and stable governance and as a nonpartisan safeguard against the abuse of power. For the most part, the powers of the Crown are exercised on a day-to-day basis by elected and appointed individuals, leaving the governor to perform the various ceremonial duties the sovereign otherwise carries out when in the country, it is the governor, required by the Constitution Act 1902, to appoint persons to the Government of New South Wales, who are all theoretically tasked with tendering to the monarch and viceroy guidance on
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign 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 and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, 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. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, 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 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 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, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Major General Lachlan Macquarie, CB was a British Army officer and colonial administrator from Scotland. Macquarie served as the fifth and last autocratic Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821, had a leading role in the social and architectural development of the colony, he is considered by historians to have had a crucial influence on the transition of New South Wales from a penal colony to a free settlement and therefore to have played a major role in the shaping of Australian society in the early nineteenth century. In 1816 Macquarie gave orders that led to the Appin Massacre of Dharawal people. Lachlan Macquarie was born on the island of Ulva off the coast of the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, a chain of islands off the West Coast of Scotland, he was a gentleman of the Scottish Highland family Clan MacQuarrie which possessed Ulva, a region of the Isle of Mull for over one thousand years, his forebears were buried on Iona. Governor Macquarie's father, a "man of Intelligence and much of the world" attained the age of 103 years, dying on 4 January 1818.
His mother was the daughter of a Maclaine chieftain. Macquarie left the island at the age of 14. If he did attend the Royal High School of Edinburgh, "as tradition has it", it was only for a brief period because, at the same age, he volunteered for the army. Macquarie joined the 84th Regiment of Foot on 9 April 1777, travelling with it to North America in 1777 to take part in the American War of Independence; as a recruit on the way to America he participated in the Battle of the Newcastle Jane. This battle was the first naval victory for a British merchant ship over an American privateer, he was stationed at Halifax, Nova Scotia, was commissioned as an ensign five months after his arrival. On 18 January 1781, he was promoted to lieutenant and transferred to the 71st Regiment of Foot, served with them in New York City and Jamaica. In June 1784 he returned to Scotland as a half-pay lieutenant. Three years on Christmas Day 1787 he received his commission as lieutenant in the 77th Regiment, where he saw service with the army in India and Egypt.
Macquarie became a Freemason in January 1793 at Bombay, in Lodge No. 1. He was promoted Captain on 9 November 1789, Major on 12 March 1801. During 1801 he had accompanied Sir David Baird and the Indian Army to Egypt, with the rank of Deputy Adjutant General, was present at the capture of Alexandria and the final expulsion of the French Army from Egypt. Two years 1803, he was in London, as Assistant Adjutant General to Lord Harrington, who commanded the London district. In 1803 and 1804 saw him on active service in India, he returned to London in 1807. In 1793 he married Jane Jarvis, daughter of the late former Chief Justice of Antigua, Thomas Jarvis, who had owned slave plantations there. Three years she died of tuberculosis. In November 1807, Macquarie married his cousin Elizabeth Henrietta Campbell. On 8 May 1809 Macquarie was appointed captain-general and governor-in-chief of New South Wales and its dependencies, he left for the colony on 22 May 1809, on HMS Dromedary, accompanied by HMS Hindostan.
The 73rd Regiment of Foot came with him on the two ships. He arrived on 28 December at Sydney Cove and landed on 31 December, taking up his duties on the following day. In making this appointment, the British government changed its practice of appointing naval officers as governor and chose an army commander in the hope that he could secure the co-operation of the unruly New South Wales Corps. Aided by the fact he arrived in New South Wales at the head of his own unit of regular troops, Macquarie was unchallenged by the New South Wales Corps, whose members had become settled in farming and trade, he appointed John Campbell as his secretary. Macquarie was promoted to Colonel in 1810, Brigadier in 1811 and Major-General in 1813, while serving as governor. Macquarie's first task was to restore orderly, lawful government and discipline in the colony following the Rum Rebellion of 1808 against Governor William Bligh. Macquarie was ordered by the British government to arrest two of the leaders of the Rum Rebellion, John Macarthur and Major George Johnston.
However, by the time that Macquarie arrived in Sydney, both Macarthur and Johnston had sailed for England to defend themselves. Macquarie set about cancelling the various initiatives taken by the rebel government—for example, all "pardons and land grants" made by the rebels were revoked. Although the New South Wales Corps and its monopoly were soon ended, the military influence survived, with military officers having sway over the justice system. A great gulf existed between the officers and the colonists, who included both free settlers and convicts who had completed their term of imprisonment and become settlers. New South Wales suffered severe drought in 1812 and 1813, there was widespread loss of crops and livestock and by 1814 many farmers were close to insolvency because of the drought and ensuing depression. In 1814 a Second Charter of Justice was issued for New South Wales, it defined. Three new Courts of Civil Judicature were to be established in New South Wales: the Governor's Court, the Lieutenant-Governor's Court and the Supreme Court.
Jeffrey Hart Bent, the brother of the Judge Advocate, arrived in the colony as the first judge of the new Supreme Court. Courts need lawyers and Macquarie's efforts to allow emancipist attorneys to app
State Bank of New South Wales
The State Bank of New South Wales, was a bank, owned by the Government of New South Wales. It existed from 1933 until 1994, when it was taken over by the Colonial State Bank and the Commonwealth Bank in 2000. It's predecessor was the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales; the bank started in 1933 as the Rural Bank of NSW, a bank that lent to and dealt with farmers. In 1982 the bank's name was changed to the State Bank of NSW and so was its mandate, to that of a standard commercial bank, although it had been operating in this way for some years, it did, keep its famous slogan'We do more for you personally'. The Bank was'corporatised' in 1990, under the State Owned Corporations Act 1989 and the State Bank Act 1989. On 14 May 1990 the existing State Bank was dissolved, all of its assets and business undertaking were vested in an incorporated State Bank, limited by shares. In 1994 the bank was sold to a financial services company; the bank changed its name to Colonial State Bank in 1996. In 2000 it too was taken over, this time by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
This bank should not be confused with the Bank of New South Wales, founded as Australia's first bank, operating from 1817 and the precursor of what became the Westpac Banking Corporation in 1982. William O’Malley Wood, June 1933 – April 1934 Sir Clarence McKerihan, April 1934 – 1961 Media related to State Bank of New South Wales at Wikimedia Commons
Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders"; as of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to 65% of the state's population. Indigenous Australians have inhabited the Sydney area for at least 30,000 years, thousands of engravings remain throughout the region, making it one of the richest in Australia in terms of Aboriginal archaeological sites. During his first Pacific voyage in 1770, Lieutenant James Cook and his crew became the first Europeans to chart the eastern coast of Australia, making landfall at Botany Bay and inspiring British interest in the area.
In 1788, the First Fleet of convicts, led by Arthur Phillip, founded Sydney as a British penal colony, the first European settlement in Australia. Phillip named the city Sydney in recognition of 1st Viscount Sydney. Penal transportation to New South Wales ended soon after Sydney was incorporated as a city in 1842. A gold rush occurred in the colony in 1851, over the next century, Sydney transformed from a colonial outpost into a major global cultural and economic centre. After World War II, it experienced mass migration and became one of the most multicultural cities in the world. At the time of the 2011 census, more than 250 different languages were spoken in Sydney. In the 2016 Census, about 35.8% of residents spoke a language other than English at home. Furthermore, 45.4% of the population reported having been born overseas, making Sydney the 3rd largest foreign born population of any city in the world after London and New York City, respectively. Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, the 2018 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranks Sydney tenth in the world in terms of quality of living, making it one of the most livable cities.
It is classified as an Alpha+ World City by Globalization and World Cities Research Network, indicating its influence in the region and throughout the world. Ranked eleventh in the world for economic opportunity, Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance and tourism. There is a significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational corporations in Sydney and the city is promoted as Australia's financial capital and one of Asia Pacific's leading financial hubs. Established in 1850, the University of Sydney is Australia's first university and is regarded as one of the world's leading universities. Sydney is home to the oldest library in Australia, State Library of New South Wales, opened in 1826. Sydney has hosted major international sporting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics; the city is among the top fifteen most-visited cities in the world, with millions of tourists coming each year to see the city's landmarks. Boasting over 1,000,000 ha of nature reserves and parks, its notable natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Royal Botanic Garden and Hyde Park, the oldest parkland in the country.
Built attractions such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House are well known to international visitors. The main passenger airport serving the metropolitan area is Kingsford-Smith Airport, one of the world's oldest continually operating airports. Established in 1906, Central station, the largest and busiest railway station in the state, is the main hub of the city's rail network; the first people to inhabit the area now known as Sydney were indigenous Australians having migrated from northern Australia and before that from southeast Asia. Radiocarbon dating suggests human activity first started to occur in the Sydney area from around 30,735 years ago. However, numerous Aboriginal stone tools were found in Western Sydney's gravel sediments that were dated from 45,000 to 50,000 years BP, which would indicate that there was human settlement in Sydney earlier than thought; the first meeting between the native people and the British occurred on 29 April 1770 when Lieutenant James Cook landed at Botany Bay on the Kurnell Peninsula and encountered the Gweagal clan.
He noted in his journal that they were somewhat hostile towards the foreign visitors. Cook was not commissioned to start a settlement, he spent a short time collecting food and conducting scientific observations before continuing further north along the east coast of Australia and claiming the new land he had discovered for Britain. Prior to the arrival of the British there were 4,000 to 8,000 native people in Sydney from as many as 29 different clans; the earliest British settlers called the natives Eora people. "Eora" is the term the indigenous population used to explain their origins upon first contact with the British. Its literal meaning is "from this place". Sydney Cove from Port Jackson to Petersham was inhabited by the Cadigal clan; the principal language groups were Darug and Dharawal. The earliest Europeans to visit the area noted that the indigenous people were conducting activities such as camping and fishing, using trees for bark and food, collecting shells, cooking fish. Britain—before that, England—and Ireland had for a long time been sending their convicts across the Atlantic to the American colonies.
That trade was ended with the Declaration of Independence by the United States in 1776. Britain decided in 1786 to found a new penal outpost in the territory discovered by Cook some 16 years ear
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order. Recommendations for appointments to the Order of the British Empire were made on the nomination of the United Kingdom, the self-governing Dominions of the Empire and the Viceroy of India. Nominations continue today from Commonwealth countries that participate in recommending British honours. Most Commonwealth countries ceased recommendations for appointments to the Order of the British Empire when they created their own honours; the five classes of appointment to the Order are, in descending order of precedence: Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Knight Commander or Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire The senior two ranks of Knight or Dame Grand Cross, Knight or Dame Commander, entitle their members to use the title of Sir for men and Dame for women before their forename.
Most members are citizens of the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth realms that use the Imperial system of honours and awards. Honorary knighthoods are appointed to citizens of nations where the Queen is not head of state, may permit use of post-nominal letters but not the title of Sir or Dame. Honorary appointees are, referred to as Sir or Dame – Bob Geldof, for example. Honorary appointees who become a citizen of a Commonwealth realm can convert their appointment from honorary to substantive enjoy all privileges of membership of the order, including use of the title of Sir and Dame for the senior two ranks of the Order. An example is Irish broadcaster Terry Wogan, appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order in 2005, on successful application for British citizenship, held alongside his Irish citizenship, was made a substantive member and subsequently styled as Sir Terry Wogan. King George V founded the Order to fill gaps in the British honours system: The Orders of the Garter, of St Patrick honoured royals, peers and eminent military commanders.
In particular, King George V wished to create an Order to honour many thousands of those who had served in a variety of non-combatant roles during the First World War. When first established, the Order had only one division. However, in 1918, soon after its foundation, it was formally divided into Military and Civil Divisions; the Order's motto is For the Empire. At the foundation of the Order, the'Medal of the Order of the British Empire' was instituted, to serve as a lower award granting recipients affiliation but not membership. In 1922, this was renamed the'British Empire Medal', it stopped being awarded by the United Kingdom as part of the 1993 reforms to the honours system, but was again awarded beginning in 2012, starting with 293 BEMs awarded for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. In addition, the BEM is awarded by some other Commonwealth nations. In 2004, a report entitled "A Matter of Honour: Reforming Our Honours System" by a Commons committee recommended to phase out the Order of the British Empire, as its title was "now considered to be unacceptable, being thought to embody values that are no longer shared by many of the country's population".
The British monarch is Sovereign of the Order, appoints all other members of the Order. The next most senior member is the Grand Master, of whom there have been three: Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales; the Order is limited to 300 Knights and Dames Grand Cross, 845 Knights and Dames Commander, 8,960 Commanders. There are no limits applied to the total number of members of the fourth and fifth classes, but no more than 858 Officers and 1,464 Members may be appointed per year. Foreign appointees, as honorary members, do not contribute to the numbers restricted to the Order as full members do. Although the Order of the British Empire has by far the highest number of members of the British Orders of Chivalry, with over 100,000 living members worldwide, there are fewer appointments to knighthoods than in other orders. Though men can be knighted separately from an order of chivalry, women cannot, so the rank of Knight/Dame Commander of the Order is the lowest rank of damehood, second-lowest of knighthood.
Because of this, an appointment as Dame Commander is made in circumstances in which a man would be created a Knight Bachelor. For example, by convention, female judges of the High Court of Justice are created Dames Commander after appointment, while male judges
Western Australia is a state occupying the entire western third of Australia. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Southern Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east, South Australia to the south-east. Western Australia is Australia's largest state, with a total land area of 2,529,875 square kilometres, the second-largest country subdivision in the world, surpassed only by Russia's Sakha Republic; the state has about 2.6 million inhabitants – around 11 percent of the national total – of whom the vast majority live in the south-west corner, 79 per cent of the population living in the Perth area, leaving the remainder of the state sparsely populated. The first European visitor to Western Australia was the Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog, who visited the Western Australian coast in 1616; the first European settlement of Western Australia occurred following the landing by Major Edmund Lockyer on 26 December 1826 of an expedition on behalf of the New South Wales colonial government.
He established a convict-supported military garrison at King George III Sound, at present-day Albany, on 21 January 1827 formally took possession of the western third of the continent for the British Crown. This was followed by the establishment of the Swan River Colony in 1829, including the site of the present-day capital, Perth. York was the first inland settlement in Western Australia. Situated 97 kilometres east of Perth, it was settled on 16 September 1831. Western Australia achieved responsible government in 1890 and federated with the other British colonies in Australia in 1901. Today, its economy relies on mining, agriculture and tourism; the state produces 46 per cent of Australia's exports. Western Australia is the second-largest iron ore producer in the world. Western Australia is bounded to the east by longitude 129°E, the meridian 129 degrees east of Greenwich, which defines the border with South Australia and the Northern Territory, bounded by the Indian Ocean to the west and north.
The International Hydrographic Organization designates the body of water south of the continent as part of the Indian Ocean. The total length of the state's eastern border is 1,862 km. There are 20,781 km including 7,892 km of island coastline; the total land area occupied by the state is 2.5 million km2. The bulk of Western Australia consists of the old Yilgarn craton and Pilbara craton which merged with the Deccan Plateau of India and the Karoo and Zimbabwe cratons of Southern Africa, in the Archean Eon to form Ur, one of the oldest supercontinents on Earth. In May 2017, evidence of the earliest known life on land may have been found in 3.48-billion-year-old geyserite and other related mineral deposits uncovered in the Pilbara craton. Because the only mountain-building since has been of the Stirling Range with the rifting from Antarctica, the land is eroded and ancient, with no part of the state above 1,245 metres AHD. Most of the state is a low plateau with an average elevation of about 400 metres low relief, no surface runoff.
This descends sharply to the coastal plains, in some cases forming a sharp escarpment. The extreme age of the landscape has meant that the soils are remarkably infertile and laterised. Soils derived from granitic bedrock contain an order of magnitude less available phosphorus and only half as much nitrogen as soils in comparable climates in other continents. Soils derived from extensive sandplains or ironstone are less fertile, nearly devoid of soluble phosphate and deficient in zinc, copper and sometimes potassium and calcium; the infertility of most of the soils has required heavy application by farmers of fertilizers. These have resulted in damage to bacterial populations; the grazing and use of hoofed mammals and heavy machinery through the years have resulted in compaction of soils and great damage to the fragile soils. Large-scale land clearing for agriculture has damaged habitats for native fauna; as a result, the South West region of the state has a higher concentration of rare, threatened or endangered flora and fauna than many areas of Australia, making it one of the world's biodiversity "hot spots".
Large areas of the state's wheatbelt region have problems with dryland salinity and the loss of fresh water. The southwest coastal area has a Mediterranean climate, it was heavily forested, including large stands of karri, one of the tallest trees in the world. This agricultural region is one of the nine most bio-diverse terrestrial habitats, with a higher proportion of endemic species than most other equivalent regions. Thanks to the offshore Leeuwin Current, the area is one of the top six regions for marine biodiversity and contains the most southerly coral reefs in the world. Average annual rainfall varies from 300 millimetres at the edge of the Wheatbelt region to 1,400 millimetres in the wettest areas near Northcliffe, but from November to March, evaporation exceeds rainfall, it is very dry. Plants are adapted to this as well as the extreme poverty of all soils; the central two-thirds of the state is sparsely inhabited. The only significant economic activity is mining. Annual rainfall averages less than 300 millimetres, most of which occurs in sporadic torrential falls related to cyclone events in summer.
An exception to this is