Rabbits in Australia
European rabbits were introduced to Australia in the 18th century with the First Fleet and became widespread. Such wild rabbit populations are a serious mammalian pest and invasive species in Australia causing millions of dollars of damage to crops, their spread was enhanced through the emergence of strong crossbreeds. Various methods in the 20th century have been attempted to control the Australian rabbit population. Conventional methods include shooting rabbits and destroying their warrens, but these had only limited success. In 1907, a rabbit-proof fence was built in Western Australia in an unsuccessful attempt to contain the rabbits; the myxoma virus, which causes myxomatosis, was introduced into the rabbit population in the 1950s and had the effect of reducing the rabbit population. However, the survivors have since adapted and recovered their previous numbers. Rabbits were introduced to Australia by the First Fleet in 1788, they were bred as food animals in cages. In the first decades, they do not appear to have been numerous, judging from their absence from archaeological collections of early colonial food remains.
However, by 1827 in Tasmania, a newspaper article noted "...the common rabbit is becoming so numerous throughout the colony, that they are running about on some large estates by thousands. We understand, that there are no rabbits whatever in the elder colony" i.e. New South Wales; this shows a localised rabbit population explosion was underway in Tasmania in the early 19th century. At the same time in NSW, Cunningham noted, "... rabbits are bred around houses, but we have yet no wild ones in enclosures..." He noted the scrubby, sandy rubble between Sydney and Botany Bay would be ideal for farming rabbits. Enclosures appear to mean more extensive rabbit-farming warrens, rather than cages; the first of these, in Sydney at least, was one built by Alexander Macleay at Elizabeth Bay House, "a preserve or rabbit-warren, surrounded by a substantial stone wall, well stocked with that choice game." In the 1840s, rabbit-keeping became more common, with examples of the theft of rabbits from ordinary peoples' houses appearing in court records and rabbits entering the diets of ordinary people.
In 1857–1858 Alexander Buchanan, overseer for F. H. Dutton's Anlaby Estate in the Mid-North of South Australia, released a number of rabbits for hunting sport, their population remained stable until around 1866, presumed to have been kept in check by native carnivores and were protected by an Act of Parliament, but by 1867 was out of control. The population explosion was ascribed to the disappearance of native predators, but is explained by the emergence of a hardier breed by natural selection; the current infestation appears to have originated with the release of 24 wild rabbits by Thomas Austin for hunting purposes in October 1859, on his property, Barwon Park, near Winchelsea, Victoria. While living in England, Austin had been an avid hunter dedicating his weekends to rabbit shooting. Upon arriving in Australia, which had no native rabbit population, Austin asked his nephew William Austin in England to send him twelve grey rabbits, five hares, seventy-two partridges and some sparrows so he could continue his hobby in Australia by creating a local population of the species.
William could not source enough grey rabbits to meet his uncle's order, so he topped it up by buying domestic rabbits. One theory as to why the Barwon Park rabbits adapted so well to Australia is that the hybrid rabbits that resulted from the interbreeding of the two distinct types were much more suited to Australian conditions. Many other farms released their rabbits into the wild after Austin. At the time he had stated, "The introduction of a few rabbits could do little harm and might provide a touch of home, in addition to a spot of hunting", a prediction which has not aged well; the rabbits were prolific creatures and spread across the southern parts of the country. Australia had ideal conditions for a rabbit population explosion. With mild winters, rabbits were able to breed the entire year. With widespread farming, areas that might otherwise have been scrub or woodlands were instead turned into vast areas with low vegetation, creating ideal habitats for rabbits. In a classic example of unintended consequences, rabbits had become so prevalent within ten years of their introduction in 1859 that two million could be shot or trapped annually without having any noticeable effect on the population.
It was the fastest spread recorded of any mammal anywhere in the world. Today, rabbits are entrenched in the southern and central areas of the country, with scattered populations in the northern deserts. Although the rabbit is a notorious pest, it proved useful to many people during the depressions of the 1890s and 1930s and during wartime. Trapping rabbits helped farmers and stationhands by providing food and extra income, in some cases helped pay off farming debts. Rabbits were boiled to be fed to poultry. Frozen rabbit carcasses were traded locally and exported. Pelts, were used in the fur trade and are still used in the felt-hat industry. Since their introduction from Europe in the 19th century, the effect of rabbits on the ecology of Australia has been devastating, they are suspected of being the most significant known factor in species loss in Australia. Rabbits are believed to have had an immense impact on the abundance of natural resource availability concerning overgrazing; the rabbits would first deplete the natural pasture vegetation, would resort to consuming woody vegetation, which included small shrubs, the leaves and bark of trees.
The extent of plant species' loss is unknown at this time though it i
Division of Grey
The Division of Grey is an Australian electoral division in South Australia. The division was one of the seven established when the former Division of South Australia was redistributed on 2 October 1903 and is named for Sir George Grey, Governor of South Australia from 1841 to 1845; the division covers the vast northern outback of South Australia. Highlighting South Australia's status as the most centralised state in Australia, Grey spans 904,881 square kilometres, over 92 percent of the state; the borders of the electorate include the Western Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales borders, in addition to much of the southern coastal border. The electorate spans to Marion Eudunda in the south; the main population centres of the electorate include Ceduna, Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Roxby Downs, Coober Pedy, Port Pirie, Maitland, Peterborough and Eudunda. When Grey was first created in 1903, it included the Northern Territory and all of northern and western South Australia, down to a line through the Mid North south of Port Pirie.
Grey has been held by Labor for most of its history, was one of the few country seats where Labor did well. It remained in Labor hands for all but one term from 1943 to 1993, the only break coming when the Liberals won it during their landslide victory in 1966. For most of that time, it was a safe Labor seat, though it was lost in the Coalition landslides in 1975 and 1977; that changed in 1993, when the retirement of Labor incumbent Lloyd O'Neil, the unpopularity of the state Labor government, the addition of the Clare Valley at a redistribution, which saw Liberal Barry Wakelin become the fifth non-Labor member to win the seat, only the second in 50 years. That happened as Labor won another term. However, as mentioned, the election came at a bad time for the state Labor government, roundly defeated at the state election that year. Wakelin was re-elected with a large swing in 1996, since the decline in the mining and pastoral vote has made it a safe Liberal seat. While the "Iron Triangle" towns of Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Pirie still tilt Labor — as they have for more than a century —, not enough to overcome the conservative lean in the rest of the seat.
The Liberals consolidated their hold on the seat ahead of the 2004 election when the Yorke Peninsula and the state's upper east, both strongly conservative areas, were transferred to Grey from Wakefield. The Liberals suffered a nine-point swing at the 2007 election, but Rowan Ramsey was still able to retain the seat for the Liberals, with 54 percent of the two-party vote; the seat became secure for the Liberals once again after Ramsey picked up a large swing in 2010, which he consolidated in 2013. South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon confirmed in December 2014 that by mid-2015 the Nick Xenophon Team would announce candidates in all states and territories at the 2016 election, with Xenophon citing the government's ambiguity on the Collins-class submarine replacement project as motivation. ABC psephologist Antony Green's 2016 federal election guide for South Australia stated NXT had a "strong chance of winning lower house seats and three or four Senate seats". Going into the 2016 election, Grey was the second-safest Liberal seat in South Australia.
A ReachTEL seat-level opinion poll in Grey of 665 voters conducted by robocall on 9 June during the election campaign found NXT candidate Andrea Broadfoot leading the Liberals' Ramsey 54–46 on the two-candidate preferred vote. Seat-level opinion polls in the other two rural Liberal South Australian seats revealed NXT leading in both Mayo and Barker. Early counting following the poll showed that Broadfoot was a clear second to Ramsey on first preferences, well ahead of the ALP candidate in third place; this meant that the indicative assessment of two-candidate preferred count on election night had been done between the wrong pair, would need to be redone in the following week to give a clearer indication as to which of Ramsay and Broadfoot would win the seat after distributing all preferences. While Broadfoot was ahead with as much as 80 percent of ballots counted, she lost to Ramsey on Family First preferences. Ramsey suffered a swing of 11.6 percent after preferences were counted, which made Grey the most marginal Liberal seat in the state and one of the most marginal Coalition-held rural seats in the nation.
On a "traditional" two-party basis, Grey was still a safe Liberal seat. Australian federal election, 2016 Results of the Australian federal election, 2016 ABC profile for Grey: 2016 Poll Bludger profile for Grey: 2016 AEC profile for Grey: 2016 SA boundary map, 2001: AEC SA boundary map, 1984: Atlas SA
Governor of South Australia
The Governor of South Australia is the representative in the Australian state of South Australia of Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. The Governor performs the same constitutional and ceremonial functions at the state level as does the Governor-General of Australia at the national level. In accordance with the conventions of the Westminster system of parliamentary government, the Governor nearly always acts on the advice of the head of the elected government, the Premier of South Australia; the Governor retains the reserve powers of the Crown, has the right to dismiss the Premier. As from June 2014, the Queen, upon the recommendation of the Premier, accorded all current and living former Governors the title'The Honourable' for life; the first six Governors oversaw the colony from proclamation in 1836 until self-government and an elected Parliament of South Australia was enacted in the year prior to the inaugural 1857 election. The first Australian-born Governor of South Australia was Major-General Sir James Harrison, most subsequent governors have been Australian-born.
The first South Australian-born governor was Sir Mark Oliphant, the first Aboriginal governor was Sir Douglas Nicholls. The current governor is Hieu Van Le. who commenced when the term of the previous governor, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, expired on 7 August 2014. The Governor's official residence is Government House, in the state's capital. Prior to self-government, the Governor was responsible to the Government of the United Kingdom and was charged with implementing laws and policy; the Governor is responsible for safeguarding the South Australian Constitution and facilitating the work of the Parliament and state government. The Governor exercises power on the advice of Ministers, conveyed through the Executive Council. Constitutional powers bestowed upon the Governor and used with the consent and advice of the Executive Council include: to appoint and dismiss Ministers. Exercising the prerogative of mercy. Issuing regulations and proclamations under existing laws. Giving Royal Assent to bills passed by Parliament.
Appointing judges, royal commissioners and senior public servants. Dissolving Parliament and issuing writs for elections; the Governor additionally maintains'reserve powers' which can be used without the consent of the Executive Council. These powers relate to the dismissal of Ministers and Parliament; these people administered the government in the absence of the official governor. Three former governors are alive; the latest-serving former governor to die was Dame Roma Mitchell, on 5 March 2000. The most recent death of a former governor was that of Sir Keith Seaman, on 30 June 2013; the Official Website of the Governor of South Australia Previous governors on official website
Adelaide is the capital city of the state of South Australia, the fifth-most populous city of Australia. In June 2017, Adelaide had an estimated resident population of 1,333,927. Adelaide is home to more than 75 percent of the South Australian population, making it the most centralised population of any state in Australia. Adelaide is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges which surround the city. Adelaide stretches 20 km from the coast to the foothills, 94 to 104 km from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south. Named in honour of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for a freely-settled British province in Australia. Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide's founding fathers, designed the city and chose its location close to the River Torrens, in the area inhabited by the Kaurna people. Light's design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, surrounded by parklands.
Early Adelaide was shaped by wealth. Until the Second World War, it was Australia's third-largest city and one of the few Australian cities without a convict history, it has been noted for early examples of religious freedom, a commitment to political progressivism and civil liberties. It has been known as the "City of Churches" since the mid-19th century, referring to its diversity of faiths rather than the piety of its denizens; the demonym "Adelaidean" is used in reference to its residents. As South Australia's seat of government and commercial centre, Adelaide is the site of many governmental and financial institutions. Most of these are concentrated in the city centre along the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, King William Street and in various districts of the metropolitan area. Today, Adelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food and wine, its long beachfronts, its large defence and manufacturing sectors, it ranks in terms of quality of life, being listed in the world's top 10 most liveable cities, out of 140 cities worldwide by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
It was ranked the most liveable city in Australia by the Property Council of Australia in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Before its proclamation as a British settlement in 1836, the area around Adelaide was inhabited by the indigenous Kaurna Aboriginal nation. Kaurna culture and language were completely destroyed within a few decades of European settlement of South Australia, but extensive documentation by early missionaries and other researchers has enabled a modern revival of both. South Australia was proclaimed a British colony on 28 December 1836, near The Old Gum Tree in what is now the suburb of Glenelg North; the event is commemorated in South Australia as Proclamation Day. The site of the colony's capital was surveyed and laid out by Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor-General of South Australia, through the design made by the architect George Strickland Kingston. Adelaide was established as a planned colony of free immigrants, promising civil liberties and freedom from religious persecution, based upon the ideas of Edward Gibbon Wakefield.
Wakefield had read accounts of Australian settlement while in prison in London for attempting to abduct an heiress, realised that the eastern colonies suffered from a lack of available labour, due to the practice of giving land grants to all arrivals. Wakefield's idea was for the Government to survey and sell the land at a rate that would maintain land values high enough to be unaffordable for labourers and journeymen. Funds raised from the sale of land were to be used to bring out working-class emigrants, who would have to work hard for the monied settlers to afford their own land; as a result of this policy, Adelaide does not share the convict settlement history of other Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. As it was believed that in a colony of free settlers there would be little crime, no provision was made for a gaol in Colonel Light's 1837 plan, but by mid-1837 the South Australian Register was warning of escaped convicts from New South Wales and tenders for a temporary gaol were sought.
Following a burglary, a murder, two attempted murders in Adelaide during March 1838, Governor Hindmarsh created the South Australian Police Force in April 1838 under 21-year-old Henry Inman. The first sheriff, Samuel Smart, was wounded during a robbery, on 2 May 1838 one of the offenders, Michael Magee, became the first person to be hanged in South Australia. William Baker Ashton was appointed governor of the temporary gaol in 1839, in 1840 George Strickland Kingston was commissioned to design Adelaide's new gaol. Construction of Adelaide Gaol commenced in 1841. Adelaide's early history was marked by questionable leadership; the first governor of South Australia, John Hindmarsh, clashed with others, in particular the Resident Commissioner, James Hurtle Fisher. The rural area surrounding Adelaide was surveyed by Light in preparation to sell a total of over 405 km2 of land. Adelaide's early economy started to get on its feet in 1838 with the arrival of livestock from Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.
Wool production provided an early basis for the South Australian economy. By 1860, wheat farms had been established from Encounter Bay in the south to Clare in the north. George Gawler took over from Hindmarsh in late 1838 and, despite being under orders from the Select Committee on South Australia in Britain not to undertake any public works, promptly oversaw construction of a governo
Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock, composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate. A related rock is dolostone, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg2. In fact, in old USGS publications, dolostone was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolostones or magnesium-rich limestones. About 10% of sedimentary rocks are limestones; the solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to karst landscapes, in which water erodes the limestone over thousands to millions of years. Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock. Limestone has numerous uses: as a building material, an essential component of concrete, as aggregate for the base of roads, as white pigment or filler in products such as toothpaste or paints, as a chemical feedstock for the production of lime, as a soil conditioner, or as a popular decorative addition to rock gardens.
Like most other sedimentary rocks, most limestone is composed of grains. Most grains in limestone are skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as foraminifera; these organisms secrete shells made of aragonite or calcite, leave these shells behind when they die. Other carbonate grains composing limestones are ooids, peloids and extraclasts. Limestone contains variable amounts of silica in the form of chert or siliceous skeletal fragment, varying amounts of clay and sand carried in by rivers; some limestones do not consist of grains, are formed by the chemical precipitation of calcite or aragonite, i.e. travertine. Secondary calcite may be deposited by supersaturated meteoric waters; this produces speleothems, such as stalactites. Another form taken by calcite is oolitic limestone, which can be recognized by its granular appearance; the primary source of the calcite in limestone is most marine organisms. Some of these organisms can construct mounds of rock building upon past generations. Below about 3,000 meters, water pressure and temperature conditions cause the dissolution of calcite to increase nonlinearly, so limestone does not form in deeper waters.
Limestones may form in lacustrine and evaporite depositional environments. Calcite can be dissolved or precipitated by groundwater, depending on several factors, including the water temperature, pH, dissolved ion concentrations. Calcite exhibits an unusual characteristic called retrograde solubility, in which it becomes less soluble in water as the temperature increases. Impurities will cause limestones to exhibit different colors with weathered surfaces. Limestone may be crystalline, granular, or massive, depending on the method of formation. Crystals of calcite, dolomite or barite may line small cavities in the rock; when conditions are right for precipitation, calcite forms mineral coatings that cement the existing rock grains together, or it can fill fractures. Travertine is a banded, compact variety of limestone formed along streams where there are waterfalls and around hot or cold springs. Calcium carbonate is deposited where evaporation of the water leaves a solution supersaturated with the chemical constituents of calcite.
Tufa, a porous or cellular variety of travertine, is found near waterfalls. Coquina is a poorly consolidated limestone composed of pieces of coral or shells. During regional metamorphism that occurs during the mountain building process, limestone recrystallizes into marble. Limestone is a parent material of Mollisol soil group. Two major classification schemes, the Folk and the Dunham, are used for identifying the types of carbonate rocks collectively known as limestone. Robert L. Folk developed a classification system that places primary emphasis on the detailed composition of grains and interstitial material in carbonate rocks. Based on composition, there are three main components: allochems and cement; the Folk system uses two-part names. It is helpful to have a petrographic microscope when using the Folk scheme, because it is easier to determine the components present in each sample; the Dunham scheme focuses on depositional textures. Each name is based upon the texture of the grains. Robert J. Dunham published his system for limestone in 1962.
Dunham divides the rocks into four main groups based on relative proportions of coarser clastic particles. Dunham names are for rock families, his efforts deal with the question of whether or not the grains were in mutual contact, therefore self-supporting, or whether the rock is characterized by the presence of frame builders and algal mats. Unlike the Folk scheme, Dunham deals with the original porosity of the rock; the Dunham scheme is more useful for hand samples because it is based on texture, not the grains in the sample. A revised classification was proposed by Wright, it adds some diagenetic patterns and can be summarized as follows: See: Carbonate platform About 10% of all sedimentary rocks are limestones. Limestone is soluble in acid, therefore forms many erosional landforms; these include limestone pavements, pot holes, cenotes and gorges. Such erosion landscapes are known
Cowell, South Australia
Cowell is a coastal town on Franklin Harbor on the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula, in South Australia on the Lincoln Highway 111 km south of the major town of Whyalla. It is 493 km by road from Adelaide. Franklin Harbor is a natural harbour 49 km² in area with a channel to the sea just 100 metres wide; the town of Cowell is the major population centre of the District Council of Franklin Harbour, the centre of an agricultural district, farming wheat and sheep. The district covers an area of 3,283 square kilometres with a district population in 2011 of 1070. Fishing, more oyster farming has been an important industry; when settlers commenced farming the area in 1853, Franklin Harbour became a logical place to load ships for export of wheat and wool and a small settlement was soon established. The town was surveyed during July 1880 and was proclaimed on 28 October 1880, it was named after John Clayton Cowell, a British soldier who served as the Governor of Windsor Castle. The locality's boundaries were gazetted on 23 December 1998 and include the Government Town of Cowell and the site of the ceased Government Town of Ferns, the unbounded localities of Yabmana and Elbow Hill.
In 1965, a deposit of jade was discovered in the nearby Minbrie Ranges. To date over 100 outcrops have been found within an area of 9 square kilometres and as such has been designated by the South Australian Department of Minerals and Energy Resources as the "Cowell Jade Province"; the Franklin Harbour Historical Museum, situated in the old post office residence in Main Street, Cowell preserves many important artefacts of the region, both natural and manmade. The historic Franklin Harbour Hotel in Main Street is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register; the township of Cowell lies on Franklin Harbour, a a land-locked bay with a narrow entrance through which the tide rushes in and out. This results in calm waters inside the harbour, with much of the bay being dominated by shallow tidal mud flats and associated mangrove ecosystems. Due to the velocity of the tide through the harbour’s entrance, the waters of the bay are filled with clay and silt particles that are kept in suspension by the moving water.
There are few sandy beaches lining the harbour due to this fact. The Franklin Harbor Conservation Park is established on the southern arm of the harbour and Entrance Island; the waters of Franklin Harbour lie within the outer boundary of the Franklin Harbor Marine Park. Fishing is prohibited within several internal sanctuary zones; the park extends northward past Lucky Bay to Port Gibbon. Inland, the landscape is dominated by agricultural land, as well as areas of untouched vegetation on the coastal margins; the Minbrie Ranges can be found further inland. Agriculture and commercial fishing have long been the dominant sectors of the local economy, with commodities such as wheat and wool being the driving force for the establishment of the town. In earlier years such produce was exported from Cowell by means of sailing ketches; the first jetty at Cowell was built in 1881, although several extensions were added it was still of an inadequate length. A new main jetty was opened in 1913 but the old jetty remained until demolished in 1975.
The old jetty was replaced by a structure on concrete piles with wood deck, some 146 metres long, known as the fishermen's jetty. The major crops of the area are cereals such as wheat and oats, with legumes grown. Sheep are still farmed with Cattle and Goats introduced more recently. Aquaculture has become a vital part of the economy in Franklin Harbour in recent years; the excellent tidal flow makes it suitable for the farming of Pacific Oysters, which are regarded as some of the best quality produced in South Australia. Tourism is an important economic drive for the town, with tourists flocking to the area at Easter and over the summer holidays. Fishing for many species including King George and Silver whiting, Mullet, Snapper, Tommy Ruff, Yellowfin Whiting and crabs is popular, with other forms of water sport available further up the coastline. There are other attractions such as Cowell Jade, which showcases the region’s Jade, as well as numerous scenic drives, some of which are suitable for 4x4 only.
Historical locations include the site of children's author May Gibbs' first Australian residence. A memorial stands 10 km from Cowell, along the Cowell to Cleve road. At the time of the 2011 census, the combined population of the localities of Cowell and Port Gibbon was recorded as being 1069 while the population of the Cowell town centre or'urban centre' as it was described as by the Australian Bureau of Statistics was 942. Of the 1069, 523 were female and 546 were male; the indigenous population in Cowell is 1%. The most common response for religious affiliation was "No Religion" 27.1%, followed by Uniting Church 19.5%, Catholic 13.3%, Lutheran 11.1% and Anglican 10.6%, with a number of churches in the town to support this. There are two hotels present both on the main street. There are a variety of sporting clubs, including football and netball clubs; the town has a hospital, an area school, Cowell Area School, a police station to service the district. Cowell is located in the District Council of Franklin Harbour local government area, the state electoral district of Giles and the federal Division of Grey.
Cowell is located on the Lincoln Highway, five to six hours drive from Adelaide. Premier Stateliner coach services run daily between Port Adelaide, stopping in Cowell; the Sea SA ferry service departs from nearby Lucky Bay across the Spencer Gulf to Wallaroo. The 60 km jo
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