Australia in brief Australia�an overview by FB9lX9Q


									Australia in brief
Australia—an overview
Australia is a stable, culturally diverse and democratic society with a skilled workforce and a
strong, competitive economy. With a population of more than 21 million, Australia is the only
nation to govern an entire continent. It is the earth’s biggest island and the sixth-largest country
in the world in land area.

Australia is one of the world’s oldest landmasses and has been populated by human beings for an
estimated 60 000 years. Before the arrival of European settlers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples inhabited most areas of the continent. Australia’s contemporary history is
relatively short, with the first European settlement established by Great Britain on 26 January

Australia has 10 per cent of the world’s biodiversity and a great number of its native plants,
animals and birds exist nowhere else in the world. Australia is committed to conserving its
unique environment and natural heritage and has a range of protection procedures in place,
including World Heritage listings and many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Australia has the 14th biggest overall economy in the world and the 9th biggest industrialised
economy (2007). Australia is the 15th richest nation in per capita terms, and is the 6th oldest
continuously functioning democracy in the world.

Australia’s population includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and migrants from
some 200 countries. In over 60 years of planned post-war migration, Australia has welcomed
more than 6.5 million migrants, including more than 660 000 refugees. During this time, the
population has tripled from about 7 million.

Migrants have brought with them language skills and other capabilities that are valuable in
today’s global economy and workforce. Although English is the national language in Australia,
more than 3 million Australians speak a language other than English at home (2007). As a result,
Australia offers the familiarity of a Western business culture with a workforce capable of
operating in many different business environments.

Australia’s economy is open and innovative, with a commitment from the Australian
Government to maintain the strong economic growth that has taken place since the early 1990s.
Over the past decade, solid productivity gains have been accompanied by low inflation and
interest rates.

Australia is one of the few countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) where general government net debt has been eliminated. According
to the OECD’s 2006 economic summary of Australia, living standards have steadily improved
since the start of the 1990s and now surpass those of all the industrialised nations that form the
Group of Eight except the United States.

Australian exports, which in 2007 totalled $218 billion, are a mix of minerals and energy,
manufacturing, rural products and services.
Australia has a well-developed education system with participation rates among the highest in
the world. Each year, Australia welcomes an increasing number of international students, with
current figures rating Australia 3rd among English-speaking countries as a student destination

Australia’s aid program aims to help people in developing countries to lift themselves out of
poverty and responds quickly when disaster strikes. The primary focus is the Asia–Pacific region,
which has the world’s highest concentration of people living in poverty. Australia also provides
aid to developing countries in Africa and the Middle East.

The key objective of Australia’s foreign and trade policy is to promote our security and long-
term prosperity. The challenge is to protect and advance Australia’s national interests in a rapidly
changing environment, while supporting a stable global order. The three pillars of Australia’s
international engagement are: active participation in the institutions of global governance,
including the United Nations and the WTO; enhancing Australia’s alliance with the United
States; and engaging with the states and institutions of the Asia-Pacific region.

The quality of life enjoyed by people in Australia is one of the highest in the world. Australia’s
clean physical environment, health services, education and lifestyle combine to make it an
attractive place to live. Australia’s ancient Indigenous traditions and multiculturalism are
reflected in the diverse cultures and forms of artistic talent present in the country.

The flag
The Australian flag was raised for the first time in Melbourne on 3 September 1901, following a
design competition that drew 32 823 entries. The stars of the Southern Cross represent
Australia’s geographic position in the Southern Hemisphere, the large Commonwealth star
symbolises the federation of the states and territories and the Union Jack embodies Australia’s
early ties to Great Britain.

National colours

Green and gold have been Australia’s national colours since 19 April 1984.

National day
Australia Day is celebrated every year on 26 January. This date commemorates the anniversary
of the unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove in 1788.

National anthem
Advance Australia Fair has been Australia’s official national anthem since 19 April 1984.

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Coat of arms

                           The Australian coat of arms was granted by King George V in 1912. It
                            consists of a shield containing the badges of the six Australian states,
                             symbolising federation, and the national symbols of the golden wattle,
                              the kangaroo and the emu. By popular tradition, the kangaroo is
                                accepted as the national animal emblem. The golden wattle, Acacia
                               pycnantha Benth, was proclaimed the national floral emblem in
                               August 1988.

The island continent
Mainland Australia, with an area of 7.69 million square kilometres, is the Earth’s largest island
but smallest continent. It stretches about 3700 kilometres from north to south and 4000
kilometres from east to west.

In area, Australia is the 6th largest nation after Russia, Canada, China, the United States and
Brazil. It is about twice the size of the European Union or the ten nations that make up the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Its ocean territory – the third largest in the
world – spans three oceans and covers around 12 million square kilometres.

Australia’s average elevation is only 330 metres, the lowest of all the continents. Its highest point,
Mount Kosciuszko, is only 2228 metres. The lack of height is more than compensated for in
landscape variety. The giant monolith Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) in the Northern
Territory and the striking beehive mountains of Purnululu (the Bungle Bungles) in Western
Australia attract visitors from every corner of the world, as do the country’s beaches and

States and territories
The responsibility for governing this vast continent is shared between three levels of government
– the federal Australian Government, the governments of the six states and two territories, and
about 700 local government authorities.
Australia has one of the most urbanised and coast-dwelling populations in the world. More than
80 per cent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast.

The Australian Capital Territory is 290 kilometres south of Sydney. It was established in 1911 as
the site of Canberra, the nation’s capital. It is home to important national institutions, including
the Australian Parliament, the High Court of Australia, the National Gallery, the National
Library, the National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial.

New South Wales is Australia’s oldest and most populous state. Its capital, Sydney, is the
nation’s largest city. The city’s Harbour Bridge and Opera House are national icons, and Sydney
Airport is the country’s major international gateway.

Victoria is the smallest of the mainland states in area but the second most populous and the most
densely populated. Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, is Australia’s second-largest city.
Victorians’ enthusiasm for sport is legendary and the state stops each November for the
Melbourne Cup, Australia’s premier horse race. The Australian Tennis Open and the Australian
Formula One Grand Prix are also held in Melbourne.

Queensland, the second-largest state in landmass, stretches from the tropical rainforests of Cape
York in the far north to the more temperate areas in the south-east of the state. The unique Great
Barrier Reef runs along its north-east coast. The capital of Queensland is Brisbane.

South Australia is known as the ‘Festival State’, with more than 500 festivals taking place there
every year. The state has 13 wine regions and is a hub for Australia’s food and wine gourmets.
Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, contains many fine examples of colonial architecture.

Western Australia is the largest state in area. The east of the state is mostly desert while to the
west the state is bound by 12 889 kilometres of the world’s most pristine coastline. About three-
quarters of the state’s population lives in Perth, the capital.

Tasmania is separated from mainland Australia by Bass Strait and is the smallest state in
Australia. With its unspoilt wilderness landscapes, it is one of Australia’s most popular tourist
destinations for both Australians from the mainland and overseas visitors. Every year on
26 December the keenest of sailors race from Sydney to Hobart, Tasmania’s capital, in the
nation’s most hotly contested sailing event.

The Northern Territory is twice as big as France but has a population of about 200 000 people.
Darwin, on the northern coast, is the capital and Alice Springs the principal inland town. The
Northern Territory is home to the famous Uluru–Kata Tjuta and Kakadu national parks.

Ancient heritage, modern society
Before the arrival of European settlers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples inhabited
most areas of the Australian continent. They spoke one or more of hundreds of separate
languages and dialects, and their lifestyles and cultural traditions differed from region to region.
Their complex social systems and highly developed traditions reflect a deep connection with the

Asian and Oceanic mariners and traders were in contact with Indigenous Australians for many
centuries before the era of European expansion. Some formed substantial relationships with
communities in northern Australia.
European settlement

The first recorded European contact with Australia was in March 1606, when Dutch explorer
Willem Janszoon (1571–1638) charted the west coast of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland.
Later that year, the Spanish explorer Luis Vaez de Torres sailed through the strait separating
Australia and Papua New Guinea. Over the next two centuries, European explorers and traders
continued to chart the coastline of Australia, then known as New Holland. In 1688, William
Dampier became the first British explorer to land on the Australian north west coast. It was not
until 1770 that another Englishman, Captain James Cook, aboard the Endeavour, extended a
scientific voyage to the South Pacific in order to further chart the east coast of Australia and
claim it for the British Crown.

Britain decided to use its new outpost as a penal colony. The First Fleet of 11 ships carried about
1500 people – half of them convicts. The fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour on 26 January 1788,
and it is on this day every year that Australia Day is celebrated.

About 160 000 men and women were brought to Australia as convicts from 1788 until penal
transportation ended in 1868. The convicts were joined by free immigrants beginning in the early
1790s. The wool industry and the gold rushes of the 1850s provided an impetus for increasing
numbers of free settlers to come to Australia.

Scarcity of labour, the vastness of the land and new wealth based on farming, mining and trade
made Australia a land of opportunity. Yet during this period Indigenous Australians suffered
enormously. Death, illness, displacement and dispossession disrupted traditional lifestyles and

A nation is born
The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 through the federation of six states under a
single constitution. The non-Indigenous population at the time of Federation was 3.8 million,
while the estimated Indigenous population was around 93,000. Half of the people lived in cities,
three-quarters were born in Australia, and the majority were of English, Scottish or Irish descent.

The founders of the new nation believed they were creating something new and were concerned
to avoid the pitfalls of the old world. They wanted Australia to be harmonious, united and
egalitarian, and had progressive ideas about human rights, the observance of democratic
procedures and the value of a secret ballot.

One of the first acts of the new Commonwealth Parliament was to pass the Immigration
Restriction Act 1901, which limited migration to people of primarily European origin. This was
dismantled progressively after the Second World War. Today Australia has a global, non-
discriminatory policy and is home to people from more than 200 countries.

From 1900 to 1914 great progress was made in developing Australia’s agricultural and
manufacturing capacities, and in setting up institutions for government and social services.

After 1945 Australia entered a boom period. Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants
arrived in Australia in the immediate post-war period, many of them young people eager to
embrace their new lives with energy and vigour. The number of Australians employed in the
manufacturing industry had grown steadily since the beginning of the century. Many women
who had taken over factory work while men were away at war were able to continue working in
The economy developed strongly in the 1950s with major nation-building projects such as the
Snowy Mountains Scheme, a hydro-electric power scheme located in Australia’s south-east
mountain region. Suburban Australia also prospered. The rate of home ownership rose
dramatically from barely 40 per cent in 1947 to more than 70 per cent by the 1960s.

Other developments included the expansion of government social security programs and the
arrival of television. Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games of 1956, shining the international
spotlight on Australia. (In 2000, the Olympic Games came to Australia a second time, hosted by

A changing society

The 1960s was a period of change for Australia. The ethnic diversity produced by post-war
immigration, the United Kingdom’s increasing focus on Europe, and the Vietnam War (to which
Australia sent troops) all contributed to an atmosphere of political, economic and social change.

In 1967 the Australian people voted overwhelmingly in a national referendum to give the federal
government the power to pass legislation on behalf of Indigenous Australians and to include
Indigenous Australians in future censuses. The referendum result was the culmination of a strong
campaign by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It was widely seen as a strong
affirmation of the Australian people’s wish to see their government take direct action to improve
the living conditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The long post-war domination of national politics by the coalition of the Liberal and Country
(now National) parties ended in 1972, when the Australian Labor Party was elected. The next
three years saw major changes in Australia’s social and economic policy agenda and extensive
reforms in health, education, foreign affairs, social security and industrial relations. In 1975,
however, the Governor-General dismissed the Labor Government, sparking a constitutional
crisis. In the subsequent general election, the Labor Party suffered a major defeat and the
Liberal-National Coalition ruled until 1983.

The Hawke-Keating Labor governments were in office from 1983 till 1996. They introduced a
number of economic reforms, such as deregulating the banking system and floating the
Australian dollar. In 1996 a Coalition Government led by John Howard won the general election
and was re-elected in 1998, 2001 and 2004. The Liberal-National Coalition Government enacted
several reforms, including changes in the taxation and industrial relations systems. In 2007 Mr
Kevin Rudd led the Australian Labor Party to government with policies designed to build a
modern Australia equipped to meet the challenges of the future – including tackling climate
change, reforming Australia’s health and hospital system, investing in education and skills
training and reforming Australia's workplace laws.

Tourism and international students
Australia has significant international people-to-people links, particularly with countries in the
Asia–Pacific region. Each year, almost six million international travellers and students visit
Australia for tourism or to undertake formal courses of study. They not only make a significant
contribution to the Australian economy, but also develop important and often enduring links with

Hundreds of thousands of young people who have studied in Australia and graduated from
Australian educational institutions have become familiar with Australia and its way of life. Many
continue to maintain personal and professional links with Australia long after they graduate in
their chosen fields.

With around 5.6 million international tourists arriving in Australia in 2007, tourism has become
Australia’s biggest services export industry. In 2007 international visitors consumed around $23
billion worth of Australian goods and services.

Tourism is an $81 billion industry for Australia and employs 464 500 people, 4.6% of total
employment. More than 90 per cent of tourism-related businesses employ about 20 staff,
including substantial numbers of young people and people from non-English speaking

Tourism is an important economic sector for regional Australia with 52% of domestic tourism
expenditure and 22% of international visitor expenditure spent in regional areas.

Australia in brief Tourism and international
Australia has significant international people-to-people links, particularly with countries in the
Asia–Pacific region. Each year, almost six million international travellers and students visit
Australia for tourism or to undertake formal courses of study. They not only make a significant
contribution to the Australian economy, but also develop important and often enduring links with

Hundreds of thousands of young people who have studied in Australia and graduated from
Australian educational institutions have become familiar with Australia and its way of life. Many
continue to maintain personal and professional links with Australia long after they graduate in
their chosen fields.

With around 5.6 million international tourists arriving in Australia in 2007, tourism has become
Australia’s biggest services export industry. In 2007 international visitors consumed around $23
billion worth of Australian goods and services.

Tourism is an $81 billion industry for Australia and employs 464 500 people, 4.6% of total
employment. More than 90 per cent of tourism-related businesses employ about 20 staff,
including substantial numbers of young people and people from non-English speaking

Tourism is an important economic sector for regional Australia with 52% of domestic tourism
expenditure and 22% of international visitor expenditure spent in regional areas.

Did you know?

In 2007, the single biggest number of overseas tourists came from New Zealand (1 138 000).
The other top sources were the United Kingdom (688 900), Japan (572 900), the United States
(459 700), China (357 400), Singapore (263 800), the Republic of Korea (253 300), Malaysia
(159 500), Germany (151 600) and Hong Kong (147 000).

International students
The international education industry is Australia’s largest services export sector, contributing
$11.7 billion to the Australian economy in 2006-07. Australia is the preferred choice for
international students from many countries and is the third most popular English-speaking study
destination for these students.

In 2007, about 455 000 enrolments were recorded by students from more than 190 countries
studying at educational institutions in Australia, including 5000 funded under Australian
Government scholarships. Another 100 000 were studying Australian courses at off-shore
campuses or by correspondence.

Australia offers international students some 26 000 courses delivered by more than 1200
universities, training colleges and schools. The three biggest sectors in terms of enrolments were
higher education (around 178 000), vocational education and training (121 000) and English-
language intensive courses (102 000).

Asia remains Australia’s main source of international students, with more than 75 per cent, but
enrolments from the Middle East, South America and Africa have grown strongly. International
students are attracted by the high standard of Australia’s education and training, its national
qualifications framework, welcoming environment and diverse society.

Australia’s English-language schools provide a wide variety of training programs. These range
from short courses to improve students’ English-language skills while visiting Australia as part
of a holiday, to formal courses in preparation for accredited levels of English recognised by
education and immigration authorities around the world.

English-language training in Australia is provided by specialised institutions. A national
accreditation body (the National ELICOS Accreditation Scheme) sets standards for class sizes,
teacher qualifications, teaching methods and curriculum. Students from more than 100 countries
come to Australia to learn English for academic, work, travel or personal reasons.

National legislation maintains high standards for those in Australia on student visas. Laws
require registration of every course and institution that enrols international students on student
visas. International students can apply for permission to work part time during their stay in

The Study in Australia website provides comprehensive information on options open to students,
as well as a search facility covering all the courses and institutions available to international
students. It also provides information about student visas. The website is available in numerous
languages and a database lists scholarships by field and level of study.

Visiting Australia
A popular destination
Travellers from 170 countries rated Australia as the number one place they most wanted to visit,
in a survey conducted in 2006 by the Lonely Planet travel group.
The top 10 sources of tourists to Australia in 2007 were: New Zealand, the United Kingdom,
Japan, the United States, China, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Germany and Hong

While most of the top 10 sources of tourists are in the Asia-Pacific region, travellers from
Europe and the Americas also consistently rank Australia highly as a tourist destination.

Around 5.6 million international tourists visited Australia in 2007. Visitors are attracted by the
allure of crystal beaches, a pristine natural environment, unique fauna, friendly people and a
relaxed atmosphere. But they do not come just for a beach holiday. Australian food and wine are
highly regarded in world culinary circles. Australian arts have built a reputation for innovation
and talent – another reason for tourists to visit. Australia’s Indigenous art is celebrated in art
galleries from New York to London. Australia’s cultural diversity, tolerance, inclusiveness and
cosmopolitan lifestyle also play an important role in making international visitors feel welcome.

Top 10 activities for international visitors:

      dining out in a restaurant or café: 89 per cent
      shopping for pleasure: 82 per cent
      going to the beach, including swimming, surfing and diving: 62 per cent
      going to markets: 47 per cent
      visiting national and state parks: 47 per cent
      going to pubs, clubs and discos: 40 per cent
      visiting wildlife parks, zoos and aquariums: 39 per cent
      visiting botanical or other public gardens: 35 per cent
      going on water cruises, chartering boats and ferries: 32 per cent
      visiting historic sites, heritage buildings or monuments: 31 per cent

Australia has developed a range of important niche markets. The seven key Australian
experiences marketed by Tourism Australia include Aboriginal Australia, Aussie Coastal
Lifestyle, Australian Major Cities, Australian Journeys, Food and Wine, Nature in Australia and
the Outback in Australia. These reflect the unique and diverse tourist experiences on offer
throughout Australia. Indigenous culture is a unique and expanding point of attraction for the
Australian tourism industry. Australia’s Indigenous peoples are proud of their heritage and living
cultures. They are willing to share with visitors parts of their culture, practices, beliefs and
values and the meanings they attribute to the Australian landscape. During 2006 almost 830 000
international visitors had an Indigenous cultural experience in Australia, which was 15 per cent
of all international visitors.

Nature-based tourism and ecotourism are prime attractions for international travellers, with
almost half visiting national or state parks. In the year ending June 2007 there were 3.5 million
international nature visitors.

Food and wine tourism is expanding, in line with Australia’s growing international reputation as
a producer of high-quality wines and a supplier of fresh regionally based food products. Culinary
visitors tend to travel for longer, spend more and go to regional areas more than other visitors.

Australia is also an attractive international destination for corporate meetings and incentives,
business events and association meetings.

Culture and the arts
Australia’s cultural and artistic scene reflects the nation’s unique blend of established traditions
and new influences. It is the product of an ancient landscape that is home to both the world’s
oldest continuous cultural traditions and a rich mix of migrant cultures.

Australian governments at all levels are committed to supporting the arts and preserving,
promoting and expanding the nation’s cultural heritage – whether through tangible items such as
paintings, books, oral histories or natural history specimens, or intangibles reflected in traditions
and custom.

Government sources provide about $5.5 billion each year in Australia for a wide range of arts,
cultural and heritage purposes. The total size of Australia’s arts and related industries sector is
estimated at $34 billion.

Performing arts

Australia’s performing arts are full of energy, originality and diversity. Companies such as
Circus Oz and Legs on the Wall and Indigenous groups such as Bangarra Dance Theatre and the
Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre are acclaimed around the world for the quality of their

Australian dance is renowned for its exuberance. Major companies such as the Australian Ballet
and Sydney Dance Company tour regularly, with a diverse repertoire of Australian and
international work. Australian choreographers and dancers such as Lucy Guerin, Gideon
Obarzanek and Maggie Sietsma produce contemporary work that is finding new audiences
through seasons at nightclubs and other unconventional venues.

Australian music has been greatly enriched by post-war immigration and covers an astonishing
range. Virtuoso guitarist Slava Grigoryan, born in Kazakhstan, explores the Argentinean tango
and Brazilian bossa nova, while orchestras such as the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the
Australian Chamber Orchestra have world-class status. Violinist Richard Tognetti, pianists
Roger Woodward, Geoffrey Tozer and Simon Tedeschi and conductor and violinist Nicholas
Milton are familiar faces on Australian stages and in the world’s concert halls.

Opera Australia, the national company, is one of the busiest opera companies in the world; it has
as its home the spectacular Sydney Opera House. The legacy of operatic legends such as Dame
Nellie Melba and Dame Joan Sutherland has been handed down to stars such as Deborah Riedel,
Lisa Gasteen and Yvonne Kenny.

Australia is well known for its original rock and pop music with solid popular foundations set by
artists such as the Easybeats, AC/DC, INXS, Paul Kelly and Midnight Oil. The national youth
radio station Triple J actively promotes emerging Australian talent. New artists such as Missy
Higgins, Jet, the Waifs, Wolfmother and Ben Lee are starting to enjoy international acclaim. The
Wiggles have won an enthusiastic following amongst children in many countries.

Each Australian state has a major theatre company in addition to many smaller companies and
theatre groups.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that regional communities can develop and
sustain a vibrant cultural life that strengthens community identity and wellbeing and encourages
broad participation.
In addition to arts performances regularly staged in a broad range of theatres, cultural centres and
music venues, Australia hosts several major arts festivals and a large number of diverse
community and regional festivals each year.

Australian writing
The history of Australian literature started with the storytelling of Indigenous Australians and
continued with the oral stories of convicts arriving in Australia in the late 18th century. As the
new colony grew, these stories and experiences were increasingly recorded, laying the
foundations for a uniquely Australian storytelling tradition.

Some of the early works have remained part of the Australian canon, including Marcus Clarke’s
For the Term of His Natural Life, the short stories and bush ballads of Henry Lawson, and
Andrew ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s poems, including the classics The Man from Snowy River and
Waltzing Matilda. Two important writers in the early 20th century were Miles Franklin (who
wrote My Brilliant Career in 1901) and Ethel Richardson, who wrote under the pen name Henry
Handel Richardson. Australia has one Nobel Prize for Literature to its credit, with novelist
Patrick White receiving the award in 1973.

Notable 20th century Australian novelists include Thomas Keneally (winner of the 1982 Man
Booker Prize for Schindler’s Ark); Peter Carey (winner of the Man Booker Prize in 1988 for
Oscar and Lucinda and in 2001 for True History of the Kelly Gang); DBC Pierre (Peter Warren
Finlay) who won the Man Booker Prize in 2003 for Vernon God Little; Kate Grenville;
Christopher Koch, Elizabeth Jolly, David Malouf, Christina Stead, Morris West and Tim Winton.
Geraldine Brooks won the 2006 Fiction Pulitzer Prize for March.

Contemporary poet Les Murray and non-fiction writers Helen Garner and Robert Dessaix have
also received considerable critical acclaim. Of the many expatriate writers who have achieved
international recognition yet retain strong ties with Australia, Germaine Greer, Geoffrey
Robertson, Shirley Hazzard, Robert Hughes, Clive James and Peter Porter are among the most

Australian Film - A New Era by Michaela Boland
In 2008, Australia's most precocious filmmaker Baz Luhrmann toiled on his first film in five
years, an epic outback romance starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman set against the
bombing of Darwin by Japanese forces during the Pacific War.

The sweeping tale of an English rose who inherits a remote cattle station but is forced into a pact
with a stockman to protect her property from a takeover is audaciously titled Australia.

Appropriating his country's moniker was a bold move by Luhrmann, director of Moulin Rouge
and Strictly Ballroom. It raised the stakes but the director and his double Oscar-winning wife,
designer Catherine Martin are the pair who were most likely to deliver a great result.

Twentieth Century Fox released worldwide in January 2009 the first identifiably Australian
blockbuster ever made. It is produced almost exclusively by Australians at Fox Studios in
Sydney and in far-flung locations in Queensland and NSW, in Darwin, Western Australia’s
Kimberley Ranges and Kununurra.
While preparing to shoot Australia, Luhrmann helped lobby for new production incentives which
now enable Australian filmmakers and their international co-production partners to claim an
offset on 40 per cent (20 per cent for television) of their qualifying Australian costs.

Australia is the first studio-backed film to use the rebate, while an animated feature called The
Guardians of Ga'Hool is being made at the Sydney design and effects company Animal Logic
with backing from Warner Bros.

Animal Logic created the digital effects for the tap-dancing penguin musical Happy Feet with
director George Miller, a project that redefined the possibilities of computer graphic imagery.

In 2007 Happy Feet, a film set in a penguin colony in Antarctica, became the highest-earning
Australian film ever, grossing approximately US$400 million worldwide. It also won the Oscar
for best animated feature at the 2006 Academy Awards (in 2007).

To get a complex picture of Australia, a robust young country keen to explore and celebrate its
rich multicultural history, it is necessary to look across the slate of contemporary Australian

The Home Song Stories, director Tony Ayers' powerful semi-autobiographical portrayal of his
family's difficult immigration to Australia from Hong Kong was feted in 2007 at the Berlin Film
Festival and the Australian Film Institute Awards. It also heralded the arrival of stunning new
actors, Irene Chen and Joel Lok.

The recipient of the 2007 Australian Film Institute (AFI) award for best film, Romulus, My
Father portrays a difficult European migrant experience and was also distinguished by its acting,
in this instance from Eric Bana, Marton Csokas, Franka Potente, Russell Dykstra and a
newcomer still in primary school, Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Smit-McPhee has since been cast in the Hollywood adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's grim
blockbuster novel The Road, merely the latest of the conga line of Australian actors working the
world's stages and screen industries. It is directed by expat John Hillcoat.

Lucky Miles explores with comedy the more recent experience of Middle Eastern asylum seekers
arriving on Australia’s remote north coastline while The Jammed, a micro-budget independently-
financed drama, explores the seedy underbelly of people trafficking. It defied the odds to secure
a cinema release and win the 2007 Inside Film (IF) Award for best film.

Forbidden Lie$ has collected numerous documentary awards for its unflinching pursuit of the
truth behind serial fabricator Norma Khouri, author of Forbidden Love, a fictional story peddled
by its author as fact.

The Black Balloon is a gentle suburban family drama which garnered accolades at the Berlin
Film Festival in 2008 while teen drama Hey, Hey Its Esther Blueburger explores the Jewish
Australian experience, both star Toni Collette.

Australian filmmaking has come a long way since Paul Hogan was Crocodile Dundee.

Michaela Boland is Australia reporter for Variety, film writer at the Australian Financial Review
and co-author of ‘Aussiewood, Australia’s Leading Actors and Directors Tell How They
Conquered Hollywood’.
Film industry

The Australian film industry has a reputation for innovation and quality, and for producing
unique films with an Australian flavour that have global appeal.

While the industry is modest in international terms, it nevertheless employs about 50 000
people and more than 2 000 businesses are involved in film, television and video production. In
2006-07, 27 Australian feature films started production (including three co-productions).

Australia is a highly regarded location for foreign films to undertake production. Producers come
to Australia to take advantage of world-class facilities, spectacular and varied locations,
acclaimed cast and crew talent and world’s-best companies providing post, digital and visual
effects production services. In 2006-07, six foreign feature films shot in Australia, three of which
had budgets over $20 million, and a further 16 films undertook post, digital and visual effects
production here. Foreign films that have shot in Australia in recent years include Superman
Returns, The Matrix trilogy, Charlotte’s Web, Ghost Rider and The Ruins.

Australia’s actors, directors, producers, costume designers, writers, cinematographers and
animators are attracting growing international acclaim. Australia’s film and television
practitioners are among the best in the world, highlighted by recent international recognition for
their skills and achievements. Actors such as Nicole Kidman, Toni Collette, Cate Blanchett,
Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts and Eric Bana have amassed a significant body of work and have
won awards, critical acclaim and commercial success. Cinematographers such as Dione Beebe
and Andrew Lensie have each won Academy Awards. Award-winning and critically acclaimed
film-makers include Bruce Beresford, Peter Weir, Phillip Noyce, Baz Luhrmann and George

The Australian film industry is one of the oldest in the world. The Story of the Kelly Gang,
produced in 1906, is thought to be the world’s first full-length narrative film.

Australian cinema thrived through the silent era but the industry went into a decline in the 1920s.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Australian governments intervened to help the industry and,
following the establishment of film funding bodies and the Australian Film, Television and
Radio School, a new generation of Australian filmmakers emerged.

First to make their mark were films about Australia’s earlier history such as Picnic at Hanging
Rock (1975), My Brilliant Career (1979), Breaker Morant (1980), and Gallipoli (1981). Other
successful films with more contemporary themes included Mad Max (Road Warrior) (1979),
which introduced a new international star in Mel Gibson, Paul Hogan’s popular comedy
Crocodile Dundee (1986) and the finely crafted films of Melbourne director Paul Cox.

The early 1990s saw the emergence of ‘quirky’ Australian comedies such as Strictly Ballroom
(1992), Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) and Muriel’s Wedding (1994). More recent notable
films include: Shine (1996), Looking for Alibrandi (2000), Lantana (2001), Rabbit-Proof Fence
(2002), Crackerjack (2002), Japanese Story (2003), Look Both Ways (2005), Wolf Creek (2005),
Little Fish (2005), Ten Canoes (2006), Kenny (2006), Happy Feet (2006) and Jindabyne (2006).

Australia currently has film co-production treaties with the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy,
Ireland, Israel, Germany, Singapore and China, and memorandums of understanding with France
and New Zealand. A treaty with South Africa is also under negotiation.
Visa and immigration requirements

Australia welcomes millions of overseas visitors each year. Anyone who is not an Australian
citizen needs a valid visa to enter and spend time in Australia. There are different visas for
tourists, business people, sports people, students and others.

All visas must be obtained before travelling. The only exception is for New Zealanders, who are
granted an electronic visa on arrival in Australia. Visitors can apply for Australian visas at
Australian government missions overseas or electronically through travel agents and airlines in
many parts of the world.

People from many countries also now apply for certain visas online – Australia’s Electronic
Travel Authority (ETA) is the most advanced and streamlined travel authorisation system in the

The ETA is an electronically stored authorisation for travel to Australia for short-term visits or
business entry. It replaces the visa label or stamp in a passport and removes the need for
application forms. An ETA is issued within seconds by computer links between the federal
Department of Immigration and Citizenship, travel agents, airlines and specialist service
providers around the world.

The ETA system was introduced in 1996 and is now available to passport holders from 34
countries, locations and regions. More than 21 million travellers have been granted ETAs to
come to Australia and ETAs now account for almost 83 per cent of all tourist and short-term
business visas granted worldwide.

Travelling in Australia
Distance has always been a defining challenge for Australians. However, some international
visitors still tend to underestimate distances and travel times between city and rural centres in

Australia has a surface area of more than 7.7 million square kilometres and most of the nation’s
21 million people live in widely separated cities along its 36 000 kilometres of coastline.

More than 800 000 kilometres of road crisscross the land, of which just under half are sealed
(paved). More than 14 million people have a driver’s licence and transport is the second-largest
item of household expenditure in Australia. Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road,
with the steering wheel located on the right-hand side of the car.

Australia’s rail networks total almost 40 000 kilometres.

As a large and geographically isolated island nation, a viable and safe aviation industry is
important to Australia and its economic growth. There are about 260 licensed airports in
Australia and its external territories. Of these, 12 operate internationally, servicing scheduled
international airlines.

Some examples of the Australian idiom

      arvo: afternoon
      as happy as Larry: content, satisfied
      Aussie battler: a hard-working Australian
     back of Bourke: far away
     barbie: barbecue
     barrack for: support a particular sports team
     cold one: beer
     digger: an Australian soldier
     esky: portable ice chest
     fair dinkum: true, genuine
     g’day: hello
     go for your life: yes, you can / …no problem
     hard yakka: hard work, usually physical
     kiwi: someone from New Zealand
     mate: friend; also, form of address usually between males
     prawn: shrimp
     she’ll be right: everything will be okay
     thongs: flip-flops
     tinny: beer in a can OR outboard motorboat
     true blue Aussie: really Australian
     tucker: food
     ute: pick-up truck

A capital city of the Commonwealth of Australia, seat of the Federal
Government and the nation's largest inland centre. Canberra is situated
on the Molonglo River and the artificial Lake Burley Griffin. Canberra is
made up of seven statistical subdivisions: Canberra Central, Belconnen,
Woden Valley, Weston Creek, Tuggeranong, Outer Canberra, and
Australian Capital Territory Balance. Lieutenant Joshua John Moore, one
of the first whites in the area, named the settlement “Canberry” having
heard local Aborigines referring to the land on which Canberra was built,
as “Kamberra”. “Kamberra” meant a meeting place of tribes gathering for
a feast. Lady Denman, wife of the governor-general, laid the foundation
stone in 1913 and pronounced the name confidently as “CANberra”.
Surveyor-General Charles Scrivener chose the location for the national
capital in 1908 after about 40 proposed sites had been reduced to a
shortlist of 7. There was an acrimonious dispute between Melbourne and
Sydney, each city wanting to become the national capital. The solution
was to choose neither.
An American architect Walter Griffin designed Canberra’’s broad
boulevards, striking vistas, and pleasing symmetries, and took
imaginative account of the undulating terrain. Though some liberties have
been taken since with his plan, Canberra remains very much as Griffin
proposed—a meticulously planned city.
Places of Interest
The central city area consists of major roads radiating from various large
and small circles: State Circle, surrounding Capital Hill and the new
Parliament House; Manuka Circle; London Circle, where many of the
larger shops and businesses are concentrated; and many smaller circles
and roundabouts that carry the connecting roadways through ever-
spreading webs to more or less self-sufficient satellite suburbs.
In keeping with its national importance, Canberra is the location for some
of the nation's most important institutions, and symbolism, including the
High Court, the National Gallery, the National Botanic Gardens, the
Australian War Memorial, the National Library of Australia, New
Parliament House, and the National Film and Sound Archive. Of these,
the New Parliament House is a highly original creation, roofed over by the
very soil that was removed to make way for it and thus blending with the
hillside in a way peculiarly apt for environment-conscious Canberra. The
neo-classical National Library houses major collections relevant to the
history, culture, and creativity of Australia. The massive, domed
Australian War Memorial, facing down Anzac Avenue to Parliament
House, holds the Roll of Honour and the Eternal Flame. The Memorial is
one of the world's great museums of war and its strategies, effects, and
A feature which dominates Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin. Originally part
of Walter Griffin's plan, the artificial lake was not filled until 1964. It has an
area of some 7 sq km. The Australian National University (1946) looks out
over Springbank Island in the Black Mountain Peninsula area of the lake;
the Captain Cook Memorial Water Jet, which shoots a spectacular column
of water about 140m into the air, sits offshore near the Commonwealth
Bridge; Blundell's Farmhouse, one of the few old buildings in Canberra
(along with the 1841 Church of St John The Baptist), is also on the
lakeside; and from Aspen Island rises the Carillon, a British gift marking
Canberra's 50th anniversary in 1963.
An attraction unique to Canberra in its capacity as national capital, is the
intense concentration of foreign diplomatic missions. These tend to be
grouped in the suburb of Yarralumla, the site also of Government House,
the residence of the Australian Governor-General. The foreign missions
rise up around Yarralumla as exotic islands of national imaginative
release: the Indonesian Embassy, for example, is in the style of a
Balinese Temple and the Papua-New Guinea mission is a traditional,
gabled longhouse.
Test yourself: How much have you learned about Canberra? Replace the pronouns with the
nouns from the text:
   1. Canberra is situated on it.
   2. Joshua Moore named the settlement Canberry after he had heart them refer to this place
      as Kamberra.
   3. “Kamberra” meant a meeting place of them.
   4. She was the first person to pronounce the name of the city as Canberra.
   5. He designed Canberra.
   6. They fought for the right to become a capital.

Ex. Guess what places are described:
   1. This building was covered with the soil that had been removed during the construction.
   2. Here you will find the largest collection of materials about Australian culture, history.
   3. This is the world’s leading war museum.
   4. One of the highest fountains in the world, it is located near the Commonwealth Bridge.
   5. This building has a Balinese Temple style design.
   6. You can find all foreign diplomatic missions here.
   7. They are two very old buildings in Canberra (both date from the 19th c.)

Read the text

      It was with great expectations and excitement that my daughter and I boarded a plane at
New York on the 30 March to fly to Johannesburg on the first lap of out trip to Australia. At
Johannesburg we boarded a plane to fly to Sydney via Singapore. On the flight from Singapore
to Sydney all passengers were requested to put their watches forward 6 hours because of the
time zones. Sure, I know there is a logical and scientific explanation for this but somehow it
made me feel as if I were loosing a part of my lifetime. Anyway we were well "wined and
dined" on the plane and then blinds were pulled down over the windows to encorage us to
sleep, easier said than done!
      What a relief to arrive at Singapore after a 10 hour flight, where we were allowed off the
plane to stretch our legs while the plane was being refuelled. After a 4 hour flight we arrived at
Sydney at 9 20 m to find my friend Cindy and her husband Mike waiting for us. After not
having seen them for several years, our hugs and greetings were very effusive. on arriving at
Bulga in the Hunter valley, a 3 hour drive from Sydney we eventually collapsed wearily into
bed at 2 am to awaken at 8 30 am in the morning with, surprisingly, no feeling of Jet Lag.
      Most of the houses in Australia , especially in the country and small towns are built of
wood some insulated and some with a brick veneer on the outside walls. In some cases if you
want to move house, you literally do, the house is jacked up and moved to its new location on a
large truck. We saw many attractive wooden houses on our trips around New South Wales. On
one trip we came across a restuarant caled "Rose Cottage" a little bit of England set in the
Australian countryside where we had lunch in a charming dining room reminiscent of an
English room with its beams and English decor. The garden was typically English with
beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers. Other houses which were double storied and built of bricks
were the old Colonial buildings with their attractive metal grillwork adorning the verandas.
      Most of New South Wales seems to consit of the Hunter Valley which extends for miles
with forested hills and mountains as well as the Hunter River which runs from the Mountains
in the North and enters the sea through Lake Mocquarie in the South, a distance of
approximately 200 kms. We visited Lake Macquarie and Lake Nelson, and on the coast we
delighted in the lovely scenery, the harbours with boats and yachts of various sizes and the
variety of birds such as gulls, pelicans, black swans and other seabirds, we indulged ourselves
in the Lakeside restaurant with delicious seafood which were reasonably priced. Looking out
of the sea from Lake Macquarie we saw huge tankers waiting to enter the bay to dock at
Newcastle where they picked up coal for Japan. There is also a Newcastle in the UK, a
coalmining town and an adage connected to it. If anyone gives someone an object which they
already have, it is called"taking coals to Newcastle". I wonder, if this also applies to the
Australian Newcastle?...
      One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to the Rusa Zoo where we were alowed to
feed a baby Kangaroo, with a bottle of milk, as well as stroking a Koah Bear which only
seemed interested in eating eucalyptus leaves. We also saw white Kangaroos, Indian antelope,
six varieties of Deer, the Tammar and Swamp Wallabys, snakes and lizards and some
beautifully coloured parrots including one that had a lot to say, some of the words unprintable!!
      One Saturday we followed our neighbors through the beautiful forested hills to Bylo
where a Country Fair was in progress. The main attraction was the mouse-racing. I was
wondering how one could induce the mice to run in the right direction, so I was intrigued to
see how this was done. Two poles were erected with little transparent corridors attached
between each pole. The mice were let out of their boxes at the start of each corridor and then
had to run to the other end into little boxes; sad to say, the one I bet on got halfway then turned
back. It was as professinally organised and run as horse racing and the money made from the
bets was collected for various charities. This endeavour is an annual event.
      Another outing was to the Watagan State Forest where we ended up on top of the world
looking down on the patchwork of farms in the valley below. We were fortunate to see two
Wallabys, who decided to cross the road as we drove along.
       I was interested to see that all the bridges in the country areas were made of wood, strong
solid beams. The roads were well sign posted and near rivers, posts were ercted showing flood
levels, also signs on the verges indicating "Stop Revive Survive" One little town we passes
through, Cessnock, had signs in fron of many houses saying "No Sydney Garbage Dump",
evidently Sydney had had ideas of dumping their waste matter at Cessnock to the disgust of the
local residents.
      There are many vineyards in the farming lands between the mountains of the Hunter area,
where one can taste the wines before purchasing. What I really liked was the wine liqueur
which I do not think available in the US. An Agricultural Show we were taken to on the day
before we left had many interesting stalls and animals; some Angora goats were dyed delicate
shades of blue, green and pink but the animal thet impressed me most was the largest Farmyard
ox I'd ever seen before. But he seemed to be of a friendly disposition.
       We found the people of Australis to be very frienly and easy to talk to even though I
sometimes had difficulty in understanding them because of the Australian accent. Something
else that impressed me was how reasonably priced food, clothing and other commodities were,
so we made the most of that and by the time we left Australia on May,2 we were broke but had
enjoyed ourselves immensely and we will have lots of pleasant memories.
      Jet Lag- нарушение суточного ритма
      insulate-отделять, изолировать, утеплять
      veneer-фанера (обшивать фанерой)
      jack-поднимать (домкратом)
      reminiscent-напоминающий, воспоминание, копия
      beam-брус, балка
     grillwork- решетка, ограда
     endeavour-старание, усилие
     outing-прогулка, экскурсия
     Ex 1 Answer these questions:
     Where did Mrs.McFarlane travel?
     Why did she have to put her watch forward six hours while flying over the Pacific?
     How long did it take her to get from New York to Sydney?
     Why did they stop at Singapore on their way to Australia?
      What struck Mrs.McFalanne most of all about the "Rose Cottage" restaurant where she
had lunch?
     Where does the Hunter Valley lie?
     How does a typiical Australian house look like?
     Mrs.McFarlane tasted seafood at lake Macquarie, did not she?
     What was one of the highlights of Mrs.McFarlane's trip round New South Wales?
     What sort of race did she see at the Country Fair in Bylo?
     Are there many vineyards in the Hunter area?
     What is Mrs.McFarlane's opinion about the people of Australia?
     Did she have any difficulty in talking to local people?
     Can her trip be characterised as a part of "culture-appreciation tourism"?
     Ex 2 Complete the sentences:
     I Mary McFarlane was greeted at Sydney airport:
     a. by her daughter
     b. by the customs officers
     c. by her friend
     II She flew to Australia...
     a. for business
     b. for recreation
     c. to practise some sport
     III The plane she boarded at New York was
      a. bound for Melbourne via Sydney
      b. bound for Singapore where she had to board another plane to fly to Australia
      c. bound for Sydney via Singapore
      IV She enjoyed her lunch at the Rose Cottage...
      a. because the food was very cheap
      b. because the restaurant was a reminiscent of an old English dining room
      c. because she was served a fresh seafood
      V Mrs.McFarlane saw a variety of birds including gulls amd pelicans...
      a. at Lake Macquarie
      b. in Newcastle
      c. at the Agriculturalal Show
      VI At the Rusa Zoo...
      a. she stroked a kangaroo
      b. she fed a deer
      c. she fed a kangaroo
      VII By the end of the trip she was practically pennyless because...
      a. all her money was stolen
      b. she spent all her money-the prices in Australia are very low
      c. she donated all her money to various charities
      VIII At the Agricultural Show she was impressed by...
      a. the giant ox
      b. the largest Antilope she'd ever seen
      c. the longest snake she'd ever seen
      IX The little town Cessnock had signs in front of many houses saying:
      a. Stop.Revive.Survive
      b. No Sydney Garbage Dump
      c. Visit our Zoo
      Ex 3 Put in the prepositions where necessary
      1 My flight...Sydney was all right.2 ...the plane we were well "wined and dined". 3
Actually, I've got only one thing to complain about-for more... than six hours I could not
stretch... my legs. 4 That is why I felt a relief when I arrived....Sydney. 5 My friend drove me
to the Lakeside restaurant and we had...lunch. The food was delicious and not very expensive.
7 I was very tired and went...bed...9 pm. 8 I went...several trips...New South Wales, by the way,
the territory of the state is almost entirely taken...the Hunter Valley. 9 It extends for thousands
of miles...with beautiful forested trees, mountains and lakes...the coast of which one can see
lots of seabirds. 10 And one of trip was a visit...the Watagan State Forest.
      Ex 4 Vocabulary practice
     Jet Lag reminiscent     outing insulate       veneer        broke
      1 On weekends people often go for...some go to local parks, and some may visit narby
museums.2 John looked very tired, he spent all day...the roof of his house. 3 The outside wall
of the house was...4 This mansion is a... of an old Colonial building. 5 Although I travelled
more than 5 000 km, crossing two time zones, I did not feel... 6 I had the time my
holiday was over.

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