Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state occupying the entire western third of Australia. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Southern Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east. Western Australia is Australia's largest state with a total land area of 2,529,875 square kilometres (976,790 sq mi), and the second-largest country subdivision in the world – however, a significant part of it is sparsely populated. The state has approximately 2.5 million inhabitants (around 11% of the national total), and 92% of the state's population lives in the south-west corner of the state.
The first European visitor to Western Australia was the Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog, who visited the Western Australian coast in 1616. The first European inhabitants were the crew of the British East Indiaman Tryall, who were wrecked on Tryal Rocks in May 1622. They spent a week camped on the Montebello Islands before sailing on to Batavia. The New South Wales colonial government established a military outpost at King George III Sound, at present-day Albany, in 1826, which was followed by the establishment of the Swan River Colony in 1829, including the site of the present-day capital, Perth. York was the first inland settlement in Western Australia. Situated 97 kilometres east of Perth, it was settled on 16 September 1831.
Western Australia achieved self-government in 1890, and later federated with the other British colonies in Australia in 1901. Today Western Australia's economy mainly relies on mining, agriculture, and tourism, with the state supplying 46% of Australia's exports. Western Australia is the second-largest iron ore producer in the world.
The term Northern Australia is generally known to include two states and territories, being Queensland and the Northern Territory (NT). The part of Western Australia (WA) north of latitude 26° south—a definition widely used in law and State government policy—is also usually included. The 26th Parallel also defines the southern border of the NT, whereas much of the southern border of Queensland is defined by 29° south.
Although it comprises about half of the total area of Australia, Northern Australia includes only about one quarter of the Australian population. However, it includes several sources of Australian exports, being coal from the Great Dividing Range in Queensland/New South Wales and the natural gas and iron ore of the Pilbara region in WA. It also includes major natural tourist attractions, such as Uluru (Ayers Rock), the Great Barrier Reef and the Kakadu National Park.
South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth largest of Australia's states and territories.
South Australia shares borders with all of the other mainland states, and with the Northern Territory; it is bordered to the west by Western Australia, to the north by the Northern Territory, to the north-east by Queensland, to the east by New South Wales, to the south-east by Victoria, and to the south by the Great Australian Bight and the Indian Ocean. With over 1.6 million people, the state comprises less than 8% of the Australian population and ranks fifth in population among the six states and territories. The majority of its people reside in the state capital, Adelaide. Most of the remainder are settled in fertile areas along the south-eastern coast and River Murray. The state's colonial origins are unique in Australia as a freely settled, planned British province, rather than as a convict settlement. Official settlement began on 28 December 1836, when the colony was proclaimed at The Old Gum Tree by Governor John Hindmarsh.
As with the rest of the continent, the region had been long occupied by the indigenous Aboriginal peoples, who were organised into numerous tribes and languages. The first British settlement to be established was Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, on 26 July 1836, five months before Adelaide was founded. The guiding principle behind settlement was that of systematic colonisation, a theory espoused by Edward Gibbon Wakefield that was later employed by the New Zealand Company. The goal was to establish the province as a centre of civilisation for free immigrants, promising civil liberties and religious tolerance. Although its history is marked by economic hardship, South Australia has remained politically innovative and culturally vibrant. Today, it is known for its fine wine and numerous cultural festivals. The state's economy centres on the agricultural, manufacturing and mining industries and has an increasingly significant finance sector as well.
South Australia's Governor is Kevin Scarce and its Premier is Jay Weatherill of the Australian Labor Party.
Queensland (abbreviated as Qld) is the second-largest and third-most populous state in Australia. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. Queensland has a population of 4,560,059, concentrated along the coast and particularly in the state's South East. The state is the world's sixth largest sub-national entity, with an area of 1,852,642 km2. The capital and largest city in the state is Brisbane, Australia's third largest city. Referred to as the 'Sunshine State', Queensland is home to 10 of Australia's 30 largest cities and is the nation's third largest economy.
Queensland was first occupied by Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, who arrived at least 60,000 years ago. The first European to land in Queensland (and Australia) was Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606, who explored the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula near present-day Weipa. In 1770, Lieutenant James Cook claimed the east coast of Australia for the Kingdom of Great Britain. The colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788 by Governor Arthur Phillip at Sydney; New South Wales at that time included all of what is now Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. Queensland was explored in subsequent decades until the establishment of a penal colony at Brisbane in 1824 by John Oxley. Penal transportation ceased in 1839 and free settlement permitted in 1842.
The state was named in honour of Queen Victoria, who on 6 June 1859 signed Letters Patent separating the colony from New South Wales. The date 6 June is now celebrated state-wide as Queensland Day. Queen Victoria, who went on to become Britain's longest reigning monarch, chose an eponymous name for the colony over Cooksland, which had been suggested by the influential local Presbyterian minister John Dunmore Lang in honour of navigator James Cook. Queensland achieved statehood with the Federation of Australia on 1 January 1901.
Queensland's Governor is Penelope Wensley, and the Premier is Campbell Newman of the Liberal National Party of Queensland.
new south wales
New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south , South Australia to the west, the Tasman Sea to the east and surrounds the whole of the Australian Capital Territory. New South Wales's capital city is Sydney, which is also the state's most populous city. As of June 2013, the estimated population of New South Wales was 7.4 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 4.67 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.
The colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788. It originally comprised a larger area of the Australian mainland also including Lord Howe Island, New Zealand, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land. During the 19th century, large areas were separated to form the British colonies of Tasmania, South Australia, New Zealand, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory (1863). The smaller areas of territory, Norfolk Island, the Australian Capital Territory and Jervis Bay Territory, ceded to the federal government of Australia. Lord Howe Island remains part of New South Wales.
Tasmania (abbreviated as Tas and known colloquially as "Tassie") is an island state, part of the Commonwealth of Australia, located 240 kilometres (150 mi) to the south of the Australian continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania, the 26th largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands. The state has a population of 507,626 (as of June 2010), of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart precinct. Tasmania's area is 68,401 square kilometres (26,410 sq mi), of which the main island covers 64,519 square kilometres (24,911 sq mi).
Tasmania is promoted as the natural state, and A World Apart, Not A World Away owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Almost 45% of Tasmania lies in reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites. The island is 364 kilometres (226 mi) long from its northernmost to its southernmost points, and 306 kilometres (190 mi) from east to west.
The state capital and largest city is Hobart, which encompasses the local government areas of City of Hobart, City of Glenorchy, and City of Clarence, while the satellite town of Kingston (part of the Municipality of Kingborough) is generally included in the Greater Hobart area.
The northernmost terrestrial point of the state of Tasmania is Boundary Islet, a nature reserve in Bass Strait which, due to a quirk of history, is shared with the state of Victoria.
The subantarctic Macquarie Island and its surrounding islands are also under the administration of Tasmania as a nature reserve and part of the Huon Valley Council local government area. The Bishop and Clerk Islets, about 37 km south of Macquarie Island, are the southernmost terrestrial point of the state of Tasmania, and the southernmost internationally recognised land in Australia.
Victoria (abbreviated as Vic.) is a state in the south-east of Australia. Victoria is Australia's most densely populated state and its second-most populous state overall. Most of its population is concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Melbourne, which is Australia's second-largest city. Geographically the smallest state on the Australian mainland, Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, and South Australia to the west.
Prior to European settlement, the area now constituting Victoria was inhabited by a large number of Aboriginal peoples, collectively known as the Koori. With Great Britain having claimed the entire Australian continent east of the 135th meridian east in 1788, Victoria was included in the wider colony of New South Wales. The first settlement in the area occurred in 1803 at Sullivan Bay, and much of what is now Victoria was included in the Port Phillip District in 1836, an administrative division of New South Wales. Victoria was officially created a separate colony in 1851, and achieved self-government in 1855. The Victorian gold rush in the 1850s and 1860s significantly increased both the population and wealth of the colony, and by the Federation of Australia in 1901, Melbourne had become the largest city & leading financial centre in Australia. Melbourne also served as capital of Australia until the construction of Canberra in 1927, with the Federal Parliament meeting in Melbourne's Parliament House and all principal offices of the federal government being based in Melbourne.
Politically, Victoria has 37 seats in the Australian House of Representatives and 12 seats in the Australian Senate. At state level, the Parliament of Victoria consists of the Legislative Assembly (the lower house) and the Legislative Council (the upper house). Victoria is currently governed by a coalition between the Liberal Party and the National Party, with the Liberals' Denis Napthine the current premier. The personal representative of the Queen of Australia in the state is the Governor of Victoria, currently Alex Chernov. Local government is concentrated in 79 municipal districts, including 33 cities, although a number of unincorporated areas still exist, which are administered directly by the state.
The economy of Victoria is highly diversified: service sectors including financial and property services, health, education, wholesale, retail, hospitality and manufacturing constitute the majority of employment. Victoria's total gross state product (GSP) is ranked second in Australia, although Victoria is ranked fourth in terms of GSP per capita because of its limited mining activity. Culturally, Melbourne is home to a number of museums, art galleries and theatres and is also described as the "sporting capital of Australia". The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the largest stadium in Australia, and the host of the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The ground is also considered the "spiritual home" of Australian cricket and Australian rules football, and hosts the grand final of the Australian Football League (AFL) each year, usually drawing crowds of over 95,000 people. Victoria includes eight public universities, with the oldest, the University of Melbourne, having been founded in 1853.