When you hear the word Australia, there are probably several things that come to mind: kangaroos, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Australian cricket, and the mind-blowing beaches. That is one of the most remarkable qualities about Australia: despite being among the top urbanized countries in the world, man and wild peacefully coexist in the land of coral reefs.

Australia is the sixth-largest country in terms of land area, flanked by the Indian Ocean on the west and the South Pacific Ocean on the east. On the southeast is the Tasman Sea, which separates the country from New Zealand. The Coral Sea borders Australia on the northeast side.

The Arafura Sea and the Timor Sea separate Australia from Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Indonesia. The most populated regions are the eastern and the south-eastern coasts, with Western Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales as the most densely populated parts.

History

Most of Australia’s earliest settlers were from Britain and Ireland, and also from other European regions. During the 1850s, the country’s first resource boom (also known as the Gold Rush) drew thousands of immigrants from Britain, Ireland, Asia, and East European nations.

In between, for some time, this immigration rate greatly dropped because of the White Australia policy, but Australia later welcomed a spurt of immigration from Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asian regions, which went on to form the multicultural society that now prevails in the country.

Australia became a British dominion in 1901, where each colony under the erstwhile British rule chose to become a state. In 1986, the Australia Act was passed by Australia and Britain, and it ended any official power that the British parliament may have had over Australia.

From the very beginning, Australia focused on developing its natural resources that included the manufacturing and agricultural industries. Because of this rapid development, Australia was in a position to contribute significantly to the Allied war effort in both World Wars. Australian troops have also been known for their contributions to the wars in Vietnam, Korea, and Iraq.

Culture

Australia’s culture is heavily influenced by Britain and other European nations, thanks to its multiethnic population.

Australia is a truly diverse nation, with different states adding to the cultural history in their own ways. Among the most culturally-rich cities are Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney. While Sydney is a melting pot of art, culture, and history, besides being home to two of the most famous icons of Australia – the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne is recognized as a global hub of the arts. Brisbane and Adelaide are known for the smart urban villages and for the cultural festivals respectively. Perth must also be mentioned here because of its cuisine and wine, in addition to its international repute in precious metal.

Although English is the most common language in Australia, other languages are also spoken, including Greek, Italian, Mandarin, and Vietnamese.

Economy

Like other aspects of the country, Australia’s economy is also largely dependent on immigration. Opportunities in jobs, business, education, and the nation’s significantly high quality of life make Australia one of the best countries in the world to live in. Australia has also remained unaffected by the various economic crises around the world, be it the Greenspan/Frank US financial meltdown that caused the global financial crisis, or the Asian economic crisis. In fact, for the last 26 years, the country has enjoyed great economic health without any recession.

Australia offers excellent business opportunities to both nationals and foreigners. Some of the major industries include construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing, retail trade, financial services, and transport. Australia also draws a large number of tourists every year, which contributes more than 70 percent of its revenue.

Politics

Australia is a leading nation in trade and has made significant contributions in humanitarian aid. The country is known to be one of the most tolerant when it comes to accepting different cultures, even though racial and cultural prejudices do prevail in some parts.

The country has a federal government, with the Parliament being based primarily on the British Westminster system. The two major political parties are the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party, which forms a coalition with the National Party. Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Queen is the head of state.

Communication

The communication system in Australia is highly developed because of the country’s geographical distance from other nations, as well as its dispersed population. The telephone system is governed by the Australian Telephone Numbering Plan, and the country is divided into several area codes.

The prosperous economy of Australia offers business, investment and educational opportunities for people from all over the world. In this globalized age, any individual or enterprise with digital connectivity can be part of Australia’s rich heritage and culture. The country is a perfect balance of natural wonders, economic development, and social growth.