Australian States and Territories

Australia is divided into six states originating from the penal colonies of the 1700’s and two mainland territories. One of these is the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) whose capital Canberra is also the capital city of Australia.
Australia is also responsible for administering seven external territories – Norfolk Island, the uninhabited Coral Sea Islands Territory, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, the uninhabited Ashmore and Cartier Islands Territory, the Territory of Heard Island and the McDonald Islands in the sub-Antarctic and the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The Continent of Australia

Australia is the only nation to occupy an entire continent. Its landmass of nearly 7.7 million km2 is the flattest and (after Antarctica) driest of continents, yet it has extremes of climate and topography. There are rainforests and vast plains in the north, snowfields in the southeast, desert in the centre and fertile croplands in the east, south and southwest. About one third of the country lies in the tropics. Australia has a coastline of 36 735km.

The Australian Flag

The flag of Australia is the only one to fly over a whole continent. The small Union Jack represents the historical link with Britain, the large seven-pointed star represents the six States and the Territories, and the small stars form the Southern Cross – a prominent feature of the Southern Hemisphere night sky.

Australia’s Coat of Arms

Australia’s coat of arms – the official emblem of the Australian Government – was granted by King George V in 1912. The arms consist of a shield containing the badges of the six States. The supporters are native Australian fauna – a kangaroo and an emu. A yellow-flowered native plant, wattle, also appears in the design.

The National Anthem

Australia’s national anthem, Advance Australia Fair, is a revised version of a late 19th-century patriotic song composed by Peter Dodds McCormick. It was declared the national anthem in April 1984, replacing God Save the Queen, which was designated the royal anthem. In the same year, Australia officially adopted green and gold as its national colours .

Advance Australia Fair

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 natures 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.