Portal:Australia

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The Commonwealth of Australia is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the world's smallest continent and a number of islands in the Southern, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Australia's neighbouring countries are Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east, and New Zealand to the south-east.

The continent of Australia has been inhabited for more than 42,000 years by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. After sporadic visits by European explorers and merchants from the 17th century onwards, the eastern half of the continent was claimed by the British in 1770, and officially settled as the penal colony of New South Wales on 26 January 1788. As the population grew and new areas were explored, another five largely self-governing Crown colonies were successively established over the course of the 19th century.

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a Commonwealth realm. The current population of around 21 million is concentrated mainly in the coastal cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

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Cane Toad (Bufo marinus)

The Cane Toad is a large, terrestrial true toad native to Central and South America. It is a member of the genus Bufo, which includes hundreds of different true toad species in different habitats throughout the world. The Cane Toad is a prolific breeder; females lay single-clump spawns with large numbers of eggs. Its reproductive success is partly due to opportunistic feeding: it has a diet, unusual among frogs, of both dead and living matter. Adults average 10 to 15 centimetres (4–6 in) in length, the largest recorded specimen weighed 2.65 kilograms (5.84 lb) and measured 38 centimetres (15 in) from snout to vent. The Cane Toad has large poison glands, and adults and tadpoles are highly toxic to most animals if ingested. Because of its voracious appetite, the Cane Toad has been introduced to many regions of the Pacific as a method of agricultural pest control, notably in the case of Australia in 1935, and derives its common name from its use against sugar cane pests. The Cane Toad is considered a pest in many of its introduced regions, as its toxic skin kills many native predators when ingested.

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The western part of the Park. To the right is the rock formation known as The Fortress.

The Grampians is a mountain range and national park in Victoria, located 235 kilometres west of Melbourne. The ranges were named in 1836 by Surveyor-General of New South Wales, Sir Thomas Mitchell, after the Grampian Mountains in his native Scotland, but are also known by the name Gariwerd, from one of the local Australian Aboriginal languages.

Photo credit: Stevage

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