Outline of Australia

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Location of Australia
An enlargeable map of the Commonwealth of Australia
Continent of Australia showing the continental shelf (light blue) around the mainland extending to the islands of New Guinea and Tasmania

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Australia:

Australia refers to both the continent of Australia and to the Commonwealth of Australia, the sovereign country. Australia, the world's smallest continent, is in the Southern Hemisphere and borders both the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

The Commonwealth of Australia comprises the mainland of the Australian continent, plus the major island of Tasmania, and other nearby islands.[1] The 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 Australian mainland has been inhabited for more than 42,000 years by Indigenous Australians.[2] After sporadic visits by fishermen from the north and then European discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606,[3] the eastern half of Australia was later claimed by the British in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation as part of the colony of New South Wales, commencing on 26 January 1788. As the population grew and new areas were explored, another five largely self-governing Crown colonies were established during the 19th century.

General reference[edit]

An enlargeable basic map of Australia


An enlargeable topographic map of Australia
Climatic zones in Australia, based on Köppen classification.
Extreme points of mainland Australia


An enlargeable satellite image of Australia

Geographic features[edit]


Main article: Regions of Australia

Multi-state regions[edit]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Australia map. Western Australia in the west third with capital Perth, Northern Territory in the north centre with capital Darwin, Queensland in the northeast with capital Brisbane, South Australia in the south with capital Adelaide, New South Wales in the northern southeast with capital Sydney, and Victoria in the far southeast with capital Melbourne. Tasmania, with capital Hobart, is off the coast of Victoria, across the Bass Strait. The Indian Ocean is to the west and northwest, the South Pacific Ocean to the east, the Southern Ocean to the south, and the Tasman Sea to the southeast. The Great Australian Bight to the south and the Gulf of Carpentaria to the north are the major bays. The Timor and Arafura Seas are off the north coast, and the Great Barrier Reef guards the northeast coast from the Coral Sea.
Australian external territories
Mainland territories[edit]
External territories[edit]


State/territory Land area (km²) Rank Population (2012)[4] Rank Population density (/km²) Rank  % of population in capital Rank
Flag of New South Wales.svg New South Wales 800,642 5th 7,348,900 1st 9.18 3rd 63.5% 5th
Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg Victoria 227,416 6th 5,679,600 2nd 24.97 2nd 74.8% 4th
Flag of Queensland.svg Queensland 1,730,648 2nd 4,610,900 3rd 2.66 5th 47.5% 7th
Flag of Western Australia.svg Western Australia 2,529,875 1st 2,472,700 4th 0.98 7th 76.7% 3rd
Flag of South Australia.svg South Australia 983,482 4th 1,662,200 5th 1.69 6th 76.8% 2nd
Flag of Tasmania.svg Tasmania 68,401 7th 512,400 6th 7.49 4th 42.3% 8th
Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Australian Capital Territory 2,358 8th 379,600 7th 160.98 1st 98.7% 1st
Flag of the Northern Territory.svg Northern Territory 1,349,129 3rd 236,900 8th 0.18 8th 55.6% 6th

Government and politics[edit]

Political parties in government in 1945.
  Other Coalition
  No government
Main articles: Australian governments, Government of Australia, and Politics of Australia

Federal government[edit]

Branches of the government[edit]

Executive branch[edit]
Legislative branch[edit]
Judicial branch[edit]


Foreign relations[edit]

International organisation membership[edit]

The Commonwealth of Australia is a member of the:[1]

Law and order[edit]

Main article: Law of Australia

State and territory governments[edit]

Local government[edit]


Map showing the creation of the colonies/states and mainland territories.

History of states[edit]


Main article: Culture of Australia


Religion and belief systems in Australia[edit]


Main article: Sport in Australia

Economy and infrastructure[edit]

Main article: Economy of Australia

State economies[edit]


Main articles: Education in Australia and Lists of schools in Australia

States education[edit]

See also[edit]

Main article: Australia


  1. ^ a b "Australia". The World Factbook. United States Central Intelligence Agency. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Both Australian Aborigines and Europeans Rooted in Africa – 50,000 years ago
  3. ^ MacKnight, CC (1976).The Voyage to Marege: Macassan Trepangers in Northern Australia. Melbourne University Press
  4. ^ a b "Australian Demographic Statistics September 2009". Retrieved 3 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Atlas of Australia