These facts about Australia summarize the wealth of cultural diversity and the wealth of resources and innovation that Australia prides itself on. Not only is Australia the biggest island on the planet, but it is also the only nation that governs a continent. Whether traveling to, living in, or just curious about Australia, these facts will enlighten your understanding of one of Earth's earliest known civilizations.
- People Australia has a soaring population of more than 21 million people. English is the most common Australian language – but more than three million Australians speak a different language in their homes. More than twenty percent of Australians were born elsewhere and more than 40 percent of them are of a mixed cultural background. Even though Australia is the sixth largest country in the world—larger than Europe by 50 percent—crowding is not a problem. Australia still manages to have the world's lowest population density—two people for every square kilometer. The beach is an integral social fixture—more than 80 percent of Australians live within 31.07 miles (50 kilometers) of the coast.
- Exports and Economics Australia's stable economy is the fourteenth largest in the world, the fifteenth richest per capita, and the ninth biggest industrialized economy as of 2007. Agricultural, fuel, and mineral resources are plentiful—especially gold and opals. In fact, 95 percent of the world's opals originate from Australia, including 99 percent of the world's black opals. Wool is also an abundant Australian commodity, with more than 85 million sheep herded. Australia also manages to export the most beef in the entire world.
- Native Animals The two most widely recognized animals of Australian origin are the kangaroo and the koala. They are both members of the marsupial species. Although kangaroos do live throughout Australia, red kangaroos prefer flat open terrain while grey kangaroos tend to gravitate towards denser forest areas. Kangaroos have a friendly reputation, but to avoid the risk of injury do not approach kangaroos directly or stare them down. Koalas are easy to find in South Australia and Queensland, where there are a sufficient amount of trees. The larger sized koalas live in Victoria, while the more diminutive koalas live in the North Queensland section of Australia. The life span of koalas is between ten and twenty years.
- Inventions Australians have created plenty of technological and health-orientated innovations. In the medical field Australians developed aspirin in 1915, pacemakers in 1926, penicillin in 1940, plastic disposable syringed in 1949, and long-wearing contact lenses in 1999. Even the notepad that you use to take notes in was invented in Australia back in 1902.