U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Australia, May 1996
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Prepared and released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs,
Office of Australia and New Zealand Affairs
Official Name: Commonwealth of Australia
Area: 7.7 million sq. km. (3 million sq. mi.); about the size of the 48
continental United States.
Cities: Capital--Canberra (pop. 310,100). Other cities--Sydney (3.7
million), Melbourne (3.1 million), Brisbane (1.3 million), Perth (1.2
Terrain: Varied, but generally low-lying.
Climate: Relatively dry, ranging from temperate in the south to
tropical in the north.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Australian(s).
Population (1995): 18.2 million.
Annual growth rate: 1.1%.
Ethnic groups: European 94%, Asian 5%, Aboriginal 1%.
Religions: Anglican 24%, Roman Catholic 26%.
Education: Years compulsory--to age 15 in all states except Tasmania,
where it is 16. Literacy--99%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--9/1,000. Life expectancy--males 74 yrs.
females 80 yrs.
Work force 9.2 million: Agriculture--5%. Mining, manufacturing, and
utilities--23%. Services--67%. Public administration and Defense--
Type: Democratic, federal-state system recognizing British monarch as
Constitution: July 9, 1900.
Independence (federation): January 1, 1901.
Branches: Executive--prime minister and cabinet responsible to
Parliament. Legislative--bicameral Parliament (76-member Senate,
148-member House of Representatives). Judicial--independent
Administrative subdivisions: Six states and two territories.
Political parties: Liberal, National, Australian Labor, Australian
Suffrage: Universal and compulsory over 18.
Central government budget (FY 1995-96): $92 billion.
Defense (est.1995-96): 2.1% of GDP or 8.0% of government budget.
Flag: On a blue field, UK Union Jack in the top left corner, a large
white star directly beneath symbolizing federation, and five smaller
white stars on the right half representing the Southern Cross
GDP $349.3 billion.
Per capita income: $19,100.
Inflation rate: 3.7% p.a.
Natural resources: Bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, silver, uranium,
nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, oil.
Agriculture 4% of GDP: Products--livestock, wheat, wool, sugar.
Industry 35% of GDP: Types--mining, manufacturing, transportation
Trade: Exports--$53.3 billion (1995): coal, gold, wool, meat, iron ore,
wheat, alumina, aluminium, machinery and transport equipment.
Major markets--Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, US ($3.5 billion),
Singapore, Taiwan. Imports--$57.7 billion (1995): machinery and
transport equipment, computers, crude oil and petroleum products,
telecommunications equipment. Major suppliers--US ($12.5 billion),
Japan, Germany, UK, China, New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore.
Official exchange rate: The Australian dollar floats freely. Over the
period January-May 1996 the Australian dollar traded between
US$0.73 to US$0.80.
Fiscal year: July 1-June 30.
UN and most of its specialized and related agencies, including the UN
Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Food and
Agricultural Organization (FAO), General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade (GATT); Organization of Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD); Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum
(APEC); Asian Development Bank (ADB); Economic and Social
Council for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); Australia-New Zealand-US
alliance (ANZUS); Commonwealth; Colombo Plan; International
Energy Agency (IEA); the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Group.
Australia's aboriginal inhabitants, a hunting-gathering people generally
referred to as Australoids or Aborigines, arrived about 40,000 years
ago. Although their technical culture remained static-- depending on
wood, bone, and stone tools and weapons--their spiritual and social life
was highly complex. Most spoke several languages, and confederacies
sometimes linked widely scattered tribal groups. Aboriginal
population density ranged from 1 person per square mile along the
coasts to 1 person per 35 square miles in the arid interior. Food
procurement was usually a matter for the nuclear family and was very
demanding, since there was little large game and they had no
Australia may have been sighted by Portuguese sailors in 1601, and
Captain Cook claimed it for the United Kingdom in 1770. At that time,
the native population may have numbered 300,000 in as many as 500
tribes speaking many different languages. The aboriginal population
currently numbers about 230,000, representing about 1.2% of the
population. Since the end of World War II, efforts have been made
both by the government and by the public to be more responsive to
aboriginal rights and needs.
Today, tribal aborigines lead a settled traditional life in remote areas of
northern, central, and western Australia. In the south, where most
aborigines are of mixed descent, movement to the cities is increasing.
Immigration has been essential to Australia's development since the
beginning of European settlement in 1788. For generations most
settlers came from the British Isles, and the people of Australia are still
predominantly of British or Irish origin, with a culture and outlook
similar to those of Americans. However, since the end of World War
II, the population has more than doubled; non-European immigration,
mostly from the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, has increased
significantly since 1960 through an extensive, planned immigration
program. From 1945 through 1990, nearly 5 million immigrants
settled in Australia, and about 80% have remained; one of every five
Australians is foreign-born. Britain and Ireland have been the largest
sources of post-war immigrants, followed by Italy, Greece, and
The 1970s saw progressive reductions in the size of the annual
immigration program due to economic and employment conditions; in
1969-70, 185,000 persons were permitted to settle, but by 1985-86 the
number had dropped to 84,000. In 1995 Australia accepted about
76,500 regular immigrants. In addition, during the last decade about
20,000 New Zealanders have settled in Australia each year.
Australia's refugee admissions of about 13,000 per year are in addition
to the normal immigration program. Forty percent are from Indochina
and make up the largest single element in Australia's refugee program
in recent years. Since 1975, the country has accepted more than
125,000 refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; it now has, on a
per capita basis, more Indochinese refugees as permanent residents
than any other country.
Although Australia has scarcely more than two persons per square
kilometer, it is one of the world's most urbanized countries. Fewer than
15% of the population live in rural areas.
Much of Australia's culture is derived from European roots, but
distinctive Australian features have evolved from the environment,
aboriginal culture, and the influence of Australia's neighbors. The
vigor and originality of the arts in Australia--films, opera, music,
painting, theater, dance, and crafts--are achieving international
Australia has had a significant school of painting since the early days
of European settlement, and Australians with international reputations
include Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, and Arthur Boyd. Writers
who have achieved world recognition include Thomas Keneally,
Colleen McCullough, Nevil Shute, Morris West, Jill Ker Conway, and
Nobel Prize winner Patrick White. Australian movies have become
well known in recent years as well.
Australia was uninhabited before stone culture peoples arrived, perhaps
by boat across the waters separating the island from the Indonesia
archipelago about 40,000 years ago. Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and
English explorers observed the island before 1770, when Capt. James
Cook explored the east coast and claimed it for Great Britain (three
American colonists were crew members aboard Cook's ship, the
Endeavor). On January 26, 1788 (now celebrated as Australia Day),
the First Fleet under Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Sydney, and
formal proclamation of the establishment of the Colony of New South
Wales followed on February 7. Many, but by no means all, of the first
settlers were convicts, condemned for offenses that today would often
be thought trivial. The mid-19th century saw the beginning of
government policies to emancipate convicts and assist the immigration
of free persons. The discovery of gold in 1851 led to increased
population, wealth, and trade.
The six colonies that now constitute the states of the Australian
Commonwealth were established in the following order: New South
Wales, 1788; Tasmania, 1825; Western Australia, 1830; South
Australia, 1836; Victoria, 1851; and Queensland, 1859.
Settlement had preceded these dates in most cases. Discussions
between Australian and British representatives led to adoption by the
British Government of an act to constitute the Commonwealth of
Australia in 1900.
The first federal Parliament was opened at Melbourne in May 1901 by
the Duke of York (later King George V). In May 1927, the seat of
government was transferred to Canberra, a planned city designed by an
American, Walter Burley Griffin, and the first session of Parliament in
that city was opened by another Duke of York (later King George VI).
Australia passed the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act on October
9, 1942, which officially established Australia's complete autonomy in
both internal and external affairs. Its passage formalized a situation
that had existed for years. The Australia Act (1986) eliminated the last
vestiges of British legal authority.
The Commonwealth government was created with a constitution
patterned partly on the US Constitution. The powers of the
Commonwealth are specifically defined in the constitution, and the
residual powers remain with the states.
Australia is an independent nation within the Commonwealth. Queen
Elizabeth II is the sovereign and since 1973 has been officially styled
"Queen of Australia." The Queen is represented throughout Australia
by a governor general and in each state by a governor.
The federal Parliament is bicameral, consisting of a Senate and a House
of Representatives. Twelve senators from each state and two from
each territory are elected for 6-year terms, with half elected every 3
years. The 148 members of the House of Representatives are allocated
among the states and territories roughly in proportion to population. In
ordinary legislation, the two chambers have coordinate powers, but all
proposals for appropriating revenue or imposing taxes must be
introduced in the House of Representatives. Under the prevailing
Westminster parliamentary system, the leader of the political party or
coalition of parties that wins a majority of the seats in the House of
Representatives is named prime minister. The prime minister and the
cabinet wield actual power and are responsible to the Parliament, of
which they must be elected members. General elections are held at
least once every 3 years; the last general election was in March 1996.
Each state is headed by a premier, who is the leader of the party with a
majority or a working minority in the lower house of the state
legislature. Australia also has two self-governing territories, the
Australian Capital Territory (where Canberra is located) and the
Northern Territory, with political systems similar to those of the states.
At the apex of the court system is the High Court of Australia. It has
general appellate jurisdiction over all other federal and state courts and
possesses the power of constitutional review.
Principal Government Officials
Governor General--Sir William Deane
Prime Minister--John W. Howard
Foreign Minister--Alexander Downer
Ambassador to the United States--John McCarthy
Ambassador to the United Nations--Richard W. Butler
Australia maintains an embassy in the United States at 1601
Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. 202-797-
3000), and consulates general in New York (212-408-8400), San
Francisco (415-362-6160), Honolulu (808-524-5050), Los Angeles
(310-229-4800), Atlanta (404-880-1700) and Houston (713-629-9131).
Three political parties dominate the center of the Australian political
spectrum: the Liberal Party (LP), nominally representing urban
business-related groups; the National Party (NP), nominally
representing rural interests; and the Australian Labor Party (ALP),
nominally representing the trade unions and liberal groups. Although
embracing some leftists, the ALP traditionally has been moderately
socialist in its policies and approaches to social issues. All political
groups are tied by tradition to turn-of-the-century domestic welfare
policies, which have kept Australia in the forefront of societies offering
extensive social welfare programs. There is strong bipartisan sentiment
on many international issues, including Australia's commitment to its
alliance with the United States.
The Liberal Party/National Party Coalition came to power in a
sweeping victory in March 1996 behind John Howard, defeating the
Australian Labor Party which had been in office for 13 years. The
Liberal Party holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives, the
National Party 18 seats, the ALP 49, and there are five independents.
When the new Senate takes office on July 1, 1996 the Liberal Party
will have 31 seats of the 76 seats, the Australian Labor Party 29, the
National Party 6, the Australian Democrats 7, the Greens 2 and there
will be 1 independent.. Thus, the Liberal Party/National Party
Coalition will be 3 seats short of a majority in the Senate. This could
be crucial because the Australian Democrats, who hold the balance of
power in the Senate, have indicated that they will block important
legislation that the Coalition is determined to pass. In addition,
budgetary legislation, while originating in the House, must be approved
by the Senate. In 1975 repeated refusal by the Liberal/National
opposition in the Senate to approve the budget in 1975 led to
dissolution of the then-Labor government by the Governor-General. If
the Government is unable to pass its legislation through the Senate, it
can ask the Governor General for a "double dissolution," under which
the entire parliament is dissolved and all members must stand for
reelection at the same time. The new government can then convene a
combined session of both Houses of Parliament to pass legislation.
Historically, the Australian economy has consisted of export-oriented
agricultural and mining sectors coupled with a diversified
manufacturing/service sector dedicated to domestic requirements. That
pattern is changing slowly. In 1993-94, 61% of all Australian exports
were primary agricultural or mineral products, down from 67% in
1989-90. Still, the Australian economy and balance of payments are
strongly influenced by world prices for primary products.
Australia has immense mineral and energy resources. It is one of the
world's leading producers and exporters of aluminum, alumina,
bauxite, cobalt, copper, industrial diamonds, gold, iron ore, lead,
nickel, silver, and uranium. In addition, abundant supplies of coal,
natural gas, liquid petroleum gas, and uranium make Australia a net
exporter of energy products.
The manufacturing sector has been limited by Australia's small
domestic market and labor force and relatively high labor costs fostered
by strong unions. A broad-based manufacturing sector was developed,
nonetheless, partly due to an extensive range of tariffs and other
protective measures. The trade barriers that insulated domestic
industry from foreign competition are, today, seen as having restrained
the growth of industrial modernization and productivity. Since 1984,
the government has moved to reduce or eliminate tariffs and sectoral-
assistance measures. More recent macroeconomic reforms have
boosted economic diversification, export orientation, and the
manufacturing industries. Exports of elaborately transformed products
are growing faster than any other category of exports and
manufactures' share of total exports is increasing.
When it floated the Australian dollar and allowed it to fall dramatically
from 1984 to 1987, the government began the process of making the
manufacturing sector more competitive with imports and more capable
of exporting overseas. Corporate taxes were significantly reduced, and
the unions agreed to gradual reductions in real wages. With industry
thus strengthened, protective barriers began to be dismantled. The
financial sector was liberalized and exposed to international
competition. In 1988, the government embarked on a 5-year program
to reduce tariffs to maximum levels of 10% and, in some cases, 15%.
A statement of government industrial policy in March 1991 extended
this tariff reduction program into the late 1990s. By 1996, most tariffs
are to be reduced to 5 percent.
Foreign investment has been vital in the development of Australian
ranching, transport, and manufacturing. The Australian government
welcomes foreign investment congenial to the Australian community,
particularly if it is for export-oriented industries and creates
employment opportunities. Some restrictions on foreign ownership
exist for the media, civil aviation, mining, and certain kinds of real
estate. In 1995, cumulative US investment in Australia totaled more
than $65 billion and accounted for 21% of total foreign investment.
Australia suffered a significant recession in 1990/91, followed by a
period of rapid growth over 1992-94. Real GDP growth slowed to
3.1% in 1995, but is expected to approach 4% over 1996. Inflation,
which reached 5.1% during the recovery has now fallen below 4%.
Unemployment continues to hover above 8%, due to stagnant
economic growth. The government's projected budget deficit for FY
1996-97 is estimated to be $6 billion; however, the new government
has committed itself to enough public sector spending cuts to deliver a
balanced budget for FY 1996-97. The current account deficit for FY
1995-96 is forecast to be around $16 billion (4.2% of GDP), down
from $20 billion in FY 1994-95 (5.9% of GDP). The fall in Australia's
trade deficit can mainly be attributed to the effects of slower economic
growth during 1995 on imports, and to the increase in exports from the
farm sector after the breaking of the drought. Australia's gross external
debt ($137.5 billion in 1995) is high, but easily serviced by export
Over the long term, Australia's economic prospects generally are
bright. The successful conclusion of the GATT Uruguay Round of
trade liberalization negotiations should boost overall economic activity,
exports, and employment. In addition, the integration of the Australian
economy into the rapidly growing Asia/Pacific region, and increasing
emphasis on using the Asia and the Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) forum to advance regional economic liberalization, should
boost future growth.
Australia has been active in international affairs since World War II.
Its first major independent foreign policy action was to conclude an
agreement in 1944 with New Zealand dealing with the security,
welfare, and advancement of the people of the independent territories
of the Pacific (the ANZAC pact). After the war, Australia played a role
in the Far Eastern Commission in Japan and supported Indonesian
independence during that country's revolt against the Dutch (1945-49).
Australia was one of the founders of both the United Nations and the
South Pacific Commission (1947), and in 1950, it proposed the
Colombo Plan to assist developing countries in Asia. In addition to
contributing to UN forces in Korea (it was the first country to announce
it would do so after the United States), Australia sent troops to assist in
putting down the communist revolt in Malaya in 1948-60 and later to
combat the Indonesian-supported invasion of Sarawak in 1963-65.
Australia also sent troops to assist South Vietnamese and US forces in
Vietnam and joined coalition forces in the Persain Gulf conflict in
1991. Australia has been active in the Australia-New Zealand-UK
agreement and the Five-Power Defense Arrangement, successive
arrangements with Britain and New Zealand to ensure the security of
Singapore and Malaysia.
One of the drafters of the UN Charter, Australia has given firm support
to the United Nations and its specialized agencies. It was a member of
the Security Council in 1986-87, a member of the Economic and Social
Council for 1986-89, and currently is a member of the UN Human
Rights Commission. Australia takes a prominent part in many other
UN activities, including peacekeeping, disarmament negotiations, and
narcotics control. Australia also is active in meetings of the
Commonwealth Regional Heads of Government and the South Pacific
Forum, and has been a leader in the Cairns Group (countries pressing
for agricultural trade reform in the Uruguay Round of the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations) and in the Asia-
Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
Australia has devoted particular attention to relations between
developed and developing nations, with emphasis on the countries of
the Association of South East Asian Nations--Indonesia, Singapore,
Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Brunei--and the island states
of the South Pacific. Australia has a large bilateral aid program (about
$1.2 billion for 1995-96, mostly in the form of grants) under which
some 80 countries receive assistance. Papua New Guinea, a former
Australian trust territory, is the largest recipient of Australian
ANZUS AND DEFENSE
The Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) security treaty
was concluded at San Francisco on September 1, 1951, and entered
into force on April 29, 1952. The treaty bound the signatories to
recognize that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of them would
endanger the peace and safety of the others. It committed them to
consult in the event of threat and, in the event of attack, to meet the
common danger in accordance with their respective constitutional
processes. The three nations also pledged to maintain and develop
individual and collective capabilities to resist attack.
In 1985, the nature of the ANZUS alliance changed after the
government of New Zealand refused access to its ports by nuclear-
weapons-capable and nuclear-powered ships of the US Navy. The
United States suspended defense obligations to New Zealand, and
annual bilateral meetings between the US Secretary of State and the
Australian Foreign Minister replaced annual meetings of the ANZUS
Council of Foreign Ministers. The first bilateral meeting was held in
Canberra in 1985. At the second, in San Francisco in 1986, the United
States and Australia announced that the United States was suspending
its treaty security obligations to New Zealand pending the restoration
of port access. Subsequent bilateral ministerial meetings have
alternated between Australia and the United States.
The US-Australia alliance under the ANZUS treaty remains in full
force. Defense ministers of one or both nations often have joined the
annual ministerial meetings, which are supplemented by consultations
between the US Commander in Chief Pacific and the Australian Chief
of Defense Force. There also are regular civilian and military
consultations between the two governments at lower levels.
Unlike NATO, ANZUS has no integrated defense structure or
dedicated forces. However, in fulfillment of ANZUS obligations,
Australia and the United States conduct a variety of joint activities.
These include military exercises ranging from naval and landing
exercises at the task-group level to battalion-level special forces
training, assigning officers to each other's armed services, and
standardizing, where possible, equipment and operational doctrine.
The two countries also operate several joint defense facilities in
The Australian Defense Force numbers about 58,000 persons on active
duty. Personnel strength is 26,000 in the Army, 14,000 in the Navy,
and 18,000 in the Air Force. Another 21,000 are involved in support,
development, and command activities. The Royal Australian Navy's
front-line fleet currently comprises three guided-missile destroyers, six
guided-missile frigates, three destroyer escorts, and five Oberon-class
submarines. The F/A-18 fighter, built in Australia under license from
the manufacturer, is the principal combat aircraft of the Royal
Australian Air Force.
The World War II experience, similarities in culture and historical
background, and shared democratic values have made US relations
with Australia exceptionally close. Ties linking the two nations cover
the entire spectrum of international relations, from commercial and
cultural contacts to political and defense cooperation. Traditional
friendship is reinforced by the wide range of common interests and
similar views on most major international questions. For example,
both countries called for the Soviet Union to withdraw its troops from
Afghanistan; both sent military forces to the Persian Gulf in support of
UN Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq's occupation of
Kuwait; and both attach high priority to controlling and eventually
eliminating chemical weapons. The Australian government and
opposition share the view that Australia's security depends on firm ties
with the United States, and the ANZUS treaty enjoys broad bipartisan
Frictions sometimes arise in trade relations. In recent years, the
Australians have protested what they consider US protectionist barriers
against their exports of wool, meat, dairy products, lead, zinc, and
uranium. At various times, Australia has expressed concern about the
spillover effect on world trade of US inflation, government deficits,
and agricultural export subsidies. Multilaterally, Australia and the
United States work together very closely in the new World Trade
Organization for the elimination of subsidies and import barriers in
world agricultural markets. In addition, both are active members of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
A number of US institutions conduct scientific activities in Australia
because of its geographical position, large land mass, advanced
technology, and, above all, the ready cooperation of its government
and scientists. The U.S. and Australia have been discussing a new
science and technology agreement to replace one which dates back to
1968. Under a separate agreement concluded in the same year, and
since renewed, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration
maintains in Australia its largest and most important program outside
the United States, including a number of tracking facilities vital to the
US space program.
Principal US Officials
Ambassador--Edward J. Perkins
Deputy Chief of Mission--Kaarn J. Weaver
Economic Counselor--Ralph R. Moore
Political Counselor--Roger McGuire
Administrative Counselor--Marshall F. Atkins
Public Affairs Officer--Sheila W. Austrian
Defense and Air Attache and Representative of the Commander in
Chief Pacific--Col. Stephen E. Barneyback, USAF
Agricultural Counselor--James A. Truran
Senior Commercial Officer--John. M. Bligh (resident in Sydney)
The US Embassy in Australia is located at Moonah Place, Yarralumla,
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600 (tel. 6-270-5000; fax 6-
270-5970). Consulates General are in Sydney (tel. 2-373-9200; fax 2-
373-9107), Melbourne (tel. 3-9526-5900; fax 3-9510-4646), and Perth
(tel. 9-231-9400; fax. 9-231-9444).
Climate and clothing: Most of southern Australia has warm summers
and mild winters (seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern
Hemisphere). Light-weight clothing can be worn year-round except in
the more temperate regions during winter; warmer clothes and an
overcoat are then required.
Customs and Visas: In general, when visitors arrive in Australia they
must present a visitor's visa (usually valid for multiple entries within 5
years of issue or until passport expires) and a return or onward-passage
ticket. Stays of 6 months per entry may be permitted. The U.S. and
Australia are discussing approval of a de facto reciprocal visa-waiver
program. If approved, Americans might be able to travel as early as
late 1996 to Australia for 3 months or less for business or pleasure
without a visa.
Immunizations are not usually required for travelers when arriving
directly from the United States, New Zealand, or Europe. Health
requirements change; before departure, check with an airline ticket
office, the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC, or the nearest
Australian consulate general.
No restrictions are placed on bringing US dollars into or out of
Australia. No more than 5,000 Australian dollars in Australian
currency notes may be taken out. Letters of credit, travelers checks,
and US currency are freely negotiable. A tourist's personal property
generally is exempt from customs duty. Pets are allowed entry only
after long periods of quarantine outside Australia, if at all.
Health: Australia has no unusual health problems or serious endemic
diseases, and no special health precautions are necessary for tourists.
Hospitals are modern.
Telecommunications: Reliable international telephone, telegraph, telex,
and postal services are available.
Tourist attractions: Australians are great sports enthusiasts. Horse
racing, cricket, tennis, rugby, and Australian football attract large
crowds. The Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race commences December 26;
the yachting armada streaming out the majestic Heads of Sydney
Harbor is a magnificent sight. Surfing carnivals are staged by Surf Life
Saving Associations on summer weekends in many parts of Australia.
Melbourne is renowned for fine race and golf courses and for its Royal
Botanical Garden. Sites of interest include the National Museum
(natural history) and the Old Melbourne Gaol and Penal Museum--a
prison built in 1841, with relics from the more colorful chapters of
In Sydney, favorite attractions are the tour of its breathtaking harbor;
the Sydney Opera House, with its striking architecture; the Rocks area,
often referred to as "the cradle of Sydney;" and the Taronga Park Zoo.
The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland, is renowned as
Time zones: Australia has three time zones. When the US east coast is
on daylight saving time, the Australian east coast is 14 hours ahead,
i.e., 6 p.m. eastern daylight time is 8 a.m. the next day on the
Australian east coast. When the US resumes standard time and
Australia assumed daylight savings time, the difference generally
becomes 16 hours.
National holidays: New Year's Day, Australia Day (Jan. 26 or the first
Monday after that date), Good Friday, Easter Monday, ANZAC Day
(April 25), Queen's Birthday (second Monday in June), Christmas Day,
Boxing Day (Dec. 26).
Available from the Superintendent of Documents, US Government
Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402:
American University. Area Handbook for Australia.
For information on foreign economic trends, commercial development,
production, trade regulations, and tariff rates, contact the International
Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington,
DC 20230. This information also is available from any Commerce
Department district office.
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