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The history of Australia is just one of the topics that we cover in our preview of this continent found in the Southern Hemisphere.
Most Australians believe that British Royal Navy Lieutenant James Cook was the first man to discover Australia after the Endeavor made landfall in Botany Bay in 1770.
Australia was actually discovered by the Chinese long before Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon made landfall on the western side of Australia in 1606, more than 150 years before Cook arrived.
Records show that in 1603 an Italian Jesuit priest named Father Matteo Ricci, who had spent a great deal of time in China, had noted on an early map of the world where Australia is located, Fire Land and Land of Parrots, in Chinese characters.
Did you know that up until 19 April 1984, God Save the Queen was the National Anthem of Australia?
Australia is an English speaking country with a population of 21 million and was part of the British Empire until gaining independence in 1986. Despite this independence, Australia remains a part of the Commonwealth Games held every four years.
Australias National Anthem, Advance Australia Fair, was first performed at a function in Sydney on 30 November 1878. It wasnt until Bob Hawkes Labor government was in office in 1984 that Advance Australia Fair was implemented as the Australian National Anthem.
Tourism is one of the boom industries in Australia with holidaymakers regularly visiting several stunning beaches along the Australian coastline. The Great Barrier Reef is one of two heritage listed natural icons in Australia the other being Uluru or Ayres Rock near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
Australia is such a sport mad nation that the most famous sporting event in the country is the Melbourne Cup horse race run each year on the second Tuesday in November. The greatest two-mile handicap in the world is part of the Melbourne Spring Carnival and Cup week in Melbourne is one major event every Australian should experience.
Australia is the worlds smallest continent and is made up of six states and two territories. The states are New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania while the two territories include the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The Capital of Australia is Canberra, which is located in the ACT.
Both of these holiday destinations have hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the year including Australian and overseas visitors.
All forms of transport are available in Australia for locals and visitors to enjoy. You can catch a train from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the far north of Australia or catch a plane from Sydney on the East Coast of the country and fly straight across the Nullarbor to the West Coast and Perth in Western Australia.
You will need Australian Dollars when visiting Australia with denomination of notes made in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. There are also coins consisting of .05c, .10c, .20c, 50c, $1 and $2. There are also $5 and $200 gold coins, although these are mainly collector items.