Regional Geography 105

Australia and New Zealand

Defined as a separate realm based on:
1) size of the territory
2) relatively isolated location
3) cultural distinctiveness in the region


Small population - 22,526,000 (2010)
Officially passed 20,000,000 on 4 Dec. 2003
Population located along east coast
Sparsely populated interior


Three main physiologic divisions
"Outback" -


Most of Australia falls into the Hot climates - hot; semiarid, and humid
East Coast and Southern coastal areas are more moderate - humid, temperate

Mineral Resources

Third largest producer of minerals and metals in the world.70+ minerals mined
World's leading producer of bauxite, mineral sands (ilmenite, rutile and zircon) and tantalum, opal.
Major world producer of uranium, iron ore, lead, zinc and nickel.
Mineral Fuels - coal, natural gas, petroleum gas and uranium - Produces 75% of its crude oil domestic needs

Not much manufacturing, despite abundant resources- this is changing due to government incentives
Most resources are shipped out of the country.
27% of mineral resources go to Japan. (Other major importers of Australian mineral resources: China, South Korea, India, Singapore)


Sheep, sheep, and more sheep
118,552,000 - 2000
110,928,000 - 2001
106,000,000 - 2002
99,252,000 - 2003
101,288,000 - 2004
101,125,000 - 2005
91,028,000 - 2006
85,711,000 - 2007
76,938,000 - 2008
72,700,000 - 2009
68,000,000 - 2010
1/5 of all wool sold in the world comes from Australia

Cattle ranching
27,006,900cattle in 2009

Sugar Cane: 32,621,000 metric tons
Wheat: 20,938,700 metric tons
Barley: 7,669,200 metric tons
Other Produce: Oats, Grapes, Sorghum, Canola, Potatoes, Rice, Tomatoes, Maize, Oranges, Cotton, Carrots, Bananas, Apples, Pears, Pineapples, Peaches, Soybean, Sunflower, Peanuts, Tobacco

Independent Australia?

Although an independent country, maintains close constitutional links to the British monarchy.
Democratic, federal-state system recognizing the British monarch as sovereign.
Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of Australia, and formally the Head of Government.

Similarities to the U.S.

Similar cultural ties to Europe
Both were colonies of the British Empire
Australia was Penal Colony beginning in 1788, until 1868- total of 168,000 convicts

Similar size as the conterminous U.S.
Population distribution pattern is similar
Temperate climates in the east- arid climate in the west
Vast mineral resources

Attitude Towards Indigenous Population
Australian settlement and expansion west displaced Aboriginal groups
Native populations were severely reduced in some areas- Tasmania saw a near complete extermination of the Tasmanians- only a small group exists today


Whitlam Government's policy of self-determination - 1972
Self-Determination - "Aboriginal communities decide the pace and nature of their future development as significant components within a diverse Australia".
"Self-Determination" has since been replaced with "Self-Management"

Land Rights Act

Aboriginal Land Rights Act - 1976- Gave Aboriginal people inalienable freehold title to all Aboriginal reserves
Native Title Amendment Act - 1998- focus on indigenous land use and native title issues
Other Civil Rights Issues