Interesting Facts about Australia

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Here are some interesting facts about Australia, a snapshot of this unique island continent.

They include statistics about the population by states and capital cities, where they live, languages other than English they speak.

You will also find some brief information about history, geography and environment.

Population and Surface of the Australian States

Over 22.5 million people live on an area of 7,692,030 sq km. This is just under 3 people per each sq km, but Australia population is continuously growing.

The table below shows the surface and population of each state or territory, their capital cities and the population of these cities. All numbers are rounded to provide a big picture only.

State or TerritorySurface (sq km)Population (million) Capital city Population (million)
Western Australia2,530,0002.2Perth1.7
South Australia985,0001.6Adelaide1.2
Australian Capital Territories (ACT)2,3600.3Canberra0.2
Northern Territories1,346,0000.2Darwin0.1

About 62% of the population lives in the 8 capital cities.

Interesting Facts about Australia - The Population

Based on information released by the Bureau of Statistics, here are some useful facts about the population of Australia:

  • it increased by over 1 million between 2001 and 2006,
  • only half of this is a natural increase, immigration accounts for the other half;
  • the increase between 2011 and 2006 was even greater at over 1.6 million;
  • 44% of Australians were either born overseas or have one parent born overseas;
  • people communicate at home in more than 200 languages, in addition to English, and
  • the most common are Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese and Greek;
  • more than 6.5 million migrants have called Australia home since 1945, and
  • the population tripled from about 7 million since then;
  • only 12% live in rural areas,
  • 77% live within 50 km of the coast;
  • 70% of households own their own home.

Interesting Facts about Australia - The History

  • Archaeological discoveries indicate that Indigenous Australians have been living in this continent for about 40,000 to 60,000 years,
  • but written evidence about Australia appeared in the early 17 century.
  • The British empire settled the country on 26 January 1788.

More about the history of this country

Interesting Facts about Australia - The Environment

  • Australia has 10 per cent of the world's biodiversity;
  • the continent has about one million different native species of flora and fauna, and
  • more than 80 per cent of them are unique to this country;
  • Australia is home to 21 of the world's 25 deadliest snakes.
  • Uluru is the second largest monolith in the world, with a circumference of 9.4 km and a height of 348 m;
  • the highest mountain is Mount Kosciuszko - 2,228 metres;
  • Fraser Island in Queensland is the world's largest sand island;
  • Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef in the world - over 2,010 kilometres;
  • the length of the coastline including islands is 59,740 km;
  • Sydney harbour is the largest natural harbour in the world.

Other Interesting Facts About Australia

opera house sydney view

  • the Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO world heritage site;
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge is the widest steel arch bridge in the world;
  • the Sydney Tower is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere;
  • the Ghan is the train (and railway) that crosses the harshest regions in the country from north to south - 2,979 km;
  • the Ghan travels from Adelaide to Darwin.

Looking for more unusual facts? Or for some fun facts? Here they are.

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