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География Australia and Oceania
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European, Latin, Greek, geologically, Southern Hemisphere, Timor Sea, Arafura Sea, Papua New Guinea, Torres Strait, Coral Sea Islands Territory, Great Barrier Reef, New Zealand, Tasman Sea, Tasmania, Central Lowlands, Eastern Highlands, New South Walles, Sydney, Victoria, Melbourne, Queen, Brisbone, South Australia, Adelaide, Western Australia, Perth, Hobart, Northern Territory, Darwin, Australian Capital Territory, Canberra.

Scattered across the Pacific Ocean are thousands of islands. They range in size from Australia to tiny islands, so small that no one has ever lived on them. Years ago a European geographer thought that he needed a single name for this region. He decided that since the region was located “in the Great Ocean”, he would call it Oceania. Because Oceania is so vast, another geographer divided it into four parts: Australia, Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. Australia means “southern island” in Latin. The other three names come from Greek. Polynesia means “many islands”, and Micronesia means “small islands”; and Melanesia, “black islands”, so-called because of the dark-skinned people who live there. Geologically all the islands are of three types: continental islands, volcanic islands and coral islands.

Australia, the smallest continent and one of the largest countries on Earth, lies between the Pacific and Indian oceans in Southern Hemisphere. The continent is bounded by latitudes 100 and 440 S and by longitudes 1120 and 1540 E. Australia is separated from Indonesia by the Timor and the Arafura seas; from Papua New Guinea by the Torres Strait; from the Coral Sea Islands Territory by the Great Barrier Reef; from New Zealand by the Tasman Sea and from Antarctica by the Indian Ocean. The territory of Australia (including Tasmania) is about eight million square kilometers. The western part of Australia forms a plateau which occupies half of the continent. The Central Lowlands, a great part of which is very dry, lie between the Western Australian plateau and Eastern Highlands. Through the eastern part of these central Lowlands run Australia’s greatest rivers, the Murray and the Darling. Australia has several different climatic regions, from warm to subtropical and tropical. The climate in the west is very dry and more than half of Australia gets very little rain. There are two hot deserts in the central and western parts of the continent. Tropical forests are situated in the north-east because the winds from the sea bring heavy rainfalls. The tropical forests are displaced by savanna or grassland. In the south-east and on the sides of the mountains there are forests of eucalyptus and other ever-green trees.

The native animals of Australia include some of the strangest mammal on the earth, such as the kangaroo, koala, wombat and Tasmanian devil, all of which carry their young in stomach pouches. Australia’s bird life includes a great variety of parrots, the lyrebirds, with its unusual plumage, the brush turkey, and other interesting species.

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is the federal state within the Commonwealth of Nations. Formally the head of the state is the King or Queen of England represented by the Governor-General. The Commonwealth of Australia consists of six states and two territories: New South Walles (the capital is Sydney), Victoria (Melbourne), Queensland (Brisbane), South Australia (Adelaide), Western Australia (Perth), Tasmania (Hobart), Northern Territory (Darwin), Australian Capital Territory (Canberra).