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Get to know the gang-gang cockatoo

They are the faunal emblem of the Australian Capital Territory, but enthusiasm for the gang-gang cockatoo stretches far beyond the Canberra bubble.

Ivermectin could save the endangered Australian sea lion

Australian sea lions—a national government conservation priority species—have new hope for survival, thanks to a successful University of Sydney trial of ivermectin to treat hookworm infection.

Surprise discovery of two new—and very loud—frog species

Scientists from the University of Newcastle, Australian Museum, South Australian Museum, and Queensland National Parks and Wildlife have found and described two new, very loud frog species from eastern Australia: the Slender ...

Fishing for solutions to the plastic problem

More than 35 percent of fish caught in the waters off southern Australia contain microplastics, and the problem is most acute in South Australia, with plastic found in 49 percent of fish, according to research from the University ...

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Australia

Australia (pronounced /əˈstreɪljə, ɒˈstreɪljə/, or formally /ɔːˈstreɪliə/), officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the southern hemisphere comprising the mainland, which is both the world's smallest continent and the world's largest island, the island of Tasmania, and numerous other islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.N4 Australia is the only place that is simultaneously considered a continent, a country and an island. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east and New Zealand to the southeast.

For around 40,000 years before European settlement commenced in the late 18th century, the Australian mainland and Tasmania were inhabited by around 250 individual nations of indigenous Australians. After sporadic visits by fishermen from the immediate north, and European discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, the eastern half of Australia was claimed by the British in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales, founded on 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in the following years; the continent was explored, and during the 19th century another five largely self-governing Crown Colonies were established.

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies became a federation, and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and remains a Commonwealth realm. The population is just over 21.7 million, with approximately 60% concentrated in and around the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. The nation's capital city is Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Technologically advanced and industrialised, Australia is a prosperous multicultural country and has excellent results in many international comparisons of national performance such as health care, life expectancy, quality-of-life, human development, public education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Australian cities also routinely rank among the world's highest in terms of livability, cultural offerings, and quality of life. It is a member of the United Nations, G-20 major economies, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, OECD, and the WTO.

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