Australia on the world’s tourist map — страница 3

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oceans and seas: in the south, west and north by the Indian Ocean, in the east by the Pacific. It lies far from the other parts of the world. For this reason Europe was long unaware of it’s existence. It was not until the beginning of the 17th century that Australia was discovered by the Dutch. Like the other continents of the Southern Hemisphere Australia’s coastlines are smooth, with few peninsulas and bays. In the south it is washed by the Great Australian Bight which, however, penetrates only slightly inland. Its shores are regular and unsuited for harbours. Along the north-eastern coast extends the Great Barrier Reef for 2000 kilometers, at some distance from the land and interrupted in places by narrow straits. In the north it is barely two kilometers wide. In the south

it widens to 150 kilometers. It consists of submarine rocks (cays) above water in places and fantastically shaped. These have been built by the coral polyp, a small sea animal living in the warm waters of the southern seas. The Great Barrier Reef makes it hard for ships to approach the shore. Off the southern shores lies the island of Tasmania, separated by a shallow strait from the mainland. The climate Two-thirds of Australia, mostly in the centre and the west, is desert. There are hills and big dry salt lakes, and it is very difficult to grow anything. Not many people live there. In the north, half the year is 'wet', and half is 'dry'. From November to April -heavy rain fills the rivers and makes enormous lakes where thousands of birds come for the summer. From May to October

it is often sunny and dry for weeks, and it is a popular place for winter holidays in the sun. The only place where snow falls in Australia is in the south-east and Tasmania. The highest mountain, Mount Kosciusko, in the Great Dividing Range, near the eastern coast, is 2,228 metres high. Most of Australia's population lives in the south and east of the country, where the summers are warm and the winters not too cold. Australia's longest river is here too - the Murray-Darling, which is 2,700 kilometres long. Tasmania is cooler and wetter than the rest of Australia, with high mountains, thick forests, and some of the world's oldest trees. The Aborigines When British people came to Australia in 1788, they gave the name 'Aborigine' to the people they found there. The 300,000

Aborigines who lived in Australia at that time belonged to more than three hundred different groups and each group had its land and language. They travelled to different parts of their land during the year to find food and water; they ate plants and fruits and caught animals and fish. They did not own many things, and their only buildings were by animals, plants and humans together. This time was called 'Dreamtime', and there are many songs, stories and pictures about it. At special times Aborigines came together in big groups. They painted their bodies and sang, danced and made music. After 1788 their life suddenly began to change. Thousands of Aborigines died from fighting the British or from the diseases that they brought to Australia. The new Australians took a lot of

Aboriginal land, too. Tasmania is a terrible example. In 1804 there were about 7,000 Aborigines there. In 1831 there were 190. By 1876 there were none. Houses made from branches and leaves. This way of life did not damage or destroy the land where they lived. They believed that a long time ago the world was made between 1900 and 1930 special places were made where the Aborigines had to live, far away from other Australians. Life was very difficult for the Aborigines: they could not own land, they could not get jobs very easily, and their children could not go to school with white children. Nobody counted the Aborigines in the Australian population. Some people thought that there was no hope for the Aboriginal people, and many of their languages disappeared successful, many feel

that they belong neither to Aboriginal Australia nor to white Australia. At last now in some cities Aborigines are helping each other to learn about the Aboriginal way of life; young people are taken to the country, where older Aborigines teach them the songs, dances, and way of living of the Aborigines of the past. And perhaps white Australians also are beginning to realize that they can learn a lot about their country from the Aborigines. In fact, after about 1940 the number of Aborigines began to grow again, and now there are about 160,000 in Australia. In some ways life is better; for example, some of the land that the British took now belongs to the Aborigines again. By 1983, the Aborigines owned twenty-eight per cent of the Northern Territory. But for lots of Aborigines