Australia People


Australia is a relatively affluent, industrialized nation but much of its wealth still comes from agriculture and mining. It has a small domestic market and its manufacturing sector is comparatively weak. Nevertheless, a substantial proportion of the population is employed in manufacturing, and for much of Australia's history it has been argued that these industries need tariff protection from imports to ensure their survival.


Australia's population is about 18 million. The most populous states are New South Wales and Victoria, each with a capital city (Sydney and Melbourne) with a population of around three million. The population is concentrated along the east coast from Adelaide to Cairns and in a similar, but smaller, coastal region in Western Australia. The centre of the country is very sparsely populated.


A shrinking majority of people in Australia (around 70%) are at least nominally Christian. Most Protestant churches have merged to become the Uniting Church, although the Church of England has remained separate. The Catholic Church is popular (about a third of Christians are Catholics), with the Original Irish adherents now joined by large numbers of Mediterranean immigrants.


Any visitor from abroad who thinks Australian (that's 'Strine') is simply a weird variant of English/American will soon have a few surprises. For a start many Australians don't even speak Australian - they speak Italian, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Turkish or Greek.


Public holidays vary quite a bit from state to state. Here is a list of the main national and state public holidays: