Location and Physical Features

The name ‘Australia’ has been derived from the Latin word australis meaning southern. Australia is newer than the ‘New World’. First settlement in Australia took place in 1788. It is because Europeans were slow to explore Australia. Australia lies between the latitudes 10° 41′ S and 43° 38′ S and between 113° 09′ E and 153° 38′ E longitudes. It lies entirely in the Eastern Hemisphere. The oceans surrounding this island continent are the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Australia has a regular coastline with only a few inlets. Some of the islands of Australia are Kangaroo Island, Tasmania Island, King Island, Wellesley Island and Fraser Island. The main physical divisions of Australia are: The Western Plateau The Central Lowlands The Eastern Highlands, and The Coastal Plains The Western Plateau covers nearly two-thirds of the continent. It is made up of hard rock. The Kimberley Plateau is its highest part. It includes Western Australia, Northern Territory and some parts of South Australia. The Central Lowlands lie between the Western Plateau and the Eastern Highlands. They stretch between the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Encounter Bay. It is divided in three parts on the basis of drainage. These three parts are: The Great Artesian Basin The Lake Eyre Basin, and The Murray-Darling Basin The Eastern Highlands run parallel to the east coast. It stretches between Cape York Peninsula and Bass Strait in Tasmania. The Great Dividing Range is the longest chain of mountain ranges in Australia. This mountain range is also known as ‘Australian Alps’. There are many small and swift rivers found in Eastern Highlands. The Eastern Coastal Plain is a narrow strip and located toward the east of the Great Dividing Range. The Nullarbor Plain is a treeless plain and is located along the southern coast of Australia.

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