Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A geography lesson

I have been motivated to write this post by a number of comments from friends confessing to inadequate knowledge of the geography of Australia. In addition, today I found this post on a blog I read and reckoned he wouldn't mind if I 'borrowed' the pictures.

So, lets start with the size of Australia. It is massive. As you can see from these stolen pictures (thanks Lee!). This is why Australia can have a fabulous ski season, immense deserts, floods in Queensland and fires in Victoria.

Now... what is where? Australia is broken into states (as pictured below).

I am in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales (not of Australia, that is Canberra where I am going in about 6 weeks), and my upcoming two week holiday (which I am booking tomorrow!!) will take me along the dotted line. It is very very far.

If you can't read them the labels say "I live here in Sydney", "Uluru et. al", "Bus...", "Coober Pedy, where the opals come from", "bus...". "Adelaide", "Bus...", "Melbourne".
On my tour (the 9.5 day Trilogy Package) I shall be taking in the delights of Uluru, Kings Canyon, The Olgas, Coober Pedy, Adelaide, The Barossa Valley and the Great Ocean Road before arriving in Melbourne and flying home to Sydney. And the best bit? Just had my holiday form signed off and I go on the 2nd March!!!


cardinalsin said...

I love the way New South Wales is about a hundred times the size of Wales. I'm guessing it must have been founded by a Welshman with claustrophobia.

Emily Wearmouth said...

Oddly enough I am not sure I have ever discovered why NSW is called what it is. All the famous early dudes who arrived here seem to have been English.

I am sure a quick Wikipedia check might provide the answer.

Emily Wearmouth said...

Nope it looks like its a bit of a mystery. Cook originally called it New Wales, then added the South later. And he only called it that while on the voyage back. Maybe he thought it looked like Wales?

Victoria is named in honour of the reigning queen. Ditto Queensland. And the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia are obvious.

Tasmania was originally called Van Diemen's Land until 1855, when it was renamed for Abel Janszoon Tasman, the Dutch navigator who discovered it in 1642.

Australia was formed when all the (5 at the time) states formed a Commonwealth of Australia. The name comes from Australis, meaning southern.

But NSW seems to be a complete mystery. Can anyone else help?

Emily Wearmouth said...

Interesting blog post here about the changes to the state and territory boundaries as time passed.


Scott Fitzgerald said...

From the NSW Geographical Names Register website:

Just before sunset on 22 August 1770 Captain James Cook declared, 'I had in the name of His Majesty taken possession of several places upon this coast, I now once more hoisted the English Coulers and in the name of His Majesty took possession of the whole Eastern Coast by the name New South Wales'

Felicity said...

As one of the geographically challenged friends, I thank you. I won't promise to remember where everything is in Australia, but I now know that it is all very far away, and have maps to prove it :)

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