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Kangaroos on a beach.
Kangaroos on a beach.
Flag of Australia (converted).svg

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Indigenous Australians inhabited the continent for about 65,000 years prior to European discovery with the arrival of Dutch explorers in the early 17th century, who named it New Holland. In 1770, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the time of an 1850s gold rush, most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories.

Being the oldest, flattest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi). A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. Its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking, and manufacturing.

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Alan Kippax (25 May 1897–5 September 1972) was a cricketer for New South Wales (NSW) and Australia. Regarded as one of the great stylists of Australian cricket during the interwar period, Kippax overcame a late start to Test cricket to become a regular in the Australian team between 1928–29 and 1932–33. A middle-order batsman, he toured England twice, and at domestic level was a prolific scorer and a highly considered leader of NSW for eight years. To an extent, his Test figures did not correspond with his great success for NSW and he is best remembered for a performance in domestic cricket — a world record last wicket partnership, set during a Sheffield Shield match in 1928–29. His career curtailed due to the controversial Bodyline tactics employed by England on their 1932–33 tour of Australia. Kippax wrote a book denouncing the tactics after the series concluded.

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Wattle Point wind farm near Edithburgh, South Australia.

Wattle Point Wind Farm is a wind farm near Edithburgh on the coast of South Australia. Upon officially opening in June 2005 it became Australia's largest wind farm at 91 megawatts. The installation consists of 55 wind turbines and was built at a cost of around AU$165 million.

Photo credit: Scott Davis

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AB packs
AB packs

A Halal Snack Pack is a dish consisting of halal-certified doner kebab meat (lamb, chicken, or beef) and chips. It also includes different kinds of sauces, usually chilli, garlic, and barbecue. Yoghurt, cheese, jalapeño peppers, tabbouleh, and hummus are common additions. The snack pack is traditionally served in a styrofoam container, and has been described as a staple takeaway dish of kebab shops in Australia.

Some Australian restaurant menus refer to the dish as a "snack pack", "snack box", "mixed plate", or "HSP", rather than as a "halal snack pack". The name of the dish was chosen by the Macquarie Dictionary as the "People's Choice Word of the Year" for 2016. Read more...

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