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The Land of Blue Mountains
   The Great Barrier Reef on the coast of Queensland is a garden under the sea. There are 1,400 different kinds of fish, and more than 300 kinds of coral. Tropical fruit and flowers grow on the beautiful islands. It's not surprising that more holiday-makers come to Queensland every year.
   Tasmania, the island south of Australia, is small. It is the same size as England. It is also very different from the other states. There are no deserts in Tasmania. It often rains, both in winter and summer. Only a half of million people live in Tasmania, and a large part of the island is still covered with wild, beautiful wild forests. These forests are full of wonderful flowers and interesting animals.
   In the Northern Territory you will find the red heart of Australia. And it really is red, with red rocks, red sand, and red skies in the evening. Every year, thousands of tourists visit Ayers Rock and a strange group of huge red stones called "the Olgas". But these places are also holy to the Aboriginals. They believe that the land itself has life.
   Sydney is the best known place in New South Wales. In fact, it's the best known place in Australia. But New South Wales has more than cities. There are, for example, the Blue Mountains. They are covered with forests of blue coloured eucalyptus trees. The air above the forest contains millions of microscopic drops of eucalyptus oil. When the sun shines, the air of the Blue Mountais is a real, beautiful blue.
   Less then a hundred years ago, there was nothing except sheep in Canberra. But then Australians decided to build a capital city. The Work began in 1913. Now, Canberra is an international city, full of diplomats and government offices. It's a beautiful place, with parks, lakes, big open streets and fine buildings.
   Australia is sometimes called "the lucky country". One reason is the wonderful riches under the earth: gold, silver, iron, coal and many precious metals. The Bass Strait, of the coast of Victoria, has been one of the country's biggest oil fields for many years.
   South Australia is the dryest of all the states, but it does have Murrey River. The river brings greenness and life to the south-east corner. In the early of Australian history, the Murrey River was South Australia's main road. Before real roads and railways came, the river carried people and goods from the east up into the country. Some towns on the Murray still keep the old river boats, and visitors can ride on them. There are two kinds of gold in Western Australia. First, there's real kind — the kind that'comes out of the ground.
   Gold was found in Kalgoorlie in 1893, and the "Golden Mile" was for a time the most expensive piece of land in the world. Kalgorlie still exports some gold, but the new gold of Western Australia is wheat. Big farms grow millions of tons of wheat every year, and wheat has become Australia's second biggest export.
   1. How many kinds of fish are there on the coast of Queensland?
   2. What grows on the beautiful islands?
   3. Where will you find the red heart of Australia?
   4. What is the best known place in New South Wales?
   5. Why is the air above the forests blue?
   6. Why is Australia sometimes called "the lucky country"?
   7. What state is the dryest of all?
   8. What is the new gold of Western Australia?
   holiday-maker — отпускник
   island — остров
   wild — дикий
   eucalyptus — эвкалипт
   riches — богатства
   industry — промышленность
   oil — нефть
   wheat — пшеница


   Australia is the only country in the world that is also a continent. It is the sixth large country and the smallest continent. Australia lies between the South Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. It is situated about 11 000 km southwest of North America and about 8 200 km southeast of mainland Asia. The name of the country comes from Latin word "australis" which mean southern. The country's official name is Commonwealth of Australia.
   The Commonwealth of Australia is a federation of states. Australia has six states — New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. Each state has its government. Australia has two territories — the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. The capital of the country is Canberra.
   Australia is a constitutional monarchy like Great Britain. The nation is administered under written constitution. The British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is also queen of Australia and country's head of state. But the queen has little power in the Australian government. She serves mainly as a symbol of long historical tie between Great Britain and Australia. Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations which is an association formed by Britain and some of its former colonies.
   Australia is one of the world's developed countries. Australia has modern factories, highly productive mines and farms, and busy cities. It is the world's leading producer of wool and bauxite (the ore from which aluminium is made). It also produces and exports large amounts of other minerals and farm goods. Income from the export enables Australians to have high standard of living. The most important trading partners of Australia are Japan and the United States.
   1. Where does the Australia lie?
   2. What is the official name of the country?
   3. What is the capital of the country?
   4. Who is the country's head of state?
   5. Is there a written constitution in Australia?
   6. What are the main products of Australia?
   7. What are the most important trade partners of the country?
   to lie — находиться
   to be situated — быть расположенным
   mainland — материк
   Latin — латинский
   Commonwealth of Australia — Австралийский Союз
   federation — федерация
   state — штат
   territory — территория
   capital — столица
   government — правительство
   tie — связь
   Commonwealth of Nations — Британское Содружество наций
   income — доход
   standard of living — уровень жизни