Queensland is one of Australia’s states located on the northeast coast of the country. Queensland is the second largest state in Australia after Western Australia and covers more than 1.7 million square kilometers. The state has a population of about 5 million people, most of whom live in cities on the southeast coast, such as Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns.
Queensland is famous for its beautiful beaches, rainforests, unique flora and fauna, and water sports like surfing, kitesurfing and diving. Queensland is also home to many national parks, including Jarvis Bay Park, Laminton Park and Johnston Crocodile River Park.
In addition to tourism, Queensland’s main industries are coal, ore and natural gas mining, agriculture, forestry, and tourism and services. Brisbane, the state capital, is a major center for business, culture and education in the region.
The first inhabitants of these places were Australian Aborigines. They came from Southeast Asia 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, arriving through the Torres Strait from Southeast Asia. Before Europeans arrived in Queensland there were 200 Aboriginal tribes, numbering up to half a million people and speaking 90 languages.
The first European, the Dutch navigator Willem Jansson set foot on the land of Queensland (Cape York) in 1606. In 1770, the seafarer James Cook, under King George III’s order, founded the colony of New South Wales on the east coast of Australia.
But the Aboriginal people were not going to just give up. There were tribes who had had little contact with Europeans before, and the British considered them completely wild. In the nineteenth century there were bloody fights between the aborigines and the colonists. This period of Queensland’s history is called. Frontier War, in which about a thousand colonists and 10,000 Aborigines were killed. Eventually boomerangs gave way to rapid-fire rifles and the British drove the Aborigines into reservations.
The place where Brisbane is today was first called Morton Bay Penitentiary. It was the place where the most dangerous criminals who had re-offended while in exile in Australia were held. These men became the basis of Queensland’s future population, which grew steadily at the expense of immigrants from England. Soon the new colony began to demand independence and separation from New South Wales. They even coined a new name for their state: Cooksland, after James Cook.
Queen Victoria signed the founding patent on June 6, 1859, wishing to name the state after herself: Queensland, or Her Majesty’s Land. Since then, the date has been celebrated annually as Queensland Day.
The Queen’s name and goodwill immortalized in the state’s name must still resonate in the memory of the inhabitants. Even after independence from the crown, Queensland retains a remarkable local government structure. The executive is headed by a governor appointed by the Queen of England. The Premier is appointed by the Governor and must be approved by Parliament. Queensland is the only Australian state with a unicameral legislature. Queenslanders are happy with this arrangement and resist any attempt to change the established system of government.
As the state separated from New South Wales, it began to attract new residents and soon many settlements were established. This gave an impetus to the development of agriculture and mining. The state experienced three gold fevers, in 1858, 1867 and 1872, after which it began a succession of ‘un-frenzied’ development.
The state’s geography and climate favor agriculture and tourism. Today, Queensland is one of Australia’s fastest growing states. Its economic growth has always been higher than the national average. Whereas Queensland was a rural underdeveloped state before the Second World War, it is now a technologically advanced and productive crop and livestock farming state that boasts more than 25 per cent of Australia’s mining industry. The state’s gross product in relation to Australia’s total gross product is over 17%. Queensland exports 20% of all products of Australia.
The government is focused on developing high-tech industries and under the plan “Smart State 2005-2015” is to turn Queensland into the intellectual center of the Asia-Pacific. However, the economic crisis of 2008 has drastically reduced the pace of development in the state.
Agriculture is still an important part of the state’s economy, but it has already taken a back seat. But tourism is booming and employs 6% of Queensland’s population. Gold Coast is the tourist hub and is famous for surfing, sailing and fishing. It is also home to the famous Great Barrier Reef, whose corals grow by 3-4 mm per year (some of them more than a thousand years), to see this miracle millions of people come every year.
Aboriginal people also attract attention. In terms of growth rate, the number of indigenous people in the state – because of the high birth rate – significantly exceeds the Australian average. In 2006 they numbered 144,885 in Queensland and were predominantly Murri and Murdi tribesmen. At the same time, their standard of living is much lower than the Australian average. Most Aboriginal people live solely on government grants and private charity. Once widespread survival through hunting, fishing and gathering is almost completely lost, surviving in some places as a tourist attraction.
- Official name: the state of Queensland.
- Location: north-east of mainland Australia.
- Form of government: constitutional monarchy; executive power: governor; legislative power: unicameral parliament.
- Neighboring states: New South Wales, South Australia, Northern Territory.
- Administrative center: Brisbane (2008) with a population of 1,945,639.
- Administrative divisions: urban areas (7), regions (30), counties (24), aboriginal counties (10), small urban areas (3).
- Languages: English, local languages.
- Ethnic composition: Australians – 82%, English – 7.2%, Aborigines – 1%, others – 9.8%. Religions: Catholics 24.9%, Anglicans 22.3%, Unification Church 8.4%, Lutherans 2.1%, Other Christians 13.2%, Buddhists 1.1%, Muslims 0.4%, Hindus 0.3%, Jews 0.1%, Other non-Christians 0.4%, Unbelievers 14.8%, Not Listed 12.0%.
- Currency unit: Australian dollar.
- Largest cities: Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Cairns, Mackay, and Gladstone.
- Major rivers: Ballou, Warrego, Cooper Creek, Burke, Ballando, Diamantine, Flinders, Gregory, Mitchell, Barbecue.
- Major lakes: Yamma-Yamma, Buchanan, and Galilee.
- Important ports: Brisbane, Gladstone, Mackay, Cairns.
- The most important airport: Brisbane International Airport.
- Area: 1,852,642 sq km.
- Population: 4,516,361 (2010).
- Population density: 2.44 people/km2.
- Length of coastline: 7,400 km – mainland, 9,800 km with islands.
- The highest point: Mount Bartle Frif (1622 m).
- GDP: $56,362 per capita (2009-2010).
- Industries: mining (bauxite, coal, silver, lead, zinc, gold, copper), winemaking, high and information technology.
- Agriculture: bananas, pineapples, peanuts, cotton, sugarcane.
- The sphere of services: tourism and retail trade.
Climate and weather
- Equatorial in the north, humid tropical in the south.
- Average temperature in January: In the south (Brisbane) in January +25°C; in the north (Cairns) +29°C.
- Average July temperature: In the south (Brisbane) +16°C; in the north (Cairns) +20°C.
- Average annual rainfall: 1060 mm in the south (Brisbane) and 2220 mm in the north (Cairns).
- Relative humidity: 85% on the coast, 30-40% in the interior.
- Great Barrier Reef.
- Lone Pine Koala or Koala Park (Brisbane).
- Eunghella National Park and the platypus (Mackay).
- Wildlife Parks: Currambin (Currambin), Underwater World Oceanarium (Mululaba), Stephen Irwin Zoo of Australia (Birva/Glasshouse Mountains), Cambartcho Wildlife Sanctuary (Brisbane).
- Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast).
- Gold Coast’s five main theme parks are Wet-n-Wild, Dreamworld, Muay World, Sea World and Whitewater World.
- Fraser Island, north of Brisbane, is the largest sand island in the world: 123 kilometers long and 7-23 kilometers wide. The dunes that formed it, appeared ca. Dunes which formed it appeared c. 400 thousand years ago, their height – 240 m. In 1992 the island was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a unique natural monument.
- The Australian sea wasp, a stingray of the cubomedus class, is the most poisonous jellyfish in the world, living off the coast of Queensland. It has three-meter tentacles and 24 eyes. In the last hundred years, it has killed 66 people on Queensland beaches. Victims died within one to five minutes without medical attention. The sea turtle, the only creature insensitive to its venom, feeds on the cubomedus.
- In western Queensland, Aboriginal people greet each other with the phrase, “Gnuna yinda murdi!”:” Since you’re here, sit down!”.
- State symbols: animal – koala, plant – Cooktown orchid, bird – Australian crane, sea creature – clown fish, stone – sapphire, color – purple.
- Brisbane’s oldest building is the Windmill on Wickham Terrace, built by convicts in 1828, and used not only for its intended purpose but also as a signal and watch tower, fire tower, radio and television aerial.
- The wild turkey in Queensland can swim. It senses rain two weeks in advance and immediately begins to build a nest similar to a teepee: to let water run off the roof. The locals know by the turkey’s behavior that rain is coming.