The Commonwealth of Australia is a federal state. It has got six states: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and two internal territories. The official language is English. Australia is situated in the south-west of the Pacific Ocean. The area of this country has got 7,687,000 square kilometers. Australia is the largest island in the world and it is the smallest continent. The Dutch were the first Europeans to visit Australia. In 1770 the English captain James Cook discovered the east coast of Australia. Nearly 20 million people live in Australia. Australia's climate is dry and warm. Australia is situated in the southern hemisphere and that's why there is summer, when we have winter and there is winter, when we have summer. It is interesting to know that January is the hottest month in Australia. Australia is separated from many countries. The animals in Australia have a lot of original, and they are interesting, for example, dingoes (wild dogs), koala bears, kangaroos. The kangaroo and koala have got the pouch in which they carry their cubs. There are many birds in the country, too. One can see parrots and cockatoos. The emu is the most interesting bird in Australia. It is big and can't fly. There are many rivers and lakes in the country. Australia is an industrial country. It has coal, nickel, zinc, gold. Several factories and plants work in the country. Australia is one of the most important producers of metals and minerals. It exports wool production, meat, fruit, sugar. The capital of the country is Canberra. The city became the capital in 1927. Federal Government works in Canberra in the government buildings. It is interest ing to know that there are no industrial plants in Canberra. The population of Canberra is about 300,000 people. There are many sights in the city. They are the Building of the Australian Academy of Sciences, the Australian National University and others. There are two big industrial cities in Australia: Sydney and Melbourne. The habited part of the country is situated near ocean. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and others are the ports of the country. Australia is a part of the British Empire. Formerly the head of the state is the Queen, but in fact Australia is independent, self-governing state. The Parliament consists of two Houses. There are many universities, theatres and museums in Australia.