Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Western Australia,state (1991 pop. 1,409,965), 975,920 sq mi (2,527,633 sq km), Australia, comprising the entire western part of the continent. It is bounded on the N, W, and S by the Indian Ocean. PerthPerth,
city (1991 pop. 1,018,702), capital of Western Australia, SW Australia, on the Swan River estuary. Fremantle is Perth's port. Perth is a communications and transportation center and the state's financial, commercial, and cultural hub.
..... Click the link for more information. is the capital. Other important cities are KalgoorlieKalgoorlie
, town (1991 pop. 25,016), Western Australia, SW Australia. It is the chief mining town of the state and the center of the East Coolgardie Goldfield. Gold was found at nearby Coolgardie in 1892; nickel is also mined.
..... Click the link for more information. , a gold-mining center; FremantleFremantle
, city (1996 pop. 24,276), Western Australia, SW Australia, a suburb of Perth, on the Indian Ocean at the mouth of the Swan River. It is the terminus of the Trans-Australian RR and the chief commercial port of the state.
..... Click the link for more information. , the chief port; and Bunbury, a port S of Perth. Western Australia is the largest state of the commonwealth, but only its southwest corner is fertile and substantially settled; the rest is arid and scarcely habitable. Half the population lives in the Perth metropolitan area. Western Australia's population of Australian aboriginesAustralian aborigines,
indigenous peoples of Australia. The first modern humans in Australia probably came from somewhere in Asia more than 40,000 years ago, most likely sometime between 55,000 and 100,000 years ago. Genetic evidence also suggests that c.
..... Click the link for more information. numbers about 25,000. State-owned goldfields cover much of Western Australia, and there is a vast central desert. The King Leopold, Hamersley, and Stirling ranges are actually high plateaus. The large lakes in the interior are usually dry, and the northern rivers (the Fortescue, Fitzroy, and Ashburton) are intermittent; the only important river is the Swan in the southwest. The climate is tropical in the north and temperate in the southwest.
Agriculture is confined primarily to the southwest and around Perth. About one half of the cultivated land is in wheat. Sheep graze in the north and southwest, and wool is a major product. Meat, dairy products, and timber are also important. The mining of iron, gold, and bauxite has played a major role in the state's economy for many years. Industry expanded significantly during the 1960s; industrial metals, machinery, and transportation equipment are the main manufactures.
Dirck Hartog, a Dutchman who arrived in 1616, was the first European known to have visited the coast. A penal colony was founded at Albany in 1826, and the first free settlement was established in the Perth-Fremantle area in 1829. During the 1850s, Britain sent some 10,000 convicts to aid the settlers, most of whom had migrated from E Australia. In the 1860s the first livestock farmers arrived in the northwest. Gold was discovered in the 1880s. Governed at first by New South Wales, Western Australia received its own governor in 1831 and a full constitution as a separate colony in 1890. In 1901 it became a state of the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia. The state government consists of a premier, a cabinet, and a bicameral parliament. The nominal chief executive is the governor, appointed by the British crown on advice of the cabinet.
a state in the western part of the Commonwealth of Australia. Area, 2,527,600 sq km. Population, 1,144,400 (1969). Administrative center, Perth.
Most of the surface consists of a plateau 400-500 m in elevation, a considerable part of which is occupied by deserts (the Gibson, Great Sandy, and Great Victoria deserts) with scrub growth and numerous salt lakes; the north is a savanna. In the west and northwest there are mountain ranges and massifs with elevations of up to 1,226 m (the Hamersley Range).
The principal branch of the economy is sheep raising for wool. In 1969, Western Australia had 33.4 million head of sheep (18 percent of the country’s total) which yielded 136,300 tons of shorn wool (17 percent of the shorn wool in Australia for 1967-68), and 1.6 million head of cattle. Some 3.6 million hectares of land are under cultivation, primarily in the southwestern region. The principal agricultural crops are wheat, barley, and oats. Vineyards, orchards, and gardens have been developed in the southwest. In the northwestern part of the state, in the Ord River valley, there is a new region of irrigated agriculture (cotton, rice, and sugarcane); the Ord Diversion Weir was built near Kununurra (capacity, 98.6 billion cu m). Near the port of Derby a hydroelectric power plant is under construction (1972) with a capacity of 150,000-200,000 kilowatts; it will utilize the energy of the tides.
The most developed branch of industry is mining. There is large-scale mining of gold (Kalgoorlie, Wiluna) and especially iron ore (the Pilbara deposits, as well as those on Cockatoo Island and Koolan Island in Yampi Sound). American and Japanese capital played an important role in the development of iron-ore mining. The ore is processed at metallurgical plants in the southeastern area, but most of it is exported to Japan. Nickel (at Kambalda) and bauxite (in the Darling Range) are mined. Petroleum is extracted on Barrow Island, and brown coal and anthracite are mined near the city of Collie.
The processing industry, which began to develop rapidly during World War II and especially in the postwar period, is represented by ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy; machine building; petroleum refining; chemical, food, and wood processing; and sawmilling.
Western Australia’s principal industrial centers are Perth, Fremantle, Kwinana, and Kalgoorlie. The chief seaport is Fremantle-Kwinana.
V. M. ANDREEVA