Australia, Commonwealth of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Australia, Commonwealth of


The Commonwealth of Australia is a state in the Commonwealth of Nations comprising the continent of Australia, the island of Tasmania, and small off-shore islands—including Flinders, King, and Kangaroo. Area, 7.7 million sq km. Population was 12,000,000 as of 1968. Capital, Canberra.

Australia administers the colony of Papua (the southeastern portion of the island of New Guinea); the island of Norfolk in the Pacific Ocean; the Coco (Keeling), Ashmore (reefs), Cartier, and Christmas islands in the Indian Ocean; and the Macquarie, Heard, and McDonald islands at the border of Antarctica. Australia also administers the UN trusteeship of New Guinea (the northeastern portion of the island of New Guinea, the archipelago of Bismarck and the northern portion of a number of the Solomon Islands).

Administratively the Commonwealth of Australia is divided into six states and two territories (see Table 1).

Table 1. Administrative division (1969)
States and territoriesArea (sq km)Population 1968Capital
Australian Capital Territory ...2,400112,800Canberra
New South Wales ..........801,4004,382,400Sydney
Northern Territory .........1,347,50062,500Darwin
Queensland ...............1,727,5001,732,300Brisbane
South Australia ............984,4001,125,200Adelaide
Tasmania .................68,300382,000Hobart
Victoria ..................227,6003,324,200Melbourne
Western Australia ..........2,427,600909,400Perth

National government The Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional monarchy and a federation composed of states with their own constitutions, government bodies, and administrations. The Northern Territory and the Capital Territory, which have a special system of government, are distinguished as separate administrative units. Australia is a dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations. The constitution in force was adopted in 1900. Legally, the executive power belongs to the king of Great Britain (since 1952, Queen Elizabeth II), who is the head of state and is represented by a governor-general, appointed upon representation of the Australian government. The governor-general appoints an advisory body—the Federal Executive Council. In practice, the governor-general’s plenary powers are implemented by the cabinet of ministers of state, although this body is not provided for by either the constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia or subsequent constitutional legislation. The British system of government was introduced in 1956; thus, only 12 of the 26 ministers are members of the cabinet, which is headed by the prime minister and which nominally is collectively responsible to the lower chamber of Parliament. All cabinet ministers must be members of the Federal Executive Council, which presents the cabinet decisions in the form of government bills.

Legislative power is implemented by Parliament, which consists of the king (queen) and two chambers: the upper (Senate) and the lower (House of Representatives). The Senate is the body of federal representation: the populace of each of the six states elects ten senators (half of the Senate is elected every three years). The House of Representatives is elected by the people of the Commonwealth of Australia for three years by an electoral system of absolute majority with preferential voting. State representation is based on population; in 1968, New South Wales had 47 representatives; Victoria, 33; Queensland, 18; South Australia, ten; Western Australia, eight; Tasmania, five; plus one each (with restricted voting privileges) from the Northern Territory and the Capital Territory. In the legislative process both chambers are equal, with one exception: financial bills can be introduced only in the House of Representatives, and the Senate cannot amend them. Bills accepted by both chambers take effect only after they have been signed by the governor-general.

The system of state government and its administration, composition, and power are defined by the constitutions of the states. The state is headed by the governor, appointed by the English Foreign Office upon representation of the state’s government. In practice each state is governed by its administration with a premier at its head. The legislative bodies in the states are bicameral parliaments with the exception of Queensland, which has a unicameral parliament. The Capital Territory is governed by the minister of internal affairs. The Northern Territory is governed by a legislative council with limited powers.

In the Commonwealth of Australia the right to vote (active and passive) is granted to Australian citizens and British subjects of both sexes, over 21 years of age, who have lived in Australia no less than six months (and in the given voting districts, no less than three months) from the start of voter registration. In 1925 voter participation became mandatory under threat of fine. Gerrymandering takes place in the formation of voting districts—that is, an inequitable population assessment is made in order to reduce to a minimum the representatives of leftist forces in Parliament. Aborigines and people of Asian, African, and Pacific Ocean island extraction do not have the right to vote.

Local government The system of local administrative bodies (the municipal system) is decentralized: the organization of municipal bodies and their legal positions are established by state legislation. In the cities, counties, districts, and other areas municipal councils are elected for terms of one to three years. Municipal electoral laws are more reactionary than the federal ones: in a number of states—for example, Victoria, Western Australia, and Tasmania—plural voting is permitted. Within the limited power of local government are public health care, road maintenance, and school curriculum. The activities of the local bodies are regulated by the powers of the states; each state has a department of local government.

The judicial system The judicial system includes federal courts and state courts. The highest judicial body in Australia is the High Court, which is also the highest appellate court and, in several matters, the court of original jurisdiction with the function of a constitutional court as well. Members of the High Court are appointed by the governor-general for life. In addition, there is the Federal Court of Bankruptcy, federal courts in the Northern Territory and in the Capital Territory, and the Commonwealth Industrial Court. In each state there is a supreme court appointed by the governor; other courts are formed for the administrative territorial units.


Konstitutsii gosudarstv lugo-Vostochnoi Azii i Tikhogo okeana. Moscow, 1960. Pages 9–15, 16–52.


The anthropological composition of the population of Australia is heterogeneous. The aborigines belong to the Australian race, which is marked by small local differences. Southern Australians are shorter than the northern and are distinguished by a wider nose and a greater amount of body hair. In both the south and the north a curly-haired type is noted, owing to Tasmanian and Papuan admixtures. The nonnative population is traced to various anthropological types, for the most part the European race.

Most of the present population of the Commonwealth of Australia is composed of the descendants of immigrants from the British Isles—the English (53 percent), Irish (24 percent), and Scots (13 percent). The survivors of the almost annihilated native population (a little more than 40,000 in 1966) are found only in the interior of the country; the half-caste population (over 40,000) is concentrated chiefly in the mountainous outlying districts and in rural areas. Both lead a miserable existence under the conditions of de facto apartheid and racial discrimination.

There are small number of Italians, Germans, Greeks, Dutch, Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Malaysians, Afghani-stanis, and others. The flow of immigrants of non-British origin, especially from non-European countries, has been artificially limited. Some immigrants of European extraction are being assimilated gradually, while others retain their national isolation for the present. English is the state language and is spoken by the overwhelming majority of the population. The inhabitants of Australia are basically Christian—including Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist.

The mean yearly growth of population for 1963–67 was 1.9 percent. In 1965 approximately 30 percent of the population was under the age of 15, over 62 percent was between 15 and 65, and approximately 9 percent was over 65.

The economically active population in Australia, according to the census of 1966, was 4,856,000—42 percent of the entire population; 27 percent of the population was employed in manufacturing industries, 1.2 percent in mining, 9.4 percent in agriculture, fishing, forestry, and hunting, 8.8 percent in construction, 19.9 percent in trade and finance, 7.9 percent in transport and communications, 21.7 percent in services (including those serving the state apparatus), and approximately 4.2 percent in other branches of the economy.

Australia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The population is distributed extremely unequally; approximately 80 percent is concentrated chiefly on the eastern and southeastern coast of the continent, where the largest cities are located. In the interior regions, where the density of population is only one person per several square kilometers, the population is concentrated around the mining centers.

Over 83 percent of the population lives in cities; the largest in 1966, including suburbs, were Sydney (2,541,000), Melbourne (2,230,000), Adelaide (771,000), Brisbane (777,000), Perth (558,000), and Newcastle (327,000).


Narody Avstralii i Okeanii. Moscow, 1956. Pages 252–54.


The ancestors of the native inhabitants of Australia, originating in South Asia, apparently settled the continent during the late Paleolithic Age. Difficult natural conditions and isolation from other peoples of the world hampered the development of the Australian tribes. Toward the end of the 18th century the Australians—the native population of the Australian continent—were on the level of a hunting and food-gathering economy; they had no knowledge of agriculture and cattle breeding. At the end of the 18th century there were approximately 500 tribes numbering roughly 250,000–300,000.

The period 1788–1901 At the end of the 18th century Australia became the object of British expansion and cruel colonial oppression. In 1788 the first English settlement (later to become Sydney) was founded. Colonization was implemented primarily by the creation of English military-penal settlements. By 1868, when it conclusively ceased to be a place for deportation, some 155,000 people had been sent to Australia, many for “political crimes” (among them participants in the Irish uprisings and Chartists).

The colonization of the continent was accompanied by the annihilation of the native population. The survivors were forced into barren regions. From the end of the 18th century until the middle of the 20th century the native population of Australia decreased by five or six times; a considerable portion of the aborigines continue to live on reservations.

Initially the English population was concentrated along the southeastern coast. From the 1820’s, after the opening of extensive pasture lands in the interior of the continent, sheep breeding developed rapidly, on a capitalistic basis from the start. Individuals and sheep-breeding companies seized huge pasturing territories by squatting. Capitalism in Australia, free from feudalism and its vestiges, developed very rapidly. The first industrial enterprises arose in the 1830’s. The sheep-breeding squatters and industrialists needed a great influx of workers. In order to stimulate immigration on their behalf, the English government began to apply the principles of “systematic colonization” advanced by the English bourgeois economist E. G. Wakefield. Wakefield’s theory of colonization, as defined by K. Marx, was aimed at procuring hired workers in the colonies (see Das Kapital,vol. 1, 1955, p. 769).

Until the 1850’s, Australia was a “white colony” of England without any rights: the colonies on the continent were ruled by governors appointed by the English government. The discovery of gold in the colony of Victoria and the subsequent gold fever (1851–61) led to the rapid growth of the colonies’ economy. Massive free immigration began; by 1900 the population of Australia exceeded 3,756,000. At the end of 1854 an uprising erupted among the gold diggers at the fields in Ballarat (Victoria), the so-called Eureka rebellion. The rebellion had a great significance for the history of the country. In part, it hastened the granting of internal self-government to the colonies. In 1855, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania received the right to self-government.

The rebellion also gave impetus to the development of a popular workers’ movement, which was characterized by a very high degree of organization. A considerable number of workers (including agricultural workers) were united in trade unions. The Democratic Association of Victoria joined the First International in 1872, thus establishing international ties for the Australian workers. Through organized action Australian workers secured the establishment of the eight-hour work day during the 1870’s, earlier than workers in other countries. The strikes of sailors in 1890 and shearers in 1894 became national with the participation of workers from many branches; they were manifestations of the intense aggravation of class war in the country. During the 1890’s the Labor Party was formed. One of the most important problems in the political life of Australia, beginning in the 1820’s and continuing until the end of the century, was the immigrants’ battle for land. Mass immigration led to an intensified battle in the second half of the 19th century between the immigrants and the squatters, who had seized the best lands. However, Australia remained basically a country of large landholdings.

At the end of the 19th century immigration to Australia was forbidden to members of “non-European races.” Since then the racist policy of forbidding “colored” immigration (the immigration of inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and Oceania)—the so-called politics of white Australia—has been strictly enforced by all Australian governments. Among the initiators of this policy were several representatives of the working aristocracy who maintained that colored immigration would lead to a reduction of wages for Australian workers.

In the second half of the 19th century industrial development began, primarily in light industry, food, and mining. It was aided by the flow of capital and a qualified working force, chiefly from England. The strengthened bourgeoisie of Australia attempted to liquidate the customs barriers between individual colonies and to create a national Australian market.

In 1900 the English Parliament accepted the law agreed upon by the governments of the colonies to unite all six colonies (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania) into a federation—the Commonwealth of Australia. This law, which became Australia’s constitution, went into effect on Jan. 1, 1901. The Commonwealth of Australia received the status of dominion, and the former colonies received the rights of states. The creation of the Commonwealth of Australia accelerated the development of an Australian nationality, which began to form in the mid-19th century with the merger of a number of national elements—primarily the English, Irish, Scots, and Welsh.

The period 1901–18 In spite of its comparative youth, Australian capitalism on the brink of the 20th century had already entered the stage of imperialism. At that time huge monopolies—among them, Broken Hill Proprietary Company in the ferrous metal industry, Colonial Sugar Refining in the food industry, and the Collins House group in the mining and nonferrous metal industries—existed in the Commonwealth. Australian monopolies arose and developed on the base of Anglo-Australian capital. Capital from the mother country (England) ruled the economy of the dominion. Approximately one-fifth of all English capital invested in the countries of the British Empire went to Australia at the beginning of the 20th century. Australian capitalism was in fact a “branch” of English capitalism. In addition, capitalists in Australia received great profits from England’s colonial monopoly, by participating in the exploitation of the English colonial empire. In 1906, England gave Australia the colony of Papua (the southeastern portion of New Guinea).

The dominance of opportunism and reformism is typical of the Australian workers’ movement of this period. Because of their monopoly on the export of high-quality wool and their participation in the English colonial monopoly, Australian capitalists had at their disposal extensive opportunities to bribe the upper strata of the working class. The Labor Party was led by right-wing reformers. V. I. Lenin pointed out that the Australian Labor Party “... even in words is not a socialist party” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23, p. 290). The bourgeoisie in Australia encouraged the growth of opportunism. In its policies, the bourgeoisie relied upon the support of right-wing elements in the workers’ movement. The Conciliation and Arbitration Act of 1904 passed by Parliament laid the basis for the existence of a permanent system for state regulation of labor conflicts in the interests of the capitalists.

In 1904, for the first time in Australia (and in the world), a Labor government was formed; it held power for three months. The Laborites were again in power during 1908–09, 1910–13, and 1914–17. Their policies were bourgeois-liberal. “The workers’ party in Australia pursued what in other countries the liberals pursued: a customs tariff common to the entire country, a general education law, a general land tax, and general factory legislation,” wrote Lenin (Ibid., p. 291). The Labor government actively supported Great Britain’s policies.

Australia took part in World War I. Australian expeditionary forces (over 300,000 soldiers and officers) fought as part of the British Army in France and in the Near East. The war aided the growth of monopolistic capital and the intensification of class contradictions in the country. With the aggravation of class struggle, the Labor Party split. Its right wing, headed by Prime Minister W. M. Hughes, merged with the Liberals and in 1917 formed the Nationalist Party.

The period 1918–45 After World War I the expansionist features of young Australian capitalism grew stronger. At this time Australia was transformed into a small imperialist power. In its first independent appearance in the international arena, that is, its participation in the Paris Peace Conference of 1919–20, Australia claimed all the former Pacific Ocean colonies of Germany. It received two of them—New Guinea and Nauru—as mandate territories.

The distinguishing characteristic of the early postwar years was the intensification of the workers’ movement, which developed considerably under the influence of the October Revolution in Russia. The activities of socialist and other left-wing groups intensified. In October 1920, at a conference of the representatives of these groups in Sydney, the Communist Party of Australia was founded. The Russian revolutionary Artem (F. A. Sergeev), who lived and worked in Australia (1911–17) after his escape from Siberian exile, made a substantial contribution to disseminating the ideas of scientific socialism in the Australian workers’ movement.

Australian workers opposed the participation of Australian troops in imperialist intervention against Soviet Russia. A movement for “Hands off Russia” was developed.

The Australian workers’ movement began to move to the left. Under pressure from the rank and file of the Party and trade unions, the official goal of the Labor Party was announced as “the socialization of industry, distribution, and exchange” in 1921. In 1927, on the initiative of the Communist Party, the Australian Council of Trade Unions was created and was joined by the majority of the trade unions in the Commonwealth.

The world economic crisis of 1929–33 shook the entire Australian economy. Toward 1933 the number of unemployed approached 500,000 (approximately 30 percent of the working force). The Labor government of J. H. Scullin (October 1929–January 1932) attempted to find a way out of the crisis at the expense of the workers’ standard of living. Class war was sharply intensified. The workers replied to the government policies with a wave of strikes. The government used armed force against the strikers. Under these circumstances the Labor Party split again. The extreme right wing, headed by J. A. Lyons, openly went over to the side of the bourgeoisie. The splinter group united with the Nationalist Party to form the United Australia Party. Lyons headed the government formed by this party (in coalition with the Country Party) from 1932 until 1939.

During the country’s years of crisis the beginnings of a fascist movement appeared: the New Guard organization arose. Its vanguard attacked workers’ meetings.

An important landmark in the history of the country was recognition of independence in internal and external policies for the Commonwealth of Australia (and for the other dominions) by the Statute of Westminster in 1931. However, the mother country actually retained complete control over the external political ties of the dominion until World War II. In economic relations the Commonwealth of Australia remained an agrarian appendage and source of raw materials for England. English capital continued to rule its economy. The prewar years were ones of uninterrupted persecution of the Communist Party and of the progressive trade unions.

On Sept. 3, 1919, Australia, joining Great Britain and France, declared war on fascist Germany. Australian forces took part in the war action in Western Europe, North Africa, and the Near East but concentrated in the Pacific theater after the war spread to that area. The armed forces of Australia numbered over 900,000 during the war. On Oct. 10, 1942, diplomatic relations between Australia and the USSR were established. As during World War I, the Commonwealth of Australia did not directly suffer from military action. Moreover, the development of its economy and particularly of its industry increased under wartime conditions. The serious defeats of the English armed forces in Southeast Asia (1941–42) revealed the weakness of English imperialism in this area. A direct threat of Japanese invasion into Australia arose, causing the ruling circles of Australia to draw considerably closer to the USA. In the course of the war Australia was transformed into one of the major bases for American military operations in the Pacific.

After 1945. During World War II and immediately after it the external political dependence of Australia upon Great Britain was completely liquidated, and Australia was transformed into an independent state. Australian imperialist circles appeared in the world arena as junior partners of the American and English imperialists. The Commonwealth of Australia had pretensions to a “leading role” in the southwest portion of the Pacific Ocean and in Southeast Asia. Australian forces participated directly in the armed intervention (1950–53) of the American imperialists in Korea and during the 1950’s in the colonial war of the English imperialists against the people of Malaysia.

After World War II, with a new alignment of forces taking shape in the capitalist world, Australia’s dependence on the USA increased. Australia entered the aggressive military blocs ANZUS (1951) and SEATO (1954), maintaining close ties between Australia and England. By 1958 the English capital investment in Australia amounted to approximately £ 1,000 million and represented more than 60 percent of all foreign capital investment in Australia. A number of English military and research institutions were created in Australia. Tests of English atomic weapons and rocket missiles have been repeatedly conducted on Australia’s territory since 1952. During the 1960’s economic and political ties between Australia and Japan were intensified. In April 1954, as a result of a provocative anti-Soviet campaign organized by Australian leaders, normal diplomatic relations between Australia and the USSR (reestablished in March 1959) were broken off.

A feature of the internal political life of postwar Australia has been a definite weakening of the Labor Party. The Labor government of J. B. Chifly, in power from 1945 through 1949, did not fulfill its promises for the nationalization of powerful monopolies and banks. Right-wing Labor leaders conducted a widespread campaign against Communists in trade unions, uniting in fact with reactionary clerical (Catholic) forces. Extreme right-wing elements provoked a new split in the Labor Party: in 1957–58 they created the so-called Democratic Labor Party and the Queensland Labor Party.

A persistent struggle between reactionary and progressive forces developed in the country. The coalition government of the Liberal and Country parties headed by R. Menzies, which replaced the Labor government in December 1949, waged an attack on the political and economic rights of workers. In 1951 it attempted to make the Communist Party illegal. But its action met with the determined opposition of the workers. As a result of a battle of all the progressive forces of the country, headed by the Communists, the Australian people (during a referendum in September 1951) rejected legislation banning the Communist Party. In the face of reactionary attacks, the rank-and-file members of the Labor Party and the trade unions called for unity in the forces of the labor movement and demanded the repudiation of the policy of “the battle against Communism.”

Since the fall of 1965, Australian armed forces have participated on the side of the USA in the war in Vietnam. The question of participation in this war has occupied an important place in the entire political life of the country. The Communist Party, the rank and file of the Labor Party, the trade unions, and a number of social organizations have demanded the withdrawal of Australian troops from South Vietnam. Demonstrations and meetings against the war in Vietnam have taken place. However, regardless of the protests of Australian society, the government of the Liberal-Country coalition (which, after the retirement of Menzies in early 1966, was headed by H. Holt until his death in December 1967, then by J. McEwen, and from January 1968 by J. Gorton) continued to conduct a policy of following the USA and participating in its aggression in Vietnam.

After World War II the role of leftist forces and the Communist Party, which between 1930 and 1965 was headed by L. Sharkey, grew stronger. The battlefront against monopolistic capital, the oppression of which is felt not only by workers but also by the intelligentsia, the petit bourgeoisie, and the middle class, is becoming broader. At the forefront of the fight are the Australian Communists.


Marx, K. Kapital, vol. 1, chap. 25.
Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23.
Marx, K., and F. Engels. “Torgovlia chinami.” Ibid., vol. 11.
Lenin, V. I. “V. Avstralii.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23.
Lenin, V. I. “Tetradi po imperializmu.” Ibid., vol. 28.
Mileikovskii, A. Avstraliia. [Moscow-Leningrad,] 1937.
Elkin, A. P. Korennoe naselenie Avstralii. Moscow, 1952. (Translated from English.)
Dorofeev, B. Ia., and A. A. Uglov. Sovremennaia Avstraliia. Moscow, 1959.
Artem (F. A. Sergeev). “Schastlivaia strana.” Avstraliiskie ocherki. Moscow, 1926.
Campbell, E. W. Vliianie Velikoi Oktiabr’skoi revolutsii na rabochee dvizhenie Avstralii. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from English.)
Sharkey, L. Sotsializm v Avstralii. Tochka zreniia kommunistov na “demokraticheskii sotsializm.” Moscow, 1958. (Translated from English.)
Ross, E. Velikii Oktiabr i rabochee dvizhenie Avstralii. Moscow, 1967. (Translated from English.)
Lebedev, I. A. Ekonomika i politika Avstralii posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny. Moscow, 1966.
Morozov, S. N. Avstraliiskii kolonializm. Moscow, 1967.
Fitzpatrick, B. The Australian People 1788–1945, 2nd ed. Melbourne, 1951.
Clark, M. A Short History of Australia. London, 1964.
Wynd, I., and J. Wood. A Map History of Australia, [2nd ed.]. Melbourne, [1967].


Political parties The Liberal Party, founded in 1944, reflects the interests of the powerful bourgeoisie. It has been in power in coalition with the Country Party since December 1949. The Country Party, founded in 1916, reflects the interests of the powerful landowners. The Australian Labor Party, founded in the 1890’s, has been joined by many trade unions for the collective rights of its members. The Democratic Labor Party, founded in 1957, unites the extreme right-wing elements which split off from the Labor Party. The Communist Party of Australia was founded in 1920. Its central organ is the newspaper Tribune, and its theoretical journal is The Australian Left Review.

Trade unions and other social organizations The first trade union organization in Australia arose during the 1850’s. In 1967 there were 324 trade union branches with a general membership of 2,151,000. The most prominent trade union association is the Australian Council of Trade Unions, founded in 1927. In 1967 it numbered over 1,300,000. It is a member of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and supports the Labor Party.

The Society of Australia and the USSR was founded in 1942. Its organ is the quarterly journal Friendship. The Australian Peace Council, an association of the supporters of peace in the Commonwealth of Australia, was founded in 1949. The Union of Socialist Youth of Australia is a progressive organization of young Australians founded in 1967. The National Civic Council, a reactionary Catholic organization, was founded in 1957. The Returned Services League is a reactionary organization founded in 1916. The National Farmers’ Union reflects the interests of the powerful landholders.


General state of the economy The Commonwealth of Australia is an industrial-agrarian country with a highly developed system of capitalism. Major capitalist enterprises dominate in both industry and agriculture. Several monopolies, headed by Broken Hill Proprietary, control the basic branches of the country’s economy. Foreign capital— of the USA, Great Britain, Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany, and France—plays a considerable role in the economy.

Australia is first in the capitalist world in sheep breeding, sheepshearing, lead extraction, and the production of rutile concentrates and third in the production of refined lead and wheat.

The rapid development of manufacturing is characteristic of Australia’s economy. In 1967 over 67 percent of the net value of all of production went to manufacturing, 26.4 percent to agriculture (of which 9.2 percent was farming and 16.4 percent pasture), 4.7 percent to mining, and 1.8 percent to forestry, hunting, fishing, and other branches.

In accordance with their high rate of development, the mining, chemical, and electrical engineering industries are particularly outstanding. Industry for the means of production is less developed.

IndustryMINING AND POWER. Australia is rich in various minerals which, with few exceptions, provide almost all the raw material needed for the development of the manufacturing industry. The basic fuel and power source is coal, deposits of which are located in New South Wales (near Sydney, Newcastle, and Lithgow) and Queensland (Ipswich and Bluff). Brown coal is mined near Morwell and Yallourn (Victoria). During 1950–60 considerable reserves of oil were found in Queensland (Moonie) and Western Australia (Barrow Island), and reserves of natural gas have been discovered in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Victoria and are being exploited. Of the general production of electrical energy (41.6 billion kilowatt-hours), 78 percent comes from thermoelectric power plants, 19 percent from hydroelectric power plants, and 3 percent from liquid-fuel plants; the most powerful system of hydroelectric power plants is located in the Snowy Mountains with a general capacity of 1,040,000 kilowatts (1967)—the next most powerful produces 807,600 kilowatts on Tasmania.

Considerable reserves of iron ore are found in deposits at Iron Knob (in South Australia), on the islands of Cockatoo and Koolan, and in Yampi Sound—north of Derby (in Western Australia). During the 1960’s huge reserves of high-quality ore were discovered and assimilated in Western Australia (deposits at Pilbara, Hamersley, Mount Golds-worthy, Koolyanobbing, and others) and on Tasmania; in addition, bauxite was discovered on the peninsulas of Cape York (the deposits at Weipa) and Gove (in the Northern Territory) and in the Darling Range (in southwestern Australia).

Australia is rich in polymetallic ores; its proportion of the total output of the capitalist and developing countries is approximately 10 percent in zinc, and 18 percent in lead. The most important deposits of polymetals are Broken Hill, New South Wales, which provides 80 percent of the country’s total output of lead, 76 percent of its zinc, and 58 percent of its silver; Mount Isa (Queensland); and Rosebery-Mount Read (Tasmania). The basic centers for copper mining are Mount Isa (69 percent of the total Australian output), Mount Morgan (Queensland), and Mount Lyell (Tasmania). Ninety percent of the gold comes from Western Australia, where there are huge deposits at Kal-goorlie, Leonora, Wiluna, Norseman, East Murchison, and other cities. Not far from Kalgoorlie are huge deposits of nickel ore (Kambalda); on Groote Eylandt (in the Gulf of Carpentaria) there are considerable deposits of manganese ore. The accumulation of mineral sand containing rutile, zircon, ilmenite, and monazite, stretches along the eastern and southwestern coasts of the continent; sands containing uranium are found in the region of Rum Jungle (Northern Territory). (See Table 2.)

MANUFACTURING. Among the branches of the manufacturing industry in 1956–66, 42.1 percent of the net value of production was in metallurgy and mechanical engineering, 13.4 percent in food, 10.3 percent in textile, sewing materials, leather and footwear, and knitted goods, 9.1 percent in chemicals, 7.3 percent in paper, printing, and publishing, 5.2 percent in sawmills and furniture, and 12.6 percent in other branches, including the production of electricity.

Table 2. Output of basic minerals
1 By metal content in the ore
Copper (tons)1 ..........14,60018,90091,700
Gold (kg)1 ..............22,20030,60025,200
Lead (tons)1 ............214,000231,900381,000
Zinc (tons)1 ............117,600199,600405,300
Iron ore (tons)1 .........1,913,00012,273,000
Bauxite (tons) ..........1,1007,4004,244,000
Coal (tons) .............8,700,00019,700,00035,300,000

The ferrous metal industry (5 million tons of cast iron and 6.3 million tons of steel in 1967) is represented by powerful groups of enterprises in Newcastle, Port Kembla, Wollon-gong (New South Wales), Walhalla (South Australia), and Kwinana and Wundowie (Western Australia); ferrous manganese is produced in Bell Bay (Tasmania). Rough smelting of nonferrous metals is done in Port Pirie (silver, lead, and copper), Mount Isa (copper), and Port Kembla (copper and rough and refined gold). Copper, lead, zinc, and cobalt are refined by electrolytes in Risdon (a suburb of Hobart, Tasmania); aluminum in Bell Bay (Tasmania) and Port Henry (near Geelong, Victoria); and magnesium in Port Augusta (South Australia).

Mechanical engineering factories produce agricultural machines. The major enterprises are located in cities in the southeast, south, and southwest: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and its twin city Elizabeth, and Perth; smaller ones are located in the interior in agricultural regions. Automobiles (Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide, Perth, and others), machine tools, machinery, locomotives, and other heavy engineering products are manufactured in areas of metal production and around the prominent port cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle, Kwinana, and Port Kembla. The shipbuilding industry specializes in the construction and assembling of freighters near Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle, Walhalla, and Devonport (Tasmania). Electrotechnical enterprises are concentrated in the suburbs of Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide and in such cities as Geelong (Victoria), Kwinana, and Perth (Western Australia).

The food industry prepares a considerable portion of its production for export. The meat industry is represented by powerful groups of enterprises in the ports of Rockhamp-ton, Townsville, Gladstone, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth, which also accommodate mills for exported flour; some mills are also built in wheat-growing regions. Butter and cheese plants are located in small towns in the east and southeast of the country, where dairy cattle are bred. The production of raw sugar is concentrated in the northeast (Queensland), where sugarcane is cultivated; it is purified in the large coastal cities. Wine-making is developed in South Australia, Western Australia, and New South Wales. Textile, sewing, footwear, and knitwear enterprises serving the national market are in the urban areas of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.

The chemical industry produces various chemicals, acids, and explosives (Port Pirie, Port Kembla, Newcastle, Lithgow, and others), fertilizers and herbicides (the largest enterprises are in Port Kembla, Newcastle, Geelong, Yar-raville, Mackay, Cairns, Brisbane, and Kwinana), plastics (Botany Bay; Altona, a Melbourne suburb; and Ferntree Gulley), synthetic rubber, and synthetic fibers. Oil refining and petrochemical industries work primarily with imported raw materials in Laverton (Victoria), Clyde, Cornel (New South Wales), Altona, Kwinana, Geelong, Port Stewart, Brisbane and Bulwer Island. (See Table 3.)

Table 3. Production of the most important industries
1 Rough smelting
2 Content of phosphorus pentoxide (P2 O5), 22%
Cast iron and ferroalloys (tons) . . . ....1,159,0005,070,000
Steel (tons) ......................1,245,0006,288,000
Lead (tons)1 ....................162,000194,000
Zinc (tons)1 .....................83,000198,000
Electric energy (million kW-hr). .....8,40041,500
Automobiles ....................366,000
Electromotors ..................2,690,000
Sulfuric acid (tons)...............493,0002,028,000
Superphosphate (tons)2 ..............1,205,0004,500,000

Agriculture Australian agriculture is distinguished by a high ratio of commodity output to total output and by the clearly expressed capitalist character of production. The best lands are owned by individuals or are rented from the state under conditions that permit the real owners to appear to be tenants. The state lands (approximately 33 percent of all lands) are located in sparsely populated, almost inaccessible areas. Australia has a history of great landholdings. Over 80 percent of the usable land is in the hands of private owners who hold 4,000–40,000 ha, or 3.5 percent of the total number of farms; approximately 63 percent of the land is included in holdings of over 40,000 ha (0.6 percent of all farms). Two percent of all the land is owned by farms with areas of 0.4–200 ha (approximately 59 percent of all farms). Sixteen percent of the land belongs to farms with areas of 201–4,000 ha (37.6 percent of all farms).

Natural pastures occupied 92.2 percent of the total land area used for agriculture in 1965–66; cultivated pastures, fallow land, and areas under agricultural cultivation occupied 7.8 percent.

Artificial irrigation has great significance for agriculture in Australia. Huge irrigation systems are located primarily in New South Wales and Victoria, in the Murray basin and its tributaries, including the Murrumbidgee, Goulburn, and Lachlan rivers; the biggest reservoirs include the Eucum-bine (4.7 billion cu m), Eildon (3.4 billion cu m), and Hume (3.1 billion cu m); in 1969 reservoirs were under construction in Western Australia (on the Ord River), Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania. The area of irrigated land in 1965–66 comprised 1,258,800 ha, that is, approximately 0.3 percent of all land used in agriculture; 60 percent of the irrigated land was used for pasture and 40 percent for field and garden cultivation. Australian agriculture is highly marketable and mechanized. In 1964 there were 112 tractors per 100 farms, 25.5 threshers, 33.3 fertilizers, and 71.2 sheepshearing machines; the corresponding figures for 1950 were 42.3, 23.8, 18, and 44.6. The totals for agricultural machinery are shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Number of agricultural machines
Tractors .............................201,800314,600
Fertilizing machines ...................65,00093,000
Sheepshearing machines...............156,200193,200
Milking machines .....................204,300235,300

After World War II the country’s agriculture intensified; artificial fertilizers were widely used, irrigated areas were broadened, and farming methods were improved.

More than 62 percent of the net value of agricultural production is produced by stock breeding. Livestock (in million head) in 1967 numbered 164.2 sheep, 18.2 cattle, and 1.8 swine; the corresponding figures for 1947–52 were 111.5, 14.5, and 1.1. The bulk of livestock sheep and beef cattle is concentrated in specialized stations with areas of at least 100,000 hectares. Sheep breeding is developed in steppe and semidesert regions on the western slopes of the eastern Snowy Mountains. Approximately three-quarters of all livestock sheep are merinos. Beef cattle are bred primarily in the northern tropical regions. Dairy breeding is developed in the eastern, most humid, portion of the country, chiefly on the coastal plains; farms occupy small sections of land but use them very intensively—by cultivating pastures, applying fertilizers, and using artificial irrigation. Extensive pasture stock breeding has begun to increase somewhat; fodder grass is sown; areas of cultivated pasture are being created for feeding cattle; use of artificial fertilizers is growing; the area of irrigated pastures is enlarging. In arid and desert regions water from artesian wells is widely used. The production of stock breeding is shown in Table 5.

CULTIVATED CROPS. In 1966–67, 15.8 million ha of land were used for various agricultural crops. Most of the sowing area is used for grain. The use of areas and the harvest of agricultural crops are shown in Table 6.

Wheat crops are spread through the zone of sufficient moisture (the so-called wheat belt) from Brisbane south to the shores of Spencer Gulf and also to the southwest. On the average, 60 to 80 percent of the harvest is exported. Sugarcane is cultivated in the northeastern tropical portion, and citrus plants and grapes are grown on the irrigated lands between the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers and in the southwest. Apples, pears, and apricots are grown on plateaus where the climate is cooler; there are bananas, pineapples, papayas, and mangos growing in the tropical regions of the northeast. Vegetable growing is developed in the east and southwest and in other sufficiently moist places.

The wooded area comprised 239.9 million ha in 1965, of which 14.9 million ha were used in production. The state purchases of forests in 1966 amounted to approximately 16 million cu m.

Table 5. Livestock production
1 Unwashed clip
2 Slaughter weight
Wool (tons)1 ..........445,800762,000199,400
Meat (tons)2 .............1,024,2001,448,5001,719,000
Milk (thousand liters) ......4,906,2006,394,0007,259,500
Butter (tons) ..........179,700200,700221,900
Cheese (tons) .........20,60045,20069,700

Transportation Australia’s railroad network was 40,200 kilometers long in 1967. The transcontinental main line extends west-east from Perth to Port Augusta. Electrified track is found primarily near large cities. In several states the width of the track varies; many tracks are being converted to a single standard gauge. The length of paved highways was 902,600 kilometers in 1966; the most important road is the Stuart Highway. The national fleet provides coastal transportation; external trade ties are provided by foreign, chiefly English, fleets. The major ports (freight turnover in 1966–67, in million tons) are Newcastle, 9.5; Freemantle with Kwinana, 7.8; Port Kembla, 8.8; Sydney, 8; Geelong, 6.6; Melbourne, 6.6; Brisbane, 3.9; Port Adelaide, 2.1; and Hobart, 1.2. Aerial communication has received considerable development. Airlines connect almost all the important cities of the country. Many international airlines pass through Australia.

External economic ties Even though agriculture production played the leading role in the export structure (70.3 percent of the export value in 1965–66) after World War II, the importance of mining and manufacturing grew. Expenditures for imports of specialized new technical equipment and machinery have significantly increased. In 1965–66,

Table 6. Area and harvest of basic agricultural crops
 1936–37Area (hectares) 1959–601966–671936–37Harvest (tons) 1959–601966–67
Wheat ...............4,926,7004,868,9008,239,2004,120,7005,935,20012,699,000
Barley ...............188,100951,900998,800166,400775,2001,399,000
Oats .................610,0001,212,0001,703,200302,200849,7001,943,000
Grass (for hay) ........1,240,400842,2001,398,4003,402,8003,227,3006,371,00
Sugar cane (raw sugar production)143,700194,800267,600795,4001,309,1002,343,000

30.5 percent of Australia’s exports was wool; 12.6 percent, wheat and wheat flour; 9.1 percent, chilled and frozen meat; 4.3 percent, sugar; 3.1 percent, fruit (fresh, canned, and dried); 3.1 percent, ores and concentrates; 2.3 percent, butter; 2 percent, coal; and 33 percent other goods. Exports of iron ore and bauxite are growing rapidly.

Engines and machinery make up 17.4 percent of imports; automobiles, 9.5 percent; oil and lubricants, 8.3 percent; chemical products and fertilizers, 6.4 percent; electrical machines and equipment, 4.8 percent; and other goods,

53.6 percent. The geography of external trade is given in Table 7.

Trade ties between Australia and the USSR and other socialist countries are expanding.

The monetary unit is the Australian dollar (since February 1966), which, according to the Jan. 1, 1968, exchange rate of the State Bank of the USSR, is equal to one ruble.

Table 7. The geography of foreign trade (1966–67)
Great Britain ...........................13.423.8
Japan .................................19.49.7
USA ..................................11.925.6
New Zealand ...........................5.91.5
West Germany ..........................2.55.2
Australian colonies and mandates .........2.90.6
Canada ...............................1.73.8
Others ................................42.329.8

Internal differences The southeast (parts of New South Wales and South Australia and the state of Victoria) is the most industrially developed region. It provides over three-fourths of the net value of the manufacturing industry’s production. Approximately 75 percent of the country’s population and over three-fourths of all enterprises and people employed in manufacturing are concentrated here. This region contains a coal basin with over three-fourths of the country’s coal reserves. Ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy; oil refining; the chemical, electrotechnical, food (creamery, cheese-making, and fruit and vegetable preserving), and light industries are well developed. New industrial enterprises—for instance, electrical cable and artificial fiber—are being created in small cities. Approximately three-fourths of the country’s cultivated land and farms, over three-fourths of all irrigated land, and approximately three-fourths of the total sheep livestock are concentrated in the southeast. Agricultural branches that produce for export—including meat, butter, cheese, and wool—are developed in the interior of the region. The biggest cities of Australia are Canberra (the capital), Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Geelong, and Newcastle.

The northeast (Queensland, excluding its extreme western portion) has a developed mining industry and also produces tropical fruits and sugar. It is first in the output of copper (approximately 75 percent of the country’s total output) and bauxite (over 80 percent of the country’s output) and second in the output of lead, rutile, zircon, gold, and coal. Oil, which is sent by pipeline to the oil refineries in Brisbane and on Bulwer in Moreton Bay, and gas are extracted. Mechanical engineering and the food and chemical industries are developed. Ilmenite and copper concentrate are processed and rough copper is smelted in Queensland. On the coastal plains and on the western slopes of the eastern Snowy Mountains there are sugarcane, banana, pineapple, and other tropical fruit plantations. There are wheat and corn fields in the Darling River valley and on the mountain slopes. Sheep and beef cattle are raised. The important cities are Brisbane, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, and Cairns.

The central desert area (the western portion of Queensland, the deserts of New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory) is virtually unexploited and for the most part is covered with scrub (undergrowth of drought-resistant evergreen bushes), sand, and clay deserts. There is gold mining and sheep raising. The major cities are Alice Springs and Kalgoorlie.

The outlying region (the northern, western, and southwestern parts of the country) was settled and organized (with the exception of the southwest) during the 1960’s. Bauxite, manganese ore, uranium, oil, and iron ore are extracted. There are ferrous metal, oil refining, and chemical industries. Beef cattle are herded in the north. Agriculture is most developed in the southwest where there are fruit orchards, vineyards, wheat fields, dairy and beef cattle, and sheep. The major cities and ports are Perth and its. ports, Freemantle and Kwinana; Geraldton; Albany; and Darwin.

The island of Tasmania is one of the regions that developed most rapidly in Australia after World War II. There are deposits of polymetals, gold, silver, copper, tin, and iron ore. Because of the cheap electric power (35 percent of Australia’s hydroelectric power), power-consuming industries (the production of metallic copper, zinc, titanium oxide, and others) have located there. Cellulose paper and chemical industries are also found in the region. The industrial centers include Hobart, Launceston, Bell Bay, Burnie, Devonport, and Boyer. There is dairy stock breeding and horticulture; fodder crops are sown.


Mileikovskii, A. Avstraliia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.
Andreeva, V. M. Avstraliia. Moscow, 1956.
Vartumian, E. L. Avstraliia. Moscow, 1963.
Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia. Canberra, 1960–68.


The armed forces of the Commonwealth of Australia were created in 1911. They consist of an army, air force, and navy, directed by the departments of the Army, Aviation, and Navy. The army’s ranks are filled by a two-year military conscription and those of the air force and navy by volunteers. In 1968 the armed forces numbered approximately 8,300: 45,000 in the army, 21,000 in the air force, and 16,700 in the navy. The army has one division and several units and infantry battalions.

Armaments include the British-made Centurion tank and Australian and American guns and rifles. In 1968 the air force had approximately 100 Mirage 3 fighter-bombers, up to 40 Canberras (obsolete light bombers, which were replaced by 24 F-111C fighter-bombers), and approximately 50 transport planes. The navy has over 40 battleships and auxiliary ships, including one antisubmarine aircraft carrier, 12 destroyers and guard boats, two submarines, seven trawlers, and up to 20 auxiliary ships. The navy’s aviation department includes attack fighters, patrol planes, antisubmarine planes, and helicopters. In addition to its regular forces, Australia has territorial forces (two divisions) numbering up to 37,000 men.

Battle training is conducted chiefly according to US regulations under the leadership of American military missions and advisers. The country is divided into eight military-administrative districts: north, east, south, west, central, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, and the territory of Papua-New Guinea.

Demography and public health In 1968 the birthrate was 20.0 per 1,000 inhabitants and the general mortality 9.1, with infant mortality 18.0 per 1,000 live births (1967). The geographical isolation of Australia explains the absence of quarantine diseases, and noninfectious pathology predominates. Intestinal diseases are rarely encountered, except for epidemic hepatitis (11,326 cases in 1967). The mortality rate from childhood diseases is low.

In a medical-geographical respect, tropical (northern) and subtropical (eastern coast) regions are differentiated. In the tropical region there are breeding grounds for Japanese river fever and amebiasis; in the subtropical regions north of 30° lat. S Wuchereriosis is widespread. This region contains the aboriginal population, among whom trachoma, an-cylostomiasis, and particularly leprosy, which affects 3.6 percent of the inhabitants, are widespread.

The federal Department of Health in Canberra coordinates the activities of the state health departments and controls serum and vaccine manufacture, quarantine activities, and scientific research. The state health departments fight infectious diseases, manage medical controls for food products and medicines, and direct maternity and child health protection programs. In the cities health care is entrusted to municipal medical commissions.

In 1964, Australia had 2,090 general hospitals with 98,900 beds (8.9 beds per 1,000 inhabitants) and specialized medical institutions such as maternity homes and tubercular and psychiatric sanitoriums. Outpatient services are rendered mainly by doctors in private practice. Seven medical institutes prepare doctors; 472 doctors were graduated in 1960. In 1964 there were 15,060 doctors—1 doctor per 740 inhabitants.


Veterinary services The variety of natural conditions and the economic peculiarities of stock breeding have conditioned the character of the morbidity of agricultural animals. Peripneumonia is endemic to cattle in the Northern Territory and parts of Queensland; it is often spread to southern and western Australia by cattle sent to slaughter. This area is also a natural breeding ground for Q-fever, which is observed in cattle. Anaplasmosis occurs in the east of the country; its cause is tied to the presence of ticks in the pastures. Cowpox and infectious mastitis in sheep have not yet been eradicated. Leukemia in birds and Mixoma virus in rabbits are widespread. A considerable portion of livestock is stricken with helminthoses, against which there is no systematic treatment. There are endemic regions of animal echinococcus in the southeastern part of the country where climatic factors encourage the parasite’s existence.

In 1966 there were 1,500 veterinarians in Australia. The Sydney and Queensland universities prepare highly qualified specialists. A considerable number of veterinary research institutions are studying problems in the fight against animal diseases and methods to raise animal productivity. The major veterinary research institution is the Division of Animal Health and Production in Melbourne. Veterinary services in Australia are included in the department of welfare. There is no single veterinary code for all the states in the country, except for the law on quarantine service.


The Australian system of popular education was formed in the 19th century during the period of colonization. It is managed by the state departments of education; its general administration is the Commonwealth Office of Education, which was reorganized in 1966 into the Office of Education and Science.

The first law on compulsory primary education was passed in 1872 in Victoria. In most states education is now compulsory for children between 6 and 15 years old. Preschool institutions are for the most part private. Elementary schools (state and private) have six grades (some include preschool divisions). In each state there are different types of secondary schools, but the five-year high school predominates (three plus two years of study); many schools have academic, technical, and agricultural sections. In 1967 there were approximately 1,740,000 students in primary schools and 849,000 in secondary schools. Approximately 77 percent of the students attend state schools. Trade and technical education is provided by three- and four-year professional schools requiring a primary education; higher specialized training is provided by technical colleges requiring the first cycle of school. In 1965 over 360,000 people received professional training.

Elementary school teachers are prepared at two- and three-year pedagogical colleges which require a secondary education; high school teachers are trained at universities. There are 14 universities in Australia. The oldest are in Sydney (founded in 1850), Adelaide (1874), and Melbourne (1853); there are technical institutes in Adelaide, Melbourne, and other cities. In 1966, 145,000 students were enrolled in higher educational institutions.

The largest libraries are the National Library in Canberra (founded in 1902, 885,000 volumes), the Public Library of New South Wales in Sydney (1826, 760,000 volumes), the library of Sydney University (1852, over 1,000,000 volumes), and the Public Library of Victoria in Melbourne (1853, 850,000 volumes).

The major museums are the Art Gallery of New South Wales (founded in 1874), the Australian Museum (1827) and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (1880) in Sydney, the National Art Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (1859), and the Botanical Museum in Brisbane (1889).

Natural and technical sciences The development of the natural and technical sciences in Australia dates to the second half of the 19th century, when the first scientific societies were established on British models. The Australian-New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science has been functioning since 1888. The Linnaean Society was founded in New South Wales in 1874. In 1880 the Russian traveler and ethnographer N. N. Miklukho-Maklai opened the first botanical station in Australia in Sydney; in 1894 a division of the British Astronomical Society was opened there. Astronomical observation began in 1912. In 1924 an observatory was built on Mount Stromlo, near Canberra.

Scientific research was substantially broadened after World War I, in connection with the development of old branches of industry and agriculture and the appearance of new ones. In 1926 the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research was created; it was initially occupied only with such agricultural problems as cheese processing, food preservation, animal and plant diseases, and irrigation. In 1936, by government decision, the council concerned itself with industrial and technical problems as well, and the National Standards Laboratory, the Aeronautical Research Laboratory, and the Division of Industrial Chemistry were formed. However, scientific work was conducted by small collectives and was basically concentrated in medicine, biology, and agriculture. Social conditions in the country at the end of the 1920’s and 1930’s were not very conducive to the development of science and technology. In many instances, young people who wished to devote themselves to science were obliged to receive specialized education in other countries or to emigrate.

The rapid development of the natural sciences and technology which began after World War II was related to industrial expansion during the war and the postwar years. Existing laboratories were enlarged; new institutes and universities were organized. Scholars from England and the USA were attracted.

In the postwar period, in addition to the continuation and expansion of scientific work in medicine, biology, and physiology, the scope of research connected with industrial development was broadened. The CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) played an important part in this development; its fundamental work was to maintain research which would heighten the effectiveness of agriculture, technology, and the exact sciences.

CSIRO was created in 1949 after the reorganization of the Council on Scientific and Industrial Research. Its activities extend to almost all branches of science. In 1967 it had 32 departments and four laboratories: wool research (in Melbourne), standards (in Sydney), animal health, and chemical research. Much research in physics, mathematics, geology, and technology is conducted jointly with universities.

In the postwar period the development of scientific research in the exact sciences and statistical work in agriculture necessitated the use of computer technology. Computers were used in economic forecasts, in processing geological and hydrographical data for the construction of the hydroelectric complex in the Snowy Mountains, and in the agricultural sciences, medicine, veterinary science, and chemistry.

Research is being conducted on the theory of the earth-surface layer, the influence of the vital activities of animals on the microclimate and the evaporation from plant surfaces of fine soil particles. Artificial rainmaking is being developed to prevent drought and forest fires.

By the mid-1960’s, in addition to the network of applied science institutions, several centers were formed to conduct experiments in physics, astronomy, and biology and to maintain ties between the largest Australian universities and scientific centers in England, the USA and other countries. The most developed physical sciences in Australia are radio astronomy, in which Australia occupies a leading place, and research on cosmic rays.

Fundamental scientific research is conducted in various areas.

RADIO ASTRONOMY. The observatories at Perth, Parkes, and Kalgoorlie and under the auspices of the Astronomy Center of Sydney and Cornell (USA) are doing experimental work in radio astronomy. Unique instruments used in research include a stellar interferometer, built under the direction of R. H. Brown and located near Narrabri; a Mills radio telescope near Canberra with a span of 3.2 kilometers, the world’s second-largest radio telescope, with a parabolic antenna approximately 70 meters in diameter in Parkes; and a solar radio telescope and an optical telescope in Kalgoorlie. As a result of the work in Parkes, an atlas of radio sources in the sky of the southern hemisphere was compiled, and the first quasar was specifically identified. One of the latest achievements in Parkes was the discovery of the radio source 0106 + 01, the most distant from the earth—12 billion light-years—of those known at the time. A notable discovery was made—a pulsar on the site of a supernova—in the fall of 1968 with the use of the Mills radio telescope.

PHYSICS. Major research centers are the physics faculty at the University of Sydney, which includes a scientific research institute with six divisions—astronomy, astrophysics, theoretical mathematics, computer mathematics, plasma physics, and atomic physics—and the Australian National University in Canberra, where work is conducted in atomic physics, plasma physics, and astronomy. The university observatory on Mount Stromlo is the largest in the southern hemisphere. A unipolar generator with tremendous current was created under the direction of professor M. Oliphant in Canberra. Work in atomic physics is headed by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, founded in 1958. At first it dealt with questions of production of uranium, which was exported entirely to England and the USA until 1964. In 1958 the first atomic institute in the country was opened in Lucas Heights near Sydney; its scientists were trained in Harwell (England). The atomic center has two reactors. Research is conducted in atomic physics, the physics of reactors, chemistry, metallurgy, and medicine.

Basic work in research on cosmic rays is concentrated in the school of physics at the University of Sydney, which has two plants, including the world’s largest, near Narrabri.

SPACE RESEARCH. Australia is implementing a program of applied scientific and military research. A rocket test ground in Woomera is equipped for testing and launching rockets and for tracking satellites. Australia participated with France, England, and the Federal Republic of Germany in the European Space Research Organization and donates its test grounds for this work. Special tracking stations are used for the orbit injection of American satellites and for their observation. The USA subsidizes the equipment and maintenance of these stations.

GEOLOGY AND GEOGRAPHY. Geological research is conducted by the Geological Society of the Commonwealth of Australia, the departments of geology, geophysics, and mining of the Mineral Resources Authority, universities, and mining and oil companies. The work of a group of scientists, including A. E. Ringwood, at the Australian National University in Canberra became widely known for its experimental research on the high rock pressure around the Mohorovicic discontinuity, the mineralogical and chemical composition of the upper mantle of the earth, and the origin of basalt and andesite magma, which was an essential contribution to the international Upper Mantle Project. The Australian Antarctic Scientific Expedition is conducting systematic experiments in the Antarctic, with two scientific stations there and a third located on Macquarie Island. The physics of the upper atmosphere, the physics of cosmic rays, geophysics, glaciology, and biology are included in the program of experiments. Work began in 1947.

MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY. Experiments are conducted chiefly in the W. and E. Hall Institute for medical research in Melbourne. The institute’s work, directed by Nobel laureate (1960) F. M. Burnet, became well known as early as the 1930’s. Its experiments with viruses led to the discovery of various forms of polio virus and the identi]cation of the Q-fever virus; it continues research on the theory of antibodies, immunology, and self-immunizing infections. Scientific programs to increase agricultural productivity were expanded. Professor Eccles, who worked at the medical research school at Canberra University with his colleagues, received the Nobel Prize in 1961; at the present he is living in the USA.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH. Apart from the work already mentioned, the CSIRO is researching and developing hydrotechnical installations which will create large artificial reservoirs and hydroelectric power plant systems. The Snowy Mountain Hydroelectrical Scheme Authority, set up in 1949, is implementing the research, planning, and contruction of a unique hydrotechnical complex which will transfer drainage from the rivers of the Snowy River basin west across the crest of the Snowy Mountains. The basic installations of the system were under construction by 1968. The water is used in the plants’ cascades and for irrigating the dry central regions of New South Wales and Victoria. The authority has founded scientific facilities which include a computer center and laboratories for studying hydromechanics, geological engineering, and construction and construction materials, as well as physical, engineering, and operations laboratories.

The activities of scientific organizations are financed in part by the government and in part by private firms. American research and military organizations also finance their work. In 1954 the Australian Academy of Science was formed, but it did not become a leading organization in scientific research. The entire modern organizational system for Australia’s sciences depends on close ties with the corresponding British and, since the 1960’s, American scientific institutions. While aiding the development of specific branches of science, this fact simultaneously increases the drain of young scientific workers from the country. Specialists from developing Asian countries who have been graduated from Australian universities are required by immigration laws to leave the country. This produces a shortage of scientific personnel in Australia and in part accounts for the narrow scope of scientific research.


The first Australian newspaper, the Australian, appeared in 1824. In 1967 more than 80 large newspapers, journals, and other periodicals, with a total weekly circulation of approximately 30 million copies, were published in Australia. The largest newspapers are the Herald (since 1840), Sydney Morning Herald (1831), Daily Telegraph (1879), Canberra Times (1926), The Age (1854), Daily Mirror (1941), The Sun (1910), Sun News-Pictorial (1922), Sun Herald (1949), Sunday Telegraph (1938), Sunday Mirror (1958), and Truth (1889); the largest journals are the Bulletin (1880), Nation (1958), and Australian Financial Review (1951). One of the largest information agencies is the Melbourne Herald.

Radio broadcasting was introduced in 1923, television in 1956. In 1967 there were 196 radio stations, 85 state-owned and 111 commercial. There are 79 television stations, 41 of which are commercial. Radio and television broadcasts are primarily in English.


Australian literature developed at the beginning of the 19th century in English. During the colonial period, in the formation of their literature, Australian writers considered themselves successors of the 18th- and 19th-century English literary tradition. The most common genres of this period were the odes, pastorals, elegies, pamphlets, memoirs, travel notes, and family and adventure novels; W. Wentworth’s patriotic poem, Australasia (1823), H. Savery’s novel Quintus Servinton (1830–31), A. Harris’s novel Settlers and Convicts (1847), and the verse of C. Thompson are typical of that period. Characteristics of a national self-image appear in the works of the poets C. Harpur, A. L. Gordon, and H. Kendall. Such works as M. A. Clarke’s For the Term of His Natural Life (1872) and the novels of R. Boldrewood (T. A. Browne) contain realistic portrayals of the Australian character.

During the next period (the end of the 19th century) the literature took on a distinct national character. The growth of the workers’ movement exerted a great influence. The journal Bulletin (founded in 1880) played a substantial role in the formation of a democratic tendency. During this time the smaller genres predominated. Such novelists as Price Waning (W. Astley), Steele Rudd (A. Davis), and H. Law-son appeared at this time. The first poetic school, that of the so-called balladists, was formed (E. Dyson, V. Daley, E. Brady, H. Lawson); A. “Banjo” Paterson glorified the bravery of the pioneer settlers and the passing of patriarchal “squatters” in Australia. The poets Mary Gilmore, a classic of Australian literature, and C. Brennan, influenced by the German romantics and the French symbolists, appeared at the turn of the century. H. Lawson, T. Collins (J. Furphy), and B. O’Dowd developed and deepened democratic literary traditions by showing the rigorous life of the people, their vigorous fight for existence, and their protest against social injustice. Lawson’s verses, imbued with a revolutionary spirit, became popular as folk songs; his stories are accurate portrayals of the workingman (the anthologies While the Billy Boils, 1896, and Children of the Bush, 1902). T. Collins presents a panorama of Australian life in the realistic novel-travel diary, Such Is Life (1903); during the same years the verses of O’Dowd (the anthologies Dawnward?, 1903, and Seven Deadly Sins, a Series of Sonnets, 1909) and the first realistic plays of L. Esson appeared. Attempts to show the hard lot of the working people rather than exposures of the ruling classes are typical of Australian critical realism.

World War I and the October Revolution in Russia had an influence on the subsequent development of Australian literature. The poet Furnley Maurice (F. Wilmot) opposed militarism in his anthology Eyes of Vigilance, 1920. K. S. Prichard and V. Palmer initiated the social novel. The fate of the Australian people is the basic theme of both Prichard (Working Bullocks, 1926, Coonardoo, 1929) and Palmer (Outpost, 1924, The Passage, 1930). The democratic literature of the 1930’s gives an accurate portrait of sociohistori-cal reality; outstanding are the trilogy by H. H. Richardson (the woman author E. F. Richardson) The Fortunes of Richard Mahony (1917–29), the novels All that Swagger (1936) by Miles Franklin and The Montforts (1928) by M. Boyd, The Glass House (1929) by M. B. Eldershaw (the pseudonym of two female writers—F. S. P. Eldershaw and M. F. Barnard), Capricornia (1938) by S. Herbert, The Landtakers (1934) by B. Penton, and Sugar Paradise (1938) by J. Devigny. The economic crisis of the 1930’s brought the theme of the capitalistic city with its sharp class conflicts to such novels as Seven Poor Men of Sydney (1934) by K. Stead, Tiburon (1935) by K. Tennant, and A Murder in Sydney (1937) by L. Mann.

The lyrical tendency typical of Australian turn-of-the-century poetry, exemplified by J. Shaw Neilson and J. Le Gay Brereton, was retained in the work of Judith Wright (the anthologies The Moving Image, 1946, and Woman to Man, 1949). In 1938 the poet R. Ingamels founded the Jin-dyworobak Club which united such poets as J. Mudie and F. Hudson in an attempt to develop a national literature by assimilating the oral poetry of the aborigines. Furthermore, by the 1920’s a group of so-called intellectual poets had already appeared; they were familiar with the methods of modernistic poetry and had accepted the modernist concept of the absurdity of the world. These included K. Slessor, H. McCrae, R. Fitzgerald, A. Hope, W. Hart-Smith, and others. During the 1940’s the avante-garde poets M. Harris, G. Dutton, and A. Kershaw formed a group, Angry Penguins, and published a journal of the same name.

After World War II, 1939–45, a new stage in the development of Australian literature began, notable for its successes in realism, and largely formed by the sharpening of social contradictions and the development of the democratic movement. The novel achieved an epic sweep in relating the fate of the Australian nation: the historical novels of E. Dark (The Timeless Land, 1941, Storm of Time, 1948, and No Barriers, 1953) and Prichard’s trilogy (The Roaring Nineties, 1946, Golden Miles, 1948, and Winged Seeds, 1950), a work of socialist realism. The theme of the workers’ movement was popular in postwar literature: it is central to Palmer’s trilogy Golconda (1948), Seedtime (1957), and The Big Fellow (1959), and to the novels of D. Hewitt, M. Calthorpe, and A. Marshall. Many writers resolved contemporary problems by interpreting the course of historical events: there were World War II novels by E. Lambert, The Twenty Thousand Thieves (1951), and J. Forrest, The Last Blue Sea (1959), and novels about contemporary Australia and the Australians——D. Cusack’s Say No to Death (1951) and Heatwave in Berlin (1961), J. Waten’s Shares in Murder (1957) and Season of Youth (1966), and D. Creek’s Martin Place (1963). Racial discrimination is one of the most important subjects in contemporary prose; it is handled in Mirage (1955) by F. B. Vikers, Sun in Exile (1955) and Black Lightning (1964) by D. Cusack, Snowball (1958) by G. Casey, Yandu (1959) by D. Stewart, and Keep Him, My Country (1955) by M. Durack. The world of P. White’s novels Voss (1957), Riders in the Chariot (1961), and The Solid Mandala (1966) is peopled with heroes suffering from individualism and loneliness, hoping to resolve vital conflicts by fleeing reality; his play The Ham Funeral (1965) is typical of the theater of the absurd. R. Stow in such novels as The Bystander (1957) and To the Islands (1958) resembles P. White, but in the novel Merry-go-round in the Sea (1966), Stow correlates his characters with reality.

The short-story form is flourishing. Following the tradition of H. Lawson are such authors as K. Prichard, V. Palmer, G. Casey, J. Waten, J. Morrison, A. Marshall, F. D. Davison, and F. Hardy. There is growth in professional drama, distinguished by an interest in contemporary problems, seen in the plays of A. Turner, S. Locke-Elliot, C. Duncan, and D. Cusack. Social problems appear in the plays of O. Grey, R. Lawler (The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, 1956), R. Beynon and A. Seymour (The One Day of the Year, 1962). Hatred for colonialism and racism imbues the plays of M. Brand. H. Porter’s historical drama The Tower (1963) was written in the tradition of H. Ibsen.

The abandonment of a surrealistic view of the world and an attempt to return to realistic images, to traditional meters, is typical of contemporary poetry, as seen in the anthologies of J. Wright, R. Fitzgerald, A. Hope, R. Dobson, J. McAuley, D. Stewart, J. Manifold, and G. Dutton.


Abramov, A. “Literaturnaia Avstraliia.” Internatsional’naia literatura, 1938, no. 11.
Dombrovskaia, E. Ia. “Poeziia Genri Lousona 80–90-kh godov i traditsii avstraliiskoi poezii.” Uch. zap. Moskovskogo oblast-nogo pedagogicheskogo instituta, 1957, vol. 55. (Trudy kafedry zarubezhnoi literatury, vol. 5.)
Kasatkina, L. M. “Rol’kommunisticheskoi pressy v formirovanii poslevoennoi progressivnoi avstraliiskoi literatury.” In Iz istorii zarubezhnoi pechati. Moscow, 1958.
Petrikivs’ka, A. “Avstraliis’ka proza.” Vsesvit, 1958, no. 6.
Waten, J. “Sotsialisticheskii realizm i traditsii avstraliiskoi literatury.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1960, no. 7.
Green, H. M. A History of Australian Literature, vols. 1–2. Sydney, 1966.
Hope, A. D. Australian Literature: 1950–62. Melbourne, 1963.
Wilkes, G. A. The University and Australian Literature. Sydney, 1964.
Dutton, G. [ed.] The Literature of Australia. [Ringwood,] 1964.
Miller, E. M. Australian Literature: A Bibliography to 1938. Extended to 1950. Sydney-London [and others], 1956.


The aborigines of Australia lived in caves and huts until colonization; in their carvings, engravings, and paintings on shields, boomerangs, and tjuringa (sacred objects), they combined geometrical ornamentation with conventional magic symbols and realistic representations. In the Kim-berly plateau region, the cave paintings are associated with concepts of rain and the “serpent rainbow”; the X-ray style of rock paintings and bark drawings (representations of animals showing their internal organs) is found in the Arn-hem Land Peninsula, as are paintings with dynamic figures of people and sculpture in a style similar to the Melanesian.

European colonization, beginning in the late 18th century, spurred the growth of towns, which accelerated in the mid-19th century; the towns expanded on grids with English neoclassic and neogothic stone buildings, designed by such architects as F. H. Greenway (early 19th century); the low-storied homes had thick walls, small windows, and verandas. In 1913–27, the capital, Canberra, was constructed according to the plan of architect W. B. Griffin. Among contemporary reinforced concrete buildings are the Sydney Opera House, the buildings of H. Seidler in Sydney, and the Olympic Stadium (1956) in Melbourne.

In the fine arts, the first really precise sketches of Australian landscapes, done at the turn of the 19th century, were followed in the first half of the century by the romantic watercolor landscapes of C. Martens; the second half of the century was noted for the genre and satirical graphics of S. T. Gill, depicting social life, and the lyrical landscapes of A. L. Buvelot. At the turn of the 20th century, in addition to academism (represented by the painter G. W. Lambert and the sculptor E. B. Mackennal) and salon decadence (N. Lindsay), a national school of realistic genre and landscape painting (T. W. Roberts, A. Streeton, F. McCubbin, H. Heysen) developed, portraying the work and the harsh fate of the simple people and the quiet beauty of the sunlit Australian expanses. C. Conder added the achievements of impressionism to Australian landscape painting. The influence of cubism (R. Faisell), surrealism (J. Gleeson), and abstract art has been widespread since the 1930’s. Features of surrealistic fantasy are inherent in the paintings of S. Nolan. The painters and graphic artists N. Counihan, W. Dobell, and G. R. Drysdale and the sculptor L. Dads-well composed their realistic art with brilliant observation and expression. During the 1940’s a new art arose among the aborigines that reflects the growth of their self-awareness and attracts by its sensitive, loving acceptance of Australia’s colorful natural environment; Hermannsburg, home of a school of watercolor landscape, created by the Namatjira and Pareroultja families of the Aranda tribe, and the Carrolup reservation (south of Perth) have become its centers.


Katalog vystavki sovremennykh khudozhnikov Avstralii. Moscow, 1960.
Boyd, R. Australia’s Home. Melbourne, 1952.
Smith, B. Australian Painting 1788–1960. London, 1962.
Black, R. Old and New Australian Aboriginal Art. Sydney, 1964.

Singing, accompanied by rhythms made by blows of boomerangs against each other or special sticks, is the typical musical form of Australia’s native population. Wooden gongs, drums, and the didgeridoo (a wind instrument of wood or bamboo) are widely used. The corroboree, entertaining and religious ritual dancing, was often accompanied by music and singing.

From the end of the 18th century, with the English colonization of Australia, European music—at first, English folk music—became widespread. From the 1830’s concerts of instrumental and vocal music were held in Sydney; in 1833 the Sydney Philharmonic Society was formed. In 1843 the first Italian opera was performed there, and in 1847, an Australian opera, Don John of Austria, by A. Nathan. In 1844 the Australian Philharmonic Society was founded, and philharmonic and choral societies were later created in all the large cities. In 1883 a musical college was founded in Adelaide; in 1906 a symphonic orchestra was organized in Melbourne, which, with the Sydney orchestra (founded in 1946), ranks among the country’s best orchestras. The National Council of Music Associations (1932), the Guild of Australian Composers (1935), and the Musica Viva Society (1946) were formed subsequently. The Australian Elizabethan Theater Trust—a social organization whose aim is the development of national opera, ballet, and drama—was created in 1954; in 1951 the National Opera Company was created in Sydney. There are music schools and conservatories in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney; in addition, there are music faculties at the universities.

Among the most prominent people in Australian music are the composer A. Hill, who based many of his works, including the opera Tapu (1908), on Maori folklore; J. An-till, composer of the ballet Corroboree (1946), which is based on the religious ritual dances of the aborigines; the composers and pianists P. Grainger and A. Benjamin (composer of the opera Tale of Two Cities, based on C. Dickens, 1950); and the conductor B. Heinze, the violinist B. Kimber, the singer N. Melba, and the aboriginal singer H. Blair.


Heinze, B. “Muzikal’naia kul’tura Avstralii.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1959, no. 1.
Davies, E. H. Music in Primitive Society. Adelaide, 1947.
Elkin, A. P., and Trevor, A. J. Arnhem Land Music (North Australia). Sydney, 1958.
Ellis, C. Aboriginal Music Making: A Study of Central Australian Music. Adelaide, 1964.
Lethbridge, H. O. Australian Aboriginal Songs. Melbourne, 1937.
Orchard, W. A. Music in Australia: More than 150 Years of Development. Melbourne, 1952.


Australia’s native population had no theater. The first theatrical performances of the colonists and English exiles date from the 1780’s. In the 1830’s and the 1840’s permanent theaters began to open in Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide, and Melbourne. In the second half of the 19th century, theaters were joined into trusts directed by G. Coppin, J. Williamson, A. Garner, D. Boucicault, Jr., and others who later became famous Australian entrepreneurs. The theaters presented works of Australian authors as well as European and American classics, imitating foreign productions. At the beginning of the 20th century the theaters experienced a financial and creative crisis; during the second through fourth decades progressive literary and theatrical associations became active and were instrumental in forming a national theater. The associations presented primarily national dramatists—K. Prichard, L. Esson, W. Moore, K. Watson, V. Palmer, S. McKay—but also plays by French, English, Russian, and other European authors. In 1936 the members of independent theater groups, which arose in the 1930’s, united into the League for a New Theater, which led to the appearance of “new theaters.”

The conditions under which the theatrical groups worked—financial difficulties and the lack of a permanent house—did not further the growth and development of a national theater; theatrical provincialism predominated in the performances. The goal of the state Australian Elizabethan Theater Trust, created in 1954, is the development of a professional Australian theater (including ballet and opera); however, most subsidies were given to ballet troupes which received considerable attention and achieved a significant professional level in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. The troupes, led by R. Helpmann and P. Van Praagh, had among their members the male dancer G. Welch and the ballerinas M. Jones, J. Karin, and E. Fairfield.

The majority of theaters in the country are “commercial”; the leading ones are the Williamson Dramatic Company, the Tivoli, and the Garnet H. Caroll trust. These theaters do not have permanent producers and a permanent staff of actors; stars from other countries are invited to play the major roles. The activities of the repertory (noncommercial) theaters in Sydney (The Old Tote, Independent Theater, St. Martin’s Theater, and Emerald Hill Theater) and in Melbourne have been significant in the development of a national theater. The bold, experimental repertory theaters present performances distinguished by a high professional level (the theaters have permanent houses and actors’ studios); they are supported by financial contributions from the local intelligentsia. Their repertory includes classical drama and contemporary foreign and national plays.

There is a national institute of dramatic art in Melbourne. A considerable number of actors enter the theater from the amateur “little” theaters, commonly found throughout the suburbs and provinces. In Sydney, Newcastle, and Melbourne interesting work is being done by the semiprofes-sional theaters (“new theaters”) which primarily present national and classical drama. The progressive social tendencies of these theaters determine their repertory and the actor’s performances.


Mc Guire, P. The Australian Theater. London-Melbourne, 1948.
Hunt, H. The Making of Australian Theater. Melbourne, 1960.
Kardoss, J. Theater Arts in Australia. Sydney, 1960.


The production of films in Australia began in 1900. During World War I, light comedies and films on the war were made. In the 1920’s and 1930’s an average of seven or eight films were made annually; during World War II there were three or four. The work of director C. Chauvel, who dealt with the life of the country, and the short documentaries of D. Parer were outstanding films of the war years. The production of documentaries is most developed; their montage was greatly influenced by J. Ivens, the Dutch director of Indonesia Calls (1944–45). The development of national film production is hampered by the foreign film companies; American and British films usurp the need for Australian products. In Sydney there are several film studios which produce primarily documentary and nature films. Science films are made by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Melbourne.

Since 1956 international film festivals have been held in Melbourne.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Anonymous 2001, Agreement on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health [between State of South Australia, Commonwealth of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia], Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra.
[xiii] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003, 2003: Year Book Australia, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra

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