English Across the Curriculum

Discover Australia


Australia is one of the world's wealthiest countries. It exports valuable minerals and farm products to all parts of the world.

Various kinds of raw materials are produced. Many of them, however, are located in dry areas very far away from bigger cities or harbours. Workers must build railroad lines or roads to the mines, which is a reason why mining is a very expensive industry in Australia. Foreign companies come to Australia to invest money to mine raw materials .

Australia is a leading country in the production of diamonds, bauxite and lead. It also produces a big quantity of coal, iron ore and nickel. Almost all of the world’s valuable opals are mined in Australia. The country also has much of the world’s uranium under its surface.

Gold mine in Western Australia

Image : Brian Voon Yee Yap

About 60% of Australia is farmland, most of which is used to raise cattle and sheep. Farmers can grow wheat in many parts of the country because wheat doesn't need very much rain . Other products include sugar cane and bananas in the tropical north and fruits like apples, oranges and pears in the south.

Australia is the world's largest wool producer. Most of it is exported to countries all over the world. Wine making is a part of the economy that has been growing very quickly. Grapes grow in the southern and south-eastern part of the continent and produce wine of excellent quality.

Shearing sheep in western Australia

Image: Martin Pot (Martybugs at en.wikipedia), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Growing wine in Tasmania
Image: MDRX, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Not many people work on Australian farms because farmers have many machines to work with. Only about 5 % of the population are farmers, but they produce almost everything that the country needs.

Tourism has become very important for the economy of the country. Australia offers many sights like Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef or Sydney Opera House. Because it is so far away from Europe and North America, it costs a lot to travel "down under".