English Across the Curriculum

Discover Australia

Plants and Animals


The eucalyptus or gum tree is a classic Australian tree. It has narrow , oily leaves that look like leather and smell good, but also cause the tree to burn easily. It is one of the tallest trees in the world and can grow up to a height of 100 metres.

Tourists who wander around in Australia can find thousands of wildflowers in the country. The seeds lie in the desert during the dry season and when it rains they blossom in all kinds of different colours.

Eucalyptus forest in Victoria
Image : fir0002 flagstaffotos [at] gmail.com Canon 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

Senna odorata - flowers with a sweet smell are native to Australia
Qumarchi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


When the earth was formed there was only one continent . About 200 million years ago Australia was separated from this big continent and animals developed differently from those that live in other places. That is why Australia has animals which you can't find anywhere else.

Australia’s most famous animals are marsupials. They are mammals that have their babies in pouches. Kangaroos, koalas or wallabies are the best-known marsupials in Australia. The platypus is a mammal that lays eggs, from which babies hatch.

Australia has about 700 different types of birds. Among the most famous is the kookaburra. Emus are large birds that cannot fly.

There are many species of reptiles and snakes in Australia, some of which are poisonous.

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0"

Arpingstone, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons