Student Services Direct

About Australia

Life in Australia

Discover the Australian way of life!

Australia is a land of diversity and culture and we have compiled this resource detailing what to expect to help you adapt to your new environment.

Living in a new country can be very different and your lifestyle will undoubtedly change. We recognise the challenges faced by students in their transition to studying abroad and SSD will help to make the transition as smooth as possible.

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The Continent

Australia consists of two land masses: the mainland and Tasmania. In area it is the sixth largest country in the world and the smallest continent.

Whilst Australia is often thought of as a dry thinly populated land, this is only true of the inland (or outback) areas. The huge interior is hot and dry with vast expanses of sandy desert or stone plains giving way to scrub. The eastern coast is more heavily populated.

Australia's deserts are vast, the snowfields huge and picturesque and the surfing beaches among the best in the world.

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Flags

The Australian Flag

The Australian Flag is based on the Blue Ensign. It is a plain blue flag with the British Union Jack in the upper corner of the hoist. This symbolises both Australia's colonial background and the present-day membership of the British Commonwealth.

Underneath is the seven-pointed Commonwealth star. Each point represents either a state or territory. On the right hand side there are five white stars in the shape of the Southern Cross, the constellation most characteristic of the Australian sky at night.

At the time of Federation in 1901, there was no Australian flag. As a colony of Britain, we used British flags. The new Government held an international competition which attracted an enormous number of entries and from these the present design was chosen. In 1908 the six pointed white star was replaced by a seven pointed star to represent the territories.

The aboriginal flag

The Aboriginal Flag was designed by Harold Thomas, an artist and an Aboriginal, in 1971. It has become a symbol for modern Aborigines in their fight for land rights and equality. It was first flown in 1972 at the Tent Embassy in Canberra.

Black is for the colour of the people.
Red is for the land and for the blood that has been shed since the European invasion.
Yellow is for the sun, the life-giving source uniting both the land and the people.

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National Anthem

Advance Australia Fair

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free,
We've golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

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Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms consists of a shield composed of six parts, each containing a badge for each state. These are surrounded by an ermine border, signifying the federation of the States into the Commonwealth.

The shield is supported by two Australian animals, the kangaroo on the left and the emu on the right. They are standing on ornamental rests, behind which are small branches of wattle.

The crest consists of the seven-pointed Commonwealth gold star, a symbol of national unity. At the base of the shield is a scroll on which is printed the word "Australia".

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