Historical and Political Context (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Australia is a federal parliamentary state. The British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is the chief of state, although constitutional links with Britain were ended in 1968. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd became the head of state in 2007. Australia achieved federation status in 1901. Despite the nature of its geography, bound by water in all directions, Australia has eschewed isolationism and fought alongside the British in World Wars I and II and with the United States in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. During the 1960’s, the country sought to deal more fairly with its indigenous population of aborigines. In 2001, Australia joined the United States in its response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
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Impact of Australian Policies on Climate Change (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was elected, ending the eleven-year ministry of John Howard, he made ratifying the Kyoto Protocol a priority of his ministry. Shortly after his election, Rudd was invited to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali. Australia’s pledge to ratify the Kyoto Protocol signaled a policy shift from that of the previous government; Australia had previously signed the protocol but had not ratified it.
Industrialized, Annex I parties to the Kyoto Protocol such as Australia are committed to cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an average of 5 percent from their 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. A heavier burden is placed on industrialized countries than on developing nations, because the former are better able to pay the cost of emission cuts than are the latter.
In 2008, Australia participated in negotiations on reducing deforestation at the fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-14) in Poznan, Poland. (COP is the highest body of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and consists of environment ministers who meet once a year to discuss the convention’s developments.) Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States opposed provisions designed to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. As a result, major changes to the draft agreement on deforestation were required prior to the 2009 conference (COP-15) in Copenhagen,...
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Australia as a GHG Emitter (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
As of 2008, Australia was ranked as the world’s sixteenth-highest GHG emitter. To reduce such emissions, the Kyoto Protocol established carbon quotas for member countries, which may develop new carbon sinks, such as reservoirs of foliage or forests, in order to offset their carbon emissions. These sinks are known as “Kyoto lands.” The use of carbon sinks to mitigate the global warming effects of emissions may be useful to countries with large areas of forest or other vegetation that are otherwise struggling to comply with the protocol. Specific legally binding quotas for reduction of GHG emissions have been established for the developed, Annex I nations, including Australia. Developing, non-Annex I countries, such as Brazil annd Indonesia, are not compelled to restrict their GHG emissions. In such countries, emissions may come in large part from the cultivation of lands and the destruction of forests. However, for developed nations such as Australia, land use would have little effect in meeting Kyoto quotas, since most Australian land has already been cultivated.
While the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Gulf States have the highest GHG emissions, data from 2000 show that—of the top twenty emitters—those with highest per capita emissions were the Annex I countries. Australia, the United States, and Canada ranked fifth, seventh, and ninth, respectively. Their per capita emissions (7.0,...
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Summary and Foresight (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Before 2007, the Howard government argued that ratifying the Kyoto Protocol would jeopardize Australian jobs and industry. It opposed Australia’s commitment to the treaty, on the grounds that some major polluters, including developing, non-Annex I countries such as China and India, would not be compelled to cut their GHG emissions. Critics argued that by not ratifying the protocol, Australia would tarnish its image as an environmentally progressive nation. Australia has been a leader in opposing whaling and in advocating for conservation of Antarctica and the South Pacific Ocean.
The Rudd government, despite ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, was criticized as it entered the climate change debate at COP-14, because it did not set specific targets for cutting GHG emissions by 2020. developing nations such as India questioned why they should commit to such targets if industrialized countries did not. Earlier, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had declared that global GHG emissions must peak by 2015 and then begin to decline if catastrophic environmental consequences are to be avoided. The European Union has already committed to reducing GHG emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
COP-14 was supposed to provide continuity between the negotiations begun at COP-13 in Bali (2007) and a finalized agreement to be reached at COP-15, where the successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol would be completed. COP-14 was...
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Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Lohmann, Larry, ed. Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatization, and Power. Uppsala, Sweden: Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, 2006. Tackles the controversial aspects of carbon trading.
Lowe, I. Living in the Hothouse: How Global Warming Affects Australia. Melbourne: Scribe, 2005. Details Australia’s global warming challenges.
Macintyre, S. A Concise History of Australia. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Complete history of Australia, from 1600 to 1999.
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The Country (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Australia, in the area called Oceania, is a continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. Its Aboriginal people are thought to have arrived from Southeast Asia during the last ice age, at least fifty thousand years ago. At the time of European discovery and settlement, up to one million Aboriginal people lived across the continent as hunters and gatherers. They were scattered in 300 clans and spoke 250 languages and 700 dialects. Each clan had a spiritual connection with a specific piece of land but also traveled widely to trade, find water and seasonal produce, and conduct ritual and totemic gatherings. Despite the diversity of their homelands—from Outback deserts and tropical rain forests to snow-capped mountains—Aboriginal people all shared a belief in the timeless, magical realm of the “Dreamtime.” These spirit ancestors continue to connect natural phenomena—as well as past, present, and future—through every aspect of Aboriginal culture and resources.
European settlers arrived in 1788. These settlers took advantage of the continent’s natural resources to develop agricultural and the manufacturing industries. Australia transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy based on the vast quantities of natural resources, particularly mineral resources. Described in 1964 by author Donald Horne as “The Lucky Country,” Australia is ranked about twentieth in the...
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Minerals (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Minerals have had a tremendous impact on Australia’s human history and patterns of settlement. Alluvial gold (gold sediments deposited by rivers and streams) spurred several gold rushes in the 1850’s and set the stage for Australia’s present demographic patterns. Beginning around the time of World War II, there has been almost a continuous run of mineral discoveries, including gold, bauxite, iron, and manganese reserves as well as opals, sapphires, and other precious stones.
The Australian minerals industry is an industry of considerable size and economic and social significance, benefiting all Australians both directly and indirectly. The mining and minerals-processing sectors underpin vitally important supply-and-demand relationships with the Australian manufacturing, construction, banking and financial, process engineering, property, and transport sectors.
Australia is the world’s largest exporter of black coal, iron ore, and gold. It also holds the status of the leading producer of bauxite and alumina (the oxide form of aluminum, Al2O3); the second largest producer of uranium, lead, and zinc; the third largest producer of iron ore, nickel, manganese, and gold; the fourth largest producer of black coal, silver, and copper; and the fifth largest producer of aluminum. However, only a handful of major discoveries were made in the late twentieth century. In an attempt to reverse this trend, mining companies stepped up...
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Coal (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Mining in Australia dates back thousands of years, but the country’s first truly commercial mining venture was at Newcastle in 1799, when coal (discovered by a convict, William Bryant) was exported to Bengal. This coal resource led to the establishment of a penal settlement at what was then known as “Coal River” in 1801. From those humble beginnings, Newcastle developed into a major metropolitan center and Australia became one of the largest coal producers in the world. Production of raw black coal reached a total of 398 million metric tons in 2006 and created exports worth around $23 billion Australian(about $19 billion U.S.).
Coal has become Australia’s major mineral export and accounts for nearly 25 percent of Australia’s export earnings. Australia is the world’s fourth largest coal producer, producing 391 million metric tons of coal in 2007. Australia is also the world’s largest net exporter of coking and steaming coal. According to the 2008 British petroleum (BP) Statistical Energy Survey, Australia had, at the end of 2007, coal reserves of 76,600 million metric tons—9.03 percent of the world total.
Almost all of Australia’s export production coal deposits are located in Permian-age sediments (250 million years old) in the Bowen basin in Queensland and the Hunter Valley basins in New South Wales. Western Australia has some producing mines south of Perth. Australia also has reserves of lower-grade lignite...
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Nickel (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
The Western Australian shield is rich in nickel deposits. They were first discovered near Kalgoorlie in south Western Australia in 1964. Small quantities of platinum and palladium have been extracted side-by-side with nickel reserves. About 99 percent of Australia’s nickel is produced in Western Australia, supplying about 13 percent of world production. The state produces more than 140,000 metric tons of nickel, valued at $1 billion Australian(about $830,000 U.S.).
Until 1998, only sulfide ores were used for nickel extraction. These are deep and associated with volcanic rock. New projects use laterite ores (oxides), which are cheaper to mine because of new technologies, including high-temperature and high-pressure acid leaching, ion exchange, and electrowinning to produce an almost pure (99.8 percent) nickel at one site. These developments shifted the center of world production away from Canada to Australia.
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Uranium (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Beginning in the 1930’s, the Australian uranium industry has developed substantially, making Australia one of the world’s major producers and exporters of uranium. Australia’s vast, low-cost uranium resources make the country the top-ranked nation in the world with more than 1.3 million metric tons of known recoverable resources. In fact, Australia has 1.4 times the uranium resources, and 2.6 times the quantity of recoverable resources, of Kazakhstan. Australia’s uranium resources are also known for having a relatively low cost of extraction compared to that of other nations.
The resources are distributed in a fairly clustered manner throughout Australia, with three-quarters of the known and inferred resources found in South Australia and more specifically at the Olympic Dam, the world’s largest deposit. Other significant resources have been found in Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia. Australia’s uranium is exported only to countries that have committed to nuclear safeguard agreements.
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Gold (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Gold production in Australia, which was very important in the past, has declined from a peak production of 4 million fine ounces in 1904 to several hundred thousand fine ounces today. Most of the gold is extracted from the Kalgoorlie-Norseman area of Western Australia.
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Opals and other Precious Stones (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Australia is well known for its precious stones, particularly white and black opals from South Australia and western New South Wales. Sapphires and topaz are mined in Queensland and in the New England District of northeastern New South Wales. The state of South Australia has earned an international reputation as the largest producer of precious opal in the world, and opal was adopted as that state’s mineral emblem in September, 1985. The Burra copper mine was once a significant source of gem-quality malachite, and chrysoprase has been produced from Mount Davies. However, only opal and jade are mined commercially, the latter from extensive deposits near Cowell.
Gem-quality or precious opal is distinguished from common opal by a characteristic play of spectral colors. Precious opal is classified according to the body or background colors of the gem and the color pattern. South Australia produces about half of the Australian output of gem opal; the major production fields are Coober Pedy, Mintabie, and Andamooka. Since 1915, the major opal-producing center has been Coober Pedy. The opal workings comprise numerous large fields extending 30 kilometers northwest and 40 kilometers southeast of the town. Mining is carried out by individuals and small syndicates generally equipped with bulldozers, or underground tunneling or bogging machines, in conjunction with pneumatic jackpicks and explosives.
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Oil and Natural Gas (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
The oil and gas industry is an important contributor to the Australian economy and employs around fifteen thousand people. Liquid natural gas (LNG) production and exports have been valued at $5.8 billion Australian (about $4.8 billion U.S.). Australia is the world’s twentieth largest producer of natural gas and the sixth largest exporter of LNG. Australia supplies much of its oil consumption needs domestically. The first Australian oil discoveries were in southern Queensland. Australian oil production amounts to about 25 million barrels per year and includes pumping from oil fields off northwestern Australia near Barrow Island, in the southern part of the Northern Territory, and fields in the Bass Strait.
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Iron Ore (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Australia has billions of metric tons of iron ore reserves. Most of Australia’s substantial iron ore reserves are in Western Australia, which accounts for 97 percent of the nation’s total production. The Pilbara region of Western Australia is particularly significant, with 85 percent of Australia’s total identified resources and 92 percent of its production. Locally significant iron-ore mines also operate in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, and New South Wales. In 2007, Australia’s iron ore production was 299 metric tons, and 267 metric tons were exported. Australia produces about 13 percent of world iron ore and ranks fourth in the world.
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Agriculture (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Australia’s climate can rightly be regarded as a real resource, although in times of drought the climate can be regarded as having a distinctly negative impact on agricultural resources. Rainfall patterns across Australia are highly seasonal and vary considerably from year to year and decade to decade. Compared to the other continental landmasses, Australia is very dry; more than 80 percent of Australia has an annual rainfall of less than 600 millimeters. Because of this aridity, Australia suffers from leached, sandy, and salty soils. The continent’s largely arid land and marginal water resources represent challenges for conservation and prudent environmental management. The challenge is to maximize the use of these resources for human beings while preserving ecosystems for animal and plant life.
Farming is nevertheless an economically and culturally important part of life in Australia. Many Australians are directly or indirectly involved in farming, and for those not directly involved with farming, the country’s rural and agricultural history still has strong links to the heritage and culture of Australia. In the first few decades after Europeans arrived in Australia, farms developed around the early settlements, and farmers grew wheat crops and raised sheep that had originally been imported from Europe.
Government-sponsored exploration during the 1800’s opened up new tracts of land, and farmers gradually moved...
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Other Resources (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Australia is also extremely rich in zinc reserves, the principal sources for which are Mount Isa and Mount Morgan in Queensland. The Northern Territory also has lead and zinc mines and vast reserves of bauxite (aluminium ore), near Weipa on the Gulf of Carpenteria and at Gove in Arnhem Land.
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Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Global Resources)
Browne, G. S. Australia, a General Account: History, Resources, Production, Social Conditions. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger, 2007.
Halliday, James. James Halliday’s Wine Atlas of Australia. Prahran, Vic.: Hardie Grant Books, 2009.
Horne, Donald. The Lucky Country: Australia in the Sixties. 2d rev. ed. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1978.
Malcolm, Bill, et al. Agriculture in Australia: An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Turner, Lynne, et al. Where River Meets Sea: Exploring Australia’s Estuaries. Canberra, A.C.T.: CSIRO, 2006.
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Australia (Encyclopedia of Science)
Of the seven continents, Australia is the flattest, smallest, and, except for Antarctica, the most arid (dry). Including the southeastern island of Tasmania, the island continent encompasses 2,967,877 square miles (7,686,810 square kilometers). Geographically isolated from other landmasses for millions of years, Australia boasts unique animal species, notably the kangaroo, the koala bear, the platypus, and the flightless emu bird. Outside of a few regions (including lush Tasmania), the continent is dry, bleak, and inhospitable.
Origin and topography of Australia
About 95 million years ago, tectonic forces (movements and pressures of Earth's crust) split Australia from Antarctica and the ancient southern supercontinent of Gondwanaland (which comprised present-day Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and India). Geologists
estimate that Australia is presently drifting northward at a rate of approximately 18 inches (28 centimeters) per year. Millions of years of erosion have worn down the continent's surface features, giving it a relatively flat, uniform appearance. Because of this monotonous...
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Australia (World of Earth Science)
Of the seven continents, Australia is the flattest, smallest, and except for Antarctica, the most arid. Including the southeastern island of Tasmania, the island continent is roughly equal in area to the United States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Millions of years of geographic isolation from other land-masses accounts for Australia's unique animal species, notably
marsupial mammals like the kangaroo, egg laying mammals like the platypus, and the flightless emu bird. Excluding folded structures (areas warped by geologic forces) along Australia's east coast, patches of the northern coastline and the relatively lush island of Tasmania, the continent is mostly dry and inhospitable.
Australia has been less affected by seismic and orogenic (mountain building) forces than other continents during the past 400 million years. Although seismic (earthquake) activity persists in the eastern and western highlands, Australia is the most stable of all continents. In the recent geological past, it has experienced none of the massive upheavals responsible for uplifting the Andes in South America, the Himalayas in south Asia, or the European Alps. Instead, Australia's topography is the result of gradual changes over millions of years.
Australia is not the oldest continent, a common mis-conception arising from the continent's flat, seemingly unchanged expanse. Geologically, it is the same age as the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Antarctica. Australia's crust, however, has escaped strong Earth forces in recent geological history, accounting for its relatively uniform appearance. As a result, the continent serves as a window to early geological ages.
About 95 million years ago, tectonic forces (movements and pressures of Earth's crust) split Australia from Antarctica and the southern supercontinent of Gondwanaland. Geologists estimate that the continent is drifting northward at a rate of approximately 18 in (28 cm) per year. They theorize that south Australia was joined to Antarctica at the Antarctic regions of Wilkes Land, including Commonwealth Bay. Over a period of 65 million years, beginning 160 million years ago, Australia's crust was stretched hundreds of miles by tectonics before it finally cleaved from Antarctica.
Testimony to the continental stretching and splitting includes Kangaroo Island off South Australia, made up of volcanic basalts, as well as thick layers of sediment along the coast of Victoria. Other signs are the similar geology of the Antarctic Commonwealth Bay and the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia, especially equivalent rocks, particularly gneisses (metamorphic rocks changed by heat and pressure) of identical age. The thin crust along Australia's southern flank in the Great Australian Bight also points to continental stretch.
As it drifts north, the Australian plate is colliding with the Pacific and Eurasian plates, forming a subduction zone (an area where one continental plate descends beneath another). This zone, the convergence of the Australian continental plate with Papua New Guinea and the southern Indonesian islands, is studded with volcanos and prone to earthquakes. Yet, Australia is unique in that it is not riven by subduction zones like other continents. There are no upwelling sections of the earth's mantle below Australia (the layer below the crust), nor are there intracontinental rift zones like the East African Rift System which threatens to eventually split Africa apart.
Furthermore, Australia and Antarctica are dissimilar to other landmasses; their shapes are not rough triangles with apexes pointing southward like South America, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent, Gondwanaland's other constituent parts. However, like its sister continents, Australia is composed of three structural units. These include in Western Australia a stable and ancient block of basement rock or craton as geologists call it, an ancient fold mountain belt (the Great Dividing Range along the east coast), and a flat platform-like area in-between composed of crystalline or folded rocks overlaid by flat-lying or only gently deformed sediments.
Millions of years of erosion have scoured Australia's surface features. One notable exception to Australia's flat topography is the Great Dividing Range stretching 1,200 mi (1,931 km) along Australia's east coast. The Great Dividing Range was thrust up by geological folding like the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. The mountains are superimposed on larger geological structures including the Tasman and Newcastle geosynclines, troughs of older rocks upon which thick layers of sediment have been deposited. Those sediments in turn have been transformed by folding as well as magmatic and volcanic forces.
Twice, during a 125 million year period beginning 400 million years ago, the geosynclines were compressed, forming mountains and initiating volcanoes. Volcanic activity recurred along the Great Dividing Range 205 million years ago during the Miocene Epoch when early apes evolved as well as seals, dolphins, sunflowers, and bears. However, over millions of years the volcanic cones from this epoch have been stripped down by erosion. Still, volcanic activity persisted in South Australia until less than a million years ago. In Queensland, near Brisbane in the south and Cairns in the north of the state, the Great Dividing Range hugs the coast, creating beautiful Riviera-like vistas.
East of the Great Dividing Range, along Australia's narrow eastern coastal basin are its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the capital, Canberra. The Dividing Range tends to trap moisture from easterly weather fronts originating in the Pacific Ocean. Rivers and streams also course the Range. West of the Range the landscape becomes increasingly forbidding and the weather hot and dry.
Although unrelated to geological forces, the world's largest coral formation, the Great Barrier Reef stretches for 1,245 mi (2,003 km) along Australia's northeast coast. Most of Australia is referred to as outbackesert and semi-desert flatness, broken only by scrub, salt lakes which are actually dry lakebeds most of the year, and a few spectacular sandstone proturburances like Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) and the Olgas (Kata Tjuta).
In 1991, geologists discovered a subterranean electrical current in Australia, the longest in the world, which passes through more than 3,700 mi (6,000 km) across the Australian outback. The current is conducted by sedimentary rocks in a long horseshoe arc that skirts a huge mass of older igneous and metamorphic rock comprising most of the Northern Territory. It begins at Broome in Western Australia near the Timor Sea and then dips south across South Australia before curling northward through western Queensland where it terminates in the Gulf of Carpenteria.
A side branch runs from Birdsville in South Australia near the Flinders Ranges into Spencer Gulf near Adelaide. Geologists say the current is induced by the Earth's everchanging magnetic field and that it runs along fracture zones in sedimentary basins that were formed as the Earth's ancient plates collided. Although the fracture zones contain alkaline fluids that are good conductors of electricity, the current is weak and cannot even light a lamp. Geologists say the current might provide clues to deposits of oil and gas and help explain the geological origins of the Australian continent.
Australian topography is also punctuated by starkly beautiful mountain ranges in the middle of the continent like the McDonnell and Musgrave Ranges, north and south respectively of Uluru (Ayers Rock). Uluru, the most sacred site in the country for Australia's aborigines, is a sandstone monolith of which two-thirds is believed to be below the surface. Ayers Rock is about 2.2 mi (3.5 km) long and 1,131 ft (339 m) high. Also in the center of the country, near Alice Springs, are the Henbury Meteorite craters, one of the largest clusters of meteorite craters in the world. The largest of these depressions, formed by the impact of an extraterrestrial rock, is about 591 ft (177 m) long and 49 ft (15 m) deep.
The continent's oldest rocks are in the Western Australian shield in southwest Australia. The basement (underlying) rocks in this area have not been folded since the Archean eon over three billion years ago, when the planet was still very young. The nucleus of this shield (called the Yilgarn craton) comprising 230,000 sq mi (59,570,000 ha), consists mostly of granite with belts of metamorphic rock like green-stones, rich in economic mineral deposits as well as intrusions of formerly molten rock.
The Yilgarn craton does not quite extend to the coast of Western Australia. It is bounded on the west by the Darling Fault near Perth. To the south and east the Frazer Fault sets off the craton from somewhat younger rocks that were metamorphosed between 2.5 billion and two billion years ago. Both fault lines are 600 mi (960 km) long and are considered major structures on the continent.
Along the north coast of Western Australia near Port Hedland is another nucleus of ancient rocks, the Pilbara Craton. The Pilbara craton is composed of granites over three billion years old as well as volcanic, greenstone, and sedimentary rocks. The Hammersley Range just south of the Pilbara Craton is estimated to contain billions of tons of iron ore reserves.
Other ancient rock masses in Australia are the Arunta Complex north of Alice Springs in the center of Australia which dates to 2.25 billion years ago. The MacArthur Basin, southwest of the Gulf of Carpenteria in the Northern Territory is a belt of sedimentary rocks that are between 1.8 billion and 1.5 billion years old.
The Musgrave block near the continent's center, a component of the Adelaidian geosyncline, was formed by the repeated intrusion of molten rocks between 1.4 billion to one billion years ago during the Proterozoic Era when algae, jellyfish, and worms first arose. At the same time, the rocks that underlay the Adelaidian geosyncline were downwarped by geological pressures, with sediments building up through mid-Cambrian times (about 535 million years ago) when the area was inundated 400 mi (640 km) by the sea inland of the present coastline.
The rocks of the Adelaidian geosyncline are as thick as 10 mi (16 km) with sediments that have been extensively folded and subjected to faulting during late Precambrian and early Paleozoic times (about 600 million to 500 million years ago). Some of the rocks of the Adelaidian geosyncline, however, are unaltered. These strata show evidence of a major glacial period around 740 million years ago and contain some of the continent's richest, most diverse fossil records of soft-bodied animals.
This glaciation was one manifestation of global cooling that caused glacial episodes on other continents. Geologists say this Precambrian glacial episode was probably one of coldest, most extensive cooling periods in Earth history. They also consider the Adelaide geosyncline to be the precursor of another downwarp related to the most extensive folded belts on the continent, namely the Tasman geosyncline along Australia's east flank.
Victoria is also characterized by a belt of old rocks upon which sediments have been deposited called the Lachlan geosyncline. Marine rocks were deposited in quiet water to great thicknesses in Victoria, forming black shales. Some of the sediment was built up by mud-laden currents from higher areas on the sea floor. These current-borne sediments have produced muddy sandstones called graywackes.
At the end of the Ordovician and early Silurian Periods (about 425 million years ago) there was widespread folding of the Lachlan geosyncline called the Benambran orogeny. The folding was accompanied by granite intrusions and is thought to be responsible for the composition and texture of the rocks of the Snowy Mountains in Victoria, including Mt. Kosciusko, Australia's tallest peak at 7,310 ft (2,193 m).
In eastern Australia, Paleozoic Era volcanic activity built up much of the rock strata. Mountain glaciation during the late Carboniferous period when insects, amphibians, and early reptiles first evolved also transformed the landscape. Mountain building in eastern Australia culminated during the middle and later Permian Period (about 250 million years ago) when a huge mass of magma (underground molten rock) was emplaced in older rocks in the New England area of northeastern New South Wales. This huge mass, or batholith, caused extensive folding to the west and ended the sedimentation phase of the Tasman geosyncline. It was also the last major episode of orogeny (mountain building) on the continent.
In parts of Western Australia, particularly the Carnarvon Basin at the mouth of the Gascoyne River, glacial sediments are as thick as 3 mi (5 km). Western Australia, particularly along the coast, has been inundated repeatedly by the sea and has been described by geologists as a mobile shelf area. This is reflected in the alternating strata of deposited marine and non-marine layers.
In the center of Australia is a large sedimentary basin or depression spanning 450 mi (720 km) from east to west and 160 mi (256 km) north to south at its widest point. Sedimentary rocks of all varieties can be found in the basin rocks which erosion shaped into spectacular scenery including Ayres Rock and Mt. Olga. These deposits are mostly of Precambrian age (over 570 million years old), while sediment along the present-day coastline including those in the Eucla Basin off the Great Australian Bight are less than 70 million years old. North of the Eucla Basin is the Nullarbor (meaning treeless) Plain which contains many unexplored limestone caves.
Dominating interior southern Queensland is the Great Artesian Basin, which features non-marine sands built up during the Jurassic Period (190 million to 130 million years ago), sands which contain much of the basin's artesian water. Thousands of holes have been bored in the Great Artesian Basin to extract the water resources underneath but the salt content of water from the basin is relatively high and the water supplies have been used for livestock only.
The Sydney basin formed over the folded rocks of the Tasman geosyncline and is also considered to be an extension of the Great Artesian Basins. Composed of sediments from the Permian and Triassic Periods (290 million to 190 million years old) it extends south and eastward along the continental shelf. The sandstone cliffs around Sydney Harbor, often exploited for building stones, date from Triassic sediments.
Minerals in Australia have had a tremendous impact on the country's human history and patterns of settlement. Alluvial gold (gold sediments deposited by rivers and streams) spurred several gold fevers and set the stage for Australia's present demographic patterns. During the post-World War II period there has been almost a continuous run of mineral discoveries, including gold, bauxite, iron, and manganese reserves as well as opals, sapphires, and other precious stones.
It is estimated that Australia has 24 billion tons (22 billion tones) of coal reserves, over one-quarter of which (7 billion tons/6 billion tones) is anthracite or black coal deposited in Permian sediments in the Sydney Basin of New South Wales and in Queensland. Brown coal suitable for electricity production in found in Victoria. Australia meets its domestic coal consumption needs with its own reserves and exports the surplus.
Australia supplies much of its oil consumption needs domestically. The first Australian oil discoveries were in southern Queensland near Moonie. Australian oil production now amounts to about 25 million barrels per year and includes pumping from oil fields off northwestern Australia near Barrow Island, Mereenie in the southern Northern Territory, and fields in the Bass Strait. The Barrow Islands, Mereenie, and Bass Strait fields are also sites of natural gas production.
Australia has rich deposits of uranium ore, which is refined for use for fuel for the nuclear power industry. Western Queensland, near Mount Isa and Cloncurry contains three billion tons (2.7 billion tones) of uranium ore reserves. There are also uranium deposits in Arnhem Land in far northern Australia, as well as in Queensland and Victoria.
Australia is also extremely rich in zinc reserves, the principal sources for which are Mt. Isa and Mt. Morgan in Queensland. The Northern Territory also has lead and zinc mines as well as vast reserves of bauxite (aluminum ore), namely at Weipa on the Gulf of Carpenteria and at Gove in Arnhem Land.
Gold production in Australia has declined from a peak production of four million fine ounces in 1904 to several hundred thousand fine ounces. Most gold is extracted from the Kalgoorlie-Norseman area of Western Australia. The continent is also well known for its precious stones, particularly white and black opals from South Australia and western New South Wales. There are sapphires and topaz in Queensland and in the New England District of northeastern New South Wales.
Because of its aridity, Australia suffers from leached, sandy, and salty soils. The continent's largely arid land and marginal water resources represent challenges for conservation and prudent environmental management. One challenge is to maximize the use of these resources for human beings while preserving ecosystems for animal and plant life.
See also Beach and shoreline dynamics; Continental drift theory; Desert and desertification; Earth (planet); Industrial minerals; Plate tectonics; Weathering and weathering series
Australia (Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity)
Beginning in 1788 British colonization drastically diminished the indigenous or Aboriginal population of Australia. Precise enumeration of the decline is impossible. Estimates of the precolonial population range from 300,000 to 750,000 and statistics for the colonial period are unreliable, but the indigenous population probably reached its nadir, at around 75,000, in the 1920s. Disease, compounded by destitution, malnutrition, alcohol, and other drugs, accounted for most deaths. The numbers deliberately killed by colonists are disputed, although 20,000 is a plausible estimate. The uncertainties of body counts notwithstanding, it was by force and the threat of force that the lands of Australia passed from indigenous to European hands.
Early colonial governments sought to assimilate the Aborigines into British civilization. By the 1820s this ambition gave way to the belief that it was not possible to civilize Aborigines and they were thereby doomed to extinction. This racist assumption underpinned the protectionist legislation that was first enacted in Victoria in 1869 and subsequently in all other mainland colonies (states after 1901). Only full-blood Aborigines, however, were expected to die out; those of mixed descent were encouraged, even forced, to integrate into white society. Such ideas guided Aboriginal policy well into the 1930s. After World War II policy shifted toward the assimilation of all indigenous people, regardless of the degree of white descent, although much of the earlier protectionist apparatus, including restrictions on civil rights, remained in place until the 1960s. A consistent assumption throughout these changing policies was that indigenous peoples were too incompetent to realize their own best interests.
Indigenous peoples' varied responses to colonization belie that assumption. During the frontier period they not only fought against the invaders, but also forged alliances with them for motives both pragmatic and strategic. In the second half of the nineteenth century many Aborigines in southern Australia established themselves as self-sufficient farmers. Others, especially in the north, became skilled workers in the pastoral and pearling industries. Indigenous peoples responded creatively to changing circumstances, adopting and adapting elements of Western culture while simultaneously preserving much of their own heritage. Out of shared experiences of colonization, and to more effectively assert their interests, Aboriginal people fashioned a pan-Aboriginal identity and solidarity that surpassed (without completely displacing) traditional affinities to kin and language group. The growth of pan-Aboriginality was largely a phenomenon of the second half of the twentieth century. Alongside it the peoples of the Torres Strait Islands fashioned their own distinctive collective identity.
Allegations that Australia has a genocidal past have provoked fierce disputes, with the public dichotomy often being a clash between assertions of the intrinsically genocidal nature of colonization and flat denials of the possibility of genocide having been committed on the continent. Scholarship on Australian genocide has moved beyond such stark polarities. In an influential article published in 2000, Dirk Moses argued that although Australian history since 1788 is not ubiquitously genocidal, it has been punctuated by "genocidal moments." No consensus is emerging on the questions of whether, where, or when genocide was committed in Australia, but the debate has promoted public awareness of historical injustices to indigenous people, and encouraged a more internationally comparative approach to the study of Australian race relations.
In Tasmania a decade of violent conflict culminated in 1830 in a military sweep through the center of the island, followed by the deportation of the survivors to the islands of Bass Strait where the last full-blood Tasmanian Aborigine, Truganini, died in 1876. Although this is widely cited as an instance of genocide, Australia's leading historian of frontier conflict, Henry Reynolds, disagrees. He points out that while numerous Tasmanian settlers urged the extermination of the Aborigines, this was not the intent of the colonial government, which sought to segregate them from belligerent settlers and thereby ensure their survival. Similarly, on mainland Australia the disjunctions between intentions and consequences, together with the difficulty of discriminating between forcible subjugation and attempted eradication, complicate attempts to judge the actions of colonial governments as genocidal.
In 1997 the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC) report on the forcible separation of indigenous children from their families propelled the Stolen Generations into public prominence and frequently into bitter controversy. HREOC's claim that the removal of indigenous children throughout the period 1900 to 1970 was genocidal in intention has been criticized on several grounds, notably its presumption of consistent administrative intentions over a seventy-year span, and its supposition that cultural genocide (ethnocide) comes within the scope of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The number of children removed remains in dispute, although twenty to twenty-five thousand, or one in every ten indigenous children over seventy years, is a widely cited estimate. Whatever the numbers, and regardless of administrative intentions, the consequences of forced removal were traumatic, often tragic, both for the separated children and for the grieving family members and communities left behind.
Into the Twenty-First Century
When, in 1998, prime minister John Howard refused to offer an official apology to the Stolen Generations, concerned citizens instituted a national Sorry Day on May 26 to allow the Australian public an opportunity to convey their own collective apology. Although annual Sorry Days express contrition for the pain inflicted on indigenous peoples, they have also crystallized public disagreement over the remembrance of Australia's past. Conservative commentators have condemned Sorry Days as a manifestation of black-armband historiography, which allegedly caricatures the past as a mere litany of misdeeds inflicted on indigenous innocents. Their opponents, in turn, accuse them of a white-blindfold approach that seeks to expunge unpleasantries from the record. Such polemical labels may obscure the nuances of debate, but they highlight the political potency of historical representation.
In the last quarter of the twentieth century some indigenous groups regained ownership of their lands, a process facilitated by the 1992 Mabo judgment of the Australian High Court that determined native title, predating British sovereignty over Australia, still prevailed over much of the continent. However, many indigenous groups remain landless, and land rights have not always delivered the expected benefits. Compared to other Australian groups, indigenous people are severely disadvantaged in terms of all significant socioeconomic criteria, including income, health, housing, employment, and education; in many indigenous communities these problems are compounded by inordinately high rates of violence, suicide, alcoholism, and drug abuse. Indicative of the scale of disadvantage, in 2001 indigenous Australians had an average life expectancy almost twenty years less than that of other Australians, and the gap is not narrowing. Although some indigenous individuals have achieved success in the arts, media, sports, business, and politics, such successes have made little dent in aggregate disadvantage, and standards in certain areas, for example, literacy and health, may be deteriorating.
Since 1990 all major Australian political parties have proclaimed their commitment to a reconciliation between the indigenous population and other Australians, apparently with strong public support. What reconciliation means, however, is uncertain. Conservative interpretations tend to construe it as a strategy for attaining socioeconomic equality between indigenous and nonindigenous Australians through a common commitment to national and liberal-capitalist norms. More leftist commentators and most indigenous leaders, while equally committed to eliminating disadvantage, regard reconciliation as a process demanding the recognition of indigenous peoples as distinct groups, with special rights and entitlements. Behind the differing interpretations lie deeper disagreements over the extent and requirements of indigenous autonomy, and how sociocultural distinctiveness might be maintained in harmony with the demand for socioeconomic parity.
SEE ALSO Indigenous Peoples; Residential Schools
Attwood, Bain, and Stephen Foster, eds. (2003). Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience. Canberra, Australia: National Museum of Australia.
Haebich, Anna (2000). Broken Circles: Fragmenting Indigenous Families 1800000. Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press.
Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (1997). Bringing Them Home: National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families. Sydney: Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.
Manne, Robert (2001). "In Denial: The Stolen Generation and the Right."Australian Quarterly Essay 1.
McGregor, Russell (1997). Imagined Destinies: Aboriginal Australians and the Doomed Race Theory, 1880939. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
Moses, A. Dirk (2000). "An Antipodean Genocide? The Origins of the Genocidal Moment in the Colonization of Australia." Journal of Genocide Research 2:89-106.
Reynolds, Henry (2001). An Indelible Stain? The Question of Genocide in Australia's History. Melbourne: Penguin.
Australia (International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis)
Sigmund Freud wrote his short paper "On Psychoanalysis" in response to an invitation from Andrew Davidson, the Secretary of the Section of Psychological Medicine and Neurology for the Australasian Medical Congress in Sydney in September 1911. Papers by Carl Jung and Havelock Ellis were also presented. Ernest Jones was another distinguished early contributor, for he personally read a paper at the Australasian Medical Congress in 1914 entitled "Some Practical Aspects of Psychoanalytic Treatment."
Two notable Australian figures who accepted Freud's challenge to develop the study of psychoanalysis were Paul Greig Dane and Roy Coupland Winn, who practiced between the two world wars. Before the World War I (1914-1918) a Presbyterian clergyman, Donald Fraser, had lectured on psychoanalysis in Sydney, but Dane appears to have been the first physician to become a wholehearted and consistent exponent of Freud's early theories in the careful use of catharsis and abreaction after the war. Paul Dane's interest in psychological methods of treatment was stimulated by the work of earlier pioneers such as John William Spring-thorpe and Clarence Godfrey. Dane was one of the first in Australia to use hypnosis and abreactive techniques. He also introduced group therapy for returned soldiers His interest stemmed from contact with Joan Riviere in England. Dane, although not an analyst himself, was the first chairman of the Melbourne Institute for Psycho-Analysis and was intimately associated with its foundation and early history. Dane died in 1950.
Siegfried Fink, an associate member of both the Swiss and the British Psycho-Analytical Societies, worked in Sydney until his death in the 1960s. Fink was thus a contemporary of both Dane and Winn. He was one of the founding councilors of the Sydney Institute for Psychoanalysis.
Roy Coupland Winn, after serving with great distinction in World War I, returned to the medical staff of Sydney Hospital and after several years went to London to continue medical and psychiatric training, becoming an associate member of the British PsychoAnalytical Society and later a full member. Back in Sydney, for several years he was Honorary Physician at Sydney Hospital but in 1931 he resigned and went into full-time psychoanalytic practice.
Winn was thus the first full-time analyst in Australia. Later, when Clara Lazar-Geroe came to Australia from Hungary and began to train analysts at the Melbourne Institute, Winn was very supportive. He joined the Board of Directors of the institute, a position that he held until his death in 1961. In 1951 he had made a generous endowment in founding the second training institute in this country, the Sydney Institute of Psychoanalysis, with Andrew Peto, also from Hungary, as training analyst (Graham, 1965).
Clara Lazar Geroe, the first Australian training analyst, arrived in Melbourne on March 14, 1940. She received her training in medicine in Prague. Her psychoanalytic training in Budapest naturally was in the school of Sandor Ferenczi, her training analyst being Michael Balint.
At the International Psychoanalytical Congress in Paris in 1938, Ernest Jones suggested that Hungarian analysts seeking emigration might consider New Zealand and Australia. Negotiations regarding New Zealand failed. "However, in Melbourne and Sydney some influential people, among them Bishop Burgman, Paul Dane, M. D. Silberberg, Reginald S. Ellery, and Roy Coupland Winn, reacted positively to the idea of an analyst coming to Australia. Their enthusiasm, and the enterprise of Paul Dane particularly, carried the day. After much negotiation, Geroe, with her family, settled in Melbourne to become Australia's first training analyst working at the newly formed Melbourne Institute for Psychoanalysis. She had been appointed as a training analyst by the British Psycho-Analytical Society of which she was a member" (Graham, 1980).
The founding of the first institute was made possible by a generous gift from Lorna Traill. The first meeting was held in the home of Hal Maudsley, a central figure in the history of psychiatry in Australia. The institute was opened at 111 Collins Street, Melbourne, by Judge Foster on the birthday of its benefactor, Lorna Traill, on October 10, 1940. The first Board of Directors included Paul Dane, Norman Albiston, Reginald S. Ellery, P.Guy Reynolds, and A.R. Phillips. There were two psychoanalysts on the Board, Ernest Jones of London and Roy Coupland Winn from Sydney. Geroe started her work with the institute and in private practice early in 1941. She conducted a large seminar for twenty to twenty-five doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, educationists, probation officers, and others.
The traditional small seminar method was followed for candidates in training, both medical and non-medical. Geroe also organized many other seminars for groups of teachers, kindergartens, and parents for discussion of their special problems with infants and children. The Institute Clinic catered to patients who could not afford private analytical fees; Geroe's Child Guidance Clinic developed a close liaison with the Children's Court clinic. Geroe lectured for many years in the Psychology Department of the University of Melbourne and to students taking the Diploma of Psychological Medicine. She was appointed Honorary Psychoanalyst at Royal Melbourne Hospitalertainly the first appointment of this type in Australia.
The first medical student to go into training in Australia was Frank Graham, who started with Winn in 1939, then began training with Geroe in 1941. The first psychiatrist or medico to train was A.R. Phillips and the first lay analyst Janet Nield.
Early on, psychoanalysts qualified or in practice in Australia were all members or associate members of the British Psychoanalytical Society. They formed "The Australian Society of Psychoanalysts," a sort of unofficial branch of the British Society but having no independent status. Harry Southwood and Frank Graham were the first to graduate in Australia in this way as associate members of the British Psycho-Analytical Society.
In 1966 the British Society suggested that this interim arrangement should be formalized by an Australian application to the International Psychoanalytical Association for Study Group status. At the IPA Congress at Copenhagen in 1967, with the support of the British Society, the Australian Study Group was established under the direction of an international Sponsoring Committee. At this stage, there were twelve Australian psychoanalysts, members of the Study Group, who were appointed direct members of the IPA. They were: O.H.D. Blomfield, R.A. Brookes, Clara Lazar Geroe, Frank W. Graham, I.H. Martin, R. Martin, J. Nield, D. O'Brien, V. Roboz, Rose Rothfield, H.M. Southwood, and I. Waterhouse.
Of the seven members of the IPA Sponsoring Committee, Fanny Wride (chair), Adam Limentani, Ilse Hellman, Lois Munro, and Leo Rangell all visited Australia at various times and helped with clinical and structural development. The other members of the Sponsoring Committee were Maria Montessori and M. Mitscherlich-Nielson.
In Vienna, in July 1971, the IPA at its business meeting accepted the recommendation of the Sponsoring Committee and raised the status of the Study Group to that of Provisional Society. After the requisite two years as a Provisional Society, the Australian Psycho-analytical Society was admitted as a Component Society of the International Psychoanalytical Association at the IPA Congress in Paris in 1973. The constitution of the third Institute in Adelaide in 1979 represented the fruition of many years of dedicated and determined work by Harry Southwood. Assistance by the IPA was required in relation to the coordination of training in the three centers. The IPA appointed two Site Visiting Committees. The first in 1980 (Drs. Joseph, McLaughlin, Moses) and the second in 1987 (Dr. Cooper, Prof. Sandler.)
Over the years, Australian analysts have been encouraged and stimulated by working visits by distinguished colleagueshe outstanding ones in the sixties being Michael Balint and Enid Balint. Other influential invited visitors included Betty Joseph, Edna O'Shaughnessy, Sydney Klein, and Anne-Marie Sandler.
Apart from these visits, the isolation of the Australian Society has been mitigated by the fact that many members completed their initial training with the British Society or have spent long periods in London for further analysis, supervision, or seminar work. Non-medical analysts have played an important part in the growth and development of psychoanalysis. From the beginning psychoanalysis has been viewed as a separate discipline in its own right.
Psychoanalysis has had a marked influence in many areas, most particularly in child psychiatry and social work. Following the lead of Paul Dane in the treatment of ex-servicemen in the Commonwealth Repatriation Department, Frank Graham introduced psychoanalytically oriented group therapy at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in 1950 and later inspired the formation of the Australian Association of Group Psychotherapists.
In the academic world, some departments of psychology have psychoanalysts on the staff or maintain a working contact with psychoanalysts, as do several departments of philosophy, sociology, and politics; the law has been less influenced. The first publicly advertised senior position on the medical staff of a major teaching hospital for a psychoanalyst was established largely through the efforts of William Orchard at Prince Henry's Hospital Melbourne, in about 1970. Frank Graham was the first appointee. Another appointment of this kind was Janet Nield as Honorary Psychotherapist (1953-71) at The Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Sydney.
In the 1990s, a widening of the field of activity of the Australian Psychoanalytical Society has involved contributions by the society or its members to university teaching (at MA and PhD levels) and open seminars. There is a growing list of publications and public lectures by members. The Freudian School of Melbourne and The Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis in the Freudian Field are devoted to the Lacanian approach in Melbourne. There is an active school of Self-Psychology (Heinz Kohut) based in Sydney. Graduates of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis (Karen Horney) have played an active role in developing psychoanalytic psychotherapy in the Psychotherapy Association of Australia.
O. H. D. BLOMFELD
Blomfield, O.H.D. (1986). Psychoanalysis in Australia. Journal of the International Association for the History of Psychoanalysis., 2, 9-11.
Brett, Judith. (1998). Clara Lazar Geroe. In Australian dictionary of biography. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
Brett, Judith, Gold, Stanley, and Geroe Clara. (1982, September). Psychoanalysis in Australia. MEANJIN, 41 (3), 339-357.
Graham, Frank W. (1965). Obituary: Dr. Roy Coupland Winn. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, p. 616.
. (1980). Clara Lazar-Geroe. An Obituary. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, p. 603.