Why do most Australians live on the coast?

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Settling near a water source proves easier than settling in or near a desert. Water sources are effective locations for travel, food, fresh water supply, and trade endeavors, as well as a more temperate climate. Australia has the lowest altitude of any continent, with an average height of 330 meters (1082 feet). The continent is about twenty percent desert, mainly in central Australia, creating a dry, inhospitable climate in this region.

Australia’s population boom along the coasts can be tied to its colonial roots. The Swan River Colony, in modern-day Perth, was one of the desperate attempts to populate the new British territory. Prior to the Swan River Colony, Australia-bound ships carried convicts who had chosen transport to the penal colony over execution. As the Swan River settlers arrived on the HMS Success in 1829, the passengers found failure waiting for them. Too many people were arriving at once, and the budding colony could not support their needs. Many of these settlers would leave for the East Coast instead, and life there proved to be easier. This population density is apparent in Australia today.

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According to figures from Australia’s Best City, based on the 2011 Australian census, 80% of Australians reside in a coastal strip from Cairns all the way down to Adelaide. This large percentage implies that the majority of Australians are attracted to coastal areas. Some of the reasons for this attraction include:


Three of the world’s biggest oceans meet in the Australian coastline, that is the Pacific, Southern and Indian oceans. Also, there are numerous caves and coves as well as natural formations like sandy beaches along the coast. All beaches in Australia are open to the public for their enjoyment – sun basking, swimming or surfing. As such, there are numerous leisure activities that one can engage in including sightseeing, photography or even partying.


Most people are attracted to the coastline because of the many work opportunities available in these places. Occupations such as fishing, marine biology, restaurant and hotel industry jobs, medical care jobs and even teaching thrive in these areas.

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