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South Australia
alt text for flag alt text for coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Slogan or nickname The Festival State;
The Wine State
Map of Australia with South Australia highlighted
Other Australian states and territories
Coordinates 30°S 135°E / 30°S 135°E / -30; 135Coordinates: 30°S 135°E / 30°S 135°E / -30; 135
Capital city Adelaide
Demonym South Australian, Croweater (colloquial), South Aussie
Government Constitutional monarchy
 • Governor Hieu Van Le
 • Premier Jay Weatherill (ALP)
Australian state  
 • Declared as Colony 1834
 • Proclaimed 28 December 1836
 • Responsible
   government
22 April 1857
 • Became state 1901
 • Australia Act 3 March 1986
Area  
 • Total 1,043,514 km² (4th)
402,903 sq mi
 • Land 983,482 km²
379,725 sq mi
 • Water 60,032 km² (5.75%)
23,178 sq mi
Population
(March 2016)
 
 • Population 1,706,500 (5th)
 • Density 1.74/km² (6th)
4.5 /sq mi
Elevation  
 • Highest point Mount Woodroffe
1,435 m (4,708 ft)
 • Lowest point Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre
−16 m (−52 ft)
Gross state product
(2010–11)
 
 • Product ($m) $86,323 (5th)
 • Product per capita $52,318 (7th)
Time zone(s) UTC+9:30 (ACST)
UTC+10:30 (ACDT)
Federal representation  
 • House seats 11/150
 • Senate seats 12/76
Abbreviations  
 • Postal SA
 • ISO 3166-2 AU-SA
Emblems  
 • Floral Sturt's Desert Pea
(Swainsona formosa)
 • Animal Southern hairy-nosed wombat
(Lasiorhinus latifrons)
 • Bird Piping shrike
 • Fish Leafy seadragon
(Phycodurus eques)
 • Mineral or gemstone Opal
 • Colours Red, blue, and gold
Website www.sa.gov.au

South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories. It has a total of 1.7 million people, and its population is the most highly centralised of any state in Australia, with more than 75 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are relatively small.

South Australia shares borders with all of the other mainland states, and with the Northern Territory; it is bordered to the west by Western Australia, to the north by the Northern Territory, to the north-east by Queensland, to the east by New South Wales, to the south-east by Victoria, and to the south by the Great Australian Bight. The state comprises less than 8 percent of the Australian population and ranks fifth in population among the six states and two territories. The majority of its people reside in Adelaide. Most of the remainder are settled in fertile areas along the south-eastern coast and River Murray. The state's colonial origins are unique in Australia as a freely settled, planned British province, rather than as a convict settlement. Official settlement began on 28 December 1836, when the colony was proclaimed at the Old Gum Tree by Governor John Hindmarsh.

As with the rest of the continent, the region had been long occupied by Aboriginal peoples, who were organised into numerous tribes and languages. The first British settlement to be established was Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, on 26 July 1836, five months before Adelaide was founded. The guiding principle behind settlement was that of systematic colonisation, a theory espoused by Edward Gibbon Wakefield that was later employed by the New Zealand Company.

History

Alexander Schramm - A scene in South Australia, 1850
European settlers with Aborigines, 1850

Evidence of human activity in South Australia dates back as far as 20,000 years, with flint mining activity and rock art in the Koonalda Cave on the Nullarbor Plain. In addition wooden spears and tools were made in an area now covered in peat bog in the South East. Kangaroo Island was inhabited long before the island was cut off by rising sea levels.

The first recorded European sighting of the South Australian coast was in 1627 when the Dutch ship the Gulden Zeepaert, captained by François Thijssen, examined and mapped a section of the coastline as far east as the Nuyts Archipelago. Thijssen named his discovery "Pieter Nuyts Land", after the highest ranking individual on board. The complete coastline of South Australia was first mapped by Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin in 1802. The land which now forms the state of South Australia was claimed for Britain in 1788 as part of the colony of New South Wales. Although the new colony included almost two-thirds of the continent, early settlements were all on the eastern coast and only a few intrepid explorers ventured this far west. It took more than forty years before any serious proposal to establish settlements in the south-western portion of New South Wales were put forward. In 1834, the British Parliament passed the South Australia Act 1834 (Foundation Act), which enabled the province of South Australia to be established. The act stated that 802,511 square kilometres (309,851 sq mi) would be allotted to the colony and it would be convict-free. In contrast to the rest of Australia, terra nullius did not apply to the new province. The Letters of Patent attached to the Act acknowledged Aboriginal ownership and stated that no actions could be undertaken that would affect the rights of any Aboriginal natives of the said province to the actual occupation and enjoyment in their own persons or in the persons of their descendants of any land therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such natives. Although the patent guaranteed land rights under force of law for the indigenous inhabitants it was ignored by the South Australian Company authorities and squatters.

Settlement of seven vessels and 636 people was temporarily made at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, until the official site of the colony was selected where Adelaide is currently located. The first immigrants arrived at Holdfast Bay (near the present day Glenelg) in November 1836, and the colony was proclaimed on 28 December 1836, now known as Proclamation Day. South Australia is the only Australian state to be settled entirely under a program of free settlement, although some emancipated or escaped convicts or expirees did make their way there, both prior to 1836, or later, and may have constituted 1-2% of the early population.

The plan for the colony was that it would be the ideal embodiment of the best qualities of British society, that is, no religious discrimination or unemployment and, as it was believed that this would also result in very little crime within the small cohort of initial settlers, no professional police were sent. The Colonisation Commissioners intended to establish a police service as soon as misconduct within the increasing population warranted it. In the meantime, temporary volunteer special constables, whose appointment was provided for under English law, would provide law and order. Neither was provision was made for a permanent gaol. In early 1838 the colonists became concerned after it was reported that convicts who had escaped from the eastern states may make their way to South Australia. The South Australia Police was formed in April 1838 to protect the community and enforce government regulations. Their principal role was to run the first temporary gaol, a two-room hut.

The current flag of South Australia was adopted on 13 January 1904, and is a British blue ensign defaced with the state badge. The badge is described as a piping shrike with wings outstretched on a yellow disc. The state badge is believed to have been designed by Robert Craig of Adelaide's School of Design.

Geography

Eastern South Australia Satellite Photo
Satellite image of eastern South Australia. Note the dry lakes (white patches) in the north
Lake-Albert-03
Lake Albert, a freshwater lake near the mouth of the Murray River
Mt Lofty Botanic Garden Lake
The Mount Lofty Botanic Garden during autumn, located near Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills.
Second Valley 2
The rugged coastline of Second Valley, located on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

The terrain consists largely of arid and semi-arid rangelands, with several low mountain ranges. The most important (but not tallest) is the Mount Lofty-Flinders Ranges system, which extends north about 800 kilometres (497 mi) from Cape Jervis to the northern end of Lake Torrens. The highest point in the state is not in those ranges; Mount Woodroffe (1,435 metres (4,708 ft)) is in the Musgrave Ranges in the extreme northwest of the state. The south-western portion of the state consists of the sparsely inhabited Nullarbor Plain, fronted by the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight. Features of the coast include Spencer Gulf and the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas that surround it.

The principal industries and exports of South Australia are wheat, wine and wool. More than half of Australia's wines are produced in the South Australian wine regions which principally include: Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, the Riverland and the Adelaide Hills. See South Australian wine.

South Australian Boundaries

South Australia has boundaries with every other Australian mainland state and territory except the Australian Capital Territory. The Western Australia border has a history involving the South Australian government astronomer, Dodwell, and the Western Australian Government Astronomer, Curlewis, marking the border on the ground in the 1920s.

In 1863, that part of New South Wales to the north of South Australia was annexed to South Australia, by letters patent, as the "Northern Territory of South Australia", which became shortened to the Northern Territory (6 July 1863). The Northern Territory was handed to the federal government in 1911 and became a separate territory.

According to Australian maps, South Australia's south coast is flanked by the Southern Ocean, but official international consensus defines the Southern Ocean as extending north from the pole only to 60°S or 55°S, at least 17 degrees of latitude further south than the most southern point of South Australia. Thus the south coast is officially adjacent to the south-most portion of the Indian Ocean. See Southern Ocean: Existence and definitions

Climate

SouthAustralia koppen
Köppen climate types in South Australia

The southern part of the state has a Mediterranean climate, while the rest of the state has either an arid or semi-arid climate. South Australia's main temperature range is 29 °C (84 °F) in January and 15 °C (59 °F) in July. Daily temperatures in parts of the state in January and February can be up to 48 °C (118 °F).

The highest maximum temperature was recorded as 50.7 °C (123.3 °F) at Oodnadatta on 2 January 1960, which is also the highest official temperature recorded in Australia. The lowest minimum temperature was −8.2 °C (17.2 °F) at Yongala on 20 July 1976.

Climate data for South Australia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 50.7
(123.3)
48.2
(118.8)
46.5
(115.7)
42.1
(107.8)
36.5
(97.7)
34.0
(93.2)
34.2
(93.6)
36.5
(97.7)
41.5
(106.7)
45.4
(113.7)
47.9
(118.2)
49.1
(120.4)
50.7
(123.3)
Record low °C (°F) 0.2
(32.4)
0.8
(33.4)
-2.2
(28)
-3.5
(25.7)
-6.6
(20.1)
-8.1
(17.4)
-8.2
(17.2)
-6.0
(21.2)
-4.5
(23.9)
-4.4
(24.1)
-2.0
(28.4)
-0.5
(31.1)
-8.2
(17.2)
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Demographics

ABS-3101.0-AustralianDemographicStatistics-EstimatedResidentPopulationStatesTerritories-EstimatedResidentPopulation-Persons-SouthAustralia-A2060846R
Estimated resident population since 1981
See also: Demographics of Australia

Population

See also: List of cities in South Australia by population

At a 2016 census the population of South Australia was 1.7 million residents.

A majority of the state's population lives within Greater Adelaide's metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 1,262,940 in 2011 (77.1% of the state). Other significant population centres include Mount Gambier (28,313), Whyalla (22,489), Murray Bridge (17,152), Port Lincoln (15,682), Port Pirie (14,281), Port Augusta (14,196), and Victor Harbor (13,671).

Transport

SouthAustraliaRoads
Major highways in South Australia

Historical transport in South Australia

After settlement, the major form of transport in South Australia was ocean transport. Limited land transport was provided by horses and bullocks. In the mid 19th century, the state began to develop a widespread rail network, although a coastal shipping network continued until the post war period.

Roads began to improve with the introduction of motor transport. By the late 19th century, road transport dominated internal transport in South Australia.

Railway

South Australia has four interstate rail connections, to Perth via the Nullarbor Plain, to Darwin through the centre of the continent, to New South Wales through Broken Hill, and to Melbourne–which is the closest capital city to Adelaide.

Rail transport is important for many mines in the north of the state.

The capital Adelaide has limited commuter rail transport.

Roads

South Australia has extensive road networks linking towns and other states. Roads are also the most common form of transport within the major metropolitan areas with car transport predominating. Public transport in Adelaide is mostly provided by buses with regular services throughout the day.

Air transport

Adelaide Airport provides regular flights to other capitals, major South Australian towns, and most international locations. The Airport also has daily flights to several Asian hub airports. Adelaide Metro buses J1 and J1X connect to the City (approx. 30 minutes travel time). Standard fares apply and tickets may be purchased from the driver. Maximum charge (September 2016) for Metroticket $5.30; off-peak and seniors discounts may apply.

River transport

The River Murray was formerly an important trade route for South Australia, with paddle steamers linking inland areas and the ocean at Goolwa.

Sea transport

South Australia has a container port at Port Adelaide. There are also numerous important ports along the coast for minerals and grains.

The passenger terminal at Port Adelaide periodically sees cruise liners.

Kangaroo Island is dependent on the Sea Link ferry Service between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw.

Places

SouthAustraliaRoads
South Australian cities, towns, settlements and road network

Regions

Rivers

Lakes

Islands

Main highways

Images for kids


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