Population: 4,516,361 (June 2010 estimate)
Bordering States: Northern Territory, South Australia, New South Wales
Land Area: 668,207 square miles (1,730,648 sq km)
Highest Point: Mount Bartle Frere at 5,321 feet (1,622 m)
Queensland is a state located in the northeastern part of Australia. It is one of the country's six states and it is the second largest in area behind Western Australia. Queensland is bordered by Australia's Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales and has coastlines along the Coral Sea and the Pacific Ocean. In addition, the Tropic of Capricorn crosses through the state. The capital of Queensland is Brisbane. Queensland is most well-known for its warm climate, varying landscapes and coastline and as such, it is one of the most popular tourist areas in Australia.
Most recently, Queensland has been in the news due to severe flooding that occurred in early January 2011 and late 2010. The presence of La Niña is said to have been the cause of the flooding. According to CNN, the 2010 spring was Australia's wettest in history. The flooding impacted hundreds of thousands of people all over the state. The central and southern parts of the state, including Brisbane, were hit the hardest.
The following is a list of ten more geographic facts about Queensland:
1) Queensland, like much of Australia has a long history. It is believed that the region making up the state today was originally settled by native Australians or Torres Strait Islanders between 40,000 and 65,000 years ago.
2) The first Europeans to explore Queensland were Dutch, Portuguese and French navigators and in 1770, Captain James Cook explorer the region. In 1859, Queensland became a self governing colony after splitting from New South Wales and in 1901, it became an Australian state.
3) For much of its history, Queensland was one of the fastest growing states in Australia. Today Queensland has a population of 4,516,361 (as of July 2010). Due to its large land area, the state has a low population density with about 6.7 people per square mile (2.6 people per square kilometer). In addition, less than 50% of Queensland's population lives in its capital and largest city, Brisbane.
4) Queensland's government is part of a constitutional monarchy and as such it has a Governor who is appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. The Governor of Queensland has executive power over the state and is responsible for representing the state to the Queen. In addition the Governor appoints the Premier who serves as the head of government for the state. Queensland's legislative branch is made up of the unicameral Queensland Parliament, while the state's judicial system is composed of the Supreme Court and the District Court.
5) Queensland has a growing economy that is based mainly on tourism, mining and agriculture. The main agricultural products from the state are bananas, pineapples and peanuts and the processing of these as well as other fruits and vegetables make up a sizeable portion of Queensland's economy.
6) Tourism is also a major part of Queensland's economy because of its cities, varied landscapes and coastline. In addition, the 1,600 mile (2,600 km) Great Barrier Reef is located off of Queensland's coast. Other tourist destinations in the state include the Gold Coast, Fraser Island and the Sunshine Coast.
7) Queensland covers an area of 668,207 square miles (1,730,648 sq km) and it part of it extends to be the northernmost part of Australia (map). This area, which also includes several islands, is about 22.5% of the total area of the Australian continent. Queensland shares land borders with the Northern Territory, New South Wales and South Australia and much of its coastline is along the Coral Sea. The state is also divided into nine different regions (map).
8) Queensland has a varied topography that consists of islands, mountain ranges and coastal plains. Its largest island is Fraser Island with an area of 710 square miles (1,840 sq km). Fraser Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it has many different ecosystems which include rainforests, mangrove forests and areas of sand dunes. Eastern Queensland is mountainous as the Great Dividing Range runs through this area. The highest point in Queensland is Mount Bartle Frere at 5,321 feet (1,622 m).
9) In addition to Fraser Island, Queensland has a number of other areas that are protected as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics of Queensland and the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. Queensland also has 226 national parks and three state marine parks.
10) The climate of Queensland varies throughout the state but generally inland there are hot, dry summers and mild winters, while the coastal areas have warm, temperate weather year round. The coastal regions are also the wettest areas in Queensland. The state's capital and largest city, Brisbane, which is located on the coast has an average July low temperature of 50˚F (10˚C) and an average January high temperature of 86˚F (30˚C).
To learn more about Queensland, visit the state's official website.
Miller, Brandon. (5 January 2011). "Flooding in Australia Fueled by Cyclone, La Nina." CNN. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/01/04/australia.flooding.cause/index.html
Wikipedia.org. (13 January 2011). Queensland - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queensland
Wikipedia.org. (11 January 2011). Geography of Queensland - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Queensland