Humans first immigrated to Australia 50,000 years ago via the string of islands connecting the continent to Asia. European arrived – mainly as convicts from England – in 1788; however, of the major cities, only Sydney and Hobart (Tasmania) were founded by convicts. Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth were actually founded by free settlers.
Following WW2, Australia launched an immigration drive, which included refugees and displaced persons – a total of 3 million immigrants arriving in the 15 years that followed. The 1945 Assisted Passage Migration Scheme attracted young married couples and singles from Britain, and then from Eastern Europe; and in the late 1950s, the Middle East was targeted – primarily Lebanon.
The fall of Saigon and East Timor led to a more multi-cultural approach, and by 2007, immigration accounted for more than half of overall population growth in Australia, with a strong focus on skilled and business immigrants.
Australia is one of the most popular destinations for immigrants. It is one of the world’s most productive countries, with a GDP per hour worked of $54.6 and an average work week of 32.7 hours.
On December 25, 2017 the population of Australia stood at 24,777,564, with most of the population concentrated along the coastal region between Adelaide and Cairns with a pocket in the area of Perth.
The interior of the country, also known as the Outback, is sparsely populated. As a whole, the country has a population density of 2 people per square kilometer, one of the lowest in the world.
The weather in Australia is generally warm, with some southern areas experiencing cool temperatures in winter. Other than in the higher mountains, sub-zero temperatures are rare.