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Wikipedia Guide to Adelaide South Australia

South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent and with a total land area of 984,377 km² (380,070 sq mi), it is the fourth largest of Australia's states and territories. It is bordered to the west by Western Australia, to the north by the Northern Territory and Queensland, to the east by Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and along the south by the Great Australian Bight and the Southern Ocean. With 1.5 million people, the state comprises less than 10 per cent of the Australian population and ranks fifth in population among the states and territories. The majority of its people reside in the state capital, Adelaide, with most of the remainder settled in fertile areas along the south-eastern coast and River Murray.

The state's origins were unique in Australia as a freely-settled, planned British province. Official settlement began on 28 December 1836 when the state was proclaimed at The Old Gum Tree by Governor Hindmarsh. The guiding principle behind settlement was that of systematic colonisation, a theory espoused by Edward Gibbon Wakefield that was later employed by New Zealand. The aim was to establish the province as a centre of civilisation for free immigrants, promising civil liberties and religious tolerance. Although its history is marked by economic hardship, South Australia has remained politically innovative and culturally vibrant. Today, the state is known as a state of festivals, and of fine wine.

The state's economy centres on the agricultural, manufacturing and mining industries and has an increasingly significant finance sector as well.

The first recorded European sighting of the South Australian coast was in 1627 when the Dutch ship the Gulden Zeepaert, skippered by Francois Thijssen, examined the coastline. Thijssen named his discovery "Pieter Nuyts Land", after the highest ranking individual on board. The coastline of South Australia was first mapped by Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin in 1802. Baudin referred to the land as "Terre Napoléon".

In 1834, the British Parliament passed the South Australia Act 1834, which enabled the province of South Australia to be established. The Act stated that 802,511 square kilometres would be allotted to the colony, and it would be convict-free. The plan for the colony was that it be the ideal embodiment of the best qualities of British society, that is, no religious discrimination or unemployment.

Settlement of nine 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 December 28, 1836, now known as Proclamation Day. South Australia is the only Australian state to be settled by free settlers.

The flag of South Australia was adopted on January 13, 1904, and is a British blue ensign faced 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 the Adelaide School of Arts.

The terrain consists largely of arid and semi-arid rangelands, with several low mountain ranges in which the most important mountains are the Mt Lofty-Flinders Ranges system which extends north about 800 kilometres from Cape Jervis to the northern end of Lake Torrens and salt lakes. The highest point in the state is not in those ranges, but Mount Woodroffe at 1435 metres in the Musgrave Ranges in the extreme northwest of the state.[1] The western portion of the state consists of the sparsely-inhabited Nullarbor Plain fronting the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight.

The principal industries and exports of South Australia are wheat, wine and wool. More than half of Australia's wines are produced here.

South Australia has boundaries with every other Australian state and territory except the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. The Northern Territory was originally the Northern Territory of South Australia, becoming a separate territory in 1911. South Australia's south coast is flanked by the Southern Ocean. Its mean temperature range is 29°C in January and 15°C in July. Daily temperatures in parts of the state in January & February can be up to 48°C.

South Australia is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen of Australia as the head of state. Its bicameral parliament consists of a House of Assembly (lower house) and a Legislative Council (upper house), with legislative elections held every four years. The current Premier of South Australia is Mike Rann, a member of the Australian Labor Party.

Initially, the Governor of South Australia (the first was Captain John Hindmarsh) held almost total power that he derived from the Letters Patent created by the Imperial Government to create the colony. He was only accountable to the British Colonial Office and thus democracy did not exist in the colony. A new body was created to advise the Governor on the administration of South Australia in 1843 called the Legislative Council. [3] It consisted of three representatives of the British Government and four colonists appointed by the Governor. The Governor retained total executive power.

In 1851, the Imperial Parliament enacted the Australian Colonies Government Act which allowed for the election of representatives to each of the colonial legislatures and the drafting of a Constitution to properly create representative and responsible Government in South Australia and later that year, wealthy male colonists were allowed to vote for 16 members on a new 24 seat Legislative Council. Eight members continued to be appointed by the Governor.

The main responsibility of this body was to draft a Constitution for South Australia. The body drafted the most democratic constitution ever before seen in the British Empire and provided for manhood suffrage. It created the bicameral Parliament of South Australia and the two houses of parliament. For the first time in the colony, the executive was elected by the people and the colony used the Westminster system where the government is the party or coalition that exerts a majority in the House of Assembly. In 1894, South Australia was the first Australian colony to allow women to vote and it had the first Parliament in the world to allow women to be elected as members. Catherine Helen Spence was the first woman in Australia to be a candidate for political office when she nominated to be one of South Australia's delegates to the constitutional conventions that drafted the Constitution. South Australia became an original state of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901.





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