How big is Australia12-Jul-2010 Really? Australia is that big?
Over the years I am still amazed at how many people around the world don’t understand the size of this country. Being asked by Europeans if I could drive them from Melbourne to Brisbane for an afternoon appointment (it’s about a 24 hour drive and only covers half of the east coast) or pop over to Perth for a 1 hour meeting (a 5 hour flight one way) always makes me laugh. See here for a comparison….
This was also highlighted by an article in the Herald Sun Newspaper of July 29 2008, which had a chart of the current population densities of the various states and Territories of Australia, which just confirm this fact.
Despite our huge landmass, the average population density for the whole of Australia is just 2.7 people per square Kilometre. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) which was created out of Farmland over a hundred years ago, roughly halfway between Melbourne and Sydney for no other reason than to be our Capital City and base of The Federal Government and public servants (a great place to them I think), naturally holds the record out of the 8 individual states and Territories, with the impressive figure of 142.1 people per square Kilometre. However when you leave this artificial Territory and get to the real Australia, the next highest, is my own state of Victoria with only 22. 6 people per Square kilometre. From there, it drops to 8.5 for New South Wales and 7.2 for Tasmania. The remaining 3 States and one Territory are all below the national average with West Australia (0.8) and the Northern Territory (0.2) both below one percent.
And for those Americans who are still amazed that we don’t speak German in the Land Down Under, this may help the confusion as they can now see the difference between Austria and Australia. Another point of trivia, Australia has approximately the same land mass as the USA excluding Alaska, and almost the same population and 20% of the economy of California (but we aren’t quite close to bankruptcy…yet).
So a drive from Perth to Brisbane is about the same as San Francisco to Toronto!