New South Wales, a state in southeastern Australia. It is bounded on the east by the Tasman Sea (part of the Pacific Ocean) and inland by the states of Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia. The area of New South Wales is 309,500 square miles (801,600 km 2 ).
|Facts in brief about New South Wales|
|State capital: Sydney.|
|Chief cities: Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Maitland, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Tamworth.|
|Area: 309,500 mi2 (801,600 km2).|
|Population: 2001 census—6,371,745.|
|Animal emblem: Platypus.|
|Bird emblem: Kookaburra.|
|Floral emblem: Waratah.|
|Chief products: Manufacturing and processing--agricultural implements, chemicals, clothing, fertilizer, glassware, iron and steel, machinery, motorcars, paper, textiles. Mining--coal, copper, gems, lead, mineral sands, silver, tin, zinc. Agriculture--dairy products, fruit, honey, mutton, poultry, sugar, wheat, wool. Forestry--timber. Fishing--many types of fish and shellfish.|
About two-thirds of the land consists of plains—part of the vast lowlands that make up most of Australia. The Great Dividing Range extends along the coast, edged by a narrow coastal plain. In this range is Australia's highest peak—Mount Kosciusko, rising 7,316 feet (2,230 m) above sea level. The Murray River forms most of the border between New South Wales and Victoria. Its major tributary, the Darling River, drains much of northern New South Wales.
The climate is generally mild, especially along the coast At Sydney, for example, July, the coldest month, averages 54° F. (22° C.); January, the warmest month, averages 71° F. (12° C.). Summers are much hotter inland, beyond the Great Dividing Range. Total annual precipitation varies from 45 inches (1,140 mm) on the coast to less than 10 inches (250 mm) in the western interior. Some mountain areas receive up to 60 inches (1,520 mm).
Most workers in New South Wales are employed in service industries. These include finance and insurance, property and business services, and information technology services. New South Wales is also a leading Australian manufacturing state. Most of the production comes from Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong.
The leading agricultural activities in New South Wales are raising beef cattle and sheep. Sheep are raised for either meat or wool. Many farmers in the state also raise hogs and poultry. New South Wales is also a major wheat-growing state. Most wheat farmers also grow other crops, including cereal crops, oilseeds, cotton, sugar cane, and rice. The Murray and Murrumbidgee irrigation areas in southern New South Wales are important fruit-growing regions. The coastal plain is a dairy farming and vegetable-growing area.
Coal is the leading mineral product of New South Wales. The state also yields large amounts of silver, lead, and zinc.
Logging is moderately important. About 25 per cent of the land is forested.
New South Wales has one of Australia's largest fishing industries. Shellfish, such as crabs and lobster, contribute heavily to the catch.
The highway and railway systems have developed throughout the state. Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney is an international airport. Sydney is the major seaport, followed by Newcastle.
New South Wales is the most populous of Australia's states. The overall population density was about 21 persons per square mile (8 per km 2 ). The largest cities are Sydney, the capital; Newcastle; and Wollongong . Most of the people live near the coast; Broken Hill is the only major urban center in the western part of the state.
About one-third of the people are Anglicans. There is also a large Roman Catholic minority.
School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15. State primary and secondary schools are free. Institutions of higher learning include the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales (in Sydney), the University of New England (in Armidale), the University of Newcastle, and the University of Wollongong.
The nominal head of government is the governor, appointed by the British monarch. Executive power is exercised by a premier and cabinet. Legislative power is vested in Parliament, which consists of the Legislative Council (upper house) and the Legislative Assembly (lower house). The Legislative Assembly has 93 members, elected by the people to four-year terms. The Legislative Council has 42 members, elected to eight-year terms by all the voters of the state as a whole. Most of the laws passed by Parliament originate in the Legislative Assembly. The members of the Legislative Council discuss and review measures that have already been passed by the Legislative Assembly.
Units of local government include cities, municipalities, and shires.