Queensland, a state in northeastern Australia. It is bounded by the Gulf of Carpentaria, Torres Strait, the Coral Sea, the South Pacific Ocean, New South Wales, South Australia, and Northern Territory. With an area of 666,876 square miles (1,727,201 km 2 ), Queensland is Australia's second-largest state. (Western Australia is the largest.) Its greatest length is about 1,313 miles (2,100 km) from north to south; its greatest width, about 906 miles (1,450 km).

Physical Geography
QueenslandQueensland is an Australian state that covers the northeastern part of the continent of Australia.

The Great Dividing Range covers much of eastern Queensland. It runs generally parallel to the coast and is composed of several low ranges separated by wide plateaus. Mount Bartle Frere, in the north, is the highest peak, 5,287 feet (1,611 m) above sea level. Between mountains and sea is a flat, fertile coastal plain of varying width. The rest of the state, except for a section of high plateau near the western border, is part of a vast semiarid lowland called the Great Artesian Basin.

The principal rivers are those flowing to the sea from the Great Dividing Range on the east and north coasts. In general, they are short and swift and carry water throughout the year. Rivers elsewhere, especially those flowing southwestward to the dry interior, are much longer but carry little or no water during much of the year. Some of the headwater streams of Australia's Murray-Darling system are in southeastern Queensland. There are no large natural lakes. The Great Barrier Reef, a coral formation about 1,250 miles (2,000 km) long, stretches along the east coast. Fraser, off the southeast coast, is the largest of Queensland's islands.

About half of the state lies in the tropics of the Southern Hemisphere. Winters (June through August) are mild; summers (December through February) vary from warm to hot. Temperatures in Brisbane, on the southeast coast, average about 60° F (16° C.) in the winter and about 77° F. (25° C.) in the summer. Average rainfall in Queensland varies from more than 157 inches (4,000 mm) per year on the northern coast to less than 6 inches (150 mm) in the southwest. More than half the annual rainfall occurs during the summer.

Economy

Queensland's wealth traditionally came from agriculture and mining. Today government administration and defense make up the biggest sectors of the economy. Wholesale and retail trade also are important.

Approximately 1 per cent of the state's area is devoted to crops. Sugarcane and cotton are the most valuable crops grown in Queensland. Other crops include fruits, grains, vegetables, tobacco, and peanuts. Pasture grasses and hay are grown to feed livestock. Much of the state's land is used for grazing livestock, particularly cattle and sheep. Manufacturing consists, to a large extent, of processing such forest products as timber and such crop and livestock products as refined sugar, meat, and leather.

Queensland accounts for about 20 per cent of the nation's overall mineral output in terms of value. Coal is the state's most important mineral product. Queensland provides almost 60 per cent of Australia's total coal exports. Other minerals produced include bauxite, zinc, copper, lead, silver, and gold.

Tourism makes up an important part of the economy. The Gold Coast area, south of Brisbane, and the Great Barrier Reef, along the east coast, attract millions of visitors annually.

Several highways cross Queensland. Brisbane is the main focus of the highway system. Railways extend along the eastern coast, with branch lines extending far inland. Brisbane is the main ocean port and center of domestic and international air service.

The People

In 2001 Queensland had a population of 3,655,139. Population density was about 5.5 persons per square mile (2.1 per km 2 ). Most of the people lived along the east coast.

Queensland has Australia's largest aborigine population. Most of the people, however, are of English descent. English is the official language. There is no state religion, and freedom of worship is granted to all. The principal faiths are Anglican, Roman Catholic, and the Uniting Church.

Education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15, and is free in the public schools. Many private schools also provide primary and secondary instruction. The University of Queensland, established in 1909, is in Brisbane.