The Commonweaith of Austrelia is a self-governing federal state. It is situated in the south-west of the Pasific ocean, occupying the continent of Australia and a great number of islands of which Tasmania is the most important. Australia is a continent-island washed by the Indian and the Pasific Oceans. The country consists of 6 (six) states and 2 (two) territories. 16 million people live in Australia. The capital is Canberra. The offical language is English. Australia has a Parliament with two chambers, the house of Representatives and the Senate. The government of the country is headed by the Prime Minister. Australia is not only far from the rest of the world, it has a bad climate, too. The climate is better in the east and south-east, where most big cities have grown. But the northen coast has too much rain, and the westen coast is too dry. The highest part of Australia, and almost all the mountains are near the coast. The whole central part of the country is dry; it never rains, there are no large rivers and no water there. So there is no very rich plant life in Australia, except in the east and south-east. Australia is an important producer and exporter of primary products: wool, meat, sugar, fruit, coal, iron, copper, lead, gold and so on. Most of the factories are situated near big cities. There are 5 (five) big cities in Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. These cities are also the country's main ports. Canberra was specially planned as the capital. It is a quiet city. All the goverment buildings are situated there. There're no industrial plants in the city. About 300000 people live in Canberra. Sydney is the oldest and largest city in Australia. It was founded in 1788. Sydney is a big industrial centre. About 3 million people now live in the city.