A third of the island continent is occupied by its largest state, Western Australia, whose diverse geographical terrain has blessed the state with rich natural resources. The southwest coast area is the state’s agricultural region and an area of significant terrestrial biodiversity. Forests of tall karri trees abound here. The semi-arid or desert area that comprises the central four-fifths of Western Australia is a centre for mining activities. Offshore, the Leeuwin Current is noted for its marine biodiversity.
Undoubtedly, Western Australia’s main tourist attraction is the Outback. A remote arid region, it is home to many Aboriginal communities. But its most well-known resident is the venerable Uluru, the massive sandstone formation sacred to the Aboriginal people.
Because of the remoteness of the Outback, the medical needs of the few people living in the area are serviced by Australia’s prestigious Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Perth is the capital and largest city of Western Australia. Much of its unprecedented growth in population and economy is attributed to the increasing demands for raw minerals from countries with emerging economies, like China. The resulting mining boom has led to increased employment for highly skilled workers both within the country and from foreign countries. As a result, unemployment levels are retained at a consistently low level of less than 4%.
Tourism is one of Perth’s major industries. Popular attractions include the looming Central Park Building, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts in the Perth Cultural Centre, the Western Australian Maritime Museum and the West Australian Art Gallery.
Perth earned the nickname of “City of Light” when residents switched on all their house lights as American astronaut John Glenn passed over the city while orbiting the Earth on Friendship 7 in 1962. It was a feat that was repeated in 1998 when Glenn passed over Perth on the Space Shuttle.