South Australia

South Australia

Coordinates: 30°0′S 135°0′E / 30°S 135°E / -30; 135

South Australia
Flag of  South Australia
Slogan or nickname: Festival State
Map of Australia with  South Australia highlighted
Other Australian states and territories
Capital Adelaide
Demonym South Australian, Croweater (colloquial)[1][2]
Government Constitutional monarchy
 - Governor Kevin Scarce
 - Premier Jay Weatherill (ALP)
Australian State
 - Founded as Province 1834
 - Responsible Government 1857
 - Became State 1901
 - Australia Act 3 March 1986
 - Total  1,043,514 km2 (4th)
402,903 sq mi
 - Land 983,482 km2
379,725 sq mi
 - Water 60,032 km2 (5.75%)
23,178 sq mi
Population (June 2010)
 - Population  1,644,642 (5th)
 - Density  1.67/km2 (6th)
4.3 /sq mi
 - Highest Mount Woodroffe
1,435 m (4,708 ft)
Gross State Product (2009–10)
 - Product ($m)  $78,558[3] (5th)
 - Product per capita  $47,766 (7th)
Time zone UTC+9:30 (ACST)
UTC+10:30 (ACDT)
Federal representation
 - House seats 11
 - Senate seats 12
 - Postal SA
 - ISO 3166-2 AU-SA
 - Floral Sturt's Desert Pea
(Swainsona Formosa)
 - Faunal (Southern) Hairy-nosed Wombat
(Lasiorhinus latifrons)
 - Bird Piping Shrike
 - Marine Leafy Seadragon
(Phycodurus eques)
 - Gem Opal
 - Colour Red, Blue, Gold
Web site
Satellite image of eastern South Australia. Note the dry lakes (white patches) in the north

South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.

South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland states and the Northern Territory. It is bordered to the west by Western Australia, to the north by the Northern Territory, to the north-east by Queensland, to the east by New South Wales, to the south-east by Victoria, and to the south by the Great Australian Bight and the Indian Ocean.[4] With over 1.6 million people, the state comprises less than 8% of the Australian population and ranks fifth in population among the states and territories. The majority of its people reside in the state capital, Adelaide, with most of the remainder settled in fertile areas along the south-eastern coast and River Murray. The state's origins are unique in Australia as a freely settled, planned British province,[5] rather than as a convict settlement. Official settlement began on 28 December 1836, when the colony was proclaimed at The Old Gum Tree by Governor John Hindmarsh.

The first settlement to be established was Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, on 26 July 1836, five months before Adelaide was founded.[6] The guiding principle behind settlement was that of systematic colonisation, a theory espoused by Edward Gibbon Wakefield that was later employed by the New Zealand Company.[citation needed] The aim was to establish the province as a centre of civilisation for free immigrants, promising civil liberties and religious tolerance. Although its history is marked by economic hardship, South Australia has remained politically innovative and culturally vibrant. Today, the state is known as a state of festivals and of fine wine. The state's economy centres on the agricultural, manufacturing and mining industries and has an increasingly significant finance sector as well.[citation needed]



Evidence for human activity in South Australia dates back as far as 20,000 years ago with flint mining activity and rock art in the Koonalda Cave on the Nullarbor Plain. In addition wooden spears and tools were made in an area now covered in peat bog in the South East. Kangaroo Island was inhabited long before the island was cut off by rising sea levels.[7]

The first recorded European sighting of the South Australian coast was in 1627 when the Dutch ship the Gulden Zeepaert, captained by Francois Thijssen, examined the coastline. Thijssen named his discovery "Pieter Nuyts Land", after the highest ranking individual on board.[citation needed]

The coastline of South Australia was first mapped by Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin in 1802.

The land which now forms the state of South Australia was claimed for Britain in 1788 as part of the colony of New South Wales. Although the new colony included almost two thirds of the continent, early settlements were all on the eastern coast and only a few intrepid explorers ventured this far west. It took more than forty years before any serious proposal to establish settlements in the south-western portion of New South Wales were put forward. In 1834, the British Parliament passed the South Australia Act 1834 (Foundation Act), which enabled the province of South Australia to be established. The act stated that 802,511 square kilometres (309,851 sq mi) would be allotted to the colony and it would be convict-free. In contrast to the rest of Australia, terra nullius did not apply to the new province. The Letters of Patent attached to the Act acknowledged Aboriginal ownership and stated that no actions could be undertaken that would affect the rights of any Aboriginal natives of the said province to the actual occupation and enjoyment in their own persons or in the persons of their descendants of any land therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such natives. Although the patent guaranteed land rights under force of law for the indigenous inhabitants it was ignored by the South Australian Company authorities and squatters.[8]

Settlement of seven vessels and 636 people was temporarily made at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, until the official site of the colony was selected where Adelaide is currently located. The first immigrants arrived at Holdfast Bay (near the present day Glenelg) in November 1836, and the colony was proclaimed on 28 December 1836, now known as Proclamation Day. South Australia is the only Australian state to be settled entirely by free settlers.[citation needed]

The plan for the colony was that it would be the ideal embodiment of the best qualities of British society, that is, no religious discrimination or unemployment and, as it was believed that this would also result in very little crime, no provision was made for a gaol. In early 1838 the colonists became concerned after it was reported that convicts who had escaped from the eastern states may make their way to South Australia. The South Australia Police was formed later that year to protect the community and enforce government regulations and the first gaol, a two roomed hut, was opened on 1 January 1839.[9]

The current flag of South Australia was adopted on 13 January 1904, and is a British blue ensign defaced with the state badge. The badge is described as a Piping Shrike with wings outstretched on a yellow disc. The state badge is believed to have been designed by Robert Craig of Adelaide's School of Design.

South Australia granted restricted women's suffrage in 1861, and in 1895 became the second place in the world to grant universal suffrage (after New Zealand), and the first where women had the dual rights to vote and to stand for election.[10]


The terrain consists largely of arid and semi-arid rangelands, with several low mountain ranges. The most important (but not tallest) is the Mount Lofty-Flinders Ranges system, which extends north about 800 kilometres (497 mi) from Cape Jervis to the northern end of Lake Torrens. The highest point in the state is not in those ranges; Mount Woodroffe (1,435 metres (4,708 ft)) is in the Musgrave Ranges in the extreme northwest of the state.[11] The south-western portion of the state consists of the sparsely inhabited Nullarbor Plain, fronted by the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight. Features of the coast include Spencer Gulf and the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas that surround it.

The principal industries and exports of South Australia are wheat, wine and wool.[citation needed] More than half of Australia's wines are produced in the South Australian wine regions which principally include: Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, the Riverland and the Adelaide Hills. See South Australian wine.

South Australia has boundaries with every other Australian state and territory except the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. The area now known as the Northern Territory was annexed to South Australia in 1863, however it was handed over to the federal government in 1911 and became a separate territory.

According to Australian maps, South Australia's south coast is flanked by the Southern Ocean, but official international consensus defines the Southern Ocean as extending north from the pole only to 60°S or 55°S, at least 17 degrees of latitude further south than the most southern point of South Australia. Thus the south coast is officially adjacent to the south-most portion of the Indian Ocean. See Southern Ocean: Existence and definitions


The southern part of the state has a Mediterranean climate.[12] South Australia's main temperature range is 29 °C (84 °F) in January and 15 °C (59 °F) in July. Daily temperatures in parts of the state in January and February can be up to 48 °C (118 °F).

The highest maximum temperature was recorded as 50.7 °C (123.3 °F) at Oodnadatta on 2 January 1960, which is also the highest official temperature recorded in Australia. The lowest minimum temperature was −8 °C (17.6 °F) at Yongala on 20 July 1976.[13]


Flinders Medical Centre. Health care and social assistance is the largest ABS defined employment sector in South Australia.[14]

South Australia's average annual employment for 2009–10 was 800,600 persons, 18% higher than for 2000–01.[15] For the corresponding period, national average annual employment rose by 22%.[16]

South Australia's largest employment sector is health care and social assistance,[17][18] surpassing manufacturing in SA as the largest employer since 2006–07.[19][20] In 2009–10, manufacturing in SA had average annual employment of 83,700 persons compared with 103,300 for health care and social assistance.[21] Health care and social assistance represented nearly 13% of the state average annual employment.[22]

The retail trade is the second largest employer in SA (2009–10), with 91,900 jobs, and 12 per cent of the state workforce.[23]

The manufacturing industry plays an important role in South Australia's economy, generating 11.7%[24] of the state's Gross State Product (GSP) and playing a large part in exports. The manufacturing industry consists of automotive (44% of total Australian production, 2006) and component manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, defence technology (2.1% of GSP, 2002–03) and electronic systems (3.0% of GSP in 2006). South Australia's economy relies on exports more than any other state in Australia.[citation needed]

State export earnings stand at A$10 billion worth per year[when?][citation needed] and grew by 8.8% from 2002 to 2003. Production of South Australian food and drink (including agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, fisheries and manufacturing) is a $10 billion industry.[when?][citation needed]

South Australia's economic growth has lagged behind the rest of Australia for some time[when?] (2.1% from 2002 to 2003), but performance seems to be improving.[when?] South Australia's credit rating was upgraded to AAA+,[when?] having lost it in the State Bank collapse. South Australia's Gross State Product was A$48.9 billion starting 2004, making it A$32,996 per capita. Exports for 2006 were valued at $9.0bn with imports at $6.2bn. Private Residential Building Approvals experienced 80% growth over the year of 2006.[citation needed]

South Australia's economy includes the following major industries: meat and meat preparations, wheat, wine, wool and sheepskins, machinery, metal and metal manufactures, fish and crustaceans, road vehicles and parts, and petroleum products. Other industries, such as education and defence technology, are of growing importance.[when?][citation needed]

South Australia receives the least amount of federal funding for its local road network of all states on a per capita and a per kilometre basis.[25]

Olympic Dam

South Australia possesses the world's single largest known deposit of uranium, at the Olympic Dam mine. Olympic Dam contains 40% of the world's known uranium reserves. The Olympic Dam mine is also the world's fourth-largest remaining copper deposit, and the world's fifth largest gold deposit.[citation needed]


Composition of the Parliament of South Australia
House of
ALP 26 8
Liberal 18 7
Family First 0 2
No Pokies 0 2
Greens SA 0 2
D4D 0 1
Independent 3 0
Source: Electoral Commission SA

South Australia is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen of Australia as Sovereign, and the Governor of South Australia as her representative.[26] It is a state of the Commonwealth of Australia. Its bicameral parliament consists of a House of Assembly (lower house) and a Legislative Council (upper house), with legislative elections held every four years. The current Premier of South Australia is Jay Weatherill, a member of the Australian Labor Party.

Initially, the Governor of South Australia held almost total power, derived from the Letters Patent of the Imperial Government to create the colony. He was only accountable to the British Colonial Office, and thus democracy did not exist in the colony. A new body was created to advise the governor on the administration of South Australia in 1843 called the Legislative Council.[27] It consisted of three representatives of the British Government and four colonists appointed by the governor. The governor retained total executive power.

In 1851, the Imperial Parliament enacted the Australian Colonies Government Act which allowed for the election of representatives to each of the colonial legislatures and the drafting of a Constitution to properly create representative and responsible Government in South Australia. Later that year, wealthy male colonists were allowed to vote for 16 members on a new 24 seat Legislative Council. Eight members continued to be appointed by the governor.

The main responsibility of this body was to draft a Constitution for South Australia. The body drafted the most democratic constitution ever seen in the British Empire and provided for manhood suffrage. It created the bicameral Parliament of South Australia. For the first time in the colony, the executive was elected by the people and the colony used the Westminster system, where the government is the party or coalition that exerts a majority in the House of Assembly. In 1894, South Australia was the first Australian colony to allow women to vote and it had the first Parliament in the world to allow women to be elected as members. Catherine Helen Spence was the first woman in Australia to be a candidate for political office when she nominated to be one of South Australia's delegates to the constitutional conventions that drafted the Constitution. South Australia became an original state of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901.



A majority of the state's population lives within Adelaide's metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 1,158,259 in 2007 (70.3% of the state). Other significant population centres include Mount Barker (approx. 29 149), Mount Gambier (approx. 23,494), Whyalla (21,122), Murray Bridge (18,364), Port Augusta (13,257), Port Pirie (13,206), Port Lincoln (13,044), and Victor Harbor (10,380).[28]


Primary and secondary

On 1 January 2009, the school leaving age was raised to 17 (having previously been 15 and then 16).[29] Education is compulsory for all children until age 17, unless they are working or undergoing other training. The majority of students stay on to complete their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). School education is the responsibility of the South Australian government, but the public and private education systems are funded jointly by it and the Commonwealth Government.

The South Australian Government provides, to schools on a per student basis, 89 percent of the total Government funding while the Commonwealth contributes 11 percent. Since the early 1970s it has been an ongoing controversy[30] that 68 percent of Commonwealth funding (increasing to 75% by 2008) goes to private schools that are attended by 32% of the states students.[31] Private schools often refute this by saying that they receive less State Government funding than public schools and in 2004 the main private school funding came from the Australian government, not the state government.[32]


There are three public and three private universities in South Australia. The three public universities are The University of Adelaide (established 1874), The Flinders University of South Australia (est. 1966), and The University of South Australia (est. 1991). The three private universities are Carnegie Mellon University - Australia (est. 2006), University College London's School of Energy and Resources (Australia), and Cranfield University. All six have their main campus in the Adelaide metropolitan area: Adelaide and UniSA on North Terrace in the city; CMU, UCL and Cranfield are co-located on Victoria Square in the city, and Flinders at Bedford Park.

Public universities

The public universities also have other campuses in the metropolitan area, around the state, inter-state, and overseas.

Metropolitan campuses include:

Adelaide:[33] The Waite at Urrbrae; Research Park at Thebarton; and The National Wine Centre in the Adelaide Park Lands.
UniSA:[34] Magill Campus (Magill); Mawson Lakes Campus (Mawson Lakes); and Parafield (Parafield).

Rural and regional campuses include:

Flinders:[35] The Flinders University Rural Clinical Schools at Mount Gambier, Goolwa and Renmark; and The Lincoln Marine Science Centre at Port Lincoln.
Adelaide:[33] Roseworthy Campus near Roseworthy.
UniSA:[34] Campuses at Mount Gambier and Whyalla.

Interstate campuses include:

Flinders:[35] The university maintains a number of external teaching south-west Victoria and the Northern Territory.

Overseas campuses include:

Adelaide:[33] Singapore Campus.

Private universities

Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College Australia[36] and ETC-Australia (Entertainment Technology Center – Australia Global Initiative)[37] (sic – American spelling) both have campuses in Adelaide. The Heinz College, in Victoria Square, was established in 2006, and is the first American university to open a campus in Australia.[38] ETC-Australia is located on Light Square.

CMU-Australia is co-located with the University College London's School of Energy and Resources (Australia), and world-class research and policy institutes, including Cranfield University (UK), partner the Torrens Resilience Institute and The Australian Centre for Social Innovation.[38]


Tertiary vocational education is provided by TAFE South Australia colleges throughout the state.


Australian rules football

Australian rules football is the most popular spectator sport in South Australia, with South Australians having the highest attendance rate in Australia.[39] The state also has the highest participation rate of people taking part in Australian rules football, with over 2.2% of the population aged 18 years participating in the sport.[40]

South Australia fields two teams in the Australian Football League national competition: the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power. In 2006, The Adelaide Crows had a membership base of 50,000,[41] higher than any of the other 15 teams in the competition.

The South Australian National Football League, which owns the dedicated Australian Football stadium AAMI Stadium, is a popular local league comprising nine teams.

The South Australian Amateur Football League comprises sixty-eight member clubs playing over one hundred and ten matches per week across ten Senior divisions and three Junior Divisions. The SAAFL is one of Australia's largest and strongest Australian rules football associations.[42]


Cricket is the most popular summer sport in South Australia and attracts big crowds. South Australia has a cricket team, the Southern Redbacks, who play at Adelaide Oval in the Adelaide Park Lands during the summer; they won their first title since 1996 in the summer of 2011. The Redbacks currently have three players who hold a contract with Cricket Australia. Many international matches have been played at the Adelaide Oval. It was one of the host cities of 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Association football

South Australia's Association Football (soccer) team in the A-League is Adelaide United F.C. The club's home ground is Hindmarsh Stadium.

The club was founded in 2003 and was premier in the inaugural 2005–06 A-League season, finishing 7 points clear of the rest of the competition, before finishing 3rd in the finals. Adelaide United was also a Grand Finalist in the 2006–07 and 2008–09 seasons. Adelaide has the best winning record of all clubs in the A-League; Adelaide is the only A-League club to be present at the Asian Champions League more than once, making it the most successful Australian club in Asia.


Basketball also has a big following in South Australia, with the Adelaide 36ers playing out of an 8,070 seat stadium in Findon. The 36ers have won four championships in the last 20 years in the National Basketball League (Australia). Mount Gambier also has only one national sporting side which is the Mount Gambier Pioneers. The Pioneers play at the Icehouse (Mount Gambier Basketball Stadium) which seats over 1,000 people and is also home to the Mount Gambier Basketball Association. The Pioneers have had one championship side which was rated second in the top 5 sides to have ever played in the league. In 2011 the club will enter its 24th season, with a roster of 9 senior players and 7 development squad players.

Motor sport

Australia’s premier motor sport series, the V8 Supercar Championship Series, has visited South Australia each year since its inception in 1999. South Australia’s V8 Supercar event, the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, is staged on the Adelaide Street Circuit, a temporary track laid out through the streets and parklands to the east of the Adelaide CBD. Attendance for the 2010 event totalled 277,800.[43] An earlier version of the Adelaide Street Circuit played host to the Australian Grand Prix, a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, each year from 1985 to 1995.

Mallala Motor Sport Park, a permanent circuit located near the town of Mallala, 58 km north of Adelaide, caters for both state and national level motor sport throughout the year.

Other sports

Fifty-nine percent of South Australian children take part in organised sports. For boys, soccer has the highest participation rate (22%), followed by swimming (16%). For girls netball is most popular (18%), also followed by swimming (16%).[44]


South Australian cities, towns, settlements and road network





Main highways:

See also

Food and drink:




  1. ^ Wiktionary: croweater Accessed 11 October 2011.
  2. ^ ABC NewsRadio > Wordwatch: Croweater Accessed 11 October 2011.
  3. ^ 5220.0 – Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, 2009–10.
  4. ^ a b c Most Australians describe the body of water south of the continent as the Southern Ocean, rather than the Indian Ocean as officially defined by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). In the year 2000, a vote of IHO member nations defined the term "Southern Ocean" as applying only to the waters between Antarctica and 60 degrees south latitude.
  5. ^ South Australian Police Historical Society Inc. Accessed 13 September 2011.
  6. ^ "Kangaroo Island Council – Welcome". Kangaroo Island Council. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  7. ^ R.J. Lampert (1979): Aborigines. In: Tyler, M.J., Twidale, C.R. & Ling, J.K. (Eds) Natural History of Kangaroo Island. Royal Society of South Australia Inc. ISBN 0 9596627 1 5
  8. ^ Ngadjuri Walpa Juri Lands and Heritage Association (Undated). Gnadjuri. SASOSE Council Inc. ISBN 0 646 42821 7. 
  9. ^ History of Adelaide Gaol
  10. ^ Women and Politics in South Australia The State Library of South Australia
  11. ^ "Highest Mountains". Geoscience Australia. Archived from the original on 21 April 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  12. ^ "Climate and Weather". Government of South Australia. Atlas South Australia. 28 April 2004. Retrieved 6 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "Rainfall and Temperature Records: National" (PDF). Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Inquiry into Local Government and Cost Shifting". Australian House of Representatives. 2003. Retrieved 11 June 2007. 
  26. ^ "R v Governor of South Australia (1907) HCA 31; (1907) 4 CLR 1497 (8 August 1907)". Australasian Legal Information Institute. 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008. 
  27. ^ "Legislative Council 1843–1856". Parliament of South Australia. 2005. Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  28. ^ "Estimated Resident Population, SA". ABS. 31 March 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  29. ^ Owen, Michael (22 May 2006). "School leaving age to be raised". The Advertiser (News Corp). Archived from the original on 12 September 2006.,10117,19215505-1246,00.html. Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  30. ^ "The Redefinition of Public Education". Archived from the original on 15 February 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  31. ^ "Chapter 2: Resourcing Australia's schools". Ministerial Council National Report on Schooling in Australia. 
  32. ^ Bill Daniels (12 April 2004). "Government funding should encourage private schools not penalise them". Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  33. ^ a b c "Campuses and maps". University of Adelaide. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2009. 
  34. ^ a b "Campuses and maps". University of South Australia. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2009. 
  35. ^ a b "Regional and interstate locations". Flinders University. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2009. 
  36. ^ "Carnegie Mellon University Australia – Heinz College". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  37. ^ "ETC Australia Global Initiative". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  38. ^ a b "About Carnegie Mellon University – Australia". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  39. ^ 4174.0 Sports Attendance, Australia, 2005–06, 25 Jan 2007, Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved on 5 July 2009.
  40. ^ source AuSport 2000[not specific enough to verify]
  41. ^ "50,000 milestone coming closer" (Press release). Adelaide Crows. 23 May 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  42. ^ South Australian Amateur Football League. Retrieved on 5 July 2009.
  43. ^ Early March the only date for Clipsal 500 Retrieved from on 3 May 2010
  44. ^ Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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