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Passport: Australia

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Get a firsthand look at the land down under, from the Great Barrier Reef to the outback!

Choose your own Aussie adventure below from a lingo quiz to slideshows and videos stacked with facts.



 


Aussie Lingo

Fire up the barbie and learn to speak like an Aussie.

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Australia is the world's smallest continent, but it's a giant by country land-mass standards: It spans three time zones and nearly 3 million square miles -- that's only slightly smaller than the contiguous U.S.

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Every Australian citizen (18 years or older) is required by law to vote or -- without a good reason -- face penalty.

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Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. If you visit, be sure to slather on the sunscreen and wear a hat.

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The Great Barrier Reef has a mailbox. You can ferry out there and send a postcard, stamped with the only Great Barrier Reef stamp.

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Most of the 140 species of marsupials in Australia, including the koala, kangaroo and wombat, are found nowhere else in the world (in the wild, that is).

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Aboriginal Art: Symbols

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Snakes are common in aboriginal art and represent Mother Earth. They are drawn as a curvy line, and the circle in the middle represents a totem pole. There are many aboriginal songs and stories having to do with snakes.

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Rain is a vital part of the desert life and occurs often in aboriginal paintings.

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Icons are often depicted aerially -- the horse-shoe shapes depicts a man, because it shows the imprint a person would leave on the ground. Here, there are men sitting beside the water hole with their spears and boomerangs. The Aboriginal people cherish their land and animals and usually only hunt when they need food.

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The blue circles in the center represent watering holes. The round concentric circles represent the frogs after they have burrowed into the ground.

Frogs are mostly found in wet seasons-- when a river goes down, frogs bury themselves into holes. Frogs are important to the aboriginal people, because the sticky substance on their backs is used to heal sores.

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Reconciliation

by Edna Watson

A contemporary painting by a darug (Aboriginal tribe) elder

The painting expresses the diverse groups that have come to Australia with the Aboriginal people in the center. The circle represents reconciliation and the hands are pointing inwards and outwards as if they are joined.

The central circle shows a broken earth, meaning the process of reconciliation in unfinished.

NOW GO BACK AND PUT TOGETHER A PUZZLE OF THIS PAINTING

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Tony takes a tour of a zoo and has some fun!

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Tony Anderson battles flies in Australia.

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