In proportion to its population, Oceania has over time received more foreign missionaries than any other continent; there are now only a few people in the Pacific who are not Christians. In many islands, competition between different missionaries resulted in local conflicts. Spanish Jesuits landed as the first in the Mariana Islands in 1668, and by 1710 had reversed the entire population, which, however, had been sharply reduced during the same period. After that, it took more than 100 years for Catholic missionaries to gain a foothold in other parts of Oceania. Check Australian abbreviations on Abbreviationfinder.
James Cook’s travels opened the Pacific Ocean to a stream of foreigners, including missionaries from Protestant Europe. In 1796, the London Missionary Society began to mission in Tahiti and other Polynesian islands. In the hierarchical communities, the transition to Christianity in several cases came together under the leadership of a chief, and missionaries exercised considerable political influence. In the chiefless Melanesian communities of the western part of Oceania, missionaries only slowly gained a foothold in the 1800s and 1900s, often through the use of Polynesian missionaries; In the New Guinea Highlands, mission work began only after World War II.
Many 19th-century British missionaries were artisans and graduated from the lower middle class. An exception was the Anglican mission in Melanesia, whose predominantly academically educated members represented a high-church Protestantism in close alliance with colonial state power.
Christian missionaries have played a crucial role in Oceania’s societal change, both in the destruction of the peoples’ cultural heritage and in the building of a new cultural foundation, especially through education. The missions are now transformed into autonomous, local (indigenous) churches. The Pacific Conference of Churches was formed in 1966, and in most states, the churches are of central importance to modern community development.
|Country||Public expenditure on health as a share of GDP (per cent)||Infant mortality (per 1000 births)|
|Australia||9.4 (2015)||3 (2018)|
|Fiji||3.6 (2015)||22 (2018)|
|Kiribati||7.6 (2015)||41 (2018)|
|Marshall Islands||22.1 (2015)||27 (2018)|
|Micronesia Federation||13.1 (2015)||26 (2018)|
|Nauru||4.8 (2015)||26 (2018)|
|New Zealand||9.3 (2015)||5 (2018)|
|Palau||10.6 (2015)||17 (2018)|
|Papua New Guinea||3.8 (2015)||38 (2018)|
|Solomon Islands||8.0 (2015)||17 (2018)|
|Samoa||5.6 (2015)||14 (2018)|
|Tonga||5.9 (2015)||13 (2018)|
|Tuvalu||15.0 (2015)||21 (2018)|
|Vanuatu||3.5 (2015)||22 (2018)|
Geography of Australia
Australia is located on the southern hemisphere bordered by the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. The shallow Torres Strait, which is at least 80 km wide, separates Australia from the island of New Guinea.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of 14 countries and territories in the continent of Oceania in alphabetical order.
Australia is part of the ancient continent of Gondwanaland that burst into law. In Cretaceous, Australia was separated from Antarctica and New Zealand, and is still moving north and east. Most of the landmass is an old Precambrian shield with many important ore deposits (iron, uranium, lead, zinc, copper, etc.). The shield is partially covered by a thin layer of younger sediments that increase in thickness towards the coast. Along the eastern side of the continent there are younger fold chains, formed at the same time as the Caledonian and Hercynic mountain chains elsewhere on Earth. At the end of the carbon and in perm, there were several major ice ages in Australia, and in layers from periods of warmer climates between and after the ice ages one finds the large coal deposits in New South Wales. In the east and southeast you also have volcanic rocks, and this is where you will find the highest mountains in Australia.
Australia is the most flat of the continents; about. 95 percent of the area is less than 600 meters above sea level. It falls naturally to divide Australia into three topographic areas: 1) the western plateau landscape, which extends over the western part of Australia; 2) the Great Dividing Range to the east; and 3) an intermediate low erosion area consisting of several basins.
The plateau to the west
The plateau is an old pen plane with an average height of approx. 450 masl In some places, low mountain areas rise above the plateau. Highest are the MacDonnell Range (1510 meters) and the Musgrave Range (1440 meters), both located in central Australia. From these mountains several lower altitudes extend in several directions. Near the west coast is the Hamersley Range, which reaches 1227 meters above sea level. The plateau ends in a steep slope down to a narrow coastal plain. The plateau edge was pushed up during the last uplift, reaching many places at an altitude of over 1000 meters.
Great Dividing Range
The highlands in the east consist of an almost 4000 km long belt of plateaus and plateau-like mountains. This whole area has been named the Great Dividing Range because it forms the most important watershed in Australia. The Great Dividing Range has an average width of approx. 250 km, and extends parallel to the east and southeast coasts of the Cape York Peninsula in the north. The mountains continue under Bass Strait and end in Tasmania. The mountains are steepest towards the sea and highest in the southern part. Here is Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciusko (Kosciuszko), 2229 meters above sea level. To the west of Sydney lie the somewhat lower Blue Mountains with its deep-cut valleys and famous caves.
Great Artesian Basin
Between the Western Australian Plateau and the Great Dividing Range lies a low plain stretching from the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north to Spencer Gulf and Gulf of St. Vincent in the south. The landscape is monotonous and consists of gently rolling plains. In this lot is Australia’s lowest point, in the salty Lake Eyre, 16 m below sea level. The erasure area, the Great Artesian Basin, forms several large pools. To the southeast lies the Murray Basin, which is bounded by the highlands of Victoria in the south, the Horst Mountains Flinders Range in the west and the Great Dividing Range in the east. The average height is approx. 180 masl This pool has been named after the Murray River. The rivers in this plain area flow slowly and form many meanders. The 2570 km Murray has a fall of less than 150 m between the origin of the Great Dividing Range and the outlet of Encounter Bay in the Indian Ocean. and the Eyre Basin make up the rest of the plain, extending 1900 km from the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north to well into New South Wales. The average width is approx. 480 km and the average height less than 300 m. The bedrock consists at the top of clay slates covering a porous, water-bearing layer of sandstone and conglomerates, and this area therefore forms an enormous artesian pool, the largest in the world. Many inland rivers disappear in this pool.
The only rivers that carry water throughout the year are Murray and some smaller rivers in the coastal areas. Murray is Australia’s water richest river and with the addition Darling forms the continent’s largest river system. Murray springs into the Snowy Mountains, and receives much of its water from the snow that falls here in the winter. The inlet Darling, which is 2720 km long, is longer than Murray, but often dries out. The major approaches to Murray-Darling are Murrumbidgee, Paroo and Warrego. Over 60 percent of Australia is without a drain to the sea. Most rivers disappear during the dry season. Some of them dry into puddles without connection to each other, others dry completely. A riverbed without running water is called the creek.
Most lakes are drainless salt lakes that dry during periods of prolonged drought. The largest are located in South Australia. Lake Eyre (8885 km2), Lake Torrens (5780 km2), Lake Gairdner (4750 km 2) and Lake Amadeus (880 km2). In the southwestern part of Western Australia, the rainwater collects in wide, shallow recesses. The smallest are called salt pans. They are arranged in chains, and after heavy rains they happen to float into each other.
Australia’s coastline is monotonous and relatively small. To the north, Lake Arafura cuts into the land, forming the large Gulf of Carpentaria between the Cape York Peninsula and Arnhem Land. Further west, the Timor Sea intersects and forms the much smaller Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. The largest bay in the south is the Great Australian Bight t. Its width is about 1200 km and it cuts well over 350 km inland. Further east are Spencer Gulf and Gulf St. Vincent. The continental shelf is widest in the north, and southern New Guinea and Tasmania are on the same continental shelf like Australia. Along the coast lies a low coastal plain of varying width. There are a number of good ports, especially on the east and southeast coasts.
Along the east coast of Australia lies a 50 km wide and 2400 km long coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef, which extends parallel to the northeast coast. The distance from the coast to the reef varies between 50 and 160 km. At low tide, parts of the reef reach the sea surface. The reef is not fully coherent.
Due to isolated location, simple coastal form and topography, Australia is almost an ideal continent for demonstrating the importance of geographical conditions to the climate. The temperature is determined by the radiation balance at the site, the nature of the substrate and the temperature in the near sea areas. The sea temperature here differs little from the mean of the latitude. The climate is little affected by hot or cold ocean currents, nor by the rising cold deep water (upwelling), which is typical of the west coasts of America and Africa. A particularly typical feature is widespread, often prolonged seasonal drought and large, more random variation in rainfall.
The southern turning circle is in the middle of the continent, the climate is warm and you can find typically winter just furthest south and in Tasmania. The difference in the average temperature for the warmest and coldest month is above 15 °C in the central part, approx. 10 °C on the coast, but below 5 °C in the tropical climate in the far north. Cloud cover and rainfall are completely dominated by the subtropical high-pressure belt that commutes north-south, partly with the season and partly more irregularly. The average map of the air pressure shows a marked high pressure ridge, but it is due to a series of individual high pressures passing from west to east at a speed of 500–750 km per day. The descending air currents in the high pressures discourage the development of rainfall clouds. In Northern Australia, it is normally winter drought, as the high-pressure runways go farther north at this time of year. Summer drought is common in southern Australia. Large deviations from the normal pattern appear to be related to large-scale changes of the air pressure over the southern part of the Pacific. The annual temperature variations over land give a monsoon effect that is of particular importance for the north coast and an adjacent part of the east coast. In the summer, the northeast pass from the northern hemisphere crosses the equator, is deflected by the earth’s rotation, and enters over northern Australia as a rainy northwest monsoon. Where the deflected passageway meets the southeastern passageways of the western Pacific, tropical low pressures that form to the west and affect the north coast form summer and early fall (Dec – March). The southeastern passageway is marked on large parts of the east coast, while the west wind belt touches the southern coastal areas in winter. The Great Dividing Range mountain range intensifies rainfall from the east, but casts rain shadow over much of the country to the west.
Broadly speaking, one can distinguish between 4 climatic zones: Tropical savannah climate with annual temperature above approx. 25 °C and rainfall over approx. 1000 mm covers a smaller area in the north, essentially Arnhem Land and the Cape York Peninsula. The rainfall decreases to the south, there will be a transition to steep climate, where the drying season in winter is longer and the summer precipitation less intense. The steppes cover a slightly irregular loop-shaped belt from the coast in the northwest, towards the mountain slopes in the east, further to the south and then along the coast to the sea in the west. The steppes receive mostly 250–750 mm of annual rainfall, mostly in the north.
Along the east coast south of 20 °C.br. there is a strip of temperate rain climate with no marked drying time. Here are Australia’s rainiest areas, with annual averages over 4000 mm, maximum in a single year 7800 mm and in a single day 900 mm. Evenly, it falls 1000–1500 mm. Precipitation decreases rapidly to the west, more slowly along the coast to the south. In the Snowy Mountains area in the south, there is enough snow to allow winter sports to run. The tradition dates back to the 1860s, when skiing was introduced by Scandinavian miners. In the lowlands, average temperatures range from 10–15 °C in winter, to 20–25 °C in summer. Both the eastern and westernmost parts of the south coast have temperate climates with winter rain due to the westerly rainfall areas of the West Wind belt (Mediterranean climate). Summer is dry, but with some local showers over land. Annual rainfall is 500–1000 mm, up to 1500 mm at the southwest tip. At the Great Australian Bight, the steppe climate zone extends all the way to the coast. Tasmania receives rainfall for all seasons and with a geographical distribution similar to the one in southern Norway: 500-1000 mm in the east, up to approx. 3000 mm above the mountain slope to the west. In the mountains, significant amounts of snow fall. The January temperature along the south coast is approx. 20 °C, July means approx. 10 °C. Both are slightly lower on Tasmania.
The desert climate covers an elliptical central area, roughly the third of Australia’s area. The annual rainfall is approx. 125-400 mm, but highly variable because the distance to the sea is short and no mountain screens. The driest region is measured with 24 mm of rainfall in 24 hours. The dunes, both in the desert and adjoining steppes, are located more than 15,000 years ago. The rainfall has been sufficient to sustain just as much vegetation that prevents sand escape. The average temperature for January is approx. 25 °C to the south, up to approx. 35 °C in the northwest. Christmas solids are 10-20 °C. Rarely can there be frost in the far south. The variable rainfall, with occasional lush vegetation that fades during the dry season, forms the basis for many wilderness fires (bush fires). The southeastern parts are most vulnerable, nor is Tasmania free. The fires most often occur when the high-pressure runways are far south. Between the individual high pressures there are often sharp cold fronts. In front of a front approaching, there is strong, warm, dry and dusty wind from the desert in the north. Rigid bale at 40-45 °C and 10-20% relative humidity is typical. The cause of fire may be lightning or self-ignition, but is most often human activity. When the cold front passes, there will be sudden winds to the southwest with a temperature drop of up to 25-30 °C. There is rarely rainfall of any significance, but the windfall has resulted in many casualties among people on the run.