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by: Savannah Donahue

C is for Canberra

An Australian Alphabet

ANZAC day is one of Australia’s most important celebrations. It is the anniversary of the first significant military action in World War I. Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACS) were planning an assault on Turkey. What was intended as a strike to take Turkey out of the war turned into a standoff between the two troops. Failing their mission, the soldiers faced many hardships and over 8000 had been killed. Even though the mission was incomplete, the soldiers who fought were honored and remembered through ANZAC Day. This holiday is very similar to America’s Veterans Day and memorializes the losses the military suffered.

ANZAC day has many festivities in honor of Australia’s and New Zealand’s fallen soldiers. It is memorialized on Wednesday, April 25th.  It was established as a national holiday that praised the 60,000 Anzacs that died during the first world war. Later it was used to remember the lives of Anzacs who died in World War II. Services are done throughout the nation and marches are held in the country’s major cities. There are memorial readings to help people remember what the military went through during the wars. 



A is for ANZAC Day

Remembering the soldiers

 that were thrown into the fray 

Australians assemble

 for honor on Anzac day

The budgerigar is well known for its vibrant hues. Sometimes called a “budgie” it is a small colorful bird that is commonly found in Australia. A budgie's natural coloring is yellow or green. Any other kind of budgerigar, like those with a blue and white coat, is a result of breeding. The male and female budgerigar appear very similar but can be told apart by their cere, a waxy covering at the bottom of a bird’s beak. On males, the cere appears blue, but on females, it looks brown. Budgies have long, pointed wings and black markings that cover them.

A budgerigar has its own behavior, and characteristics. The budgie’s diet is made up mostly of seeds. Their small beaks and thick tongues help it remove the outer husks of fruits and get to the seeds. They often feed in the morning and spend the majority of their time resting and preening in the trees. A budgerigars beak constantly grows so they chew and shred things to keep their beaks from overgrowing. They are very social and are usually seen in big, loud flocks. Budgerigars have the ability to mimic human speech more precisely than most birds in the parrot family. 



B is for Budgerigar

A beautiful bird known for its color

 in yellow and green hues so divine

 astonishing for the budgerigar

is an animal that truly shines

Canberra is the capital city of Australia. It had recently been chosen as capital in 1908. This region was first occupied by Australian aboriginal tribes than by European settlers. The church of St. John Baptist was built around the 1840s and is one of the oldest buildings in Canberra. There was a long debate between Melbourne and Sydney over which should be the Australian capital. An influential journalist named John Gale nominated Canberra. He wrote a leaflet that was distributed to members of Parliament. It helped convince them to declare Canberra as the nation’s official capital. 

Canberra is home to some of Australia’s most significant memorials and structures. Australia’s parliament house is one of many important buildings that are contained in Canberra. The parliament house construction was delayed because of World War I. The original building was completed in 1927. It was the home of Australia’s parliament until 1988.  A new structure was built to fulfill the needs of the parliament. Lake Burley Griffin is an important body of water that was created in Canberra. It is a decorative lake that was designed by Walter Burley Griffin. The National Carillon is located in central Canberra and was gifted by the British government to the people of Australia. It was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Australia’s capital. 



C is for Canberra

Entitled the bush capital

is the city of Canberra

plants fill the region

animals crowd the area

Dingoes are animals that have inhabited Australia for centuries. The dingo origin has been traced back to an Asian species of gray wolf. Dingoes have resided in the Australian continent for about 4,000 years. They occupied the Australian mainland, but there was an attempt to remove dingoes, so they are scarce in New South Wales, Victoria, and the South-Eastern tip of Australia. Dingoes have a preference for woodland and grassland habitats. The ecosystems in which they live have benefited from the rabbit population being kept in check. They hunt kangaroos, wallabies, and wombats, but feed on domestic cattle as well. 

Dingoes are a unique species of canines with their behavior and features. They are medium-sized animals from 3.5 to 4 feet long. Males are typically larger than females. They are usually golden or red-colored, though some black and white dingoes do exist. Dingoes tend to hunt in packs, but they are sometimes loners. An authoritative female rules the pack along with her mate who is the alpha leader. In packs, the authoritative female kills the offspring of the other females.



Thriving in the Australian forests

 Dingoes hunt in packs along with the breeze

They have excellent sight for the outback

and turn their heads 180 degrees

D is for Dingo

Eremophila is a unique genus of plants. Eremophila comes from a Greek word that means desert-loving plant. Eremophilas are nicknamed poverty bushes because of their capability to survive harsh conditions that other plants cannot. They grow in areas with little rainfall. They are able to endure frost and drought allowing them to be grown in many regions.Eremophilas have various sizes from low shrubs to small trees. The flowers usually have petals that are joined by a tube.  Eremophilas’ fruit turns brown when ripe. The seeds vary in number from 2 to 12.  

There are a variety of eremophila plants in Australia. There is the Eremophila glabra meaning winter blaze. Reddish-orange flowers cover the plant for most of the year and prosper in sunlight. Eremophila hygrophana is another type of plant meaning bluebells. It is a small evergreen shrub that is dotted with purple flowers. The leaves are covered with a soft, scratchy fuzz. Then there is Eremophila maculata otherwise known as Valentine for its reddish-pink flowers. It is an evergreen plant that blooms in January through March.



E is for Eremophila

Attracting birds of all kinds

eremophilas dance with true grace

 their petals are tubular

and they grow in a hot, dry place

Floriade is one of the most popular holidays held in Canberra. Floriade first began when Peter Sutton and his associate, Christ Slotemaker De Bruine, suggested a floral festival to honor Canberra’s 75th birthday. It officially began in 1988 when exotic flowers bloomed as an amazing display. Floriade celebrates public art and holds a month-long fair. It attracts tourists from overseas and is held from September to October. There is a new theme for the festival each year, and over 300,000 visitors come to witness the celebration.  Night Fest is the Floriade fair at night decorated with hundreds of bright, shining lights. There are stand-up comedians, foods and beverages, and all kinds of spectacular performances. 

Floriade takes a lot of time and practice to set up. Getting over 1,000,000 flowers to bloom at the same time requires extreme concentration and hard work. The gardening team begins in Autumn right after Floriade has ended. They mark garden beds and install important structures like the drainage and water systems. Then the gardeners start carefully selecting the best plants and flowers for the festival. The gardening team starts planting and waits until spring where they make the flowers look their finest. 



F is for Floriade

Flowers of all shapes and sizes

 the view is truly the best

To watch all the annuals bloom

is blinding on NightFest

A great and diverse landmark, the great barrier reef definitely deserves its title as one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The great barrier reef has a variety of marine habitats and species. There is 600 type of corals, over 1,000 varieties of jellyfish, 3,000 species of mollusks, 500 types of worms, 1,625 diversities of fish and other species. The great barrier reef is larger than the great wall of China and visible from outer space. It is the largest coral reef in the world and dates back to twenty-million years ago. 

The great barrier reef faces many threats to its environment. Climate change is a danger to the reef. It results in coral bleaching and a higher probability of dangerous weather. Coral bleaching is the loss of color in coral due to stress. It’s possible for cyclones to occur because of climate change and they may damage the barrier reef. Pollution also causes harm to the organisms in the area. 


G is for Great Barrier Reef


From the great depths

 of the coral sea

lies the Great barrier reef

with fish swimming, free

Hyde Park is the oldest public park in Australia with a lengthy history. It was named after the original Hyde Park in London. It is located in the area that was secured by Governor Phillip in 1792.  It was used for gathering firewood and keeping cattle until it was proclaimed an official domain in 1810 by Governor Macquarie. It was used as a horse-racing course and became a popular location for playing cricket. The park didn’t include grass or trees until 1854 when the Hyde Park Improvement Committee was created. It is now used by many residents of Australia. 

The park is home to many monuments and used for playing sports. The Archibald fountain is the centerpiece of Hyde Park. It was designed by Francis Leon Sicard and given by J. F. Archibald for Australia’s participation in World War I. Hyde park contains an ANZAC war memorial as well as many other structures. As mentioned before, Hyde Park is home to one of Australia’s oldest horse-racing grounds, and a cricket field. In the early colonial times, bare-knuckle fights were arranged between convicts. The first recorded fight occurred in 1814. Hyde Park is also a popular location for rugby. 



H is for Hyde Park

The oldest park in all of Australia

 its fountain and lights a sight to see

Full of beautiful monuments, Hyde park’s

 courses host sports activity

The inland taipan is known for its powerful venom. The inland taipan is the most venomous snake in the world. It has the most toxic poison of any land or sea snake. Just one bite is enough to kill 100 adult humans or 250 thousand mice. Its venom is about 50 times more powerful than the King Cobras. It feeds solely on mammals. But strangely instead of an aggressive nature, the inland taipan is a shy serpent and only strikes humans if provoked. 

The inland taipan has vitals, prey, and needs even as powerful as it is. The inland taipan inhabits plains located on the borders of Queensland and South Australia. It tends to consume rodents like the long-haired rat or the house mouse. Most snakes attack with a single bite and wait for its prey to die, but the inland taipan lashes out with multiple attacks, eight at most. It may have a shy nature, but when it strikes, the inland taipan strikes violently.  The king brown snake is immune to most of the inland taipan’s venom, so even an animal as dangerous as the inland taipan has a predator. 



I is for Inland Taipan

Dark diamond-shaped scales cover the snake

it’s underbelly is fair

it feasts on rats and mice for years

 in which its venom ensnares

There is a variety of jellyfish species that inhabit Australia. The box jellyfish lurks along the coast of Darwin and northern Queensland. The box jellyfish is most active in the summer and the majority of recorded deaths caused by this invertebrate have occurred in October through May. There are purple stingers which are located throughout eastern Australia. They will leave a painful, itchy rash if a person comes in contact. They are delicate and small, but can deeply affect a person’s well-being. 

Jellyfish have a consistent behavior, habitat, and diet despite their different species. Scientists have found that jellyfish can take note of other jellyfish floating around them and change their swimming rate to get in sync with their peers. They feed on small plants such as phytoplankton. They eat fish eggs, small fish, and even other jellyfish. They can live in any ocean water and a few species thrive in freshwater.



J is for Jellyfish

Tentacles spring from the patterned circle

its true glow is seen at night

 the jellyfish is beauty laced with danger

 when it takes its ocean flight

Kangaroo Island is a huge tourist attraction in Australia. It is Australia’s third largest island next to Tasmania and Melville island. It draws in over 140,000 visitors each year. It is home to many national parks and landmarks that pull in tourists. Places like Seal Bay Conservation Park and the Kelly Hill Caves are hot spots for travelers. Wildlife is scattered all over kangaroo island including, kangaroos, tammar wallabies, short-beaked echidnas, and many koalas. Sand-surfing in the Little Sahara is a favorite pastime among many of the travelers that have visited Kangaroo Island, along with seeing wildlife and taking part in tours. 

Kangaroo Island has a history that goes back to thousands of years ago. It separated from Australia’s mainland about 10,000 years ago because of the rising sea level. It was declared “Kangaroo Island” in 1802 when the British explorer, Matthew Flinder traveled there. Months later, Frenchman Nicolas Baudin came and named the areas of the island. By 1836, there were many settlements. After World War II, many servicemen and women called the land home. Later, the population doubled in size.


K is for Kangaroo Island


With beautiful terrain

and natural reserves

Kangaroo Island has

animals to observe

Lake Eyre is located in the desert of Central Australia. It is Australia’s largest salt lake. Lake Eyre is divided into two separate sections: Lake Eyre North and Lake Eyre South joined by the Goyder Channel. The region in which Lake Eyre resides has little rainfall. When Lake Eyre is completely filled it takes two years for it to dry up again. Lake Eyre’s salt crust becomes thicker in the Southern Portion. 

Lake Eyre has a history of many settlers and tribes. Lake Eyre was an important site for Aboriginal tribes, specifically the Arabuna people. In the 1860s there was much European settlement around the area. Cattle stations were established by the mid-1880s but were abandoned due to a drought. The Lake Eyre national park was established in 1985.



L is for Lake Eyre

Shades of blue

Fill the lake

but its glow at sundown

takes the cake

A marsupial is a mammal that has an unusual anatomy compared to other mammals.  They are members of the class Marsupialia. Marsupials are often found in Australia. Species of kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and koalas are all part of the marsupial branch. About 200 species of these animals are found in Australia. Marsupials are less intelligent than other mammals because of their simpler brains. Comparing a marsupials’ brain to another animal’s shows that there is a difference in structure and bulk. Marsupials lack a corpus callosum, the part of the brain that connects the two halves. Unlike most animals, marsupials carry their young in pouches, a difference that puts them in their own class. 

Marsupials have their own behaviors and life cycles. Marsupials aren’t too keen on social organization. They usually remain solitary as adults. Long-term relationships between marsupials are uncommon. Vulnerable at birth, the young are born in a helpless condition.  They rely heavily on the shelter and warmth of the pouch. They attach themselves to the mother’s nipple for nourishment.



M is for Marsupial

Found in Australia

marsupials are all around

 Like the Antechinus

 that crawls on the ground

New South Wales is a state on the Eastern Australian coast that was inhabited by many settlers and tribes in the past. The first residents of the new south wales region were Aboriginal tribes who arrived about 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. The European finding of New South Wales occurred during Captain James Cook’s 1770 survey amongst the uncharted eastern coast of what is now Australia. In the mid-19th century, the land was separated to create British colonies. There was a movement toward federation between the colonies.

New South Wales has an important system of government. The form of government for New South Wales is written in its Constitution. The New South Wales constitution hold a firm bond with the Commonwealth. The first responsible self-government of New South Wales is known as the state parliament. With two house the Legislative Assembly and Legislative council. New South Wales was separated into 128 local government regions.


N is for New South Wales


The beautiful state of New South Wales

 it definitely deserves a toast

 for clear blue water and stunning buildings

 lie on the Eastern Coast

The oystercatchers are birds that belong to the family Haematopodidae. The Haematopodidae has a single genus of Haematopus. The oystercatchers are found on many coasts, worldwide. They range from 39-50 centimeters in length with a wingspan of 72-91 centimeters. Females tend to have a longer bill and are heavier than males. They usually have pointed beaks used for feeding on mollusks. 

Of the many oystercatcher species, a few inhabit Australia. The pied oystercatcher is a breed of oystercatchers that live in Australia. The name is misleading for pied oystercatchers because they rarely eat oysters and mainly feed on bivalve mollusks. The sooty oystercatcher is native to Australia and a coastal share bird.  It appears completely black with red eyes and pink legs. The sooty oystercatcher often feeds on crustaceans, like crabs.



O is for Oystercatcher

A bird whose sheen is as dark as night

 it has an orange beak

 With red eyes and pink legs

 it lets out a squawk and shriek

Port Jackson is a harbor located in New South Wales. It is a drowned river valley or a ria. It extends westward from Sydney Heads (North and South Heads) and encircles many tidal waters. There is a few island contained in Port Jackson including, Shark Island, Clark Island, Fort Pension, Goat Island, and Rodd island. There are many waterways around Port Jackson. Middle Harbor is north of Port Jackson. It starts as a small creek then joins Port Jackson’s main channel. 

Port Jackson has many installations and infrastructures. Many bridges span across the harbor. Sydney Harbor bridge, the Gladesville bridge, the Ryde bridge, and the Silverwalker bridge line up on Port Jackson from north to south. The Sydney Harbor Tunnel passes underneath the harbor as a road tunnel. There are the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Cruise Terminal located near Port Jackson. 



P is for Port Jackson

Full of bridges and lights

Port Jackson’s a scene

 a dazzling river valley

 filled with water between

An extremely tall skyscraper, the Q1, Queensland #1, is famous for its height. It is located in Surfers Paradise, Queensland. Q1t is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere and Australia. It is the world’s seventh tallest all-residential building. It measures up to 322.5 meters. Q1 has a roof height of 245 meters. The elevator is one of the fastest in the world, going from ground level to floor 77 in 43 seconds. 

Q1’s construction was a long project designed by SDG & the Buchan group. Its form was based on the Sydney 2000 Olympic torch and Sydney Opera House. It has a ribbon structure in which a series of aluminum ribbons wrap around the tower and a white interior.  It was completed in 2005. Q1 contains three bedroom apartments, two lagoon swimming pools a lap pool, gymnasium, theater, a ballroom, and spa.



Q is for Q1

The tallest building in Aussie

 is the grand Queensland one,

with its mighty spire its

luxury cannot be undone

Royal National Park is a protected area located in Sutherland Shire. Tribes have inhabited the land before, but it is now used for entertaining activities. It is Australia’s oldest national park. This reserve contains the settlements of Audley, Maianbar, and Bundeena, all early villages. There are many cycling and hiking trails for visitors, as well as barbecue and picnic sites. Camping areas are located around Bonnie Vale North Era and Uloola falls. 

Royal National Park has a great variety of terrain. The coastal heathland has low-growing, salt-tolerant, shrubs that are dispersed across a rocky terrain. Low-growing, salt-tolerant shrubs are dispersed across a rocky terrain in the coastal heathland. On the sides of river valleys, a large amount of eucalyptus and other trees species inhabit the area. There are mangrove forests scattered all over the park, home to many fish and crustaceans including the yellowfin beam, flat-tail sea mullet, luderick, and sand whiting. Tidal rock shelves and rock pools line up the coast, with many species of snails.

R is for Royal National Park



An endless terrain

 with the sea at its hand

beasts of all kinds

inhabit the land

The Sydney Opera House is a performing arts center that hosts various productions. The concert hall holds 2,679 seats and is often used by the Sydney Symphony orchestra for grand performances. The Joan Sutherland theater has 1,507 seats and is home to Opera Australia as well as the Australian ballet. The building includes a recording studio, cafes, restaurants, and bars. These theaters and structures are all contained in the Sydney Opera house along with many other programs and stages. 

The Sydney Opera House’s construction history took many steps and phases to complete. It took three stages to fully construct the opera house. The first stage was forming the podium which took longer than expected due to weather, storm water, and a rushed design. Stage two was building the roof and forming the white “shells”. Attaching and designing the white shells proved to be a complicated job. Utzon, the design of Sydney Opera House found a simple design where each shell would have a repetitive geometric pattern. When Utzon resigned Peter Hall was appointed as the new architect. The third and final stage was forming the interiors, which Peter Hall completed.

S is for Sydney Opera House



Its white shells pierce the air

The lights are ablaze

It extends into the water

 at night its beauty is a daze

The Tasmanian devil once inhabited Australia mainland but is now only found on the island state of Tasmania. The Tasmanian devil had two major population declines due to disease. The first settlers hunted and ate Tasmanian devils. The Tasmanian devil was believed to kill off livestock and there was a bounty to remove the devil from farm property. The second population decline was caused by Devil facial tumor disease. It causes tumors to appear around the mouth resulting in death by starvation. 

The Tasmanian devil has its own ecology and behavior. Nocturnal and vicious, the Tasmanian devil is a fierce hunter with dark fur and an extremely loud screech.  Young devils can scale trees but it becomes more difficult as they grow bigger. Tasmanian devils are solitary and spend the majority of their time alone. Devils use dens that were previously owned by wombats, or caves as their habitat. It has a keen sense of smell and a very powerful bite.



T is for Tasmanian Devil

With a raven-black coat

masked by a blinding white streak

the Tasmanian devil

has an odor that reeks

Uluru is an inselberg with a unique geology. Inselberg means “island mountain” which suits Uluru. It is an isolated sandstone formation that stands above the flat plains which surround it. Centuries ago a sea covered that region. Sediment deposits compressed sand into arkose, a type of sandstone. The sea withdrew and the rocks were folded and fractured.  A major folding occurred and the land was raised above sea level. The sand at the surface eroded quickly. A valley developed between Uluru and Kata Tjuta, another natural wonder. 

Uluru has its own ecology and environment. There are hundreds of flower species that attract attention near Uluru. This includes red-river gum, the showy foxtail, and fuschia. 46 species of mammal thrive near Uluru. Many of these species are marsupials. There are many birds inhabiting the areas near Uluru. The brown falcon and the scarlet-chested parrot are only two examples.



 U is for Uluru

Like a mountain rising out of the ground

 Uluru lies above the flat land

 it towers over the plains beneath

 as though it takes a righteous stand

Victoria has the second biggest economy in all of Australia. It accounts for a quarter of Australia’s domestic product. Victorian farms range from small gardening areas to large grain productions. Victoria is the center of dairy farming for Australia. Victoria has a part in the mining industry as well. It focuses on energy producing resources like brown coal and gas. The service industry includes a range of activities like health care, education, and transportation. 

Victoria’s history dates back to the 1700s. After founding the colony of New South  Wales in 1788. Australia was divided into eastern and western halves. The British settlement called Victoria was established in 1803. Gold discoveries occurred in many sites across Victoria resulting in a large gold rush. In 1901, Victoria became a state in the Commonwealth of Australia.



 V is for Victoria

Victoria is a marvelous state

Its buildings shine like diamonds 

It is also home to Australia's

one and only Melbourne island

Wombats have their own characteristics. They dig widespread burrows with their front teeth and claws. A wombat has a backward pouch so when it digs, soil doesn’t come in contact with their young. Wombats are herbivores and mainly feed on grasses, sedges, herbs, bark, and roots. A wombats’ coat varies in color from grey to black or brown. 

Wombats are creatures with a specific ecology and behavior. Wombats have a very slow metabolism. It takes about eight to fourteen days for entire digestion. They are aggressive to intruders. Dingoes and Tasmanian devils tend to prey on wombats. A wombats’ main defense is their hide which is extremely tough. When they are assaulted, wombats dive into a nearby tunnel to avoid their attackers.



Its brown fur covers its body

its black eyes scan the plain

 the wombat surveys its surroundings

 to avoid a predator once again

 W is for Wombat

Xantippe is the only Australian town to start with the letter X. There are many theories as to why this the name chosen for the town. One theory suggests it was named after the wife of the Greek philosopher, Socrates. Another proposes that the name translates to “looking for water from a deeper well” and because of this meaning, was selected for the village. With many small rock pools found in the region, the locals assume the second theory to be more precise. 

Xantippe is home to only a handful of buildings and structures. It is a small town, with few inhabitants, so there isn’t much to look at. The first farms were instituted in 1925. A school opened in the village in 1930. A large water tank was built in 1923 and completed in 1927. It was meant to supply water to a neighboring village but ended up supplying water to farms and farmers in the region.



 X is for Xantippe

The stone forms a wall

 it stands over the outback

 the town is close to scarce

but still the tourists unpack

The yabby is a freshwater crustacean that inhabits Australia.  A yabby is a type of crayfish that is part of the genus Cherax. Yabbies closely resemble lobsters and reach up to 30 centimeters. Their hue depends on water quality and habitat. They range in color from black, blue or dark brown. Sometimes yabbies end up being a dark beige or green. 

Yabbies have their own vitals and needs. They are found in swamps, streams, rivers, farm dams and waterways. They are nocturnal, so they feed on algae and plant remnants at night.  Yabbies can survive dry climates by lying in burrows in creek and swamp beds. A yabbies’ ability to dig burrows deep in the ground is a threat to farmers’ crops. 



 Y is for Yabby

Sometimes a fading blue

 others a hint of green

the state of the water changes

 the yabbies’ color scheme

Zeehan has one of the oldest histories out of any area in Tasmania. Abel Tasman first sighted the area in 1642. Zeehan was first instituted as a mining field, then a town. The best period for mining was the first world war. Discoveries of tin and silver lead to the town being nicknamed “silver city”. The population peaked at 10,000 in 1910, but it soon decreased. The current population of Zeehan is around 728. 

Zeehan is an economy with its own unique features. Zeehan was always an important railway location. It contained the end of Emu Bay Railway and the beginning of the Strahan-Zeehan Railway. MMG Limited Avebury Nickel Mine along with Zeehan Zinc’s Comstock Mine economically contributes to the community. The village mainly relies on tourist attractions for financial survival. A significant feature of this town is the West Coast Heritage Center which displays an excellent collection of minerals along with exhibits of the country’s past.



 Z is for Zeehan 

The houses line up

 Each a different shade

Zeehan is a sight to see

 as tourists roam the glade

Western Australia

Map of Australia

Northern Territory

South Australia


New South Wales


Fun Facts:

Kangaroo meat is sold in many butcher shops and restaurants 

(and it's 98% fat free)

Australia's first police force was formed in 1789 and made up of the 12 best-behaved convicts in a British colony

Bob Hawke, Australia's former prime minister, had the Guinness World Record for beer chugging