Panorama of the WOW tree at the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens at Buronga, New South Wales, Australia. The WOW tree is a mallee eucalypt which was named for its impressive estimated age of 2,500 years. Mallee trees are low trees with multiple stems growing from an underground lignotuber which can survive fierce bushfires and grow new trunks after being burnt completely to the ground. As a result the aboveground section of the tree may only be a few decades old as it may have regrown hundreds of times. Mallee trees are dominant in semi-arid areas of Australia with reliable winter rainfall.
There are no kangaroos in Austria. We're talking about Australia, the world's smallest continent. That being cleared up, let's dive right in! Australia is a sovereign state under the Commonwealth of Nations, which is in turn overseen by Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth. The continent was first sighted and charted by the Dutch in 1606. Captain James Cook of Britain came along in the next century to claim it for Britain and name it "New South Wales." Shortly thereafter it was declared to be a penal colony full of nothing but criminals and convicts, giving it the crap reputation you may have heard at your last cocktail party. This rumor ignores 40,000 years of pre-European human history, especially the Aboriginal concept of Dreamtime, an interesting explanation of physical and spiritual reality. The two biggest cities in Australia are Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney is more for business, Melbourne for arts. But that's painting in very broad strokes. Take a whirl around the panoramas to see for yourself! Text by Steve Smith.