- New South Wales, Map, Info

New South Wales, Map, Info

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State Library of New South Wales, Sydney
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New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state in the east of Australia. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales surrounds the whole of the Australian Capital Territory. New South Wales' capital city is Sydney, which is also the state's most populous city. As of March 2012, the estimated population was 7,272,800, which was 34.5% of the population of Australia, making it Australia's most populous state. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.[1][2]

The colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788 and originally comprised much of the Australian mainland, as well as Lord Howe Island, New Zealand, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land in addition to the area currently referred to as the state of New South Wales, which was formed during Federation in 1901. During the 19th century, large areas were successively separated to form the British colonies of Tasmania (established as a separate colony named Van Diemen's Land in 1825), South Australia (1836), New Zealand (1849),[7] Victoria (1851) and Queensland (1859).

History

Main article: History of New South Wales

Aborigines (indigenous people)

Main article: Prehistory of Australia

The original inhabitants of the area were Aboriginal tribes who arrived in Australia approximately 40,000 to 60,000 years ago.

1788 British settlement

The European discovery of New South Wales was made by Captain James Cook during his 1770 survey along the unmapped eastern coast of the Dutch-named continent of New Holland, now Australia. In his original journal(s) covering the survey, in triplicate to satisfy Admiralty Orders, Cook first named the land "New Wales". However, in the copy held by the Admiralty, he "revised the wording" to "New South Wales".[8]

The first British settlement was made by what is known in Australian history as the First Fleet; this was led by Captain Arthur Phillip, who assumed the role of governor of the settlement on arrival in 1788 until 1792.[9][10]

After years of chaos, anarchy and the overthrow of Governor William Bligh, a new governor, Lieutenant-Colonel (later Major-General) Lachlan Macquarie, was sent from Britain to reform the settlement in 1809.[11] During his time as governor, Macquarie commissioned the construction of roads, wharves, churches and public buildings, sent explorers out from Sydney and employed a planner to design the street layout of Sydney. Macquarie's legacy is still evident today.

Mid-1800s

During the 19th century, large areas were successively separated to form the British colonies of Tasmania (proclaimed as separate colony named Van Diemen's Land in 1825), South Australia (1836), Victoria (1851) and Queensland (1859). Responsible government was granted to the New South Wales colony in 1855. Following the Treaty of Waitangi, William Hobson declared British sovereignty over New Zealand in 1840. In 1841, it was separated from the Colony of New South Wales to form the new Colony of New Zealand.

Charles Darwin visited Australia in January 1836 and in "The Voyage of the Beagle" (chapter 19 of the 11th edition) records his hesitations about and fascination with New South Wales, including his speculations about the geological origin and formation of the great valleys, the aboriginal population, the situation of the convicts, and the future prospects of the country.

1901 Federation of Australia

At the end of the 19th century, the movement toward federation between the Australian colonies gathered momentum. Conventions and forums involving colony leaders were held on a regular basis. Proponents of New South Wales as a free trade state were in dispute with the other leading colony Victoria, which had a protectionist economy. At this time customs posts were common on borders, even on the Murray River.

Travelling from NSW to Victoria in those days was very difficult. Supporters of federation included the NSW premier Sir Henry Parkes whose 1889 Tenterfield Speech (given in Tenterfield) was pivotal in gathering support for NSW involvement. Edmund Barton, later to become Australia's first Prime Minister, was another strong advocate for federation and a meeting held in Corowa in 1893 drafted an initial constitution.

In 1898 popular referendums on the proposed federation were held in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. All votes resulted in a majority in favour, but the NSW government under Premier George Reid (popularly known as "yes–no Reid" because of his constant changes of opinion on the issue) had set a requirement for a higher "yes" vote than just a simple majority which was not met.

In 1899 further referendums were held in the same states as well as Queensland (but not Western Australia). All resulted in yes votes with majorities increased from the previous year. NSW met the conditions its government had set for a yes vote. As a compromise to the question on where the capital was to be located, an agreement was made that the site was to be within NSW but not closer than 100 miles (161 km) from Sydney, while the provisional capital would be Melbourne. Eventually the area that now forms the Australian Capital Territory was ceded by NSW when Canberra was selected.

Early 20th century

In the years after World War I, the high prices enjoyed during the war fell with the resumption of international trade. Farmers became increasingly discontented with the fixed prices paid by the compulsory marketing authorities set up as a wartime measure by the Hughes government. In 1919 the farmers formed the Country Party, led at national level by Earle Page, a doctor from Grafton, and at state level by Michael Bruxner, a small farmer from Tenterfield.

The Great Depression, which began in 1929, ushered a period of political and class conflict in New South Wales. The mass unemployment and collapse of commodity prices brought ruin to both city workers and to farmers. The beneficiary of the resultant discontent was not the Communist Party, which remained small and weak, but Jack Lang's Labor populism. Lang's second government was elected in November 1930 on a policy of repudiating New South Wales' debt to British bondholders and using the money instead to help the unemployed through public works. This was denounced as illegal by conservatives, and also by James Scullin's federal Labor government. The result was that Lang's supporters in the federal Caucus brought down Scullin's government, causing a second bitter split in the Labor Party. In May 1932 the Governor, Sir Philip Game dismissed his government. The subsequent election was won by the conservative opposition.

By the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the differences between New South Wales and the other states that had emerged in the 19th century had faded as a result of federation and economic development behind a wall of protective tariffs.[citation needed] New South Wales continued to outstrip Victoria as the centre of industry, and increasingly of finance and trade as well.[citation needed] Labor returned to office under the moderate leadership of William McKell in 1941 and stayed in power for 24 years. World War II saw another surge in industrial development to meet the needs of a war economy, and also the elimination of unemployment.

Post-war period

Labor stayed in power until 1965. Towards the end of its term in power it announced a plan for the construction of an opera/arts facility on Bennelong Point. The design competition was won by Jørn Utzon. Controversy over the cost of what would eventually become the Sydney Opera House became a political issue and was a factor in the eventual defeat of Labor in 1965 by the conservative Liberal Party led by Sir Robert Askin. Sir Robert remains a controversial figure with supporters claiming him to be reformist especially in terms of reshaping the NSW economy. Others though, regard the Askin era as synonymous with corruption with Askin the head of a network involving NSW police and SP bookmaking (Goot).

In the late 1960s, a secessionist movement in the New England region of the state led to a referendum on the issue. The new state would have consisted of much of northern NSW including Newcastle. The referendum was narrowly defeated and, as of 2010, there are no active or organised campaigns for new states in NSW.

Askin's resignation in 1975 was followed by a number of short lived premierships by Liberal Party leaders. When a general election came in 1976 the ALP under Neville Wran were returned to power. Wran was able to transform this narrow one seat victory into landslide wins (known as Wranslide) in 1978 and 1981.[citation needed]

After winning a comfortable though reduced majority in 1984, Wran resigned as premier and left parliament. His replacement Barrie Unsworth struggled to emerge from Wran's shadow and lost a 1988 election against a resurgent Liberal Party led by Nick Greiner. Unsworth was replaced as ALP leader by Bob Carr. Initially Greiner was a popular leader instigating reform such as the creation of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Greiner called a snap election in 1991 which the Liberals were expected to win. However the ALP polled extremely well and the Liberals lost their majority and needed the support of independents to retain power.

Greiner was accused (by ICAC) of corrupt actions involving an allegation that a government position was offered to tempt an independent (who had defected from the Liberals) to resign his seat so that the Liberal party could regain it and shore up its numbers. Greiner resigned but was later cleared of corruption. His replacement as Liberal leader and Premier was John Fahey whose government secured Sydney the right to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. In the 1995 election, Fahey's government lost narrowly and the ALP under Bob Carr returned to power.

Like Wran before him Carr was able to turn a narrow majority into landslide wins at the next two elections (1999 and 2003). During this era, NSW hosted the 2000 Sydney Olympics which were internationally regarded as very successful, and helped boost Carr's popularity. Carr surprised most people by resigning from office in 2005. He was replaced by Morris Iemma, who remained Premier after being re-elected in the March 2007 state election, until he was replaced by Nathan Rees in September 2008.[12] Rees was subsequently replaced by Kristina Keneally in December 2009.[13] Keneally's government was defeated at the 2011 state election and Barry O'Farrell became Premier on 28 March.

Government

Main article: Government of New South Wales

Executive authority is vested in the Governor of New South Wales, who represents and is appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. The current Governor is Marie Bashir. The Governor commissions as Premier the leader of the parliamentary political party that can command a simple majority of votes in the Legislative Assembly. The Premier then recommends the appointment of other Members of the two Houses to the Ministry, under the principle of responsible or Westminster government. It should be noted, however, that as in other Westminster systems, there is no constitutional requirement in NSW for the Government to be formed from the Parliament—merely convention. The Premier is Barry O'Farrell of the Liberal Party.[13]

Constitution

The form of the Government of New South Wales is prescribed in its Constitution, which dates from 1856, although it has been amended many times since then. Since 1901 New South Wales has been a state of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Australian Constitution regulates its relationship with the Commonwealth.

Under the Australian Constitution, New South Wales ceded certain legislative and judicial powers to the Commonwealth, but retained independence in all other areas. The New South Wales Constitution says: "The Legislature shall, subject to the provisions of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, have power to make laws for the peace, welfare, and good government of New South Wales in all cases whatsoever."

Parliament

The State Parliament is composed of the Sovereign and two houses: the Legislative Assembly (lower house), and the Legislative Council (upper house). Elections are held every four years on the fourth Saturday of March, the most recent being on 26 March 2011. At each election one member is elected to the Legislative Assembly from each of 93 electoral districts and half of the 42 members of the Legislative Council are elected by a statewide electorate.

Local government

New South Wales is divided into 152 local government areas. In addition, there is also the Unincorporated Far West Region which is not part of any local government area, in the sparsely inhabited Far West, and Lord Howe Island, which is also unincorporated but self-governed by the Lord Howe Island Board.

Emergency services

New South Wales is policed by the New South Wales Police Force, a statutory authority. Established in 1862, the NSW Police Force investigates Summary and Indictable offences throughout the State of New South Wales. The state has two fire services: the volunteer based New South Wales Rural Fire Service, which is responsible for the majority of the state, and the Fire and Rescue NSW, a government agency responsible for protecting urban areas. There is some overlap due to suburbanisation. Ambulance services are provided through the Ambulance Service of New South Wales. Rescue services (i.e. vertical, road crash, confinement) are a joint effort by all emergency services, with Ambulance Rescue, Police Rescue Squad and Fire Rescue Units contributing. Volunteer rescue organisations include the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, State Emergency Service (SES), Surf Life Saving New South Wales and Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA).

Demographics

See also: Demographics of Sydney and Demographics of Australia

Population

The estimated population of New South Wales at the end of June 2010 was 7.24 million people. The population grew by 1.5% over the preceding year,[14] lower than the national rate of 1.7%.

The principal ancestries of New South Wales's residents (as surveyed in 2011) are:[15]

  • 25.0% Australian
  • 24.2% English
  • 7.4% Irish
  • 6.0% Scottish
  • 4.3% Chinese

62.9% of NSW's population is based in Sydney.[16]

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Brassy, bold, stately and old, New South Wales (NSW) hogs the lion’s share of Australia’s population, and it’s where the country’s modern society was birthed. It’s the most eclectic state and one of great contrasts; from the glitz of Sydney’s uberstyle bars and heart-breaking harbour, to the lunar landscapes of Mungo National Park. History echoes in the sandstone edifices and gracious old pubs speckled throughout small country towns, and alternative lifestyles lure New Age neophytes in the beguiling hinterland around Lismore. Ski bunnies hit the slopes in the Snowy Mountains and surfers carve up the shoreline from Byron Bay to Eden.

Mighty rivers quench the state’s dusty pockets and mighty mountains touch the sky. At the top of the Great Dividing Range, the misty rainforests of Washpool National Park are World Heritage listed. Gastronomes conquer appetites and vineyards in the Lower Hunter Valley (although the latter is sometimes the victor). For every traveller, the journey is easy; family road trips are an institution on NSW highways, couples lose themselves in romantic hiding spots like the Blackheath Area, backpackers do the coastal hop, and retirees tack caravans to their nether regions and take the slow route to wherever, or Broken Hill.

Naturally, with such a geographical playground to explore, NSW is ideal for mainlining adrenaline – take your pick from canyoning, skiing, surfing, bushwalking, cycling, whale watching and even goanna pulling (not what it seems). And beneath all of this majestic landscape and its smorgasbord of activities is a bite-you-on-the-bum cockiness tempered by larrikin smiles and warm hospitality.