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The South Australia Portal

Flag of South Australia
Location within Australia

South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has a total of 1.76 million people, and its population is the second most highly centralised in Australia, after Western Australia, with more than 77 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are relatively small; Mount Gambier, the second largest centre, has a population of 28,684.

South Australia shares borders with all of the other mainland states, and with the Northern Territory; it is bordered to the west by Western Australia, to the north by the Northern Territory, to the north-east by Queensland, to the east by New South Wales, to the south-east by Victoria, and to the south by the Great Australian Bight. The state comprises less than 8 percent of the Australian population and ranks fifth in population among the six states and two territories. The majority of its people reside in greater Metropolitan Adelaide. Most of the remainder are settled in fertile areas along the south-eastern coast and River Murray. The state's colonial origins are unique in Australia as a freely settled, planned British province, rather than as a convict settlement. Colonial government commenced on 28 December 1836, when the members of the council were sworn in near the Old Gum Tree.

As with the rest of the continent, the region has a long history of human occupation by numerous tribes and languages. The South Australian Company established a temporary settlement at Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, on 26 July 1836, five months before Adelaide was founded. The guiding principle behind settlement was that of systematic colonisation, a theory espoused by Edward Gibbon Wakefield that was later employed by the New Zealand Company. The goal was to establish the province as a centre of civilisation for free immigrants, promising civil liberties and religious tolerance. Although its history is marked by economic hardship, South Australia has remained politically innovative and culturally vibrant. Today, it is known for its fine wine and numerous cultural festivals. The state's economy is dominated by the agricultural, manufacturing and mining industries.

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NASA – Visible Earth, Nullarbor. The true Nullarbor is the light tan semi-circular area adjacent to the coast. Image acquired by the Terra on 19 August 2002
The Nullarbor Plain (/ˈnʌlərbɔːr/ NUL-ər-bor; Latin: nulla feminine of nullus, 'no', and arbor, 'tree') is part of the area of flat, almost treeless, arid or semi-arid country of southern Australia, located on the Great Australian Bight coast with the Great Victoria Desert to its north. It is the world's largest single exposure of limestone bedrock, and occupies an area of about 200,000 square kilometres (77,000 sq mi). At its widest point, it stretches about 1,100 kilometres (684 mi) from east to west across the border between South Australia and Western Australia. Read more...
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End of Skyshow 2006 seen from golf course, corner of Ward Street and Mills Terrace, North Adelaide.
Credit: Alex Sims

Skyshow was an annual fireworks event held in the South Australian capital of Adelaide since 1985. The half-hour fireworks display is synchronised to pop music and presented by local commercial radio station SAFM. Originating as an Australia Day celebration, the event was subsequently moved to late summer, usually February.

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Richard Layton Butler

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Major Topics

GeographyAdelaide Hills • Adelaide Plains • Barossa Valley • Clare Valley • Coonawarra • Eyre Peninsula • Fleurieu Peninsula • Flinders Ranges • Kangaroo Island • Limestone Coast • Mid North • Nullarbor Plain • Riverland • Yorke Peninsula

HistoryKaurna Indigenous people • European settlement • History of Adelaide • Proclamation Day • Australian Overland Telegraph Line • Timeline of South Australian history

Towns and CitiesAdelaide • Coober Pedy • Mount Gambier • Murray Bridge| Port Augusta • Port Lincoln • Port Pirie • Victor Harbor • Whyalla

Economy and PoliticsPremiers • Governors • Parliament • House of Assembly • Electoral districts • Legislative Council • State elections

CultureCroweater • Pie floater • Wine • The Advertiser • Adelaide Festival Centre • Adelaide Entertainment Centre • WOMADelaide • Adelaide Fringe • Elder Park • The Crows • The Power • The Reds • Redbacks • Hindmarsh Stadium • AAMI Stadium • Rundle Mall

PeopleKaurna Indigenous people • Matthew Flinders • William Light • Charles Sturt • Edward Gibbon Wakefield • John Hindmarsh • George Gawler • Playford family • Don Dunstan

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