OzPedia- Western Australia
[AUSTRALIA] - [ACT] - [NSW] - [NT] - [QLD] - [SA] - [TAS] - [VIC]
2,525,500 sq km
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Western Australia is the largest and the least populated of the Australian states.
If you go further inland the arid plateau slowly transforms into desert. Large numbers of salt lakes in the southwest are believed to be the remnants of ancient river systems. The salt lakes, bordering the wheat belt and the jarrrah forests of the extreme southwest, contain precious gold-bearing rocks around Kalgoorlie. To the southwest is the limestone Nullarbor Plain which extends into South Australia.
Summer temperatures range in the mid twenties öC (mid eighties öF) to the o occasional hot day in the high thirties öC (mid nineties öF). The average winter temperature is 16öC (60öF).
As you move further away from the coast, rainfall decreases and temperature variations are more noticeable. Annual rainfall averages 635 mm near the coasts, but most of the interior receives less than 255 mm a year.
There had already been a few abandoned attempts at settlement but it wasn't until 1829 that a successful colony was set up near the mouth of the Swan River and formally claimed by Britain. The colony grew slowly due to the shortage of labour. This forced the colonists to seek convict labourers. Prisoners were sent from the east to the west in 1850 for a period of eighteen years.
Gold was discovered in the south-central regions of Western Australia, near Kalgoolie. This led to a god-rush whereby unsuccessful people who had come to Australia in search for gold in the east travelled to the west for another try at luck. It also spurred development of the towns, especially near where gold was found (Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie).
Western Australia became a state in 1890.