Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Commonwealth of Australia
  • In 1770, Captain James Cook took possession of the east coast of Australia in the name of Great Britain (all of Australia was claimed as British territory in 1829).
  • Gained independence from the Federation of UK Colonies on January 1, 1901
  • Location: Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean
  • Area: 2,941,299 sq. miles (slightly smaller the U.S. contiguous 48 states)
  • Population: 22,751,014
  • Capital: Canberra (pop. 423,000)
  • Climate: generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north
  • Terrain: mostly low plateaus with deserts, fertile plains in southeast
  • Ethnic group: more than 90% caucasian
  • Languages: English 78.5%, Chinese 2.5%, Italian 1.6% others
  • Religions: Protestant 27.4%, Catholic 25.8%, others
  • Literacy rate: 99%
  • Economy: the world’s 13th largest economy and 5th highest per capita income; abundant and diverse natural resources attract high levels of foreign investment and include extensive reserves of coal, iron ore, copper, gold, natural gas, uranium and renewable energy sources; has a large service sector and is a significant exporter of natural resources, energy and food
  • Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedoms and the protection of civil liberties and politcal rights.
  • Current weather conditions: www.weather.com
  • Tips for travel in country: www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates: www.xe.com


Government in Power

  • Australia has a federal parliamentary democracy and a commonwealth realm
  • Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, appointed by monarchy on recommendation of the prime minister
  • Head of government: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (since 2015), the leader of the majority party or the majority coalition party and sworn in by the governor general


Healthcare Statistics

  • Life expectancy: 82.15 years
  • Maternal mortality rate: 6/100,000
  • Infant mortality rate: 4.37/1,000
  • Health expenditures: 9.4% of GDP
  • Physicians density: 3.27 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density: 3.9 beds/1,000 population
  • HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 0.17%
  • Obesity adult prevalence rate: 29.9%
  • Highest rate of skin cancer in the world
  • Universal health care funded by an income tax surcharge. The states manage the hospitals and outpatient services, while the commonwealth funds the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (reducing the costs of medicines) and general practice.

Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

Field Stories

Mission trips as a non-medical volunteer …. Think you don’t have a skill set that can help on a mission trip? You are wrong! Just because you are not a health provider does not mean you have nothing to offer on mission trips! There is much more than just seeing and treating patients on these […]


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