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Information about New South Wales

New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is Australia's most populous state, located in the south-east of the country, north of Victoria, south of Queensland and east of South Australia. It was founded in 1788 and originally comprised much of the Australian mainland, as well as Tasmania, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.

When Britain annexed New Zealand in 1840 it was briefly a part of New South Wales. During the 19th century large areas were successively separated to form the British colonies of Tasmania (proclaimed as a separate colony named Van Diemen's Land in 1825), South Australia (1836), Victoria (1851) and Queensland (1859).

Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as being New South Welsh or New South Welshmen. The state's largest city and capital is Sydney.

Population

The estimated population of New South Wales at the end of June 2007 was 6.89 million people. Population grew by 1.1% over the preceding year,lower than the national rate of 1.5%. 62.9% of NSW's population is based in Sydney.

Geography

New South Wales is bordered on the north by Queensland, on the west by South Australia, on the south by Victoria and on the east by the Tasman Sea. The Australian Capital Territory and the Jervis Bay Territory are Federal enclaves of New South Wales. The state can be divided geographically into four areas. New South Wales' three largest cities, Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, lie near the centre of a narrow coastal strip extending from cool temperate areas on the far south coast to subtropical areas near the Queensland border.

The Illawarra region is centred on the city of Wollongong, with the Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and the Sapphire Coast to the south. The Central Coast lies between Sydney and Newcastle, with the North Coast and Northern Rivers regions reaching northwards to the Queensland border. Tourism is important to the economies of coastal towns such as Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Nowra and Port Macquarie, but the region also produces seafood, beef, dairy, fruit, sugar cane and timber.

The Great Dividing Range extends from Victoria in the south through New South Wales to Queensland, parallel to the narrow coastal plain. This area includes the Snowy Mountains, the Northern, Central and Southern Tablelands, the Southern Highlands and the South West Slopes. Whilst not particularly steep, many peaks of the range rise above 1,000 metres (3,281 ft), with the highest Mount Kosciuszko at 2,229 m (7,313 ft). Skiing in Australia began in this region at Kiandra around 1861. The relatively short ski season underwrites the tourist industry in the Snowy Mountains. Agriculture, particularly the wool industry, is important throughout the highlands. Major centres include Armidale, Bathurst, Bowral, Goulburn, Inverell, Orange, Queanbeyan and Tamworth.

The western slopes fill a significant portion of the state's area and have a much sparser population than areas nearer the coast. Agriculture is central to the economy of the western slopes, particularly the Riverina region and Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area in the state's south-west. Regional cities such as Albury, Dubbo, Griffith and Wagga Wagga and towns such as Deniliquin, Leeton and Parkes exist primarily to service these agricultural regions. The western slopes descend slowly to the western plains that comprise almost two-thirds of the state and are largely arid or semi-arid. The mining town of Broken Hill is the largest centre in this area.

National Parks

New South Wales has more than 780 national parks and reserves covering more than 8% of the state. These parks range from rainforests, spectacular waterfalls, rugged bush to marine wonderlands and outback deserts, including World Heritage areas.

The Royal National Park on the southern outskirts of Sydney became Australia's first National Park when proclaimed on 26 April 1879. Originally named The National Park until 1955, this park was the second National Park to be established in the world after Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. Kosciuszko National Park is the largest park in state encompassing New South Wales' alpine region.

Culture

As Australia's most populous state, New South Wales is home to a number of cultural institutions of importance to the nation. In music, New South Wales is home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australia's busiest and largest orchestra. Australia's largest opera company, Opera Australia, is headquartered in Sydney. Both of these organisations perform a subscription series at the Sydney Opera House. Other major musical bodies include the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Sydney is host to the Australian Ballet for its Sydney season (the ballet is headquartered in Melbourne). Apart from the Sydney Opera House, major musical performance venues include the City Recital Hall and the Sydney Town Hall.

New South Wales is home to a number of major art galleries. The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), houses a significant collection of Australian art, while the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney focuses on contemporary art.

Major museums include the natural history-focused Australian Museum, the technology and arts-and-crafts focused Powerhouse Museum, and the history-focused Museum of Sydney. Other museums include the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Sydney is home to five Arts teaching organisations which have all produced world famous students: The National Art School, The College of Fine Arts, the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), the Australian School of Film, Radio and Television and the Conservatorium of Music (now part of the University of Sydney).

Information above taken from Wikipedia.

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