Sports development and elite athletes

The Australian experience

Authored by: Bob Stewart

Routledge Handbook of Sports Development

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  December  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415479967
eBook ISBN: 9780203885581
Adobe ISBN: 9781134019717


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Australia is an island continent that contains a population of 21 million within a landmass of around 7.7 million square kilometres, which makes it one of the least densely populated nations on earth. Most of its inhabitants live on the coastal fringes, and while it has been mythologised as a land of laconic bushmen (White 1981), in reality over 70 per cent of all Australians live in cities, making it one of the most urbanised countries in the world (Salt 2003). Australia is also an ancient nation, having been inhabited by aboriginals for at least 40,000 years, but it has only 220 years of permanent European settlement. It is an English-speaking country, having been established as a British penal colony in 1788, and given political independence in 1901 when it became a federated nation of six states and one territory. Since then it has evolved into a highly industrialised and cosmopolitan society governed by a democratically elected national parliament, six state parliaments, and two territory parliaments.

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