Chapter 14: Australia and Oceania (Fig. 14. 1) Learning Objectives



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Chapter 14:
Australia and Oceania (Fig. 14.1)

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the unique geography of archipelagos (island groups) and the equally unique cultural adaptations of the residents of Australia and Oceania

  • Learn about the relationships between the indigenous peoples of this region and the European peoples who have come to dominate much of Australia and Oceania

  • Become familiar with the physical, demographic, cultural, political, and economic characteristics of Australia and Oceania

  • Understand the following concepts and models:

Introduction

  • Setting the Boundaries

  • This region is dominated by water; the countries in the region share elements of indigenous and colonial history.

  • Australia and Oceania are dominated mostly by water

  • Oceania: a sweeping collection of islands reaching from New Guinea and New Zealand to Hawaii
  • Political unrest in Fiji between Fijians and descendents of South Asian sugarcane workers illustrates the role of globalization in this region

  • The largest countries in the region are Australia and New Zealand

  • Outback: Australia’s thinly settled, huge, dry interior
  • Melanesia – “dark islands;” Polynesia – “many islands;” Micronesia – “small islands,” west of Polynesia

Environmental Geography: A Varied Natural and Human Habitat

  • Environments at Risk

  • Seismic hazards, periodic droughts, tropical cyclones

  • Global Resource Pressures

  • Mining operations in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Nauru

  • Deforestation in Australia, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa

  • Global Warming and Rising Sea Levels

  • Rising sea levels from global warming could drown many of the region’s small, low-lying islands

  • Exotic Plants and Animals

  • Introduction of exotic plants and animals threatens native species

  • Invasion by exotics (e.g.: rabbits, brown tree snake) has led to extinction of native some native species

Environmental Geography: A Varied Natural and
Human Habitat, cont.

  • Environments at Risk, cont.

  • Exotic Plants and Animals

  • Introduction or invasion of exotic plants and animals threatens native species

  • Some native

species have

become extinct

Environmental Geography: A Varied Natural and Human Habitat, cont.

  • Australian and New Zealand Environments

  • Regional Landforms

  • Australia has three landform regions

  • The Western Plateau covers more than half the continent
  • Interior Lowland Basins follow the coastlands from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Murray and Darling Valleys
  • Great Dividing Range from Cape York Peninsula to southern Victoria
  • New Zealand

  • Geologically active, mountainous
part of “Pacific Rim of Fire”
  • North Island has active volcanoes
  • South Island mountains have
narrow fjord-like valleys

Physical Geography (Fig. 14.4)

Environmental Geography: A Varied Natural and Human Habitat, cont.

  • Australian and New Zealand Environments, cont.

  • Climate

  • Australia

  • Arid center with higher zones of precipitation encircling the country
  • Tropical low-latitude north has monsoonal rains in summer, and bone-dry winters
  • New Zealand

  • Climates affected by latitude, moderating effects of Pacific Ocean, and proximity to local mountains
  • Most of North Island is distinctly subtropical
  • On the South Island, conditions become cooler closer to the South Pole; precipitation varies widely

Climate (Fig. 14.12)

Environmental Geography: A Varied Natural and Human Habitat, cont.

  • Australian and New Zealand Environments (cont.)

  • An Unusual Zoogeography

  • More than 120 species of marsupials inhabit this region

  • Kangaroos, duck-billed platypuses, hairy-nosed wombats, Tasmanian Devils, and more
  • Bats are the region’s only native mammals
  • Isolation and genetics produced Australia’s animal kingdom

Environmental Geography: A Varied Natural and Human Habitat, cont.

  • The Oceanic Realm

  • Creating Island Landforms

  • Much of the region is seismically active; volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis (seismically induced sea waves) are common

  • Large islands are geologically complex

  • Most Polynesian and Micronesian islands originated from volcanic activity on the ocean floor

  • High islands: formed from recently geologically active volcanoes that rise to considerable height (ex: Hawaii, Bora Bora)
  • Hot spot: an active area where moving oceanic crust passes over a supply of magma from Earth’s interior, creating a chain of volcanic islands (ex: Hawaiian archipelago)
  • Atoll: Low, sandy islands ringed by coral, often oriented around a central lagoon, originating with a volcano

American Samoa National Park (Fig. 14.17)

Environmental Geography: A Varied Natural and Human Habitat, cont.

  • The Oceanic Realm, cont.

  • Patterns of Climate

  • Many Pacific islands have abundant rainfall and cyclones

  • High islands get more moisture than lower islands

  • Limited stores of water may be depleted during dry season

Population and Settlement: A Diverse Cultural Landscape

  • Contemporary Population Patterns

  • Australia has one of the highest urban populations in the world

  • Most of its nearly 20 million in population reside in its eastern and southern rimland
  • 70% of New Zealand’s population live on North Island

  • Population of the rest of Oceania is broadly scattered with clusters near favorable resource opportunities

Population
(Fig. 14.19)

Population and Settlement: A Diverse Cultural Landscape

  • Legacies of Human Occupancy

  • Peopling the Pacific

  • Australia and New Guinea were settled much earlier than islands that were further from the Asian landmass

  • Around 40,000 years ago, the ancestors of today’s native Australian (Aborigine) population made their way into region

  • Eastern Melanesia settled 3,500 years ago

  • Migration to New Caledonia, Fiji Islands, and Samoa, and then to Micronesia 2,000 years ago

  • Reached New Zealand, Hawaii, and Easter Island A.D. 800

Peopling the Pacific (Fig. 14.20)

Population and Settlement: A Diverse Cultural Landscape (cont.)

  • Legacies of Human Occupancy, cont.

  • European Colonization

  • Dutch explored New Zealand in 1600s

  • British explored the region in the 1700s

  • Colonization began in Australia (British penal colony) in 1788, and then into New Zealand

  • Aborigines expelled from their lands and sometimes killed
  • Maoris fought Britain, but lost most of their land
  • U.S. into Hawaii in 1800s

Population and Settlement: A Diverse Cultural Landscape (cont.)

  • Modern Settlement Landscapes

  • The Urban Transformation

  • Urbanization began in Australia and New Zealand in the 20th century

  • North American and European urban influences
  • Oceania reflects classic problems of underdevelopment (housing shortage, inadequate roads and schools, street crime)

Population and Settlement: A Diverse Cultural Landscape (cont.)

  • Modern Settlement Landscapes (cont.)

  • The Rural Scene (Australia)

  • Much of the land is too dry for farming

  • Sheep and cattle ranching; sugar came and truck farming near Perth; viticulture (grape cultivation) increasing

  • New Zealand’s Landscapes

  • Sheep ranching & dairying; livestock outnumber people 20 to 1

  • South Island has fertile soils, with fields, orchards, gardens

  • Rural Oceania

  • High Islands support agriculture

  • Fishing important on less fertile low islands

  • Subsistence crops: root crops, coconut palms, bananas, coffee

  • Some commercial agriculture: coconut, cocoa, coffee

Population and Settlement: A Diverse Cultural Landscape (cont.)

  • Diverse Demographic Paths

  • Low birthrates in Australia and New Zealand

  • Rural-to-urban migration
  • High birthrates in less-developed island nations of Oceania

  • Smaller islands have
less flexibility for
expansion

Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Global Crossroads

  • Multicultural Australia

  • Aboriginal Imprints

  • Aborigines dominated Australia for thousands of years

  • Isolated bands of hunters and gatherers, with 250 languages
  • European colonists pushed Aborigines to arid regions

  • Today, Aborigines are Christian, work in cities, and most speak English

  • A Land of Immigrants

  • 70% of Aussies have English or Irish roots

  • Many Greeks, Germans, Italians live in Australia

  • Workers came from other Pacific islands (kanakas)

  • “White Australia Policy” favored Europeans & North American immigration

  • Many of today’s immigrants from Asian countries

Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Global Crossroads, cont.

  • Cultural Patterns in New Zealand

  • Native Maori populations are more numerically important and culturally visible

  • Comprise 15% of the country’s population

  • Otherwise, very similar to Australia

Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Global Crossroads, cont.

  • The Mosaic of Pacific Cultures

  • Language Geography

  • Most languages of Oceania are Austronesian

  • Many different languages,

some spoken by fewer

than 500 people

  • New Guinea may hold

some of the world’s few

remaining “uncontacted

peoples” (who are

yet to be “discovered”)

Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Global Crossroads (cont.)

  • The Mosaic of Pacific Cultures (cont.)

  • Village Life

  • Settlements in Melanesia usually have fewer than 500 people, and revolve around farming

  • Polynesian society is class-based; violent warfare was common before Europeans arrived

  • External Cultural Influences

  • Settlers from the U.S., Europe, and Asia have brought values and technological innovations to the region

  • Hawaii’s King entertained whalers, Christian

missionaries, traders, navy officers from the

U.S. and Europe

Cultural Coherence and Diversity: A Global Crossroads (cont.)

  • The Mosaic of Pacific Cultures, cont.

  • External Cultural Influences, cont.

  • Haoles: light-skinned American and European foreigners who profited from commercial sugarcane plantation and Pacific shipping contracts
  • Pidgin English (a largely English vocabulary that is blended with Melanesian grammar) developed to

facilitate trade among the islands;

has supplanted some local languages

North Americans, Asians, Australians

Geopolitical Framework: A Land of Changing Boundaries

  • Roads to Independence

  • Australia and New Zealand gradually creating their own identity

  • New Zealand broke its ties with Great Britain in 1947
  • Australia retains ties to Great Britain
  • U.S. turned over most of its Micronesian territories to local governments, but is still influential

  • Some of the political states of the region are currently independent and some remain colonies

  • Some microstates retain special political and economic ties with Western countries

Geopolitical Issues (Fig. 14.35)

Geopolitical Framework: A Land of Changing Boundaries, cont.

  • Persisting Geopolitical Tensions

  • Native Rights in Australia and New Zealand

  • Indigenous peoples in both Australia and New Zealand have used the political process to gain more control over land resources in their two countries

  • Native Title Bill, 1993 – compensated Aborigines for already ceded lands, gave them right to gain title to unclaimed lands they still occupied, and legally entitled them in dealings with mining companies on native-settled areas
  • In New Zealand, the Maori have

called to return the country to its

native name, Aotearoa

(“land of the white cloud”)

Economic and Social Development: A Hard Path to Paradise

  • The Australian and New Zealand Economies

  • In terms of development, Australia and New Zealand are grouped with other Western nations

  • Australia

  • Past economic wealth was made possible by the cheap extraction and export of abundant raw materials

  • Mining has grown since 1970
  • Australia has export-oriented agriculture

  • Concern with manufacturing sector; new policies encourage investment, higher savings, more rapid economic growth

  • Expanding tourist industry

  • Most wealth concentrated in cities

Geopolitical Framework: A Land of Changing Boundaries, cont.

  • Persisting Geopolitical Tensions, cont.

  • Conflicts in Oceania

  • Ethnic tensions between Fijians and South Asians

  • Tribal skirmishes among peoples in Papua New Guinea

  • Local opposition to French rule in New Caledonia

  • A Regional and Global Identity?

  • Australia’s and New Zealand’s size, wealth, and political clout in the region make them regional political leaders

  • Often involved in negotiating peace settlements in the region
  • Australia, New Zealand, and U.S. strategic alliance (ANZUS)
  • Association of South-East Asian Nations Regional Forum (ARF)

Economic and Social Development: A Hard Path to Paradise, cont.

  • The Australian and New Zealand Economies (cont.)

  • New Zealand

  • Wealthy, but less well-off than Australia

  • Before 1970, NZ relied heavily on exports to Great Britain

  • State industries sold to private firms, stimulated the economy

  • Oceania’s Economic Diversity

  • Varied from subsistence-based activities to commercial extraction of resources to tourism

  • Melanesia is the least developed, poorest in Oceania
  • The Economic Impact of Mining: New Caledonia and Nauru have nickel, phosphate, but environmental degradation results
  • Micronesia and Polynesian Economies: Subsistence farming, foreign aid, Japan’s spaceport (Christmas Island)
  • Tourism important in Hawaii, French Polynesia, Guam

Economic and Social Development: A Hard Path to Paradise, cont.

  • The Global Economic Setting

  • Will future trade patterns shift from North America and Europe more toward Asia?

  • Australia and New Zealand dominate global trade patterns in the region
  • Both Australia and New Zealand participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Group (APEC)
  • Organization designed
to foster economic
development in
Southeast Asia and
the Pacific Basin

Economic and Social Development: A Hard Path to Paradise, cont.

  • Enduring Social Challenges

  • Lifespan averages around 80 years in Australia and New Zealand

  • High rates of cancer and alcoholism
  • Social conditions of indigenous groups are worse than for European descendants
  • Aborigines and Maoris have more problems

  • Educational levels lower than national average
  • Discrimination continues to be a problem
  • Levels of social welfare in Oceania vary with the region’s economic circumstances

  • Life expectancy in the Solomon Islands is 62
  • Life expectancy in Papua New Guinea is 55

Conclusions


Directory: ~sg4002 -> courses -> 150
150 -> Chapter 7: Southwest Asia and North Africa (Fig. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Chapter 5: The Caribbean (Fig. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Chapter 12: South Asia (Fig. 12. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Chapter 11: East Asia (Fig. 11. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Learning Objectives Understand framework for studying world regional geography
150 -> Chapter 6: Sub- saharan Africa (Fig. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Learning Objectives Integrate foundation concepts with a relatively unfamiliar region, and compare regions
150 -> Learning Objectives Learn about the historical role of Europe in global colonialism and in the Industrial Revolution
150 -> Chapter 9 The Russian Domain (Fig. 1) Learning Objectives
150 -> Chapter 3: North America (Fig. 1) North America


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