South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 miles), it is the fourth largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has 1.76 million people. South Australia's capital city is Adelaide with an estimated population of about 1.34 million people.
The top five ancestries for people in South Australia are Australian, English, Scottish, Irish, and German. The top five languages (other than English) spoken in South Australia are: Italian, Mandarin, Greek, Vietnamese, and Persian/Dari. The South Australian flag dates to 1904. As with all Australian state flags the Union Jack appears in the top-left corner of the flag of South Australia. The badge to the right of the Union Jack is a Piping Shrike bird standing on the branch of a gumtree against the rising sun.
South Australia was home to numerous Indigenous peoples. The Murray River and the Coorong were home to the Ngarrindjeri and Nganguraku people. The Kaurna people were the owners of the Adelaide plains in South Australia. Some Kaurna place names still remain, such as Willunga. Parks and squares throughout Adelaide are dual named using the Kaurna Warra language. Victoria Square is also known by its Kaurna name, Ntanyangga, which translates to 'red-kangaroo rock place'. The Torrens River also goes by the Kaurna name of Karrawirra Pari. Evidence has been found in caves beneath the Nullarbor Plains at Koonalda that Aboriginals were mining flint there approximately 22,000 years ago. There is evidence of Aboriginal Australians at Wyrie Swap using boomerangs to hunt waterfowl approximately 10,000 years ago.
The Ghan Railway is named after the Afghan camel drivers who arrived in Australia in the 1800s. The Afghans and their camels accompanied expeditions to explore the outback, and they assisted transport and communication. The first train to run the original Ghan line, in 1929, was steam powered. It was called the Afghan Express. The line followed the route of an explorer named John MacDouall Stuart from Adelaide to Alice Springs (then named Stuart). In 1980, the old railway track, which was narrow and termite-riddled, was abandoned. In 2004, the route was extended to Darwin in the Northern Territory.
South Australia is nicknamed the Festival State. It is an art and culture hub and holds numerous creative festivals each year. Visitors enjoy events such as the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Film Festival, Feast Festival, and Cabaret Festival. The popular WOMADelaide world music festival attracts international artists, while the Adelaide Fringe Festival is a premier, open-access event and the largest annual arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Adelaide Christmas Pageant is the largest Christmas parade in the southern hemisphere. An estimated 400,000 people gathered along the parade route in 2015 to watch the floats and other entertainment. This was equivalent to approximately one in every three residents of Adelaide attending the event.
South Australia is the driest state on the world's driest continent. Lake Eyre National Park's stark landscape is home to Australia's largest salt lake and the lowest point in the whole country. The Lake Eyre basin covers one-sixth of the continent. South Australia's Coober Pedy mine is the world's largest producer of opals. The oldest surviving German settlement in Australia is the town of Hahndorf located in the Adelaide Hills. Hahndorf's main street is lined with 100-year-old elm and plane trees and showcases beautiful restored buildings.
South Australia is home to the world's largest cattle station, Anna Creek Station, located near Coober Pedy. It is six million acres in size, which is larger than Israel, Belgium, Slovenia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Luxembourg, and Malta. Anna Creek Station is more than seven times larger than the USA's largest ranch. The second largest cattle station in the world, Alexandria Station, in the Northern territory is almost two million acres smaller than Anna Creek Station.
The only giant pandas in the southern hemisphere are housed at the Adelaide Zoo. They are named Wang Wang and Fu Ni. There are only seven other giant panda exhibits in the world.
South Australia is home to Kangaroo Island, an internationally renowned wildlife haven. Kangaroo Island is South Australia's third largest island and is often described as a zoo without fences. It is home to more than 250 species of birds and numerous native Australian animals. It is the only sanctuary in the world for Ligurian bees.
Adelaide is where wild dolphins live closest to the metropolitan area of a city. There are believed to be more than 300 individual dolphins that visit the Port River. The Fremantle Port Harbour in Western Australia also has wild dolphins. Other than Port River and Fremantle Port Harbour there are no other metropolitan areas in the world with wild dolphins. The dolphins in the Port River are renowned for their popular tail walking. They leap from the water and propel themselves backwards while remaining vertical. They are the only wild dolphins in the world that have mastered tail walking.
The Adelaide Central Market is the largest fresh produce market in the southern hemisphere. The Barossa Valley is Australia's richest and best-known wine region. Premium wineries, five-star restaurants, and cellar door establishments are in the hills and vineyards. The Adelaide Botanic Gardens is home to the oldest glasshouse in the southern hemisphere, the palm house. The palm house was imported from Bremen, Germany to Adelaide in 1875. It is believed to be the only Victorian glasshouse of its type in the world.
The Royal Adelaide Show is believed to hold the record for the number of times a show has been held in the world. The Royal Adelaide Show surpassed the number of shows held by the Royal Bath and West England Society that was founded in 1777. In 2015, the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society held its 240th Royal Adelaide Show. The first show was held in the yard of a pub in Grenfell Street in the year 1840. The Royal Adelaide Show is the biggest event in South Australia and is attended by approximately 500,000 people each year.
There is much more about South Australia. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.