Original paper

The tectonic style of Australia

Hills, E. Sherbon


The visitor no less than the Australian finds Australia a land whose dominant characteristic is wide horizons, so much so that one is continually impressed by its size, whereas it is in tact scarcely of truly continental dimensions. Undoubtedly the reason for this impression ist the lack of variety of scene, which is a geographical characteristic of the great shields and tables. Topographically the Eastern Highlands are an exception, but even so there are few views that lift the observer to the skies, and the very real difficulties of travel in the highlands derive chiefly from the great valleys that cut the mountains rather than from any formidable mountain fronts themselves. Only in the scarps such as those of the Kosciusko Plateau does one feel confronted by mountains approaching alpine grandeur, and both on the ground and in map-study one realizes that in fact the Eastern Highlands, struggling with difficulty to attain an elevation of 7316 ft. at Mt. Kosciusko, are merely block-uplifts, with many wide "High Plains" as the plateaux are locally known (e.g. Bogong High Plains, Snowy Plains) where it is normal to take cattle from the dry lowlands for summer pasture. If to the topographic characteristics one adds considerable overall uniformity of vegetation, and a lack of differentiation in the cultural patterns of the European inhabitants, the geographic entity of Australia is indeed a notable fact, although one realizes that it may well be matched by areas of comparable size in Asia. The area is slightly larger than that of U.S.A., omitting Alaska (2,974,600 sq.miles).