The United States as Australia

This is just a piece of whimsy, O.K.? I've never even been to Australia, but I've read enough descriptions of the country intended for American visitors which would, for example, explain the difference in local style between Melbourne and Sydney by saying that the one was like Boston and the other like New York, that it seemed worthwhile to collect such comparisons and illustrate them in this manner, by putting Australian names on a U.S. map in the place of their equivalents.

Various conversations I've had with Australians in the U.S. have added items to this list. Yes, Queensland is like the Deep South and Western Australia is like Texas, except for Perth which is like San Diego, but nothing else in Australia is like California at all, they said. (Even the Gold Coast? Well, they didn't mention that. Nor did they say what the equivalents of Southern Australia and Adelaide might be, so I just left them off.)

A few I've added purely on my own: surely the closest American equivalent to Ayers Rock (or Uluru) is the almost equally spooky Devil's Tower -- which starred so effectively in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Australians, and others, are welcome to suggest additions until the map fills up.

For a straightforward geographical comparison of the countries' sizes, see this postcard reproduced by Janice Gelb. To answer the obvious question, the continent of Australia is about 2,942,000 square miles; 2,968,000 square miles with the island of Tasmania added; while the 48 contiguous United States amount to about 3,053,000 square miles -- just 3% larger than all of Australia.

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Copyright 2001, David Bratman