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South Australia State on the Southern Ocean, s central Australia. The capital is Adelaide, home to 73% of the state's population. The inland area is arid, mostly covered by sand and gibber desert and plains. It is the driest state in Australia (average rainfall 528mm) and most of the population live along the coast which has a Mediterranean climate. The Mount Lofty-Flinders Ranges in the e are the main mountain system. Part of the Nullarbor Plain is in the w. The Murray, in the se, is the only important river. Lake Eyre is part of a series of vast salt lakes in the n. Barley, wheat, fruit and grapes (notably in the Barossa Valley) are the chief crops. Commercial fisheries are important. Mineral deposits include iron ore, uranium, silver, lead, salt, gypsum, opals, coal and natural gas. Industries: motor vehicle assembly, wine production, electrical goods. The s coast was visited by the Dutch in 1627, the first English colonists arrived in 1836, and the region was federated as a state in 1901. Area: 984,380sq km (379,760sq mi). Pop. (1999) 1,493,074.
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