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The Outback

The outback (also called the Never-Never, back of beyond, or back o'Burke) is the remote and usually semi-arid interior of Australia. The marginally fertile parts are used for sheep or cattle farming—apart from this, tourism and scattered mining are the main economic activities in this vast and sparsely settled area. Due to the size of the outback, the total value of mining and farming is considerable.

A typical outback scene, somewhere north of Coober Pedy.

Over 90% of the Australian population lives in urban settlements on the coastal fringes. Despite this, the outback and the history of its exploration and settlement provides Australians with a mythical backdrop, and stories of swagmen, squatters, outlaws such as Ned Kelly (though Ned Kelly spent virtually all his time in the relatively temperate Great Dividing Range) and so on are central to the national ethos of the country. The song Waltzing Matilda, which is about swagmen and squatters, is the popular traditional Australian song.

The outback is now the only place where Australian Aborigines still live in a more or less traditional way.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Australia".