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The name is not strictly accurate, because parts of the range consist of low hills, and the highlands are typically no more than 1,600 metres (5,249 ft) in height.
These include the western plains of New South Wales, and the Einasleigh Uplands, Barkly Tableland, and Mulga Lands of inland Queensland.
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country".
Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime.
To the south of these and inland, lie more areas of grassland: the Ord Victoria Plain and the Western Australian Mulga shrublands.
At the heart of the country are the uplands of central Australia.
Australia has the world's 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income (IMF).
Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum.
Melbourne was the temporary seat of government from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was being constructed.
Since the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972, is located in Western Australia.
At 2,228 metres (7,310 ft), Mount Kosciuszko on the Great Dividing Range is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland.
Even taller are Mawson Peak (at 2,745 metres or 9,006 feet), on the remote Australian territory of Heard Island, and, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Mount Mc Clintock and Mount Menzies, at 3,492 metres (11,457 ft) and 3,355 metres (11,007 ft) respectively.
Eastern Australia is marked by the Great Dividing Range, which runs parallel to the coast of Queensland, New South Wales and much of Victoria.