South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725&160sq&160mi), it is the fourthlargest of Australia's states and territories. It has a total of 1.7 million people, and its population is the most highly centralised of any state in Australia, with more than 75 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are relatively small.South Australia shares borders with all of the other mainland states, and with the Northern Territory it is bordered to the west by Western Australia, to the north by the Northern Territory, to the northeast by Queensland, to the east by New South Wales, to the southeast by Victoria, and to the south by the Great Australian Bight and the Indian Ocean. rather than as a convict settlement. Official settlement began on 28 December 1836, when the colony was proclaimed at the Old Gum Tree by Governor John Hindmarsh.As with the rest of the continent, the region had been long occupied by the indigenous Aboriginal peoples, who were organised into numerous tribes and languages. The first British settlement to be established was Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, on 26 July 1836, five months before Adelaide was founded.Evidence of human activity in South Australia dates back as far as 20,000 years, with flint mining activity and rock art in the Koonalda Cave on the Nullarbor Plain. In addition wooden spears and tools were made in an area now covered in peat bog in the South East. Kangaroo Island was inhabited long before the island was cut off by rising sea levels. Settlement of seven vessels and 636 people was temporarily made at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, until the official site of the colony was selected where Adelaide is currently located. The first immigrants arrived at Holdfast Bay (near the present day Glenelg) in November 1836, and the colony was proclaimed on 28 December 1836, now known as Proclamation Day. South Australia is the only Australian state to be settled entirely by free settlers.
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The plan for the colony was that it would be the ideal embodiment of the best qualities of British society, that is, no religious discrimination or unemployment and, as it was believed that this would also result in very little crime within the small cohort of initial settlers, no professional police were sent. The Colonisation Commissioners intended to establish a police service as soon as misconduct within the increasing population warranted it. In the meantime, temporary volunteer special constables, whose appointment was provided for under English law, would provide law and order. Neither was provision was made for a permanent gaol. In early 1838 the colonists became concerned after it was reported that convicts who had escaped from the eastern states may make their way to South Australia. The South Australia Police was formed in April 1838 to protect the community and enforce government regulations. Their principal role was to run the first temporary gaol, a tworoom hut.The current flag of South Australia was adopted on 13 January 1904, and is a British blue ensign defaced with the state badge. The badge is described as a piping shrike with wings outstretched on a yellow disc. The state badge is believed to have been designed by Robert Craig of Adelaide's School of Design.The terrain consists largely of arid and semiarid rangelands, with several low mountain ranges. The most important (but not tallest) is the Mount LoftyFlinders Ranges system, which extends north about 800 kilometres (497&160mi) from Cape Jervis to the northern end of Lake Torrens. The highest point in the state is not in those ranges Mount Woodroffe (1,435 metres (4,708&160ft)) is in the Musgrave Ranges in the extreme northwest of the state. The southwestern portion of the state consists of the sparsely inhabited Nullarbor Plain, fronted by the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight. Features of the coast include Spencer Gulf and the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas that surround it.The principal industries and exports of South Australia are wheat, wine and wool. More than half of Australia's wines are produced in the South Australian wine regions which principally include Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, the Riverland and the Adelaide Hills. See South Australian wine.