Australia has three architectural listings on UNESCO's World Heritage list: Australian Convict Sites (comprising a collection of separate sites around Australia, including Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney, Port Arthur in Tasmania, and Fremantle Prison in Western Australia); the Sydney Opera House; and the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. Contemporary Australian architecture includes a number of other iconic structures, including the Harbour Bridge in Sydney and Parliament House, Canberra. Significant architects who have worked in Australia include Governor Lachlan Macquarie's colonial architect, Francis Greenway; the ecclesiastical architect William Wardell; the designer of Canberra's layout, Walter Burley Griffin; the modernist Harry Seidler; and Jørn Utzon, designer of the Sydney Opera House. The National Trust of Australia is a non-governmental organisation charged with protecting Australia's built heritage.
Fremantle Prison in Western Australia Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney Port Arthur in Tasmania
The Sydney Opera House The Sydney Opera House at night The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne
Australia was a collection of British colonies, therefore, its literary tradition begins with and is linked to the broader tradition of English literature. However, the narrative art of Australian writers has, since 1788, introduced the character of a new continent into literature - exploring such themes as Aboriginality, mastership, egalitarianism, democracy, migrant and national identity, distance from other Western nations and proximity to Asia, the complexities of urban living and the "beauty and the terror" of life in the Australian bush. Notable Australian writers have included the novelists Marcus Clarke, Miles Franklin, Patrick White, Thomas Keneally, Morris Westand Colleen McCullough, the bush poets Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson, historians Manning Clark and Geoffrey Blainey, the playwright David Williamson and leading expatriate writers Barry Humphries, Robert Hughes, Clive James and Germaine Greer.
There are theatrical and dramatic aspects to a number of Indigenous Australian ceremonies such as the corroboree, and fusions of this ancient theatrical content and style with Western theatrical productions are not uncommon in Australia. However, during its early Western history, Australia was a collection of British colonies in which the theatrical arts were generally linked to the broader traditions of English literature and to British and Irish theatre. Australian literature and theatrical artists have, since 1788, introduced the culture of Australia and the character of a new continent to the world stage. A large number of individuals have made a contribution to Australian theatre, many of whom have also been recognised at an international level, including Sir Robert Helpmann (ballet), Dame Joan Sutherland (opera), the performing artist Barry Humphries and playwright David Williamson. Notable theatrical institutions include the Sydney Opera House, and the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney
In the 21st century, religion in Australia is predominantly Christian. In the 2011 Census, 61.14% of the Australian population were recorded as adhering to Christianity. Historically the percentage has been far higher and the religious landscape of Australia is diversifying, along with multicultural immigration and 22.3% of people with no religious affiliation. 22.3% of Australians declared "no-religion" on the 2011 Census, and a further 8.55% did not answer the question. The remaining population is a diverse group which includes Buddhist (2.46%), Islamic (2.21%), Hindu (1.28%) and Jewish (0.45%) communities. The Constitution of Australia of 1901 prohibits the Commonwealth government from establishing a church or interfering with the freedom of religion.
St. Mary's Cathedral, the largest Australian church, built in the 19th century and located in Sydney
Although Australia has no official language, it is largely monolingual with English being the de facto national language. Australian English has a distinctive accent and vocabulary. According to the 2011 census, 76.8% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 1.6%, Italian 1.4%, Arabic 1.3%, Cantonese 1.2% and Greek 1.2%. A considerable proportion of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual. It is believed that there were almost 400 Australian Aboriginal languages at the time of first European contact. Only about 70 of these languages have survived and all but 30 of these are now endangered. An indigenous language remains the main language for about 50,000 (0.25%) people. Australia has a sign language known as Auslan, which is the main language of about 6,500 deaf people.