The Outback is the vast, remote, arid area of Australia; the term colloquially can refer to any lands outside the main urban areas. The term "the outback" is generally used to refer to locations that are comparatively more remote than those areas named "the bush".
Owing to the low and erratic rainfall over most of the outback, combined with soils which are usually not very fertile, inland Australia is relatively sparsely settled. More than 90 percent of Australians live in urban areas on the coast. However the outback and the history of its exploration and settlement provides Australians with a culturally valued backdrop, and stories of swagmen, squatters, and bushrangers are central to the national ethos. The song Waltzing Matilda, which is about a swagman and squatters, is probably Australia's best internationally known and most well-loved song (see below).
Aboriginal communities in outback regions have not been displaced as they have been in areas of intensive agriculture and large cities, in coastal areas. For this reason a significant proportion of Australia's indigenous population lives in the Outback, in areas such as the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands in northern South Australia. The total population of Outback Australia declined from 700,000 in 1996 to 690,000 in 2006. The photo below was taken in the Woomera of South Australia, as we were driving from Adelaide to Darwin (distance of 3,030 km), which we did in 2002.
This is a post linking to Sylvia's Skywatch Friday meme.