Class 03 - Reading Practise


Australia and the Great War, 1914 – 1918

Australia’s role in the First World War, or the Great War as it was known until 1939, is central to the development of modern Australia’s vision of itself in the world. In many ways it has served to create what is in some ways a second founding of the nation in the Gallipoli campaign and on the battlefields of France and Belgium. The influence of the war experience in the First, and Second, World War is evident in the way in which ANZAC day is, perhaps even more than Australia day, the country’s national day.

When the war broke out in 1914, it was a certainty that, because of longstanding economic, family and defense ties, Australia, along with New Zealand, would stand alongside Britain. The then Prime Minister Andrew Fisher was quick to pledge the country’s support to “the last man, the last shilling”. This was no idle promise and Australia paid a high price for their loyalty to their colonizers. From a pre-war population of 5m, 417,000 enlisted in the armed forces, of which 324,000 served abroad. By the end of the war, Australia had lost 60,000 dead and 155,000 men had been wounded. The economic price was also high. The national debt, which had stood at ₤6m in 1914, was £325m by the end of the war.

It is possible that the first shot of the war was fired in Australia, when a shot was fired across the bow of the German merchant ship Pfalz as it tried to escape from Port Arthur only a few hour after the declaration of war. In late 1914 the light cruiser HMAS Sydney sank the German warship Emden off the west coast of the country. Also early in the war, Australian troops captured the German radio transmitters in Rabaul and Nauru and conquered all of German New Guinea. 

At first the Australian forces were intended only to defend Australia, but in 1915 the Australia New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) departed for Europe. Their first stop was Egypt and it was because they were so close that they were chosen to take part in the campaign to capture the Gallipoli peninsula, the key to shipping into the Black Sea, from the Turks. The plan was for British, French and Anzac forces to land on the peninsular at night at weak points in the Turkish defense. However, strong winds blew the troops off course to better defended spots and in the advantage was lost. What followed was months of bitter fighting in which 20,000 British and 7,000 ANZAC soldiers were killed and which ended in a successful withdrawal, but no gain for the Allies. It was at this moment of history that Australia was propelled on to the world stage. From this moment onward Australia began to think of itself as a country in its own right; as being separate to Britain and no longer a colony.

Most of the ANZAC force was sent to Europe, but the Australian Light Horse remained to fight Turkish forces in Palestine and Syria. They defended the Suez Canal and advanced through Palestine and Syria. They also took part in what was one of the world’s last great cavalry charges at Beersheba.

The main ANZAC force arrived in Europe in 1916. The ANZAC experience was similar to that of the other participants in the war; a high death toll and little gain to be shown for it. Australian forces were present at all the major battles of the war and sustained some terrible casualties. For example, in 24 hours near Pozieres the 5th Division suffered 5,000 casualties. At the battle of Bullecort, of the 3,000 men who advanced, 2339 were killed, wounded or captured.

By 1917 most of the officers were not professional soldiers. The most prominent example was General Sir John Monash, who was an engineer by training. He commanded the allied forces at the battle of Hamel so well that the general staff published the battle reports as a model. In August 1918, he commanded 200,000 troops on what way called “Ludendorff’s black day”, a turning point in the war. Monash was probably Australia’s greatest military figure.

Unlike in other armies in the war, the Australian soldiers were all volunteers. They were also more individualistic and showed less respect for the rulebook than other soldiers. The relationship between ranks was more democratic and officer had to win the respect of their troops. All in all, they paid a high price for fighting in the war. Of the 324,000 soldiers who served overseas in the war 215,000 were killed or wounded. This was the highest proportion of any of the countries in the war and was probably due to the Australians fighting qualities, which meant that they were often used on the frontline of the fighting. 

At home, the war had a significant effect on the economy. Negative effects included the end of British investment, the closure of many shipping lanes and the stockpiling of Australia’s main export, wool. However, the isolation that resulted from the war meant that Australia had to make some things that had previously been imported. This led to the development of new industries. In addition, the BHP smelting company, which is now a major Australian company, saw a great increase in demand for iron and steel. The needs of the war were stimulus for the beginning of full industrialization in Australia.

At the signing of the treaty of Versailles, which marked the end of the war, Australia signed as a separate country. This reflected the fact that, at the cost of 60,000 dead, Australia had finally emerged from the shadow of Britain. The Great War was, perhaps, the beginning of modern Australian history.

961 words

Questions 1 – 7

Complete the sentences below (1 – 7) with words taken from the passage.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

  1. According to the passage Australia’s view of itself is directly related to its involvement in the _______________ 

  2. Soon after the war had begun, Australia’s Prime Minister offered the _______________

  3. Australia had an early involvement in the war and it is even possible that they were responsible for the _______________

  4. When combating the Turkish defense, the British, French and Anzac forces ended up attacking stronger points than they had originally intended because of _______________

  5. The outcome of the bitter fight with the Turks was significant for Australia because it enabled them to take their place on the _______________

  6. John Monash commanded the battle of Hamel so well that reports of the battle were published in order to be used _______________

  7. The Great War marked the beginning of modern Australia. They had emerged as a separate country and would no longer have to live under the _______________


Questions 8 – 12

Classify the following statements as representing

YES               if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer

NO                 if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer

NOT GIVEN  if it is impossible to know what the writer thinks
                      about this

Write the appropriate answers in the boxes.

8. Australia’s national debt increased greatly as a result of the Great War._______________

9. Australia made a great contribution to the successful outcome of the First World War. _______________

10. The British forces suffered a greater number of casualties than the Anzac forces during the months of fighting with the Turkish. _______________

11. Overall, the British had a higher proportion of soldiers killed or injured than Australia. _______________

12. Australian soldiers were never disrespectful to their superiors. _______________


Indian Marriages

Marriage is one of the oldest human institutions and this is as true in Indian culture as anywhere else. In India marriage, called “Kanyadana" or “donating a virgin”, is thought of as the greatest sacrifice that a father can make and for the groom as an obligation to perpetuate his bloodline. Many people believe that a marriage is still binding after death.

In early times girls were thought to be ready for marriage after puberty and later even children could be married. Divorce and remarriage were not always possible. By Medieval times Marriage was compulsory for girls, who very often married between the ages of eight and nine. Among those able to afford it, polygamy was common and rulers would often have one wife from their own region and other minor wives from other areas. Now, divorce and remarriage is possible and non-Muslim Indian men can only have one wife.

Although are many regional variations, some features of the Indian wedding ceremony are similar throughout the country. In general weddings are very complicated events and involve long negotiations about dowry payments prior to the event. After this has been decided a day is chosen by asking an astrologer to find a lucky day. Preparations begin early because a marriage is not only one of the highlights a person’s life, but a large and complex social gathering to organize.

The night before, the bride, her friends and female relatives gather together for a party called a “mehendi”, where they paint each other’s hands and feet with Henna and dance and listen to music. Her guests often give the bride advice about married life and tease her about her future husband. Weddings are traditionally held at the bride’s home or in a temple, but parks, hotels and marriage halls are becoming increasingly popular. On the day a wedding altar or “mandapa” is built and covered in flowers. All of the wedding ceremony will be held in the altar.

The clothing a couple wear on their wedding day varies between regions and ethnic groups. Women most commonly wear a sari. The bride wears a lot of jewelry as this symbolizes the prosperity she will bring to her new family. In the South wearing flowers is common. The groom wears traditional costume or a suit. Turbans are also popular headgear.

The ceremony begins with a mixture of tumeric, sandlewood paste and oils being applied to the couples face and arms. In the past this was done to the whole body, but now it is only symbolic, with only a little being rubbed on. Then they are showered in flowers. After this they perform the rituals that will make them man and wife. First they garland each other and then take seven symbolic steps together representing seven gifts and seven promises.

Finally they say the vows and then they are legally married. The bride’s father or guardian takes her hands and puts them in her husband’s giving her to him. Now she is no longer a member of her father’s family, but a member of her husband’s. They then touch the feet of their elders for luck.

After the wedding ceremony, the couple go to the groom’s house. The bride should be careful to enter the house right foot first for luck. In the evening and late into the night the families and their guests celebrate with dancing, music and food.

568 words

Questions 1-3

Choose the correct answer from A – D.


1.   In India weddings are …

A         a duty for the man to continue his family.
B         thought to end at death.
C         a duty for the father.
D         seen asa benefit for the father.

2.   Divorce and remarriage …

A         are only possible for non-Muslims.
B         were sometimes not possible in the past.
C         have always been possible.
D         have only become possible in modern times.

3.   Indian weddings …

A         are straightforward and brief.
B         are thought to be lucky
C         are intricate and time consuming.
D         involve only the immediate family.

Questions 4-9


Complete the statements below. Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS.


4. The evening prior to the wedding, the wife-to-be is given recommendations about _______________

5. The wedding ceremony is conducted in a special _______________

6. The gold and jewels the bride wears represent _______________

7. These days, the materials applied to the face and arms at the start of the ceremony are just _______________

8. After the wedding, the bride has left _______________ and belongs to her husband’s.

9. It is important that the new bride goes into the new house with her _______________



El Nino

The weather phenomenon called El Nino was first recorded in the 1500s when fishermen in South America noticed that near Christmas some years the water was noticeably warmer than others. They named this El Nino, or the infant, as it happened near the celebration of the birth of Christ.

Only in recent years has there been any serious investigations into the causes and results of El Nino. The 1997 – 1998 El Nino was the first to be studied extensively. Scientists from France, Japan, Korea and Taiwan combined the various readings they had from satellite and surface measurements of wind speeds and water temperatures to make the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean Array. This combined information allowed them to see the overall patterns of an El Nino and helped them predict when one was starting.

Weather pattern rely heavily on the operation of the “planetary heat engine”. Essentially, this means that because the sun is closest to the equator the seawater in that region is the warmest. The warm water evaporates and forms clouds, which move toward the poles powered by their heat. These atmospheric loops, which move heat from the tropics to the poles, are called “connective cells”. Without this process the equatorial regions would be hotter than they are and the north and south would be much colder.

The wind in the central Pacific tends to blow from the east. This pushes water from South America towards Australia and Indonesia. As a result, sea levels have been found to be up to 60 centimetres higher in the west. The water that is pushed westward from the South American coast is replaced by colder water, which has a high nutrient level that consequently attracts fish. This makes the waters off Peru and Ecuador good fishing grounds.

An El Nino happens when the winds weaken and sea levels drop. The warmer water moves east and less water evaporates to form clouds. The results of this are twofold. The warmer water in the east reduces the number of fish and the lack of rain causes droughts. This can cause problems such as the forest fires that have plagued Indonesia and Australia in recent years. Additionally, El Nino is thought to be one of the causes of hurricanes that have devastated Central and North West America.

As the population has increased the effects of changing weather have had a greater impact. People are living in places, often in areas more likely to be affected by adverse weather, than they ever did before and in increased densities. This means that natural disasters affect more people. Natural resources are being used closer to their limits, so small changes in their availability can cause disruption. For example, in the past, South American fishermen could make a profit even during an EL Nino, but modern industrial fishing needs larger fish stocks to be profitable.

Knowing when an El Nino is developing allows people to make plans to lessen its negative effects. The system of buoys and satellites monitoring the Pacific allows scientists to predict the start of the 12 to 18 month El Nino cycle. As a result people can prepare. For example, in North East Brazil during the 1987 El Nino, farmers only got 15% of their normal grain harvest, but in 1992, when the government advised them to plant fast maturing plants, they got 82%.

The question of whether El Nino has been strengthened by global warming is unanswered. The National Centre for Atmospheric research believes that El Nino could be responsible for the increased temperatures in North America by changing the jet stream. Global warming may not be the direct cause. However, global warming may cause the local warming changes that cause El Nino and change atmospheric circulation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests that global warming may increase El Nino effects by increasing temperatures and increasing water evaporation over land leading to floods.

El Nino is only one factor in the complex inter-relations that cause weather patterns, but it appears to be a major factor. By monitoring the phenomenon, we can limit its effects and avoid disasters and droughts.

687 words

Questions 1 – 2

Complete each of the following statements with words or phrases taken from the text.


  1. The first extensive study of the El Nino phenomenon took place from _______________

  2. The system used to track variations in weather conditions is called _______________

Questions 3 – 6

Label the diagram showing the “Planetary Heat engine.”



3.  _______________
4.  _______________
5.  _______________
6.  _______________

Questions 7 – 9

Which THREE of the following are effects of El Nino?. Put your three choices in the box below.

A         There are more clouds.
B         The level of the sea goes down.
C         There is a lack of rain.
D         Fewer fish for fishermen to catch.
E         There are plagues in Australia and Indonesia.
F         There are more strong storms.

7. _______________

8. _______________

9. _______________


Questions 10 – 12

Choose the appropriate answer to each question and place in the box.

10.       Why is El Nino more noticeable now than in previous times?

A         There are small changes in natural resources.
B         Industrial fishing.
C         People are now living in more dangerous areas than those of the past.
D         South American fishermen cannot make a profit during an El Nino.


11.       What is the benefit of monitoring the weather in the Pacific?

A         Scientists can prevent El Ninos.
B         The length of an El Nino is reduced by six months.
C         Farmers will harvest more grain.
D         Provisions can be taken in advance against the El Nino.


12.       In what way is there a definite link between El Nino and global warming?

A         It increases Northern American temperatures by affecting the jet stream.
B         By inducing local warming changes.
C         Increasing rain and causing floods.
D         None of the above.


IELTS Reading Passage 1 - Answers

  1. First World War / Great War

  2. country’s support

  3. first shot

  4. strong winds

  5. world stage

  6. as a model

  7. shadow of Britain

  8. Yes

  9. Not Given

  10. Yes

  11. No

  12. No 

IELTS Reading Passage 2 - Answers

  1. A

  2. B

  3. C

  4. married life

  5. (wedding) alter / mandapa

  6. prosperity

  7. symbolic

  8. her father's family

  9. right foot first

IELTS Reading Diagram Completion - Answers

  1. 1997 – 1998

  2. Tropical Atmosphere Ocean Array

  3. evaporates

  4. the poles

  5. pushes

  6. colder water / nutrient level

  7. C

  8. D

  9. F (7-9 can be in any order)

  10. C

  11. D

  12. D