Miss Australia, Julia Hawkins, has been crowned Miss Universe 2004 at the annual pageant held this year in Ecuadorian capital, Quito.

Miss Hawkins, a 20-year-old model and dance choreographer, was chosen late Tuesday from a field of 80 women representing their respective countries.

The first runner-up was Miss USA, Shandi Finnessy. The other finalists included Miss Puerto Rico Alba Reyes; Miss Paraguay Yanina Gonzales and Miss Trinidad and Tobago Danielle Jones.

Organizers of the pageant say they expected that some 1.5 billion people would watch the live television broadcast in at least 150 countries.

Australian news services report the new Miss Universe is the first Australian to win the title since 1972.