Pros: Hardy, large, prolific layers, lots of meat, quiet, good tempered
Cons: Personality can also be skittish/aloof.
The Australorp is my favorite breed. They are beautiful with their large combs and regal mantles of black feathers that flash brilliant metallic green in the sun. They are also one of the most flexible breeds you can get for whatever set up you desire.
These are large heavy chickens that are good all-purpose birds and good for beginner chicken owners. If you want eggs, meat, or pets, this is an excellent breed to pick. I've used them for all three. They are a popular favorite here in the Pacific Northwest as they don't seem to mind the constant rain and mud very much.
Their personalities range from very friendly to aloof. They can be big snuggly lap chickens, or they will regally patrol your farm at a distance from you. They often continue to lay through the winter. They will not disappoint on meat!
I highly recommend including these in your flock.