18 Interesting Facts about Australia 09/04/2018


Australia is a very popular destination. But what do we know about it aside from being known as the Land Down Under and home of the man who played Wolverine Mr Hugh Jackman. From soccer scores to rude festival names, here are 18 or more interesting facts about Australia.

The two animals on the Australian Coat of Arms are the Kangaroo and Emu. The reason for this is because they can't walk backwards, and Australia recognise themselves as a forward-thinking culture just like these animals’ walking direction.

Voting in elections in Australia is mandatory for everyone over the age of 18 The punishment of not voting is a fine of $72. 19% of Australian voters would prefer to pay the fine than vote.

Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland, Australia via Wikicommons

Speaking of voting, Australia made history as the second country in the world to allow women to vote in 1894. Their neighbouring country New Zealand was the first country.

What a lot of people know about Australia is that use the word “mate” as slang for say friend like these two lads above. What a lot less people would know is that in 2005, the government issued a ban on saying the word 'mate' at Parliament House to be politically correct. However, it only lasted 24 hours as it was overturned.

Australia's first police force was a case of hear no evil see no evil as they were made up of 12 convicts. However, it was a random selection as it was for those who were the best behaved. It was set up by Governor Arthur Phillip who were referred to as The Night Watch and the 12 men were divided in four groups to patrol different areas of the settlement.

Australia derives from the Latin terra Australis incognita meaning unknown southern island. Or terra Australis meaning southern island. The latter being more accurate these days as everyone knows about beautiful Australia.

Like the knights above, both Sydney and Melbourne were fighting over who should be the capital of the country. So, in 1908, the nation decided to create Canberra to be Australia's capital city. It is also a common trivia mistake people make as Sydney and Melbourne are more well known to people.

Gina Rinehart is Australia's richest woman, earning $16.9 billion. That’s an hourly rate of over $81 million. How is that? She is the chairperson of a privately owned mineral exploration and extraction company called Hancock Prospecting founded by her father.

Australia have had some involvement with Nasa  as the first photos from the 1969 moon landing were beamed to the rest of the world from Honeysuckle Tracking Station, in Canberra. A decade later, there was a less positive relationship as debris from NASA's space station 'Skylab' crashed in Esperance. Furious about this, the citizens fined NASA $400 for littering.

Australia is home to the longest fence in the world which is 5,614 km long. Know as the Dingo fence, it was originally built to keep dingoes away from fertile land. Now it is just a fence that is longer than the Great Wall of China.

It would take over 27 years to see them all if you visit one new Australian beach a day. However, you should stick to building sandcastles as swimming at public beaches in Australia during the day was made illegal 64 years ago.

Australia’s soccer team were the victors of the largest-ever victory in an international match. They defeated American Samoa 31-0 in 2001 with Archie Thompson also breaking the record for most goals scored by a player in an international match by scoring 13 goals.

If you merge all the sails of the Sydney Opera House roof it creates a perfect sphere. This is because the architect Jørn Utzon got the idea of the design while eating an orange.

Australian inventions include the wine cask (goon sack) and Ugg boots which were known as 'very ugly boots' were made of sheepskin has been turned inside out. Australians also invented the selfie which has become a popular photograph to use on any occasion from night outs to holidays.

Australia is home to 10 of the world’s 15 most poisonous snakes as well as a huge number of venomous spiders even though there has been a death from a spider bite since 1979. Other venomous animals to avoid include the blue ring octopus, the stone fish, and the Box jellyfish which has killed more people in Australia than sharks, stonefish and crocodiles combined. Platypus are also highly poisonous with enough poison to kill a dog and make a human sick.

Marsupials like koalas, quokka and kangaroos can be found nowhere else in the world with there being over 60 different types of kangaroos. There were also over one million feral camels in outback Australia until the government launched the $19m Feral Camel Management Program. In terms of more common animals, there are more than 150 million sheep in Australia meaning there are 8 sheep for every person living in Australia.

Aboriginal culture is the oldest on Earth having been in Australia for some staggering 40,000-60,000 years. In fact, Australia's largest free festival held in Melbourne is named after an Aboriginal expression Moomba. However, it is a rude expression as it means up your bum.

One of the underappreciated attractions in Australia is Pink Lake. This salty lake named after its colour. However, the colour is not always pink, and changes because of the concentration of brine prawn in the lake and change in saltiness of the water.

 

Written by Diarmuid Crowley from StayPlanet