In the famous words of Men At Work, I come from a land down under: Australia. A country that is known around the world for it’s deadliest insects, one of the world’s greatest wonders and the largest rock on Earth.
After initially being discovered in 1606 by Dutch explorers, the eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and colonized by 6 states to form Australia in 1901. But there is another tale to Australia, one that began 50,000 years ago when indigenous Australians solely inhabited the land and spoke over 250 languages.
These facts have all truly shaped Australia for the country it is today. Here are some of them:
1. The Great Barrier Reef
Image Source: Australia.com
Stretching to 1430 miles across the shores of Queensland (Size of Germany) lays the largest living ecosystem on Earth. The reef can be seen from outer space, and it has 600 types of corals, 100 species of jellyfish, 3000 varieties of mollusk, 500 species of worms, 1625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays and, of course, 30 species of whales and dolphins. These all reside in the Coral Sea.
2. Uluru Rock, the Biggest Rock on Earth
Image Source: Youtube
Over 600 million years old, this rock is about 2.2 miles (3.6km) long and 1.1 miles (1.9km) wide. It is considered the greatest rock in the world. The vast majority of the rock is hidden underground, with it reaching 1.5 miles (2.5 km), all below the surface.
3. Indigenous Wild Life Blossoms in Australia
Image Source: Pc Wall Art
Australia has a vast number of animals that call only Australia home. Ranging from Kangaroos, wombats, platypus, koalas, kookaburras, certain snakes, the Tasmanian devil, dingo’s, echidna and emu, we once declared war on the emu’s!
However, these animals have come to harsh realities with most now endangered. Since the British arrived, Koalas have gone from 10 million to only 13,000. Also, Tasmanian devils have gone from 150,000 to merely 20,000. And although kangaroos do outnumber people in Australia, they would be considered one of the few species to thrive in the 21st century. There are also 1,500 species of spiders that call Australia home, many of which are highly venomous. Spiders can be dangerous too, the most deadly of which is the Sydney funnel-web. But as deadly as the spider’s venom is, nobody has died from a spider bite in Australia since 1979.
4. The “Outback” that Entails the Vast Arid Land of Australia
Image Source: Wiki Images
The “Outback” is the colloquial name for the vast desert region that comprises most of Australia’s interior. Animals such as the thorny devil thrive in this environment, as this native creature has the ability to suck moisture out of the air and the ability to eat 45 ants a minute! Filled with springs, canals, rivers and desert, exploring the Outback would be a road trip to remember.
5. Bushfires that Cause Havoc Surrounding Victoria
Image Source: Reru
Cyclones, Hurricanes and earthquakes rarely erupt in Australia. But the biggest natural disaster that does threaten the population is bush-fire.
‘Black Saturday’ is a day all Australians will remember; it happened in Victoria in 2009. Thousands of homes were burned to the ground, and there were 173 fatalities from over 400 individual raging fires. The main cause of the breakout was the record-breaking temperatures. When Eucalyptus trees catch fire, the fire is quickly spread as their oil which is secreted is highly flammable.
6. Australian Football Rules (AFL), the Nation’s game
Image Source: Richmond FC
Originally inspired by the indigenous game of Marngrook, AFL has become the nation’s sport. Formed in 1897 as a means to keep cricketers fit, it soon became a cult phenomenon with 6 teams and a league setup. It eventually developed into an 18-team league around the country. The game involves tackling, marking, kicking, handballing and scoring points through kicking the ball through the big sticks. It is more than just a sport but a way to celebrate cultural diversity and major occasions like Anzac day and the Queen’s birthday. Even the Grand Final (Super bowl) is granted a public holiday.
7. Australian Music: Fine Musicians that Embody Our Culture
Image Source: Wikiwand
The musical instrument “didgeridoo” and a culture of music have been at the heart of Australia, with modern dance music incorporating the sounds of these instruments from pop to techno. The indigenous heritage has passed through a culture that is alive and well, with music being a strong influence. Bands like AC/DC, Crowded Houses, Midnight Oil, Bee Gees and Tame Impala ensure the music industry is forever growing.
8. The Most Spectacular Australian Beaches
Image Source: Youtube
Being an island with inherent beauty, there is no doubt Australia is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With beaches such as the Whitsundays, Fraser and Hamilton Island, there is a natural inclination to assume every Australian can surf. With 10,000 beaches spread across the land, you can visit one new beach every day for 27 years.
9. The Great Ocean Road From Melbourne to Adelaide
Image Source: Distant Journey
This is a 150 miles (243km) long road, which stretches from Geelong to Portland, and it is the world’s largest war memorial. The road, which connects once isolated settlements along the coast, was built in commemoration of the soldiers that returned home from WWI.
10. The First and Second Fleet Arrive To Australia
Image Source: Matt Darvas.com
The British colonized Australia under the command of Captain Cook. After the “discovery”, according to Australia.gov, the British sent over 162,000 men and women, using 806 ships from the year 1770 to 1868.
Some convicts would return to England, Wales or Scotland after their sentences ended. Other convicts stayed, along with immigrants of choice, and many others who migrated for the “gold rush”. The original convicts are ancestors to many across the continent.
11. The First Australian Police Force Was Composed By Convicts
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Shortly after the arrival of the First Fleet, the initial policing of New South Wales was in the hands of the Royal Navy. However, a more permanent personnel was required and a night watch was needed. 12 of the most well-behaved convicts were placed into four groups to begin patrols. This system flourished and, by 1790, more convicts were selected to form the Sydney Foot Police.
12. The Stolen Aboriginal Generation
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It wasn’t a welcomed landing in Australia for the English. There were fierce battles and a heavy death toll on the aboriginal side.
During the settlement, once the confederation was formed, the government took it upon themselves to care for indigenous children, fearful that they would die out, and to avoid a potential miscegenation with whites. Under the excuse of child protection, children were forcibly removed from households from 1920 to 1960.
The government has issued a formal apology to the indigenous community on behalf of such previous policies. Indigenous Australians make up a mere 2% of the population today.
13. Anzac and the Battle of Gallipoli WWI
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The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps fought together against the Turkish army during World War I. The stories from the hard fought battle are still commemorated to this day, with an annual parade for the soldiers fallen during war.
This war was about ‘Mateship’, a term held dearly by all Australians. Mateship means to be your brother’s keeper through thick and thin. This war brought Australians, New Zealanders, and even Turkish soldiers together, as the soldiers often recall the trenches being 15-20 meters apart amid a constant traffic of gifts. In a rare moment of civil behavior for warring nations, Turkish soldiers would throw dried raisins and sweets to Anzacs, and in return, they threw tinned food and cigarettes to Turks.
14. Australian Accent and Lingo
Image Source: NY Daily News
The iconic trait of any Australian is their accent. Their accent was developed in the early days of colonial settlement from a cocktail of English, Irish, Aboriginal and German. The Australian alphabet was spiked by alcohol as our forefathers regularly got drunk together and, through their frequent interaction, unknowingly added an alcoholic slur to our national speech patterns.
This has given rise to our missing consonants, for example, missing ‘t’ to become impordant and ‘I’ to become (Austraya) and now to become merely Straya. Aussies love to abbreviate words, like breakfast to brekkie, avocado to avo and poor person to povvo. But contrary to what some people may think, the official language is English, not Australian or “Strayan”. Yet, if you want to learn some Strayan, watch the video right below:
15. The Bombing of Darwin, World War II
Image Source: Abc Australia
Australia has once engaged in a war on home soil: the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese during World War II. The bombing occurred on 19 February, 1942. The two attacks, led by the commander responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, involved 54 land-based bombers and 188 aircraft. This has been the largest attack on Australian soil to date. Darwin, situated in the northern part of Australia, had been used as a military base to launch raids to the Pacific and hence was targeted by Japan.
16. Melbourne is the Most Liveable City in the World
Image Source: Wikiwand
For a fifth consecutive year, Melbourne has been named the world’s most livable city according to the economist’s liveability ranking. Home to roughly 4 Million people, the city is a true melting pot of cultures and ethnicities: half of its residents were born overseas. Melbourne also has the largest population of Greeks outside of Athens. With an unemployment rate of only 6.2%, an average rental market of $500-640 a week for a family of four, and over 480 hectares of parks spreading across the city, it’s no wonder why Melbourne is so liveable. If Melbourne couldn’t get any better, the previous name of this city was Batmania.
17. Nearly all Australians Live Near the Sea
Image Source: It’s only Nuts and Bolts
Since Australia is surrounded by ocean, most of its cities were originally built along the shoreline for shipping purposes. The fact is that 80% of all major cities in Australia lie within 100km of the coast. They conform the most urbanized coastal dwelling population for a country in the world. The sea is so close for the majority of Australians that most people assume that every Aussie can surf.
18. Australians Love Sports
Image Source: Wikiwand
With national tournaments in Rugby, Soccer, Basketball, AFL, Cricket, and horse racing, there is never a lack of sports events to attend in Australia. AFL is the fourth-best attended sporting competition in the world, with an average of 33 thousand people filling the stadiums every week, falling behind the German Bundesliga, the English premier league, and the NFL. Having hosted the Olympics twice and the Commonwealth games twice as of this year, there is never a lack of big events around the nation.
19. Bob Hawkes Beer Sculling Record
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On March 3, 1953, Bob Hawke sculled 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds to mark a world record. Soon after, Bob Hawke was elected to parliament and became the Prime Minister of Australia. He would even go on record to suggest that this was the reason behind his great political success. He was later re-elected for three more terms, dating from 1983 to 1991, becoming the Labor party’s most successful prime minister in history.
20. Aussie Food
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Australian food is unique and incredibly delicious! With one of our biggest exports being meat, it is no wonder why Aussies love having a BBQ, meat pies and shepherd pies. Our delicacies are mouth watering, such as lamingtons, Tim tams, golden gay times, paddle pops and fairy bread. They all make for a spectacular tasting experience. I forgot to mention Caramello Koalas, yes, a koala filled with caramel exists, but only in Australia. When you bite into the chocolate-coated Koalas, it oozes with caramel goodness. What better way to enjoy Australian food than to eat yummy treats of our adored native animal?
21. Home to the World’s Tallest Inflatable Water Slide
Image Source: Free
One of the perks of having such a warm climate is the need to cool down. And what better way than adventuring to a water park? Australia holds the record of having the largest inflatable water slide in the world! This gigantic structure is 23 meters high and requires 14 flights of stairs to reach to the top. Once at the top (and having mentally prepared yourself for the drop), you can reach up to 60km (37 miles) per hour on the drop!
22. Australia Has One Of the Highest Rates of Pet Ownership
Image Source: Courtesy of Akemi Photography
Australians love animals and specifically their dogs. In 2o10, “60% of Australian households had, at least, one animal as a companion and 83% of Australians having owned a pet at some point in their life“. This was the greatest rate of pet ownership in the world and proves that Dogs are Australian’s favorite friends. With a plethora of beaches, parks and mountain range, the Australian way of living encourages adventure and outdoor activities, much of which a dog loves.
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23. Australians are Immigrants too
Image Source: Kevin on the road
To be Australian is to embrace the culture, life, and the diversity that it offers. With 25% of the population being born in another country, Australia has the largest amount of immigrants currently living in the country. Beginning with its discovery from the British, the invasion during the gold rush to now the large influx of asylum seekers, Australia has always been accepting migrants. With 1.2 million people being from the UK, 500 thousand people from New Zealand and 340 thousand people from India, diversity is a key component of Australia.
24. Australia is the Largest Island In The World
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With Australia having a landmass of 7.8 million square km and a population of 24 million, this is the world’s greatest island. The United States, in comparison, has a population of 319 million and a mass of 9.8 million square km. This island accounts for 5% of the land on planet Earth and is the sixth largest country in the world.
25. Australian Dogs are Farmers too
Image Source: Courtesy of Michael Boniwell
The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), also known as Blue Heeler, is a breed of herding dog, originally “developed in Australia for droving cattle over long distances across rough terrain”. Blue Heelers are considered the best breed in the world for this line of work.
The ACD is a medium short-coated dog that is often blue and is known to nip the heels of the herd in order to maintain order. There are 150 million sheep in Australia and with a population of merely 20 million, the ratio is one of the highest in the world. The breed ranks 10th in the Stanley Cohen ranking of dog’s intelligence. Boosted with high energy levels, it’s is no wonder the ACD can round up a big herd for breakfast.
26. Australia Has the World’s Biggest Cattle Station
Image Source: Tim Wimborne
Australia is famous for its meat, so there’s no wonder that it has the largest cattle station in the world: Annas Creek. Located in South Australia, the size of Annas Creek is 6,000,000 acres. Annas Creek is nearly bigger than the size of Belgium, and seven times bigger than the US biggest ranch, located in Texas.
27. Australia Has the Biggest Fence in the World
Image Source: Wikiwand
The dingo fence or dog fence is a long narrow fence that stretches from the east coast to the south. The fence was built in the early 1900’s to keep dingoes or wild dogs out of the relatively fertile southeast part of the country, where sheep and cattle would often graze. At 5,614 km (3,488 miles), it is the longest fence structure in the world.
28. The World’s Deadliest Snakes Live in Australia
Image Source: Brainberries
Australia houses 9 out of 10 of the world’s most deadly snakes. The Inland Taipan, inhabiting the semi-arid regions of the central east coast, is the world’s most dangerous snake, with the ability to yield 110 mg of venom in one bite. That is enough to kill 100 humans and 250,000 mice! It takes 45 minutes for a person to be killed by one of these snakes. The Inland Taipan is not particularly aggressive, but its venom is 50 times more toxic than that of the cobra.
29. The World’s Oldest Painting is in Australia
Image Source: Wikiwand
40,000 years ago, indigenous Australians would carve animals and faces into rocks, caves, and barks. These pieces of art were found in the Northern Territory, still home to a plethora of indigenous clans. It was declared an Aboriginal Reserve in 1931 and remains the largest Aboriginal reserve in Australia.
30. Australia is its Own Continent
Image Source: Countries of the world
Despite what people may believe, the world is made up of 7 continents, of which Australia is one. This continent is primarily situated on the indo-Australian plate. Due to its central location, it does not encounter any active volcanic region, making it the only continent with this distinction. Australia is also the smallest of the 7 continents that make up the world.
31. Most Of the Australian Fauna is Still Unknown
Goblin Shark caught in Australia-Image Source: 3 Rbcafe
Scientists predict that 75% of Australia’s biodiversity is largely unknown. In the past four years, they have discovered 700 new species so far and that number keeps growing! Dr. La Salle, the director of the Atlas of Living Australia, claims that the “real problem is the small stuff: insects, soil organisms, fungi and bacteria”. With the biodiversity of Australia being so large, they have found over 750 different species of reptiles.
32. The Animals on the Australian Coat of Arms
Image Source: Wikiwand
As they are native to our land, the Kangaroo and Emu represent Australia on our national coat of arms. They also happen to lack the ability to walk backward and, like Australia, it reiterated the motto of continuously striving forward towards greatness.
33. Australian Shark Culling Crisis
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Shark attacks in Australia make the biggest paper headlines, with a plethora of attacks each year. However, in 2015, sharks had killed only 2 people and injured 23 in their attacks. As a response to these attacks, the Australian government has put in place a shark culling campaign off the western coast. In the past year, 667 sharks, that included endangered species such as the great white and gray nurses, were murdered according to the fisheries department. In addition, 100 dolphins, turtles, and dugongs were also unintentionally killed; yet no evidence suggests that this measure has reduced shark attacks. So, yes, Australians are hysterically crazy when it comes to sharks.
34. Everyone Votes in Australia
Image Source: Australian Times
Under the federal electoral law, it is compulsory for all eligible Australian citizens (+18 year old) to enroll and vote in federal elections. If within the time period specified you fail to provide a valid reason or decline to pay the $20 penalty, you may be subjected to be fined up to $170 plus court costs. Moreover, a criminal conviction may be recorded against you. Only 10 countries in the world accurately enforce mandatory voting in federal elections.
35. The First Film Ever Made is From Australia
Image Source: Notre Cinema
It was not Hollywood that invented feature films, but Australia. The first feature film depicted the story of notorious bushranger and criminal Ned Kelly and his gang. Directed by Charles Tait and shot in and around the city of Melbourne in 1906, the film ran for more than an hour with a reel length of 1,200 meters (4,000 ft). This was the longest narrative film yet seen in the world and marked a historic imprint on mankind, as the movie making business soon became extremely profitable.
36. Australia Has a Natural “Pink Lake”
Image Source: When on Earth
Located in Western Australia, this natural lake is known for its fascinating pink water. The “Pink lake” is part of the protected area known as the ‘Recherche Archipelago Nature Reserve’ and it is the feature of a walking trail that circumnavigates its shoreline. The pink lake is caused by a specific type of algae, “Dunaliella Salina” that is found in sea salt fields. The algae are not dangerous to humans, they are largely used for cosmetics and in dietary supplements.
37. Australia Ships Camels to Saudi Arabia
Image Source: I funny
A growing industry in Australia is the shipping and selling of Camels to Saudi Arabia. Having been first introduced to Australia from British India in the 19th century, the camelid population grew into over a million in 2008. Camels were becoming a nuisance and hence Australians began shipping them off. Today, there are 500,000 camels in Australia that are feral, non-native and ruining the environment, so it’s no surprise that shipping them out is the best cost effective measure.
38. Aussie Women Quickly Obtained Voting Rights
Image Source: Raddlet Wire
One of the earliest purposes for Women’s suffrage in Australia was to obtain gender equality. The idea of women being able to vote began to be socially and politically accepted, which accelerated its legislation during the late 19th century. Australian women were granted the right to vote in 1895, 35 years before U.S women could vote. Australia led the way for gender equality as it became the second nation in the world to enroll women to vote, behind our neighbor New Zealand.
39. Australia vs the Pommies
Image Source: Daily Mail
It is no surprise that when the British came to Australia, it was in an effort to flee the Queen’s rule. Australians have always loved to hate the English and blame them for every problem. Pomy stands for “Prisoners of Mother England”, and over the years, the rivalry has built up mostly in the form of cricket.
Every year a test cricket series is played between the two nations and is termed ‘The Ashes’. This marks the first time Australia beat the British at their own game of cricket in 1882, and they said that cricket had died that die. Therefore, the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia with the chance of redemption the following year.
40. Australia is Wine Country
Image Source: The Drinks Business
Australia is the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine in the world, with approximately 740 million liters a year exported. Also, 40% of their yearly home production is consumed domestically. Having more than 60 designated wine regions (a total of 160,000 hectares), there is a “$2.8 billion domestic market for Australian wines, with Australians consuming over 530 million liters annually”. Just under half of all the wine produced is Shiraz and Chardonnay, claiming to be 44% of the total wine production.
41. Australia Has Territorial Sovereignty Over Antarctica
Image Source: Taringa
Australia is among the seven nations that have claimed territory in Antarctica since 1933. The “Australian Antarctic Territory” has an estimated area of 5.8 million square km. The territory is largely inhabited by scientists, with the closest departure point being from Melbourne or Sydney.
42. Australians Are Exposed to Greater Amounts of UV
Image Source: Yahoo Lifestyle
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels in Australia are higher than in Europe, even during summer. Australia is located close to the ozone hole, which primarily covered the Antarctic, and equating to a 15% more UV than in Europe. This means there are more severe levels of UV radiation that reach the soil; coupled with the earth’s orbit, which brings Australia closer to the sun than Europe. Therefore, there is an increasing need of sun-cream and hence Slip Slop Slap!
43. It is Illegal to Wear Hot Pink Pants After Midday
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