The land down under, home to the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House, vegemite, kangaroos and wine. What springs to mind when Australia is mentioned? Boomerangs and the Outback? Steve Erwin, Nicole Kidman or Hugh Jackman? It’s no secret that Australia has a lot to offer but there is so much more to this country than you may think.
Fun Facts About the Land Down Under
A Sporty Nation
- Australia’s capital was dubbed Sports Capital of the world, due to 70% of the total population participating in recreational activity or sport at least once a week. This is not surprising if you consider that more than 85% of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the the coast, making Australia one of the most urbanised coastal region populations in the world.
- The now nationwide sport Aussie Rules footy was originally designed to keep Cricketers fit during the off seasons. Now this sport is one of the most popular in the country, among rugby, soccer and cricket.
- In 1789 Governor Arthur Phillip’s appointed Australia’s first police force, the Night Watch and the Row Boat Guard were made up of the best-behaved convicts. Despite having a history of being a convict colony, the homicide rate compared to the United States is notably less. With 1.2 per 100,000 Australian population to the 6.3 per 100,00 of United States.
- Ever hear an Australian refer to a English person as a Pome? This slang is surprisingly actually an acronym for Prisoners of Mother England.
Go The Distance
- To get an idea of the size of Australia, the distance between London to Moscow equates to the width of the entire country. Populated with over 10,000 beautiful beaches that if you visited one new beach every day, it would take a total of 27 years for you to have visited them all. To add to this the famous Great Barrier Reef is the planes largest living structure, which even has its own postbox.
- Placed third in the world for having the largest ocean territory, Australia spans three oceans and covers around 12 million square kilometres. Not only this but located in Southern Australia is Anna Creek Station. This 34,000 square kilometre cattle station is the largest in the world. It’s certainly an impressive collection of titles and with being the only nation-continent with a tally of 20 million people its mind blowing when you consider that 91% or approximately 7 million square kilometres of the continent is covered by vegetation.
- Surprisingly Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano. Not only that but did you know that the Australian Alps can on times receive more snowfall than Switzerland?
- For the early settlers Rum was the currency of choice, used to pay military officers in lieu of money and prisoners for menial labour. This was abandoned when harsher rules were put in place by the soon nicknamed Rum Corps. Seizing control over land, supplies and labour.
- In 1954, Bob Hawke entered the Guinness Book of Records when he drank a yard glass of ale in under 12 seconds. The Prime Minister later parlayed his drinking skills to being a man of the people and this earning him the title of Australia’s most popular Prime Minister.
- You can thank this boozy nation for the invention of the Wine Cask. Boxed wine is consumed worldwide but it was the Australians who came up with the idea. Commonly referred to as Goon Sack, a cheap wine designed to get people intoxicated at an impressive speed (drink with caution).
- It was once tallied that the average Aussie drinks 96 litres of beer every year, and even though it is ranked as 3rd in the world for its sporty nation, around 63% of the population is overweight.
- As one of the world’s biggest names in the wine industry, there are over 60 designated wine regions across Australia. Approximately 1.34 trillion bottles of wine are produced by Australia every year.
Critters Of The Land
- Australia has more kangaroos than people, impressive when you quantify that Australia’s population is over 20 million.
- Also like the Kangaroo, Emus cannot walk backwards, this being one of the reasons they are present on the coat of arms. This makes Australia the only country in the entire world that eats an animal from their coat of arms. Available in most supermarkets, butchers and restaurants, kangaroo is sold as an alternative to beef or lamb as it is healthier with only 1-2% of it containing fat.
- A country renowned for their wildlife, it is reported that 75% of Australia’s living species are still unknown to humans. With creators of all walks of life, Australia is home to an impressive array of species, being the only country where you can still find the Lung Fish. This is a living fossil from the Triassic period from over 350 million years ago.
- When first brought over to Britain, the Platypus was thought to be part of a practical joke from their overseas visitors. Unbeknown to them the deservingly gentle looking platypus has venom strong enough to kill a small dog.
- The notorious Box Jellyfish has killed more people in Australia than Stonefish, Sharks and crocodiles combined.
- Home to many dangerous creators, Australia has 20 of the top 25 most deadly snakes listed. Numbers 1 to 11 all originate from the continent, as well as the inland Taipan which is the number 1 most deadliest snakes in the world.
- Saudi Arabia import camels from Australia (mostly for meat production). The Feral Camel Management Program was launched to combat against the “pest control” of camels in the outbreak. There was a reported record of over one million feral camels at one point in time, this being the reason for the $19m program to be launched.
- Hot on the heels of New Zealand’s law change to legalise women’s right to vote, Australia became the second country to follow suit and bring the law in too.
- Australia Day is a National holiday that celebrates the diversity of Australian society, it is a celebration about accepting people regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, racial differences or their personal political viewpoints. Australia is a mixture of multicultural people, with Indigenous people and migrants from all over the globe. There are over 200 different languages and dialects spoken, including 45 Indigenous languages alone. Melbourne is said to be the second largest “Greek City” second to Athens, over 47% of the Australian Greek community call Melbourne home.
- The worlds “first flash” mob took place in 1832 at a Tasmanian prison when 300 women inmates came together in an act of solidarity against the guards and bared their butts at the visiting Governor during an assembly. Collectively the female convicts from Cascades Female Factory spun around, lifted their skirts and shook their bottoms whilst slapping their bare skin and tooting ugly noises, aimed at Sir John Franklin, his wife and the reverend William Bedford. This therefore creating the world’s first ever “flash mob”.