Strange Facts About Australia
Strange Facts About Australia
The lowest annual rainfall occurs at Lake Eyre in South Australia, with an annual mean precipitation of about 100mm.
The highest annual rainfall occurs at Tully in Queensland, with an annual mean precipitation of 4400mm.
The lowest overnight ground temperatures recorded in Australia were at Canberra with -15.1 degrees, and Stanthorpe in Queensland with -11.0 degrees.
The foggiest capital city in Australia is Canberra with an annual average of 47 fog days, Brisbane with 20 days, and Darwin with 2 days.
Melville Island (5698km square), near Darwin, is the largest Island in Australian Waters (apart from Tasmania).
The highest point in Australia is the top of Mt Kosciusko in New South Wales (2230 metres).
The lowest point in Australia is 15 metres below sea level at Lake Eyre in South Australia.
The largest lakes in Australia include Lake Eyre (9500km2), Lake Torrens (5900km2) and Lake Gairdner (4300km2) which are all in South Australia.
The largest artificial lake in Australia is Lake Argyle (700km2) which is in Western Australia.
The Deepest lake in Australia is Lake St Clair.
The Murray River is the longest river in Australia at 2520km, combining with the Darling and Upper Darling Rivers to form the Murray-Darling basin. The Murray Darling extends over 15% of the continent, and serving 4 States and the ACT with water. The Murray also supports about 1/3 of Australia's agricultural production, supports 50% of Australia's sheep and croplands, and 25% of beef and dairy herds, contains about 62% of the country's irrigated land and supplies 50% of South Australia's water.
The continental shelf below Australia varies in width between 30km and 240km.
Swimming - In 1838 it was declared illegal to swim at public beaches during the day! This law was enforced until 1902.
The secret ballot was first used in Victoria and South Australia following the granting of responsible government. Other states introduced secret ballots as follows: 1856 - Victoria & South Australia 1858 - New South Wales & Tasmania 1859 - Queensland 1893 - Western Australia. The secret ballot was referred to as 'kangaroo voting'. World wide, secret voting is often referred to as the 'Australian ballot.
Female vote - Australia was the second country to give women the vote.
Independence for WA- In April 1933, 68 per cent of West Australians voted in favour of seceding from the Commonwealth of Australia. However, they needed permission from the British Parliament before they could officially become a new country. Meanwhile, Australia's Federal Parliament was arguing that Britain should not interfere in Australian politics. The end result was that Britain never made a decision. Consequently, Western Australian remained part of the Commonwealth.
In 1954, Bob Hawke was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Bob later became the Prime Minister of Australia.
Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach, near Portsea on 17th December 1967, and was never seen again. The event has been referred to as 'the swim that needed no towel'.
Until 1984, Australia's National anthem was "God save the Queen/King."
Cartoonists - A cartoon is a drawing that makes a satirical, witty, or humorous point. On 17 July 1924, the world's first society of cartoonists, the Black and White Artists' Society, was formed in Sydney.
Australia day - January 26, Australia day, is the anniversary of ships arriving in Sydney carrying a load of Convicts.
Australia was the 3rd country, after the US and Russia, to launch a satellite into orbit. It was for the British, using a 'Blue Streak' rocket
A census taken in 1828 found that half the population of New South Wales were Convicts, and that former Convicts made up nearly half of the free population.
It is estimated that by the time transportation ended in 1868, 40 per cent of Australia's English-speaking population were convicts.
In 2007, it was estimated that 22 per cent of living Australians had a convict ancestor.
Convicts were not sent to Australia for serious crimes. Serious crimes, such as murder, or rape were given the death sentence in England. Crimes punishable by transportation included recommending that politicians get paid, starting a union, stealing fish from a river or pond, embezzlement, receiving or buying stolen goods, setting fire to underwood, petty theft, or being suspected of supporting Irish terrorism.
Alcohol- It has been reported that the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per head of population than any other community in the history of mankind.
Police force - Australia's first police force was a band of 12 of the most well behaved Convicts.
The echidna is such a unique animal that it is classified in a special class of mammals known as monotremes, which it shares only with the platypus. The echidna lays eggs like a duck but suckles its young in a pouch like a kangaroo. For no apparent reason, it may decide to conserve energy by dropping its body temperature to 4 degrees and remain at that temperature from 4 to 120 days. Lab experiments have shown that the echidna is more intelligent that a cat and it has been seen using its spikes, feet and beaks to climb up crevices like a mountaineer edging up a rock chimney.
Purple wallaby - The Purple-neck Rock Wallaby [Petrogale Purpureicollis], inhabits the Mt Isa region in Northwest Queensland. The Wallaby secretes a dye that transforms its face and neck into colours ranging from light pink to bright purple.
The Fierce Snake or Inland Taipan has the most toxic venom of any snake. Maximum yield recorded (for one bite) is 110mg. That would probably be enough to kill over 100 people or 250,000 mice.
The Wombat deposits square poos on logs, rocks and even upright sticks that it uses tomark its territory.
A 10kg Tasmanian Devil is able to exert the same biting pressure as a 40kg dog. It can also eat almost a third of its body weight in a single feeding.
Australia is the smallest, flattest, and driest inhabited continent in the world. It is the only country which is also a whole continent.
Over 90% of Australia is dry, flat and arid. Almost three-quarters of the land cannot support agriculture in any form.
A baby kangaroo at the time of its birth measures 2 centimetres.
Kangaroos need very little water to survive and are capable of going for months without drinking at all. When they do need water, they dig 'wells' for themselves; frequently going as deep as three or four feet. These 'kangaroo pits' are a common source of water for other animals living in the kangaroo's environment.
A kangaroo being chased by a dog may jump into a dam. If the dog gives chase, the kangaroo may turn towards the dog, then use its paws to push the dogs head underwater in order to drown it.
Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.
A monotreme is a animal that lays eggs and suckles its young. The world's only monotremes are the platypus and the echidna.
The male platypus has a poisonous spine that can kill a dog and inflict immense pain on a human.
When a specimen of the platypus was first sent to England, it was believed the Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.
Box Jelly fish - The box jellyfish is considered the world's most venomous marine creature. The box jellyfish has killed more people in Australia than stonefish, sharks and crocodiles combined.
The Sydney Funnelweb spider is considered the world's most deadly spider. It is the only spider that has killed people in less than 2 hours. Its fangs are powerful enough to bite through gloves and fingernails. The only animals without immunity to the funnelweb's venom are humans and monkeys.
Lung fish - Queensland is home to lung fish, a living fossil from the Triassic period 350 million years ago.
Mungo man - In 1974, scientists discovered the Mungo man - a primate who was ritually buried 40-60,000 years ago . ANU's John Curtin School of Medical Research found that the skeleton's genetic material contained a small section of mitochondrial DNA. It was analysed and compared to the genetic material from nearly 3,500 people; including Neanderthals, Asians, ancient Aborigines, and present-day Aborigines. It was found that Mungo Man's DNA lacked a gene that was common to all the other samples. Consequently, unlike every other known person on the planet, or unearthed skeleton, Mungo man can not be traced to humans that left Africa any time in the last 200,000 years.
Gracile - 50, 000 years ago, the more slender 'Gracile' people; the ancestors of Australian Aborigines, arrived in Australia. At the time of their settlement/invasion, the Gracile were the most technologically advanced people in the world.
Tasmanian Aborigine - The Tasmanian Aborigine was of a different race to those on the mainland with features more similar to Africans. No full bloods live today.
Gold Rush - During the Gold rush of the 1850's, Australia received massive waves of migration from China, America, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England.
People: 92% Caucasian descent, 7% Asian descent, 1% Aboriginal descent.
Post World War II - From 1945 through 1996, nearly 5.5 million immigrants settled in Australia.
Australian Football was invented by Sydney Tom Wills and Henry Harrison - both were both born in Sydney. Tom played the Aboriginal game of Mangrook as a child and it is believed the native game inspired the rules he initially proposed. The game then took hold in Victoria, and was largely rejected by Sydney.
America's cup - In 1983, the yacht "Australia II" ended the Americans 132 year dominance of the America's cup
Sydney Olympics - The Sydney Olympics were labelled the 'best ever games' by IOC president Juan Samaranch. What makes this a particularly sweet accolade for Australians is that they followed the Atlanta Olympics - staged by Americans.
The day of the Melbourne Cup (a horse race!) is a public holiday in Melbourne.
Sydney - Australia's first and largest city. Also known as Sin City. Wanted to be Capital of Australia but its convict stigma counted against it.
Melbourne - Wanted to be the Capital of Australia on the basis that it was the home to the Australian establishment and was not founded by Convicts. (Founded by John Batman; son of a Convict)
Canberra - Because Sydney and Melbourne kept bickering over which city should be the capital of Australia, it was decided that neither of them would be capital and instead, a new capital would be built in the middle of them both.
Hobart - Australia's second oldest city. The too-frequent visits by French explorers concerned the British authorities and in 1803 it was decided that a colony should be established on the island to secure British territorial claims. Convicts were then sent.
Newcastle - Newcastle's coal deposits were discovered by a party hunting escaped Convicts. Sydney's difficult Convicts were then sent to Newcastle to mine the coal. Known as an egalitarian city where miners and winemakers share a beer or a fine drop.
Adelaide - Claim to fame is that it is a City that has lots of Churches. Adelaide is the Capital of the only Australian state never to have received Convicts. Is universally recognised as a hole.
Perth - The last Australian state to receive Convicts. It has been said most of them now work in parliament or business.
Brisbane - In 1824, a southern state governor sent a party of difficult Convicts to found a new settlement in Queensland. These days, southern state children send their difficult parents to Queensland to retire. Also a Mecca for Southern State teenagers who upon finishing school, head north for a week of booze and debauchery.
Long fence - The 'dingo fence' in Australia is the longest fence in the world, and is about twice as long as the Great Wall of China.
Waltzing Matilda - 'Waltzing Matilda' the title of Australia's most famous song, is German for 'carrying a backpack'.
Bludger - Australians refer to lazy people as 'bludgers'. The word is derived from 'bludgeoner' which is a prostitute's standover man.
Larrikin - A larrikin is a comical, roguish individual who is prone to rowdy and unruly behaviour. The term was coined from an Irish policeman in a Melbourne court, claiming the prisoner was "larkin about".
POME - Australians refer to English people as Poms or Pome. This is an acronym for Prisoners of Mother England. May have originally been an abbreviation for pomegranate which is Convict rhyming slang for immigrant.
The name Australia comes from the Latin Terra Australis Incognito which means the Unknown Southern Land.
Seppo - Australians may refer to Americans as 'Seppos'. This is an abbreviation for 'Septic Tank' which is rhyming slang for 'Yank'.
Drongo - Australians may refer to fools, idiots and hopeless cases as Drongos. Drongo was a 1920's racehorse that showed promise but never won anything in 37 starts. In the 1940s, the term was applied to recruits of the Australian airforce.
Digger - Australian servicemen are referred to as Diggers. This term comes from miners on the Australian goldfields of the 1800's.
Kangaroo - The name for the Australian marsupial Kangaroo came about when some of the first white settlers saw this strange animal hopping along and they asked the Aborigines what it was called. They replied with 'Kanguru', which in the native language meant 'I don't know' .
Moomba - The city of Melbourne has a cultural festival using the Aboriginal word Moomba. It seems the festival's initial organisers asked the local Aborigines to suggest a name, and were told that moomba means 'lets get together and have fun.' The grateful organisers subsequently used the name. In hindsight, the organisers really should have been suspicious that 'lets get together and have fun' could be expressed in two syllables. In reality, 'moom' means 'bum', 'buttocks', or 'anus', while the suffix 'ba' means 'in', 'at' or 'on'. So moomba actually means 'in the bum.'
Yowies- Like the American big foot, the yowie emits a vile odour and screams offensively. Numerous sightings of Yowies have turned out to be escaped mental patients or hermits in jungle attire.
Lost Prime Minister - In 1967, Harold Holt, the Prime Minister of Australia went for a swim at the beach and was never seen again. Theories about his disappearance include kidnapping by a Russian submarine, eaten by a shark or being carried away by the tide.
Bunyips - Bunyips haunt rivers, swamps, creeks and billabongs. Their main goal in life is to cause nocturnal terror by eating people or animals in their vicinity. They are renowned for their terrifying bellowing cries in the night and have been known to frighten Aborigines to the point where they would not approach any water source where a Bunyip might be waiting to devour them. Some scientists believe the Bunyip was a real animal, the diprotodon, extinct for some 20,000 years.
The Bradshaws - The Australian Kimberley is home to a mysterious form of rock art known as the Bradshaws. The art is dispersed in around 100 000 sites spread over 50 000 sq. km. Although the art's pigment can't be dated, a fossilised wasp nest covering one of the paintings has been dated at 17,000 + years old. This makes the art at least four times older than the pyramids.The Bradshaws depict people with straight hair and poney tails. One painting even depicts a boat, with a rudder, and 29 people on board. Unlike other Aboriginal art, it is not known what purpose the Bradshaw paintings served. Graham Walsh, the foremost expert on them, has suggested that they might be a form of iconography(picture writing) painted by a now extinct Asiastic race.
Phar lap - Phar Lap was Australia's greatest race horse winning 37 of his 51 starts. After handicappers saddled him with enough weight to stop a train, his owner took him overseas to race in America. He easily won his first race but then died in mysterious circumstances.
Popularly known as the Kings Cross Witch, she was hounded by the media who seized on her alleged satanic rituals, sex orgies and drug-taking. When asked whether she ever considered leading an ordinary life, she exclaimed: "Oh God no, I couldn't stand it! I'd go mad or sane. I don't know which."
Homicide - Australia was founded by Convicts. Its homicide rate is 1.8 per 100,000 population. The United States was founded by religious zealots. It's homicide rate is 6.3 per 100,000. Almost 400% greater than Australia.
The ocker - 10 percent of Australians satisfy the definition of an 'ocker' . This 10 percent of the population consume 80 percent of the beer drunk in Australia.
Urban dwellers - Australia is one of the world's most urbanised countries, with about 70 per cent of the population living in the 10 largest cities.
Gambling - Per Capita, Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation. With less than 1 percent of the world's population, Australia has more than 20 percent of its poker machines.
Australia's expenditure on arts products ranks among the highest in developed countries.
The average world population density is 117 people per square mile, that of the United States 76 and that of Macao is 69,000. Australia's is only 6.
Employment of Australians - 80% service sector 14% manufacturing 5% rural.
2.3 percent of Australia's GDP is derived from agriculture.
15 percent of Australia's GDP is derived from mining.
.02 percent of the Australian land mass is used by mines. More land is occupied by pubs.
Rabbits - For each person in Australia there are two sheep and over 16 rabbits, the latter introduced in 1859 by one enterprising man who brought 24 wild rabbits from England in an effort to remind him of home.