Australia is a unique country packed full of so many weird, wonderful, and frankly unbelievable facts that you could write a book. Ask Bill Bryson! We have been in this remarkable land for over 6 months now, and we have come across some really fascinating facts that we want to share with you. Here are 20 of our favourites!
LET’S START OFF EASY.
20. Australia’s first police force was made up of the best behaved convicts.
Okay so maybe this isn’t too surprising as Australia was originally used by the British Government as somewhere to relocate criminals. It is slightly ironic though, isn’t it? And it doesn’t stop there, (watch out Game of Thrones fans) the first formal police force was called the Night Watch. I don’t know if there were many icy walls that needed guarding back in a warm 1789, but an armed guard made of convicts called the Night Watch is kinda familiar don’t you think?
19. Per capita, Australians spend more on gambling than any other country on earth.
Gambling and sports-betting in Australia is at a level we have not seen anywhere else in the world. It is seriously crazy. Every bar and hotel (pub) has a row of poker machines (which they call pokies) and Crown Casino in Melbourne, which is open 24/7, is full of people entranced by the lights and the bells of slot machines. I dread to think how much cash goes into those every day for no return.
Almost every advertisement break on Australian TV has at least one advert offering in-play sports bets and during live matches, these adverts are ultra-aggressive. The Economist reckons that across the country, punters lose somewhere in the region of $4.7bn a year! In 2016, the average Aussie lost $990! If that’s not a reason to look at your gambling laws then, I’m not sure what is.
18. If you visited one new beach in Australia every day, it would take over 27 years to see them all.
Australia has the largest coastline of any country on earth so you might expect there to be a ton of beaches. In fact, there are 10865 beaches on this massive island-continent and most of them are glorious. However, if you are a dedicated beach-hopper, it would take you 27 years to visit every beach in the country if you tried a new one every day.
The east coast is blessed with hundreds of beautiful beaches, and although we’ve only been to a handful, we would say they are some of the best in the world.
Australia is famous for its eccentric and unique wildlife. Many species are exclusively native and make up the fabric of national identity. Indeed, before the arrival of humans, there is evidence that Australia was home to ‘megafauna’: three metre tall kangaroos, horse-sized ducks, and a marsupial lion the size of a leopard. Here are some more quirky facts about Aussie wildlife:
17. Kangaroos and Emus cannot walk backwards
There’s not much more to be said about this one, but it is supposedly one of the reasons the two animals are on the Coat of Arms of Australia. It signals the aspirations and determination of all Australians to move forward no matter what the situation. It’s a stirring message, but I would have just thought they were on the coat of arms because they’re Australian.
16. The male platypus has strong enough venom to kill a small dog.
The male platypus is another uniquely Australian creature that looks like an otter with a duck bill. They are rather cute close up and are always busy searching for morsels to eat from riverbeds. However, they have spines in their hind legs which have enough venom to put down a small dog.
These Aussie creatures are starting to sound a little less friendly…
15. Australia is home to some of the most venomous spiders in the world, and 21 of the top 25 deadliest snakes.
Aside from the cuddly koalas and roos, Australia has a reputation for harboring some not so friendly critters; spiders and snakes. It is unbelievable to us that this great country can be the home of 21 out of the 25 most venomous snakes worldwide. Thankfully, we haven’t seen any in the wild in the 8 months we have been here, but we know they are creeping around somewhere.
This fact was tough to research as we are both pretty scared of spiders and there are several venomous species here. However…
14. …There have been no deaths from spider bites since 1979
Spiders are much less dangerous than snakes; there are fewer species, and they are much less aggressive. Sure, you’ll see the odd huntsman chilling in your postbox tutting at your speeding fines, but on the whole, they tend to stay away from you. It’s the snakes you want to worry about, they hide in long grass and in the bush waiting for you to stand on them so they can murder you.
In all seriousness though, we’ve done a fair bit of bush camping here and nothing has ever happened. The closest we came to any wild Aussie creatures was a timid Echidna that waddled past us on a walk in Melbourne.
13. 1 Million wild camels roam the deserts of central and western Australia
Believe it or not, there are over 1 million wild camels living in Australia’s deserts. They are remnants from Australia’s infrastructure building days when they were used for the construction of train lines and the likes. Now they are seen as vermin and are actually sold to Saudi Arabia for the food industry.
12. Wombat Poo is square!
These fellas are part of the indigenous Australian marsupial family and live in burrows where they sleep most of the day. They have a unique way of marking their territory, they drop cubed-shaped poos around the perimeter to warn off other would-be wombat invaders.
11. The average Aussie drinks up to 96 litres of beer per year.
Now here’s a fact I can fully believe. Despite the fact that Foster’s is rarely on any tap in any bar in the country, Aussie’s do get through their fair share of booze. The amount that we’ve got through in 8 months probably contributed to that total!
In fact, it’s probably time to crack open a coldie now.
10. AFL was first created to help cricketers stay fit in the off-season…
Aussie Rules aka the Australian Football League, is the national sport of Australia. Its fast-paced, very aggressive, extremely physical, and super fun to watch – even if you’re a foreigner who doesn’t know the rules. We’ve been to a few games this year and loved the sport. It’s kind of like rugby crossed with Gaelic football, but to the newbie, it seems like a violent free-for-all with no rules. Originally it was created to help keep cricketers warm and fit in the winter season, but now its a well-established, fair dinkum Aussie sport.
9. Australia’s internet speeds are worse than Latvia, Kenya, and the isle of man – they are 50th in the world.
It’s pretty much a national disgrace that internet speeds are so poor. They are worse than in New Zealand, a country with more sheep than humans! I suppose the saving grace, is that mobile network coverage is excellent; I’m quite sure it’s even better than in the UK. The government is gradually installing the National Broadband Network which will finally bring Aussie dial-up speeds into the 21st century. But hey, Australia is an unbelievably huge country, you try installing fibre-optic cables through mountains and deserts.
8. There are 60 blissful wine regions.
Australia is famous for its wine. There is no doubt about it and some of it is the best in the world. We actually live in the Yarra Valley region, but wine enthusiasts will recognize the Hunter Valley, Adelaide Hills, and Barossa Valley regions.
7. Meat pies with ketchup are pretty much a national dish.
You get them at the football, you get them in TV adverts, and this year there is even a campaign to ‘save our Aussie slang’ on the packaging of Four N Twenty Pies because the pies are so popular.
6. Canberra was created in 1908 when Melbourne and Sydney couldn’t decide who would be the capital city.
It was a hasty solution, but the city of Canberra was built in 1908 to end arguments between Australia’s biggest cities Melbourne and Sydney. Both major cities felt that they should be chosen as the capital, with Sydney threatening not to join the federation if they were rejected. It turns out that the reasons for rejection was that they were coastal and experienced hot summers. At the time, it was deemed that these were undesirable qualities, and so Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory was born.
5. An Australian election TV debate was rescheduled so it didn’t conflict with the finale of reality cooking show Masterchef.
Reality TV is hugely popular in Australia – Aussies love it. They love The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Married at First Sight, My Kitchen Rules, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, The Great Pottery Throwdown, The Voice AU, The X Factor, Australia’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent… need I go on?
There is one show in particular which gripped audiences so much that a general election debate due to be aired at the same time was rescheduled so that people could watch it. That show was Masterchef.
4. Prime minister harold holt popped into the sea for swim and was never heard from again.
It’s perhaps a little morbid, even tragic, but the fact that a Prime Minister can just disappear as Holt did is fascinating. Holt visited Cheviot Beach in Victoria and waded into a fierce surf with strong waves for a swim. He soon disappeared from view and his body has never been recovered.
3. Australia has had 4 prime ministers in 7 years.
Australians are pretty sick of elections and their politicians. Since 2010, there have been four changes of leadership and one election. Party leaders have been ousted three times, and one of them was Prime Minister twice! In 2010, Kevin Rudd, of the Labor Party was deposed by Julia Gillard, who became Australia’s first female premier. Rudd spent three years polishing his knife until June 2013, when, thrusting it into Gillard’s back, he retook power. Then in 2015, Rudd lost a General Election to Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party, once again losing power.
It gets better because nearly 2 years after his own election victory, Abbott too was deposed by the current PM, Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull has since won an election and plans to continue on into 2019. Australians have somewhat lost faith with their leaders, and Aussie politics was seen as a bit of a joke. That is until Brexit and President Trump…
2. Melbourne was temporarily called Batmania.
Another one for the eccentricity stakes of Australia, its’ city of culture and arts, Melbourne, could have been called Batmania. And no it isn’t a celebration of all things Bruce Wayne, but a commemoration of one of the founders of the city, John Batman. He had a name that struck fear into all the green-haired, purple-suited, make-up wearing villains of the day. In reality though, he was a pastoral farmer in search of lands on which he could graze cattle. His life was filled with many controversies, but his name lives on in Australian history.
1. Approximately 25% of Australians are immigrants.
According to the census of 2011, 25% of Australian residents were not born in Australia. That is a testament to the beauty of the country. The beautiful coastlines, the wonderful weather, the laid-back lifestyle, the opportunity; it’s all here and it makes for an attractive place to aspire to a better life. There is some resistance to the levels of immigration but, on the whole, Australia is a pretty good model of multiculturalism, and how integration can work when given the chance.
What is your favourite fact about Australia Fair? Let us know below!
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