One avid readers of this blog who knows how much I enjoy trivia sent me a list of 88 weird and wonderful facts about Australia.
As a tribute to Australia Day I’m going to share half of them with you today and the rest tomorrow.
1. Australia is as wide as the distance between London to Moscow.
2. The biggest property in Australia is bigger than Belgium.
3. More than 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast
4. In 1880, Melbourne was the richest city in the world.
5. Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, earns $1 million every half hour, or $598 every second.
6. In 1892, a group of 200 Australians unhappy with the government tried to start an offshoot colony in Paraguay to be called ‘New Australia’.
7. The first photos from the 1969 moon landing were beamed to the rest of the world from Honeysuckle Tracking Station, near Canberra.
8. Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote (New Zealand was first)
9. Each week, 70 tourists overstay their visas.
10. In 1856, stonemasons took action to ensure a standard of 8-hour working days, which then became recognised worldwide.
11 Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a world record for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Hawke later suggested that this was the reason for his great political success.
12. The world’s oldest fossil, which is about 3.4 billion years old, was found in Australia.
13. Australia is very sparsely populated: The UK has 248.25 persons per square kilometre, while Australia has only 2.66 persons per square kilometre.
14. Australia’s first police force was made up of the most well-behaved convicts.
15. Australia has the highest electricity prices in the world. Due to the iniquitous carbon tax.
16 There were over one million feral camels in outback Australia, until the government launched the $19m Feral Camel Management Program, which aims to keep the pest problem under control.
17. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia (mostly for meat production).
18. Qantas once powered an interstate flight with cooking oil.
19. Per capita, Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation.
20. In 1832, 300 female convicts mooned the governor of Tasmania. It was said that in a “rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor’s party could not control their laughter.”
21. Australia is home to the longest fence in the world It is 5,614 km long, and was originally built to keep dingoes away from fertile land. Strangely, it’s known as “The rabbit proof fence”
22. Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations.
23. Melbourne is considered the sporting capital of the world, as it has more top level sport available for its citizens than anywhere else.
24. Before the arrival of humans, Australia was home to megafauna: three metre tall kangaroos, seven metre long goanna’s, horse-sized ducks, and a marsupial lion the size of a leopard.
25. Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backward, one of the reasons that they’re on the Australian coat of arms.
26. Speaking of which, Australia is one of the only countries where we eat the animals on our coat of arms.
27. If you visited one new beach in Australia every day, it would take over 27 years to see them all.
28. Melbourne has the world’s largest Greek population outside of Athens.
29. The Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest living structure.
30. And it has it’s own postbox!
31. The male platypus has venom strong enough to kill a small dog.
32. And when the platypus was first sent to England, it was believed the Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill and feet of a duck onto a rat.
33. Before 1902, it was illegal to swim at the beach during the day.
34. A retired cavalry officer, Francis De Groot stole the show when the Sydney Harbour Bridge officially opened.
Just as the Premier was about to cut the ribbon, De Groot charged forward on his horse and cut it himself, with his sword.
The ribbon had to be retied, and De Groot was carted off to a mental hospital. He was later charged for the cost of one ribbon.
35. Australia has 3.3x more sheep than people.
36. Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach, and was never seen again.
37. Australia’s national anthem was ‘God Save The King/Queen’ until 1984.
38. Wombat poo is cube shaped! This helps it mark its territory.
39. European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per capita than any other society in history.
40. The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than Switzerland.
41. A kangaroo is only one centimetre long when it is born.
42. Sir John Robertson, a five-time premier of NSW in the 1800s, began every morning with half a pint of rum.
He said: “None of the men who in this country have left footprints behind them have been cold water men.”
43. The box jellyfish has killed more people in Australia than stonefish, sharks and crocodiles combined.
44. Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.
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