The world is a weird and wonderful place. Tonnes of odd things have happened all over this sphere shaped rock we call home and Australia is no different. We’ve compiled a list of mildly interesting facts that at the very least will make you go “hmm, that’s kind of interesting”.
Australian’s Invented Some Amazing Things
Image thanks to The Keyword
We’re not trying to be biased (even if we are a bit biased) but Aussies are some really amazing people. In fact for a relatively small country, Australia has a slew of world changing inventions. Aussies created Wi-Fi, electronic pacemakers, electric drills, ultrasound scanners and more. Probably one of the biggest Aussie inventions is Google Maps. Back in the early 2000’s Lars and Jens Rasmussen developed the platform that would eventually become google maps. Alongside Stephen Ma and Neil Gorden they founded a small start-up which was eventually bought by a little company called Google. The platform they developed was turned into google maps and now you never have to awkwardly ask for directions from a stranger.
Melbourne Used To Be "Batmania"
Image thanks to TheUIJunkie
Melbourne was briefly named 'Batmania' after one of its founders, John Batman. Before being officially named Melbourne, the town had several interim names including Bearbrass, Bareport, Bareheep, Barehurp, and Bareberp. Melbourne has since honoured the name around the city such as Batman Park
Australia Made the First Feature Film
Image thanks to The National Film and Sound Archive
Over 100 years ago back in 1906 Australians created the first feature film ever made. The Story of the Kelly Gang. Running for just over an hour (it had a film reel length of about 1,200 meters) the film does what it says on the tin. It chronicles the story of Australian legend and outlaw, Ned Kelly and his gang, from their uprising all the way up to the famous shootout at Glenrowan. The film was a smash hit success and made 25 times its budget in the box office.
There’s Over 150 ‘Big Things’ In Australia
Image thanks to Johnysweb
Australia has an obsession with oversized versions of things. They’re everywhere. Spread all around the country, in total Australia has over 150 known big things. Meaning that there are some big things we don’t even know about yet. While they mostly serve as roadside tourist attractions in small towns, some of these big things have become even larger than life, garnering worldwide attention. There’s the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, the Big Boxing Crocodile in Humpty Doo (pictured above) and even the Big Ayers Rock, which ironically, is actually smaller than the real Ayers Rock.
Each Week, 70 Tourists Overstay Their Visas
Image thanks to Gifer
We all love Australia and everybody wants to enjoy the most liveable country in the world, but almost 70 new illegal overstayers go missing every week in Australia and there are now 60,000 who cannot be found by immigration authorities.
Every Aussie Drinks Around 9.39 Litres of Alcohol a Year
Image thanks to Concrete Playground
Australia is a nation of beer drinkers. In fact last year the average Australian drank 9.39 litres of pure alcohol, that’s about 224 stubbies or 38 per person per year! One of the most famous Aussie drinkers was the late prime minister Bob Hawke, who was always down for a beer or two and was well known for skulling a beer at the SCG back in 2012.
We Lost Our Prime Minister
Image thanks to the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts
We’ve all had a lost sock that seems to have disappeared into the ether, never to be found again, but this situation is a little more serious than one cold foot. Back on the 17th of December, 1967, the current Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared while swimming near Portsea, Victoria.
There was a major search for the Prime Minister but no trace of him could be found. Harold was eventually pronounced dead in absentia and there was a memorial five days later. Although there are loads of conspiracies surrounding the disappearance it’s widely agreed he died drowning in the sea. Ironically Melbourne has a public swimming pool named the Harold Holt Memorial Swim Center named after him in his memory.
Australia is WAY Bigger Than You Think.
Image thanks to Buzzfeed
Australia is big. Like really big. In fact, Australia is the world’s largest island. Although we don’t have the population to match it, we’ve got an area of nearly 7.7million square kilometres putting us at the 6th largest nation on earth. This makes Australia 20.6 times bigger than Japan, 14 times bigger than France and 2.4 times bigger than India. Even with all this space, most Aussies elect to stay around the edges of the country because the center is just too darn hot.
Before 1902, It Was Illegal To Swim At The Beach During The Day
Image thanks to the Daily Telegraph
Australia's first official surf lifesaving club - the first in the world - was founded at Bondi Beach, in Sydney, in 1906. There was little need for surf lifesaving clubs much before this time as it was illegal to swim in the surf during daylight hours before 1902. It was seen as immoral, and men and women could only 'bathe' in the early morning and late evening, and never at the same time!
Australia Had a War with Emus. We Lost.
Image thanks to Smith Journal
After World War 1 a large number of ex-soldiers from Australia were given land by the government for farming. The problem was the land they got was the home of about 20,000 emus. The farmers weren’t happy about this at all as the emus destroyed ravaged their crops. They told the Australian government who gathered the troops and went to battle. The government showed up with a number of soldiers, two lewis guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition. If you do the math, that’s about half the bullets needed to beat all the emus if you’ve got perfect aim. The first attempt was a failure, after sighting a group of over 1,000 emus the guns jammed after hitting only 12 birds, the rest scattered and ran off.
The army then withdrew and planned for the second attempt. This was only mildly more successful, probably because they brought more ammo. The initial attack ended in about 300 emus killed, which is about 1.5% of the population. The government started to question if it was even worth attempting to finish the cull, but the minister of defence stood by the decision (although he did end up being called the Minister of the Emu war). The second half of this attempt was the most successful by far, resulting in just over 12,000 emus killed.
In the end, the whole ordeal didn’t even stop the emus from destroying farmers crops and was seen as a failure. The final score, Emus: 1 - Australia: 0.
It’s the End. That’s a Fact.
There’s loads of interesting facts out there about Australia, and even loads of fake facts. Don’t be fooled by sly Aussies trying to trick you into believing drop bears and bunyips will kill, we ride kangaroos to work and the Sydney Harbour Bridge connects Australia to New Zealand. However we definitely did lose to a pack of emus, lose our Prime Minister at the beach and lose a bit of sobriety after a few too many drinks.
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