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10 facty factoids about Australia

Published January 24th, 2014

If you grew up in Australia, or have spent a fair amount of time here, chances are you know your way around a Vegemite sandwich, have played a few rounds of backyard cricket, worn thongs to the shops and probably ticked off heaps of other ocker clichés in your time.

So, while you can pronounce ‘Indooroopilly’, ‘Wagga Wagga’, ‘Wooloomooloo’, ‘Uluru’ and ‘Prahran’, and understand that Australia is a continent, island and country, and that Tasmania is a state and New Zealand is not, here’s some curious things about our sunburnt land that you may not know. Feel free to rip out one of these factoids at your Australia Day barbie this weekend, stubbie in hand - of course!

 

 

 

  1. The Aboriginal game of marngrook (meaning ‘game ball’ in the Gunditjmara language) is said to have inspired the code for Aussie Rules football.
  2. Australia is currently the third most obese country in the world, with 28 percent of Aussies deemed to be obese (and 63 percent of adults overweight) despite being a world leader in select sports. National Health Performance Authority figures point to Western NSW as Australia’s obesity hotspot. Someone let The Biggest Loser trainers know!
  3. Brisbane is Australia’s hippest city, according to the latest Lonely Planet Australia travel guide.
  4. Ex-Prime Minister Bob Hawke held a Guinness World Record until 1967 for skolling 1.4 litres (or a yard glass) of ale in 11 seconds when he was a Rhodes Scholar student at Oxford University in the 1950s.
  5. Two thirds of the world’s most venomous snakes live in Australia. The world’s most deadly snake is the inland taipan, due to its toxicity, although it has not caused any human deaths.
  6. The wire Dingo Fence in Australia stretches from Eyre Peninsula in South Australia through New South Wales to Dalby in Queensland. It’s the longest fence in the world at 5,614 kilometres and twice as long as the Great Wall of China.
  7. In 1894, Australia was the second country in the world to grant women the right to vote. New Zealand was the first in 1893.
  8. South Australia has the world’s largest working cattle station, Anna Creek, which at 23,677 square kilometres is almost the same size as Belgium.
  9. The first civilian police force in Australia, known as the Night Watch, was formed by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1789 and consisted of 12 of the colony’s best-behaved convicts.
  10. Drop bears do not actually exist.*

(*This fact is only for Aussies, for all overseas travellers we will swear it’s true!)

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.