Crikey! Ten things you never knew about Australia….

Crikey! Ten things you never knew about Australia….

You may know that Australia is home to 7 out of 10 of the world’s deadliest snakes, you might even know what a billabong is and you definitely know that Aussies talk a bit funny, but did you also know that Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service is the largest medical practice in the world? Here are a few more things you (possibly) never knew about our favourite land Down Under…

(1) The didgeridoo is one of the world’s oldest musical instruments

The didgeridoo has become a symbol of Aboriginal music and is thought to have been around for about 2000 years. Not all Aboriginal groups had them however – Didgeridoos were originally found in Arnhem Land and known as ‘yidaki’. These quintessentially Aussie instruments are made from tree trunks and branches that have been hollowed out by termites.

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(2) Australia Day commemorates the arrival of European settlement in Australia on 26 January 1788

Eleven ships made up the First Fleet and took 251 days to travel from England to Australia. On board were 770 convicts, 700 crew, personnel and families, 209 fowls, 74 pigs, 35 ducks, 29 sheep, 29 geese, 19 goats, 18 turkeys, 5 cows, 4 stallions, 3 mares and 2 bulls.

(3) The Great Barrier Reef is bigger than the UK

The reef is the world’s longest reef at 2,300 kilometres long and is the most extensive structure built by living creatures. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is 348,000 square kilometres and is the largest World Heritage Area.

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(4) Aboriginal words are commonly used in everyday Australian language

Besides place names, there are many Aboriginal words used in the Australian language. For example: Yakka means work; Yabba means talk; Cooee is a cry made to signal one’s presence; a Willy-willy is a sudden circling gust of wind; and a Billabong is a water hole.

(5) There are more than 100,000 individual rock art sites

These range in size from a handful of images to galleries containing hundreds of individual motifs, overlapping in elaborate, lengthy sequences depicting various Dreamtime legends and stories from the past.

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(6) The Esky was invented in Australia in the 1950s

It was invented because there was a strong desire for a portable beer cooler. Now if that doesn’t support your favourite Aussie stereotype then nothing will!

(7) More than 750 species of birds have been recorded in Australia

350 of these are found nowhere else in the world! Among them are the kookaburra, the rainbow lorikeet and fairy penguins.

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(8) The site for Australia’s capital Canberra was chosen in 1908 as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne

It is situated 280km from Sydney and 660km from Melbourne. When you visit you will see signs of the ongoing rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney with one side of the main thoroughfare, Northbourne Avenue, flanked by The Melbourne Building and the other side flanked by The Sydney Building.

(9) Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backwards

The tallest marsupial on Earth, the red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) and the emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) are featured on the Australian Coat of Arms. It is thought the kangaroo and emu were chosen to symbolise a nation moving forward.

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(10) If you were to take away the pylons on the Sydney Harbour Bridge it would not fall down

The pylons serve no structural purpose.  They were added only to make the bridge look more stable!

N.B. Thank you to Tourism Australia for these fun facts!

What other little known facts do you know about Australia? Share them with us below and tell us what makes Australia so unique to you!…


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  1. January 10, 09:58 #1 Aisleen Author

    Ah yes, the stubby cooler! fantastic invention. We are the proud owners of a few of these! As fot the Drop Bears, i’m guessing you haven’t seen the TV show “I’m a Celebrity…get me out of here!” where we send all our celebs to stay in the jungle in Queensland. Drop Bears are a made up species that apparently ‘drop’ out of the trees and attack innocent campers!

  2. January 09, 21:40 #2 Ian [EagerExistence]

    But no one says “Willy-willy”, the other ones are commonly used.

    Oh, and 6… you forgot stubby coolers. I give them away as gifts to CouchSurfing hosts in Europe, and I always have to explain the use.

    Drop bears love what?

  3. December 30, 20:42 #3 Aisleen Author

    Haha, of course! the Drop Bears! love it 🙂

  4. December 30, 18:24 #4 dtravelsround

    The Drop Bears, of course!! 😉