Have you ever traveled to a country and thought, “Wow! I wish I knew some interesting facts about this place!”? Well, here are some facts about Australia that you may or may not be interested in.
Facts on Australian Creatures
An Australian fly species that was yet unnamed recently was baptized as Scaptia (Plinthina) Beyonceae,in homage to the pop singer Beyonce. Researchers so decided because the fly’s golden rear end makes it look just like a diva.
The most dangerous ant in the world is the Australian Bulldog Ant, which can grow up to 1.6 inches long and has been responsible for at least three deaths.
The Fierce Snake (or Inland Taipan) has the most toxic venom of any snake. The maximum yield recorded (in one bite) is 110 mg. That would probably be enough to kill over 100 people or 250,000 mice.
The Funnelweb spider is the world’s deadliest spider. It has killed people in less than two hours, and its fangs can bite through fingernails. Humans and monkeys are the only animals without immunity to this spider.
Australia has over 6,000 species of flies, about 4,000 species of ants, about 350 species of termites and 1,500 species of spiders.
The Australian Dragonfly can reach flying speeds of 55 miles an hour.
The Longest… The Largest… What?
Australia is the world’s largest inhabited island and the smallest continent.
The longest fence in the world is in Australia, and it runs for over 5,600 kilometers (about 3,400 miles). It was built to keep the dingoes (wild dogs) away from the sheep.
The world’s longest piece of straight railroad track stretches 478 kilometers (267 miles) across South Australia’s Nullarbor Plain.
Australia also has the world’s longest stretch of straight roadway; the straight section is 148 km long (91 miles).
Narrandera is home to the largest playable guitar in the world.
The Great Barrier Reef has the world’s largest oyster, which weighs close to 3 kilograms (almost 7 pounds).
The world’s longest earthworm, which stretches up to 4 meters (13 feet), is found in Gippsland in Victoria.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest organic construction on earth.
Australia is the largest producer of uranium in the world.
Australian Politics and Government
Australia was the second country to give women the vote.
The secret ballot box originated in Victoria in 1856.
Australia is the only English-speaking country that has made voting mandatory in federal and state elections. It results in a voter turnout of ninety-five percent.
Australia is the only nation in the world to govern an entire continent.
In 1954, Bob Hawke entered the Guinness Book of World Records for drinking two and a half pints of beer in 11 seconds. He later became the Prime Minister of Australia.
Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach on December 17, 1967 and was never seen again. The event has been referred to as “the swim that needed no towel.”
The Convicts Settlement Down Under
The British Empire colonized Australia and used it as a place of imprisonment for thousands of convicts and political prisoners. Approximately 160,000 convicts were sent there.
A census taken in 1828 found that half of the population of New South Wales was made up of convicts, while former convicts made up nearly half of the free population.
Convicts that were sent to Australia had not committed serious crimes. Serious crimes, such as murder, rape or impersonating an Egyptian were given the death sentence in England.
Australia’s first police force consisted of a group of 12 of the most well-behaved convicts.
Geography and Exports.
Over 90% of Australia is dry, flat and arid. Almost three-quarters of the land cannot support agriculture in any form.
Australia has over 10,000 beaches, the most beaches in the world.
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world (about the same size as the continental U.S.), and it is fifty percent larger than Europe. However, it has the lowest population density in the world – only two people per kilometer (the U.S. has 32 per km).
Australia has the world’s largest cattle ranch at 30,028 square kilometers (almost 12,000 square miles).
The Australian Alps get more snow than Switzerland.
Australia is the world’s largest exporter of beef with over 25 million heads of cattle.
Inventions From the Land of OZ
1856 – The refrigerator was invented by James Harrison.
1889 – The electric drill was invented by Arthur James Arnot
1926 – The electronic pacemaker was invented in the Crown Street Woman’s Hospital in Sydney.
1953 – The solar water heater was invented by a team led by Roger N. Morse.
1953 – The black box flight recorder was invented by engineer David Warre.
1961 – The ultrasound machine was invented by David Robinson and George Kossoff.
1984 – The first frozen embryo baby was born in Melbourne on March 29, 1984.
Miscellaneous Australian Trivia
Australia Day (January 26th) is the anniversary of ships arriving in Sydney carrying loads of convicts.
Australia produces ninety-five percent of the world’s precious opals and ninety-nine percent of the world’s black opals.
The world’s largest opal was discovered in Australia by Stuart Hughes. It is 55,000 carats. (No, that is not a typo.)
The world’s oldest flower was found in a fossil near Melbourne. It is called the Koonwarra Plant, and it is believed to be over 120 million years old.
The day of the Melbourne Cup horse race is a public holiday in Melbourne.
Australians read more newspapers than any other nation.
Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation.
People from New South Wales are called “cockroaches.”
In 1838, it was declared illegal to swim at public beaches in Australia during the day. This law was enforced until 1902.
Pat yourself on the back. You are now an expert on Australian facts, and you have plenty of knowledge with which to entertain your fellow passengers on the long, long plane flight down under!
This guest post article was written and provided by Erica Gustafson who is an avid Australia traveler, freelance writer and digital media consultant for Expedia. When traveling to Australia she enjoys staying at the Rendezvous hotel Melbourne.