Interesting Facts About Australia

  • Australia has a lot of entries in the Guinness Book of Records for longest straightest and heaviest. This includes fences, oysters, worms and railroad tracks. As for most poisonous, strangest and most disturbing animals Australia owns the Book. One mercy is that Australia is the only continent without an active volcano.
  • Given the fact that Australia is a continent there are not many people. Only 22 million Australians live in an area of 7,687,000 square kilometers. That means every Australian has about 3 square kilometers to themsleves. Most of them live within 50 kilometers of the sea and are well known for their beach culture lifestyle.
  • They are out numbered by sheep (102 million), cattle (22 million) and cane toads (200 million).

cane toadCane Toads outnumber Australians by 5 to 1.


  • The original inhabitants of Australia were the aboriginal peoples who had 250 different nations spread across the vast land.
  • Dutch explorers were the first Europeans to visit Australia (in 1606) but could find few profits to be made from trade and never settled there.
  • Captain Cook, who discovered Hawaii and Tahiti, mapped the Eastern coast of Australia in 1770 and soon the English (being English) claimed the whole continent.

TransportationThe first settlers were criminals from England.

  • It was an inhospitable place and Europeans died of horrible diseases. At first the only settlers were convicted criminals forcibly transported from England. They were obliged to build roads and settlements.
  • When Australia wanted to create a police force, the best that they could do was choose the twelve best behaved criminals.
  • In the early 1800's gold began to be found. The gold rush in the 1850's sucked in more free settlers than convicts for the first time and transportation was soon ended.
  • The Australian slang for English people is Pomme which comes from the uniform English convicts wore. Written on each was 'POME' which stood for prisoner of mother England.
  • Although Australia was largely self-governing from its early days of settlement, it only gradually moved along the road to complete independence. It was 1986 before Australia decided to stop allowing an English role in Government and the law. They have kept the English Queen as their head of state in a mainly honorary role, although she still has the power to sack an Australian Prime Minister.


australia cricketAustralians are incredibly good at sports. They routinely win more Olympic medals per head of the population than any other nation. They also dominate world cricket and have had more Wimbledon Champions than any other nation besides America.

The Animals

No True Mammals

  • Australia is so cut off from the rest of the world that most of its native animals are completely unique and often pretty strange.
  • There were no true mammals in Australia until dogs were introduced by Aboriginal people 5000 years ago It is thought that dingos are derived from dogs. Later, Europeans arrived with cats, dogs, rats and farm animals.
  • Kangaroos, wallabies, koala bears etc are called marsupials. They give birth to tiny offspring that climb to the safety of the mother's pouch instead of growing in the mother's womb.

tasmanian devilA tasmanian devil. A marsupial with fierce habits. Photo: Wayne Mclean

The Giant Gippsland Earthworm

By any standards this is a big worm. Some reports put it at 4 meters (12 feet!) which would make it longer than a King Cobra. One meter is common and apparently, if a worm is genuinely relaxed, 2 meters is not so usual. Stretching one to achieve a world record is tricky as they tend to break.

How do you find one? First you need to go Gippsland (which is pretty obsure place). Then you walk around and listen carefully. The squelching, sucking sounds the worms make in their underground burrows has been compared to a bath tub emptying.

Giant Oysters

The giant oysters on the Barrier reef can weigh up to 3 kilograms (nearly 8 pounds). They have on average ten times the meat of ordinary oysters.

oysters A giant oyster compared to an ordinary oyster.

The Duckbilled Platypus

When the first duck-billed platypus was sent back to England for study, biologists thought it was an Australian joke, patched together from a rat and a duck. The bill is actually rubbery and flexible. It is packed with sensitive cells able to detect the electrical currents that fish generate. It is a ferocious hunter and can use its electrical sense to find a meal in total darkness.


Saltwater crocodiles are the largest reptiles in the world and are found only in Australia. Teasing crocs is a favorite pastime for Australian men and women if TV programs are to be believed.


Poison is a favored weapon in Australia. Snakes, spiders and even some octopi can kill a human being with a single bite. Some of the worst bites come from redback spiders and funnel web spiders. Luckily nobody has died since 1984 when an anti-venom for the most dangerous species, the Funnel-web Spider, was introduced.


The poisenous red back spider.


Australia is a pretty conservative country overall but it was also the country which first introduced pensions for women (in New South Wales in 1926) and it had the worlds first gay and lesbian radio station (Joy Radio 1993).


Australia tops a lot of lists for most reported crimes by country, including:

  • Burglaries (three times as many as the US)

  • Car Theft (nearly twice as many as the US)

  • Total Crime Victims (nearly thirty per cent of Australians are victims of crime in the average year)

This means either:

  • There is a lot more crime in Australia than anywhere else
  • People in other countries don't report crime so much because they don't trust the police to catch the criminals.

Australian Actors and Actresses

The following have all achieved stardom

CateCate Blanchett is a true mammal.

· Errol Flynn

· Paul Hogan

· Hugh Jackman

· Health Ledger

· Geoffrey Rush

· Eric Bana