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40 Interesting Facts about Australia

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by Lionel (subscribe)
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Published December 17th 2012

Ask the question of what Australia is known for to Aussies and foreigners and you'll get answers like Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, kangaroos, koalas, cricket, swimming, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, Aborigines, Minerals, wine and vegemite. Australia is much more than these. Here are 40 interesting facts to share with family, friends and visitors about Australia.

1) It is the 6th largest country in the world, occupying an entire continent of some 7.6 million square kilometres.

2) It has the world's 3rd largest ocean territory, spanning three oceans and covering around 12 million square kilometres.

3) Vegetation covers nearly 7 million square kilometres or 91 percent of Australia.

4) The largest Greek population in the world beside Athens in Greece can be found in Melbourne Victoria.

5) Most of Australia's exotic flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

6) The Indigenous 'Dream Time' is the foundation for tens of thousands of years of spiritual aboriginal art, traditions, legends, myths, folklore and culture.

7) The only nation-continent of 20 million people in the world.

8) The wattle was adopted as the national floral emblem in 1912.

9) The first Australian Friendly Society with the motto of 'Advance Australia' was the Australian Natives' Association (ANA) formed in Victoria in 1871.

10) More than 80 percent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast making Australia one of the world's most urbanised coastal dwelling populations.

City of Sydney

11) Over 200 different languages and dialects are spoken in Australia including 45 Indigenous languages. The most common non-English spoken languages are Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin.

12) The world's highest proportion of migrant settlers in a developed nation with over 25% of Australians born in another country.

Multiculturalism in Australia

13) Today's Australia is very multicultural with Indigenous peoples and migrants from some 200 countries.

14) Australia's first small step to a fully multicultural Australia was the result of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean after 1945.

15) It contains an amazing ecosystem with unique flora and fauna including pristine rainforest, ancient rock formations and beautiful beaches.

16) The first Australian of the Year award was awarded to Professor Macfarlane Burnet who had won the Nobel Prize in the same year of 1960 for his groundbreaking physiology research.

17) Debate continues today on the calls to change the Australian flag because of the prominence of the British Union Jack, which does not reflect contemporary Australian society.

World Heritage Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne

18) It has 16 world heritage listed sites including historic townships, cities and landscapes.

19) While 1988 was named a 'Year of Mourning' for Aboriginals, it was also regarded as a celebration of survival where the Aboriginal community staged a 5 kilometre march for "Freedom, Justice and Hope" in Sydney.

20) Australia used to be a beer-drinking nation but its quaffing plunged to a 65-year low in 2010-2011 with only 4.23 litres consumed per person.

21) Aboriginal leader, Lowitja O'Donoghue, a recipient of the Order of Australia in 1976 and Australian of the Year in 1984 delivered the first milestone national Australia Day address on 26 January 2000.

22) It is believe that the Aboriginal game of Mangrook inspired the rules for Australian Football, while invented in Sydney became popular in Victoria.

23) Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote in 1902.

24) The largest cattle station in the world is Anna Creek Station in South Australia at over 34,000 square kilometres is the world's largest cattle station. It is even larger than Belgium.

25) It has the highest rate of gambling in the world with over 80 percent of Australian adults engaging in gambling of some kind and 20 percent of the pokie machines in the world are found in Australia.

26) Australia Day today is a celebration of diversity and tolerance in Australian society, embracing all ethnic backgrounds, racial differences and political viewpoints.

27) Kangaroo meat can be purchased from the supermarket, butcher and available on restaurant menus as a leaner and healthier alternative to beef or lamb with a 1-2 percent fat content.

28) Surprisingly Australia is the most obese country in the world as of 2012 with a 26 percent obesity rate despite being a sport loving nation.

29) Approximately 1.35 trillion bottles of wine are produced by Australia.

30) Former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd's national apology to Indigenous Australians in 2007 is viewed by many as
a major milestone in reconciliation.

31) The hold of the old White Australia Policy was broken by Gough Whitlam's Labor Government which adopted a broader approach to citizenship and opening migration to Asia and the Middle East.

32) Australian TV networks love cooking shows, airing one after another upon viewership success of My Kitchen Rules and MasterChef.

33) Canberra was selected as the capital because Sydney and Melbourne could not stop arguing which city should be the capital of Australia.

34) Australians refer to English people as Pome, which is actually the acronym for Prisoners of Mother England.

35) Ugg boots or as local call them 'very ugly boots' are an Australian design where a sheepskin has been turned inside out and made into a boot.
Iconic Flinders Station in Melbourne

36) Melbourne topped 140 rivals to be crowned the world's most liveable city 2 years in a row since 2011.

37) The only place in the world where you can still find the lung fish which is a living fossil from the Triassic period 350 million years ago.

38) The sports capital of the world has 70 percent of its total population participating at least once a week in a particular recreational activity or sport.

39) Despite having a convict colony history, Australia's homicide rate is 1.2 per 100,000 population compared to the 6.3 per 100,000 in the United States.

40) 80 percent of Australians believe Australia has a strong culture and identity characterised by being down to earth, mateship, honesty, sports and multiculturalism based on research organised by the Australia Day Council of NSW in 2008.
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Why? 40 interesting things about Australia the tourism board doesn't tell you
Your Comment
Interesting and fun list! I hope you don;t mind if I add a correction. Burnet won his Nobel Prize for physiology/medicine, not physics. I'm a physicist and wondered why I hadn't heard of him, so I looked him up...and found out. :)
Never knew the stats on our gambling and obesity - what a shame they are that high!
by tracy (score: 1|10) 3820 days ago
Theese are good , but not very intresting :3
by Rolow (score: 0|7) 3688 days ago
Interesting article, but the term is 'Pom' not 'Pome' and is an acronym of Prisoner Of Her/His Majesty (POHM), not Mother England.
by charl (score: 0|5) 2561 days ago
Everyone is always going on about convicts but one ancestor was a convict got 7years and sent to Australia all because she stole a watch which is a slight over reaction in my opinion but it's all good because I wouldn't like being born in England where is cold and wet!!
by krist (score: 0|5) 3584 days ago
I lived in Australia my whole life. Some of the facts you mentioned, I didn't know.
by Ms. Samantha (score: 2|362) 3823 days ago
Thank you I just used these for my homework
by diego (score: 0|4) 3689 days ago
i, too, have just used this for homework, thanks a ton!!
by zbole (score: 0|5) 3678 days ago
Unfortunately, unwanted adverts obliterated #5, 6, 7, 8.
Otherwise, a most interesting and informative compilation of Aussie facts.
by fluffynut (score: 3|1028) 1856 days ago
The first things that come to mind when we think of Australia are man-eating crocodiles, deadly snakes, poisonous spiders, and the baking hot sun. We also imagine it to be a place full of rugged men fighting off deadly predators and having grand adventures in the outback. However, there is much more to Australia than what we learned from watching watching Crocodile Dundee. Join us as we take a journey through the land down under.
Some cool facts
by nlkim (score: 0|2) 3233 days ago
Just want to correct one thing. The lungfish isn't endemic to Australia. There are lungfish species found in Africa and South America as well.
by maggi (score: 0|4) 3277 days ago
thx I needed this for a report and because of this site I got a A+ woooooooo and my grade went up from a D to a C- please add some more facts and I an actually Australian so thx mates
by Dawes (score: 0|2) 3330 days ago
What ever I say I mean the oppisite
This had what I was looking for Entertainment facts
by bum (score: 0|4) 3199 days ago
It is neither spelt nor pronounced pome(Like home).
According to wikipedia it is also "considered to be a false etymology"
Fact is no one really knows why we call ya's poms.
by pink_ (score: 0|2) 2870 days ago
K.Rudd said his sorry speech in 2008, not 2007 as suggested.
by mrdic (score: 0|2) 2823 days ago
I used this for my school work actually thanks a lot i love these facts now i have learnt lots...!
by jazzi (score: 0|2) 2815 days ago
sooo cool!
by minec (score: 0|2) 2732 days ago
Very interesting! Thanks for sharing. I can now let my friends know about how interesting Australia is :)
by sales (score: 0|2) 2421 days ago
Why do I hear 'rising tone inflection' with every pronouncement. Like?
by mozza (score: 0|2) 3344 days ago
sea patrol is the best show ever so all those in australia or any where esle watch this in channel 9networks if you talk in spanish watch this in vme
by cesar (score: 0|2) 3383 days ago
The most obese country in the world, if you don't include small Pacific island states, is the USA, followed by Mexico, New Zealand and Australia, in that order.
by bronw (score: 0|2) 3649 days ago
Used this for my school class in spanish. Had to do an interesting fact about Australia. Thanks.
by 16abo (score: 0|2) 3436 days ago
That's great to be a Australian citizen and sounds very ethusiastic about the country..
by simph (score: 0|2) 3593 days ago
pome.. fact?? I always thought this was a Myth. when the real reason was to do with Pomegranates . A name given to new comers to Australia because of the red and sunburnt face , the majority of migrants to Australia were free men but still got referred to as poems. The general consensus is the name fits many different aspects. Please see Uk Qi programme for reference!
by kate (score: 0|2) 3554 days ago
Thanks a lot! I just need
ed for my homework
by moryo (score: 0|2) 3517 days ago
I thought it was the English people calling Aussies Pome not the other way around. Considering that Australia used to be a prisoner colony?
by jongp (score: 0|2) 3507 days ago
Interesting and mind blowing facts about a great country Australia. Keep it up and do more for public interest building please.
by mehmo (score: 0|2) 3496 days ago
Thanks for the homework help.. :D my country was Australia for my project.
by gemin (score: 0|2) 3470 days ago
Used this for my school class in spanish. Had to do an interesting fact about Australia. Thanks.
by 16abo (score: 0|2) 3437 days ago
Australia doesnt have 20% of the worlds poker machines, It's an urban myth. You need to update the site.

According to the AGE we have 2.8% of the worlds gaming machines in 2011 (The 20% figure was based on flawed numbers published in 1999) outdated and also wrong
by nhfai (score: 0|2) 3432 days ago
why this why not sea patrol it's interesting about saving people from the marine not this very boring and not cool beast
by cesar (score: 0|2) 3383 days ago
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