Interesting facts & information about Australia

Are you looking for some fun facts about Australia? With over 60 interesting facts and bits of information all about Australia you will learn a lot of things you didn't know!

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If you are looking for some really fun and interesting facts about Australia, you have come to the right place.

These facts are perfect of kids researching a school project and for adults with an interest in the topic. There is something here for everyone!

Due to Australia's large size and interesting history, there are so many interesting facts about Australia.

I have what I believe to be the best online selection of facts and information just for you, from the wierd, the wonderful and the down right strange.

So keep reading and be amazed at what an extraordinary country Australia really is!

1. It is a big country, a really big country

Australia is the 6th biggest country in the world (the top 5, in this order, are Russia, Canada, China, United States, and Brazil). It is a grand total of 7,682,300 km² (2,966,200 miles²). That makes it about 32 times bigger then the UK, 22 times bigger than Germany, 12 times bigger than France, and a whopping 59 times bigger than Greece.

2. There are not that many people living in Australia

Australia may be one of the biggest countries in the world, but it is also has one of the lowest population density in the world. In fact there are only about 3.03 people per square kilometre. To put that into perspective, in the US there are 32.3, the UK has 262, Germany 226, and France has 118.

3. Western Australia is a big place with not many people

Western Australia is a state of Australia. It is 2,645,615 km², and if it was a country it would be the 10th biggest country in the world. France would easily fit inside Western Australia 4 times, Germany over 7 times, the UK almost 11 times and England over 20 times. It is home to 2.4 million people which gives it a population density of 0.94 people per km².

4. It is a flat country

Australia is the lowest and flattest continent in the world. Mount Kosciuszko is the highest point (2228 metres above sea level) and Lake Eyre is the lowest point (15 metres below sea level).

5. It is an island

Australia is an island. In fact, it is the biggest island in the world. Apart from being an island, it is also a continent, but it is the smallest of all the continents in the world.

6. Opals, opals, and more opals

Australia is the opal capital of the world. It produces 95% of the worlds opal and 99% of the rare black opal. Cobber Pedy, a small outback town in South Australia is the main producer of opals, and is a popular tourist destination. Due to the extreme heat out there, many of the buildings are underground for insulation purposes.

7. Did someone say gold?

Kargoorlie, a remote town in the state of Western Australia is currently the worlds largest producer of gold.

8. More gold facts

While Kargoorlie may be the biggest producer of gold, it wasn't always the case. In Victoria, three towns (Ballarat, Bendigo and Maryborough) make a triangle that is referred to as the Golden Triangle. This area has produced more gold than any other area in the history of the world.

9. Melbourne, once the powerhouse of the world

Due to all of this gold Melbourne was the richest city in the whole world in the 1880s. Investment money was flowing in from rich English investors and rich Australians were spending their money. However, this all came crashing down a short time later due to a world wide depression.

10. A small population, but big cities!

While there are only approximately 24 million people in Australia, it's two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, have populations over 4 million. Sure, they may not be as big as other cities, but it does make them bigger than every city in the US apart from New York.

11. Sheep, sheep, and more sheep

There are about 100 million sheep in Australia, making it the country with the second largest sheep population (China is number one, with a staggering 150 million sheep). Australia produces most of the high grade wool used across the world.

12. There are lots of plants in Australia

Australia has approximately 25,000 known species of plants (Europe has approximately 17,500), but this number is still going up because new plants are still being discovered. It also has a number of plants that have been around since the days of the dinosaurs. They were thought to have been extinct for millions of years until they were re-discovered in Australia.

13. Multiculturism is thriving

About 20% of people living in Australia were born overseas, and 40% have mixed cultural heritage. There are about 225 languages spoken in Australia, making it one of the most multicultural countries in the whole world.

14. A land of inventions

Australians are great inventors. Some of the things that they have invented over the years include the BlackBox on aeroplanes, lawn mowers with engines, smoke alarms, asprin/aspirin, the pacemaker, penicillin, the Hills Hoist clothes line, the wine cask, the electric drill, the car radio, utility cars (or Utes, and Australians call them), the bionic ear, duel flush toilets, the hardest to counterfeit bank notes technology, and long wearing contact lenses.

15. Inventors of the fridge... kind of

While Australian scientists did NOT invent/discover the technology used to keep fridges cool (this award goes to French and German scientists), they were the first to see the practicable application of this technology and use it for commercial purposes. They used it to refrigerate ships so they could sell meat to England and to keep beer cold. It wasn't until about 20 years later that a company (Kelvinator, in the US) finally made a patent of the technology and to produce fridges for the household.

16. Did someone say desert?

Not to be confused with the lovely sweet dish that people eat after dinner (which is dessert), but the big dry pieces of land. Australia has 10 deserts (although Australians do eat lots of desserts). The biggest such desert is the Great Victorian Desert. It is located in Western Australia and it covers 5% of the state. While this may not sound like much, Western Australia is 2,645,615 km², meaning the desert is in fact 348,750 km², making it just a little smaller than Germany and 1.4 times bigger than the UK!

17. Big man eating crocodiles

Let me get one thing straight, they eat more than just men. So if you are a child or a woman, I am sorry to have to say that you are not safe from crocodiles either. Tropical northern Australia is home to the worlds largest species of salt water crocodile, and they can grow as big as 6.7m (22 ft). Almost every year there is at least one fatal crocodile attack in Australia

18. The land down under

Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere. Water flushes/spirals in the opposite direction compared to water in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer is from December to February, meaning it is hot at Christmas time. All the stars are upside down compared to the stars in the Northern Hemisphere.

19. The first official World Surfing Championship was in Sydney in 1964

20. Surf clothing

Popular surf clothing brands such as Quicksilver, Billabong, Roxi, and Rip Curl all come from Australia.

21. Melbourne was home to Batman?

Melbourne used to be called Batmania, after one of its founders, John Batman.

22. Australia is the only continent without an active volcano

23. Gay and Lesbian radio

Melbourne started the worlds first gay and lesbian ratio station. It started in 1993 and is called Joy Radio.

24. Criminals as police?

Australia's first ever police force was made from the 12 best behaved convicts.

25. Hollywood

A number of popular Hollywood stars are Australian. They include, but are not limited to, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Errol Flynn, Paul Hogan, Mel Gibson, Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush and Eric Bana. Many Hollywood movies were filmed in Australia, including the Matrix trilogy, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine just to name a few.

26. Russel Crowe

He is not Australian by birth, he was born in New Zealand. He moved to Australia with his parents when he was 4 years old.

27. Spiders!

There are approximately 1,500 species of spiders in Australia. Some are have very nasty venom, others have none.

28. Spiders again!

There are two deadly spiders in Australia. The first is commonly known as the Red-back spider (the female has red on her back), and the second is known as the Sydney Funnel Web spider, which has the nasty title of being regarded as the most poisonous spider in the entire world. It is also regarded as one of the most aggressive spider in the world, but luckily it only lives in one isolated area around Sydney.

29. Termite mounds

Termite mounds found in northern Australia are regarded as the tallest non-human made constructions on earth.

30. Metric and the left side is the right side

Australia started using the metric system in 1969/70 and in Australia you drive on the left side of the road.

31. Deadly snakes

There are snakes in Australia. Lots of them are deadly. Can you guess how many of the top 25 most venomous snakes in the world come from Australia? If you guessed 10, then you should have doubled your guess. That's right, 20 of the top 25 most venomous snakes come from Australia. In fact, the first 11 are all from Australia. So watch out for snakes! Reference:

32. What do mining and pubs have in common?

Not much really. Mining is a major industry in Australia, but pubs in Australia actually take up more land space than the mines do!

33. Greeks and Melbourne

For a long time Melbourne was the second biggest Greek population in the world, behind Athens. It has recently dropped to third position, after Athens and Thessaloniki. It is estimated that there are around 151,000 Greek people living in Melbourne.

34. Too many camels

Australia has more humped camels than any other country in the world. There is an estimated 1.2 wild/feral camels in the Australia outback, causing great destruction to the fragile desert ecosystems.

35. The fragile land

Because Australia was isolated from the rest of the world for so long, it has no natural predators for introduced species (plant or animal). This means that an introduced species can cause massive damage. Some of the worst introduced species currently causing problems include camels, cane toads, foxes, rabbits, goats, pigs, buffalo, and feral cats.

36. Fast dragon flies

A dragon fly in Australia was recorded flying at a speed of 57 kilometres and hour (or 36 miles).

37. Australia has some 750 known species of reptiles

38. The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the longest reef and the largest organic construction in the world. It is about 2,010 kms long and is so big it can be seen from space.

39. Women and voting

Australia was one of the very first counties to let women vote, who won this right in 1902.

40. Uluru

Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) it a big rock, in fact it is the biggest rock monolith in the world! It is 3.6 kilometres long, 1.9 kilometres wide, 9.4 kilometres around and 348 metres high.

41. A dry continent

Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world. South Australia is the driest state in Australia. And in case you are wondering, they make very good red wine in South Australia!

42. It snows in Australia!

This fact still amazes some people. But what is truly staggering is that during winter Australia has more snow than Switzerland.

43. Australia has 35,877 km of coastline and over 10,000 beaches.

44. A land of extremes

The hottest recorded temperature in Australia is 50.7 degree Celsius (1960, Oodnadatta, South Australia) and the lowest recorded temperature is minus 23 degree Celsius (Charlotte Pass, New South Wales)

45. The longest fence in the world

The longest fence in the world, referred to as the Dingo Fence, runs for 5,531 kilometres through Queensland and South Australia.

46. Chopping words up

Australians sometimes refer to Australia as Oz and themselves as Aussies. They love to chop the end off words and put an "ie" or "o" on the end. Some quick examples include servo (service/petrol station), smoko (smoke break), bottle-o (bottle/alcohol shop), barbie (barbeque), sparkie (a nick name for an electrician), and even names are not sacred, with stuff like Paulie (Paul), Timbo (Tim), Nicko (Nick), etc.

47. Bob Hawke, a beer drinking Prime Minister

In 1954 Bob Hawke made it into the Guinness Book of Records for drinking a Yard Glass (1.4 litres or 2.5 pints) of beer in 11 seconds. He later went on to become the Prime Minister of Australia.

48. A nation of gamblers

Australia has the highest rate of gambling in the world. It is estimated that over 80% of Australian adults engage in some kind of gambling.

49. The horse race that stops the nation

Australia has a horse race which runs on the first Tuesday of November every year called the Melbourne Cup (unlike the Great Victorian desert, which is located in the state Western Australia and not in the state of Victoria, the Melbourne Cup is actually in Melbourne). It is dubbed "The race that stops the nation". Go to any pub on that Tuesday and it will be full. In fact, the day is a public holiday for all of Melbourne and parts of Victoria. $90 million was wagered on the 2013 cup.

50. Armed rebellion

Since Australia was settled there has only been one armed rebellion, and is known as the Eureka Stockade. It took place on the Ballarat gold fields in 1854 and was caused by a disagreement over what gold miners (known as Diggers) felt were unfair laws and policing of their work by government. Six police and troopers were killed and there were at least 22 deaths among the diggers.

51. More deadly animals

The stonefish is the most poisonous fish in the world, and is located mainly above the tropic of Capricorn off the coast of northern Australia. There is also the blue-ringed octopus, which can cause death to humans. Oh, did I mention there are two jellyfish that can cause death (the box jellyfish and Irukandji jellyfish)? Oh, then there is the the Cone Shell, which can also kill you. There are lots of deadly animals in Australia, including 20 of the top 25 most poisonous snakes!

52. Lot's of islands

Australia has a grand total of 8,222 islands in its maritime borders. But there are only 10 islands that are greater than 1,000 km² in size: Melville Island (NT), 5,786 km²; Kangaroo Island (SA), 4,416 km²; Groote Eylandt (NT), 2,285 km²; Bathurst Island (NT), 1,693 km²; Fraser Island (Qld), 1,653 km²; Flinders Island (Tas), 1,359 km²; King Island (Tas), 1,091 km²; and Mornington Island (Qld), 1 002 km².

53. Why are the Kangaroo and Emu on the Australian coat of arms?

Neither animal can walk backwards. They symbolise a nation always going forward.

54. The Platypus and Echidna

They are the only two mammals in the whole world that lay eggs. They are called monotremes.

55. Australia has fast trees

Australia has the fastest growing trees in the world, the Eucalyptus, which can grow as much as 10 metres in a year when conditions are good.

56. How many convicts were sent to Australia?

When the British first colonised Australia they used it as a penal/convict settlement. In total an estimated 160,000 convicts were sent from England to Australia, but many died on the boat ride over.

57. The Flying Doctors

Australia has a "flying doctors" service which provides emergency medical services to people who live in remote areas and are too far away from a hospital. Without this service many Australians living in outback Australia would surely die.

58. There are four types of Boomerang

They are called the Hook, the Hunter, the Club and the V. Although all four were used in hunting and warfare, only the Hunter will return when thrown (thrown correctly that is, it is not easy to get a Hunter boomerang to return to you).

59. How clean is the air in Tasmania?

It has been reputed to have the cleanest air in the world. It also has some of the cleanest fresh water on the planet.

60. More beach facts!

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay (New South Wales) has the whitest sand on Earth according the the Guinness Book of Records.

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