14 July 2013
Here are some interesting facts about Oz that we've left open for you to add to. If you think you have some fascinating but little known nuggets yourself, leave a comment or talk to us via Twitter or Facebook.
Okay here we go. Prepare to be dazzled:
- ‘Spreading out’ is not the done thing in Oz. Vegetation covers 91 % of Australia.
- The roof of the Sydney Opera House weighs more than 160,000 tons. You have to hand it to that roofer.
- Between 2010-2011, beer-drinking dropped to a 65-year low. Only 4.23 litres were consumed per person. There must have been a synchronised realisation that beer is horrible and other drinks are nicer.
- The Snowy Mountains receive more snow than Switzerland. The Snowy Mountains are in New South Wales and are more commonly known as…wait for it…The Snowies.
- Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote in 1902. New Zealand was the first. Maybe that was why.
- Masterchef Australia is really great. Sorry, that’s not so much a fact, as a personal opinion but still, it’s my list.
- Melbourne has been voted most liveable city for the last two years. And if you follow Shane Warne’s Twitter feed, his annoyingly beautiful pictures of Melbourne will testify to this.
- Australia has the highest rate of gambling in the world with $3 billion being collected by the poker machine alone between 2007-2008. Why did people keep using it?
- Kangaroo meat is a healthier alternative to beef or lamb. They’re just harder to catch.
- Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.
- Australia has the world's largest cattle ranch measuring around the same size as Belgium. Although, interestingly, only six cows. Only part of this is made up.
- Canberra became capital of Australia as a neutral option to end intense debate (and bickering) between Melbourne and Sydney.
- There are 150 million sheep in Australia and only 20 million people, so there’s a lot of catching up to do.
- Sharks are immune to all known diseases. Now this is an amazing fact. We should ask them what their secret is. And when I say ‘we’, I mean ‘anyone but me’.
- The average Australian swallows three spiders a year. Presumably more, if they actually like the taste of spiders.
- The kangaroo and the emu feature on the Australian Coat of Arms because both are incapable of walking backwards. They were chosen to symbolise a nation moving forward. (Although these animals can turn around and walk in the other direction but let’s not be petty.)
- Designer of the Sydney Opera House Jørn Utzon said his design was inspired by the simple act of peeling an orange. He wanted the 14 shells of the building to be able to make a perfect sphere. It didn't quite work out like that but we still love it.
- On the 17th December 1967, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt vanished after going for a swim at Cheviot Beach Victoria and was presumed dead two days later.
- Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos is a Nine Network show that has gained notoriety for being taken off the air part-way through the broadcast of its first and only episode.
- Australia is home to six of the top ten most deadly snakes in the world. Six. That number again. Six.
- The first settlers from Europe consumed more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind. Allegedly.
So, do you want to add this list? What have I left out that people must know about life Down Under?