We’re home to some of the quirkiest animals going around, and we have some seriously odd and interesting history too! There’s definitely nothing boring about Australia.
1. The oldest skeleton to ever be found in Australia is believed to be more than 60,000 years old, making the indigenous cultures of Australia the oldest living cultures in the world
2. The first European inhabitants of Australia were either convicts, or the troops who brought them here. The convicts, some as young as 11, were transported from England for petty crimes like stealing a handkerchief, receiving stolen goods, or setting fire to underwood. More serious crimes like committing piracy on the high seas, visiting France, setting fire to one’s own house, or impersonating an Egyptian were given the death sentence!
3. Beam me up, Scotty! Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame was named after Captain James Cook. The show’s catchphrase “to boldly go where no man has gone before” was inspired by Cook’s journal entry “ambition leads me … farther than any other man has been before me”.
4. Australia’s first police force was made up entirely of a group of the most well behaved convicts.
5. In a Tasmanian prison in 1832, 300 female convicts stood as one and slapped their bared bottoms at the visiting Governor in what might have been the world’s first “flash mob”.
6. The first surf lifesaving club in the world was founded in 1906 at Bondi Beach, in Sydney. There wasn’t much use for one before then as it was actually illegal to swim at public beaches during the day.
7. Canberra was chosen as the location for the Australian capital because Sydney and Melbourne couldn’t stop arguing over which city should be selected.
8. Fans of the Dark Knight might be interested to know that Melbourne was originally called Batmania before being officially named Melbourne In 1837 for British Prime Minister, William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne.
9. The Dingo Fence, at 5,614 km long, is the longest in the world and is almost twice the length of China’s Great Wall. Built during the 1880s, it was erected to keep native dogs away from fertile land and to protect the sheep flocks of southern Queensland.
10. Today more than a quarter of Australia’s population was born overseas and a further one fifth has at least one parent born overseas making us a very multicultural land indeed.