Society - Culture
By: - at November 13, 2013

15 Little Known Facts About Australia

Australia is a vast and intricate nation. During the years it has proved to be a popular tourist destination. This is due to the numerous attractions that the country has to offer. The most popular sights to see in include the Sydney Opera House, the Blue Mountains and Ayers Rock. There so many landmarks well worth visiting throughout Australia. There are also a number of unusual, little known (or unknown) facts about this distinct country that many would be surprised to learn about.

australia and map


15)  Australia Has Over 150 Big Things
There appears to be an unwritten rule in Australia that when a small town out in the middle of nowhere wants attention, they should build something big to catch people’s eye. There are more than 150 “big things” located throughout Australia. They include a variety of structures and sculptures.

The very first big thing built in the country was the Big Scotsman. It was erected outside of the city of Adelaide, in the state of South Australia, in 1963. Since then, many other big things have followed.

Big Scotsman or "Scotty" on Scotty's Corner Medindie, Adelaide, Australia:
Big Scotsman or "Scotty" on Scotty's Corner Medindie, Adelaide, Australia

Some of the most notable big attractions are: the Big Beer Can, the Big Blue Heeler, the Giant Apple, the Big Gold Pick and Pan, and the Big Bench. Typically, most big things stand right along various roads and serve as backdrops for group photos along road trips.

Big Beer Can - Cobar, Australia Above the Grand Hotel:
Big Beer Can Cobar, Australia Above the Grand Hotel
By Amanda Slater via Wikimedia Commons

Big Blue Heeler - Muswellbrook, Australia:
Big Blue Heeler Muswellbrook, Australia

The various big things initially began as an obvious attempt at attracting tourism to little known (and often out of the way) towns. Nowadays, the sheer number of the big things has led to a cult phenomenon for people who love to travel, going to each and every big thing they can possibly find.

Giant Apple - Batlow, Australia:
Giant Apple Batlow, Australia

Despite the gimmicky origins of most of Australia’s the big things, many of them have become so iconic that a surprisingly large number of the structures are considered to be folk art. Some have even been heritage listed.

Big Gold Pick and Pan - Grenfell, Australia:
Big Gold Pick and Pan Grenfell, Australia

Big Bench - Broken Hill, Australia:
Big Bench Broken Hill, Australia


14)  In Australia Women in Bikinis Will Pay for Parking
In 1964, Bernie Elsey came up with a curious, but brilliant business promotion idea. He wanted to encourage shopping in the city of Surfers Paradise in the state of Queensland. The main thing that kept people away from the city was the recently installed parking meters. With this in mind, Elsey decided that he would introduce Surfers Paradise to his own brand of meter maids.

The meter maids are young women, dressed only in gold bikinis and tiaras. They wander the streets of the city and their mission is to add money to expiring parking meters. There were some initial issues with the legality of the promotion, though city authorities soon realized that the benefits of the unique city promotion out-weighted any laws that may have been broken by it.

Meter "Model" Maids in Surfers Paradise:
Meter Maids in Surfers Paradise

The meter maids became so successful that the area soon gained international attention. Large numbers of tourists were drawn there, and the city now enjoys an international profile, thanks in part to the Surfers Paradise meter maids.


13)  Meteorologist Had to Add a New Color to Heat Maps
Australia is known for having quite high temperatures. This year, the nation’s temperatures reached an all-time high. They were so high, in fact, that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology was forced to add two new colors to the nation’s heat map. The colors were pink and deep purple.

Previously, the temperature range on Australian heat maps had gone up to 50 degrees Celsius (122F). This was because the all time highest temperature recorded was 50.7 degrees. This was reached on January 2, 1960. The temperature ranges had been considered adequate until the beginning of 2013.

new temperature color to heat maps hot australia

Australia’s heat maps now go up to 54 degrees Celsius (129.2 F). This came about after the first six days of 2013 reached some of the highest temperatures ever recorded. Temperatures had an average of 40.33 degrees Celsius, while some days they almost hit the high of 50.7 degrees Celsius. It’s seems inevitable that the record will soon be broken, thus the need for the new colors on the heat map.


12)  Most Coober Pedy Residents Live Underground
The town of Coober Pedy, South Australia, is considered to be the opal capital of the world. It is located in the middle of nowhere. The town exists purely because of the opal industry. They have been mining high-quality opals since the early 1900s.

Australian Siberian Church Built Within the Desert Interior:
Australian Siberian Church Built Within the Desert Interior
By Percita Dittmar via Wikimedia Commons

Given Cooper Pedy’s long history of mining, there are still a number of old mines that run beneath the town. They aren’t abandoned once they are mined out; rather, they are often put to good use.

Inside an Underground Jewelry Shop in Coober Pedy:
Inside an Underground Jewelry Shop in Coober Pedy
By Lodo27 via Wikimedia Commons

The area where Coober Pedy is located is notoriously hot. Sometimes the heat is so bad that it is unbearable, especially during summer. Because of the scorching temperatures during the season, the majority of the town’s citizens will spend their time in the old mines that have been converted into living quarters.

Coober Pedy:
Coober Pedy australia
By lgiwalam via Wikimedia Commons


11)  Australia is Infested With Rabbits
Back in the 1800s; just 24 individual rabbits were introduced to Australia. Their purpose was purely for the sake of providing the settlers with something to hunt for sport and to provide food. It’s believed that the man responsible was Thomas Austin. He brought the animals from England with the intention of keeping them on or near his property. However, over the course of 60 years, the 24 original rabbits bred. Their population increased to around 400 million.

australia rabbits

Ultimately, the rabbits reproduced so quickly that after 10 years of being introduced, the animals were being killed at a rate of around 2 million per year. Still, these numbers made practically no impact on their population. This was the quickest any mammal had spread in recorded history.

Rabbits Around a Waterhole on Wardang Island in 1938:
Rabbits Around a Waterhole on Wardang Island in 1938

Rabbits remain a huge problem for the country, especially for the wilderness and wildlife. The non-native animals destroy native planets, crops and significantly erode the topsoil. Over the years, Australian farmers and authorities have had to resort to poisons and even using ferrets to address the issue of the rabbit population. But this has been to no avail. The only upside to the history of the rabbits is that their extreme population provided easily-accessible food during the Great Depression.


10)  Australia’s Christmas Island Has Bridges for Crabs
There is a special species of crab that is found on the Australian territory of Christmas Island. Every year, at the beginning of the wet season, around 50 million crabs migrate across the island. The crabs travel from the island’s rainforest all the way to the sea.

While human development on the Christmas Island is fairly limited, it still provides significant hazards for the special crabs. The animals have to navigate on man-made roads and other structures during the mating season. Historically, these hazards have resulted in a huge death toll for the creatures.

It was too difficult to simply close the roads for the migrating crabs. Authorities of the island addressed the problem by developing special bridges that enable the crabs to bypass a number of human hazards that impact on their migration. The crabs have always proven to be a big tourist attraction over the years. The implementation of the bridges makes the experience safer for the crabs involved and the human spectators.

Crab Bridges Create Safe Migration Routes for Christmas Island Red Crabs:
Crab Bridges Create Safe Migration Routes for Christmas Island Red Crabs

Christmas Island is also home to the Christmas Island Immigration Reception and Processing Centre which is nicely isolated out in the Indian Ocean. It is used for temporary facilities for asylum seekers who are typically detained after trying to travel to Australia by boat.

Christmas Island Immigration Reception and Processing Centre:
Christmas Island Immigration Reception and Processing Centre


9)  Australia Has the World’s Largest Population of Camels
Animals commonly associated with Australia are kangaroos, koalas or crocodiles, which are almost everywhere throughout the country. Perhaps the least likely animal to be found in large numbers is camels. In fact, Australia has the biggest population of camels in the world.

Australian Feral Camel:
Australian Feral Camel
By Jjron via Wikimedia Commons

There are over 1 million wild camels throughout western Australia. Two main types of camels are the Bactrian and Dromedaries breeds. The camel isn’t indigenous. Their numbers simply increased rapidly during the 1800s, after the animals were brought over to the country as part of the colonization. The camel proved to be very valuable in terms of travel and even the construction of infrastructure. Thus, they were widely used throughout central and western Australia during the era.

Distribution of the Australian Camel Population:
Distribution of the Australian Camel Population
By Dr-Victor-von-Doom via Wikimedia Commons

The camels became less valuable in the 1900s when motorized means of transport were widely introduced. As a result, many of them were released into the wild.

Ironically, while they were originally utilized to develop infrastructure, the numbers and destructive habits of the feral camels are taking a toll on the very thing they once helped develop. They are commonly known to destroy water pumps, taps and even public toilets while in search of water in areas that are notoriously hot and frequently going through droughts.


8)  Australia Has a Stone Arrangement Older than Stonehenge
Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids are well known ancient ruins that are testaments to inventiveness of ancient societies. One similar unheard of monument is in Australia. It’s called the Wurdi Youang and is located in the state of Victoria.

The formation is made up of a special arrangement that consists of 100 basalt stones. Together the stones form an egg shape display. Each individual stone ranges between 2 to 4 feet in height. The entire piece is around 165 feet wide. There are three large stones that appear to mimic three mountains in the background.

A Few of the Remaining Stones of Wurdi Youang:
A Few of the Remaining Stones of Wurdi Youang
By Ray Norris via Wikimedia Commons

Although no one knows for certain, many researchers suspect that Wurdi Youang was developed for astronomical purposes. The traditional indigenous owners of the arrangement are the Wathaurung Aboriginal Community. The Wathaurung people have lived in the area for 25,000 years. It is believed that the stone circle is significantly older than the famous Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge.

Astrological Positioning of the Stones of Wurdi Youang:
Astrological Positioning of the Stones of Wurdi Youang

The meaning behind the arrangement may never be known. Following the British colonization of the country, significant portions of the Wathaurung people’s customs were lost. Thus, the means behind the community’s traditional practices were lost. The exact location of the site is not publicly known. This is out of respect for the wishes of the Wathaurung people. They wish to preserve the arrangement from any damage that may be caused by tourist traffic.


7)  Australia Has a Country and a King Within Its Borders
In 1970, Leonard Casley made the decision to secede from Australia when the nation’s government left him with no other option. The government had introduced a grain quota, which would have inevitably ruined Casley financially. Thus, Casley established his own country.

Hutt River Principality:
Hutt River Principality

Casley gave himself the title of Prince Leonard of Hutt and served as the king of his 18,500-acre farm. Originally known as Hutt River Province, Casley's kingdom is now officially known as the Principality of Hutt River. It is located in western Australia.

The principality legally achieved the status of being an independent sovereign state in 1972. It isn’t officially recognized by the Australian government or other nations, though. It has its own constitution and special currency. Officially, there are around 30,000 citizens of the nation, though only Casley’s immediate family actually resides on the land.

Casley and His Kingdom:
Casley and His Kingdom Hutt River australia

Casley’s kingdom has come to be a major regional tourist attraction in the western part of the country. His micro-nation isn’t the only one to be found in Australia. Since news spread of Casley and his establishment of the Principality of Hutt River, almost 30 more micro-nations have come to life during the years. Furthermore, Casley has come to be regarded as the founding father of the micro-secession movement. Dozens of micro-nations around the world have been established after people were inspired by Casley’s success.


6)  Australia Has a Fire That Has Been Burning for 6,000 Years
Mount Wingen is a hill in the Burning Mountain Nature Reserve in the state of New South Wales. It is better known by its nickname of “Burning Mountain.” The name comes from the hill that appears to constantly burn. This is due to the fact that smoke has always emanated from the location.

Although settlers originally assumed that the smoke was related to volcanic activity, it is in fact the result of coal deposits that lie under the sandstone. Experts estimate that it has been burning for approximately 6,000 years. It is the oldest known coal fire in the world.

Burning Mountain - New South Wales, Australia:
Burning Mountain - New South Wales, Australia

Actually, the fire that burns under the surface of the ground is gradually moving in a southern direction at a rate of around three-feet per year. Nevertheless, the area is perfectly safe for the tourists who visit the area every year to see the curious phenomenon.


5)  The Great Barrier Reef is the Largest Living Thing on the Planet
Most non-Australians would have heard of the Great Barrier Reef in the state of Queensland. It is the largest coral reef system in the world. What most people might not realize is that the famous and iconic reef is actually the biggest living surface on this planet.

Aerial View of Great Barrier Reef:
Aerial View of Great Barrier Reef
By Sarah_Ackerman via Wikimedia Commons

The Great Barrier Reef is approximately 1800 miles in length. It is made up of the largest collection of coral on Earth. It consists of 400 different varieties of salt water coral.

The Great Barrier Reef Offers the Most Vast Collection of Marine Life on the Planet:
The Great Barrier Reef Offers the Most Vast Collection of Marine Life on the Planet

Furthermore, the reef is the habitat of a large number of ocean creatures such as: sponges, crustaceans, dolphins, mollusks, sea turtles, rays, and around 1,500 different species of tropical fish.

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef:
Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef

Of the varied species in the reef, the most significant are the endangered green sea turtle and the dugong. This wonderful area is even home to giant clams that are over 120 years old!

Green Sea Turtle:
Green Sea Turtle
By The Lightworks via Wikimedia Commons


4)  Australia Has Rainforests
Australia is well known by foreigners for the heat and its deserts. What many might not know about the country is that, despite the heat, there are actually quite a few rainforests located throughout the country. In fact, they are World Heritage-listed rainforests.

Daintree Rainforest - Queensland, Australia:
Daintree Rainforest - Queensland, Australia
By Diliff via Wikimedia Commons

With the exception of the Australian Capital Territory and southern Australia, there is at least one rainforest in each state in the country. The rainforests are very climatic and they are some of the oldest locations in the world.

Godwana Rainforests of New South Whales, Australia:
Godwana Rainforests of New South Whales, Australia

Rainforests of note include, but are not limited to: the tropical swathe that is the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland; the wilderness that makes up the state of Tasmania; and the Gondwana Rainforests of New South Wales; the dry rainforests of the Kimberley region in western Australia; the monsoon rainforest found in Kakadu National Park; and the fern gullies of the Dandenong Rangers and Otway Ranges in Victoria.


3)  Australia Has a Pink Lake
Lake Hillier is located on Middle Island, which is the biggest island that makes up Recherche Archipelago in western Australia. Lake Hillier is like most other lakes in terms of shape and depth; however, its color is significantly different from others throughout the world. The lake is naturally bright bubble-gum-pink colored!

Tourist Floating on Lake Hillier:
Tourist Floating on Lake Hillier

Scientists have no idea why. For years, researchers have attempted to figure out how and why the lake is pink. They have even tried to alter the Lake Hillier's color, but to no avail. The most likely explanation for the lake’s color is that the water is made up of a combination of baking soda, sodium bicarbonate and sea salt from the Southern Ocean, which is just a short distance away.

Middle Island and Lake Hillier:
Middle Island and Lake Hillier

Alternatively, the strange coloring might be the result of red halophytic bacteria found in salt crusts. Although the water resembles the bright pink color from above, it merely appears to have a slight pink hue in it from the shoreline. Despite appearances, the water is considered safe to swim in and Lake Hillier continues to me a major Australian tourism attraction. 


2)  Jedi is a Religion in Australia
Star Wars fans are everywhere. The science fiction series is a cultural phenomenon that leaves few countries in the world untouched by its fame. And as we all know, Star Wars fans come in all varieties and some are truly hardcore – but more so in Australia than anywhere else. The cult following in the country is so big that they officially have more than 70,000 people who identify their religious beliefs as “Jedi,” which is the spiritual principle that the Star Wars series revolves around.

This fact was revealed in 2002 after Australia’s Census was released. Exactly 70,509 individuals claimed Jedi as their religion of choice. Australia was the location where two of the series’ films were produced – ‘Attack of the Clones’ (2002), and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ (2005). This might explain the popularity. Another explanation for the surprisingly high number of Jedi believers could have to do with an email that had circulated shortly before the Census date. The email encouraged people to write Jedi up as their religious beliefs. It was believed that it would be officially recognized as a religion if more than 10,000 listed it.

Members of the Jedi Religion Practicing Their Faith:
Members of the Jedi Religion Practicing Their Faith

According to Chris Brennan, president of the Australian Star Wars Appreciation Society, most of the people probably just listed Jedi as a joke. He also speculated that most likely 5,000 people were hardcore Star Wars fans who honestly followed the beliefs religiously. 15,000 people probably listed Jedi as a way of messing with the government, while 50,000 people probably just did it as a joke.

Despite the popularity of Jedi, the Australian Bureau of Statistics refused to recognize Jedi, or alternatively “the force,” as a religion. Instead, those who listed Jedi or the force were officially written as having their religion "not defined." Nevertheless, when the UK and New Zealand did their Census’ shortly after Australia, they made the point to have “Jedi Knight” as a religious option.


1)  Australia Has a Shark-Infested Golf Course
Without a doubt, Australia has some remarkable tourist attractions, both natural and man made. Arguably the weirdest (and possibly the coolest) is the Carbrook Golf Club. As the result of a flood, there are live bull sharks inhabiting the lakes throughout the course.

Local Hazards at Carbrook Golf Club - How Many Penalty Strokes for Sharks?:
Local Hazards at Carbrook Golf Club - How Many Penalty Strokes for Sharks?

Bull sharks can live in both fresh water and sea water. Six bull sharks were displaced after the rising flood waters ultimately found a home in the course’s lakes. The sharks have since bred and significantly increased in population. Carbrook employees now feed and care for the animals.

One of Carbrook's Local Residents:
One of Carbrook's Local Residents

Beyond the tourism, there is an upside to the situation - the bull sharks also inadvertently serve as ambassadors for their species. Many types of sharks are often victims of hunting in the wild. This is typically done out of a misguided fear of the species or, worse, purely for their fins. The sharks at the Carbrook Golf Course enable people to get up close to the creatures in an unusual manner. This allows people to appreciate them in a way that has never been done before.


Conclusion
Like every country, there is far more to experience than most people realize. There are far more things to see and learn about Australia than what the mainstream media focuses on. The lesser known attractions are often the best so see, while the little known facts about the country, are by far, the most interesting.


 

 

 

 

Culture
Top 15 Countries With the Strongest Military
15 Amazing Architectural Style Types From Old to Modern
Top 15 Countries with the Shortest Life Expectancy
Top 15 Countries with the Best Economy
Top 15 Things You Didn't Know about Chinese Culture
Top 15 Countries with the Longest Life Expectancy
Top 15 Most Spoken Languages Around the World
15 Unique Aspects of Mexican Culture
15 Unique Aspects of German Culture
15 Unique Aspects of French Culture
15 Unique Aspects of American Culture
15 Unique Aspects of Japanese Culture
15 Ways Americans are Different than Canadians
15 Little Known Facts About Australia
10 of China's Ghost Cities Explained
20 Little Known Religions and Cults
Preparation for the 3rd Temple in Jerusalem and End Time Prophecy
Top 15 Modern Day Pirates
15 Most Protected Areas in the World

Culture


Copyright © 2017 YurTopic All rights reserved.

Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Software

There has been a total of

hits counter
Unique Visitors to YurTopic
(Since January 1st 2013)

About  |  Terms and Conditions  |  Contact