Ahh, the great Down Under land in the Southern Hemisphere, massive in scale and wonder. It’s also filled with so many unique and unusual things, believing they could possibly be true can often defy even the most logical minds. Hard as it may be to believe, all of these facts about Australia are actually true.
We’ve all seen the stunning photos of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, which attracts thousands of adventurous tourists. But it’s not actually the biggest rock in the world. That honour goes to Mount Augustus, located roughly 1,000 kilometres north of Perth.
They’re Called Pokies
Americans call them slots and Brits mostly refer to them as fruit machines. But in the local vernacular they’re Australian online pokies in the digital age. Around this neck of the woods, they are the most popular gambling activity, and the name originates from poker machines, which first appeared on Aussie shores in the late 1800s.
World’s Longest Fence
Australia is huge and there’s lots of open spaces, including grazing pastures and farmlands. Stretching precisely 5,614 kilometres, Dingo Fence winds its way from South Australia, along a large portion of the New South Wales border, then onwards into Queensland. But as for stopping the dingoes, well, the jury is still out on that.
The Great Emu War
Believe it or not, Aussie farmers officially declared war on emus in 1932, as the pesky flightless birds were destroying crops. They even hired Royal Australian Artillery soldiers, armed with machine guns to do the fighting, which coined the “Emu War” name. Despite their considerable losses, the emus eventually prevailed.
Peculiar Place Names
— VroomVroomVroom (@vroomcarrentals) September 9, 2013
Just for fun, one tourism site has published a list of strange place names, and some are utterly brilliant. Lost? You could have reached Useless Loop in Western Australia, maybe Nowhere Else in Tasmania. Feeling lucky? Come by Chance in New South Wales is just the place for you. But what about Mount Buggery in Victoria? Named that way by a hiker in 1934, apparently.
Lots of Greeks
According to the 2021 national census, 424,750 people stated they had Greek ancestry. Of that number, 92,314 Australian citizens also confirmed they were born in Greece, while 88% still speak the language of their homeland. The largest proportion live in the states of Victoria and New South Wales.
As the name would imply, these carnivorous marsupials are only found in Tasmania, having become extinct across mainland Australia some 3,500 years ago. They are currently listed as an endangered species, but thanks to the efforts of conservation locations like Savage River National Park in Tasmania, and zoos across the mainland, hope remains for their revival.
Country Sized Ranches
Aussies love nothing better than a barbie, which is a barbeque or BBQ to most of us, and they need a constant supply of beef. To meet this demand, Australia is home to some of the biggest cattle ranches in the world, and some are larger than entire countries. The current record is held by Anna Creek Station in the Northern Territory, covering 23,677 square kilometres.
Standing anywhere up to around three metres tall, and weighing in at over 100 kilograms, you certainly wouldn’t want to get on the wrong end of a kangaroo, and especially during mating season. That’s when males box for the attention of mates, although females have also been observed boxing rivals, usually over water and food.