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Australia Facts File

 

Australia has an interesting history from first being called ‘New Holland’ to then being home to lots of criminals who were sent there as punishment! It might have been a scary place to go back then, but things have certainly changed. Let’s look at some interesting facts about Australia. Or, watch our video on YouTube just below!

Australia Facts

History:

 

The first people to live in Australia were the ‘Aborigines’, and they’ve been there for approximately 60,000 years…that is a seriously long time! If you’re 10, it seems like you’ve been around for ages surely, now multiply that by 6,000 and that’s how long Aborigines have been there…wow!

Next came the ‘Torres Strait Islanders’ who’ve been there for about 10,000 years.

Did you know that Australia was first called ‘New Holland’? Well that was because Dutch explorers landed on the fine Aussie shores in 1606, so therefore ‘New Holland’ became its name as this was now their second home.

Then the British arrived in 1788 and set up the first ever colony.

Amazingly the British sent criminals to Australia as punishment many, many years ago, and this little bit of history still lives with Australia today.

The name Australia was given to the country in 1824. It comes from the word ‘terra australis incognita’ that means ‘unknown southern island’.

In 1851 coalminers unearthed a very precious metal. Can you guess what it is? It would make you very rich! Well it was gold!

Kargoorlie is a really small remote town in Western Australia and just that little town alone is one of the world’s largest producers of gold! That’s amazing.

 

Geography of Australia:

 

Australia is a land with a truly fascinating geography! If you find this subject boring, you won’t anymore. Read on for some super-charged facts about the deserts, rivers and forests of this huge country – and lots more besides.

Australia is the only country in the world that covers an entire continent, but amazingly it’s also an island! An island continent, fancy that! Certainly the largest island in the world.

 

Size:

 

It is rather large at 4,779,602 square miles (7,692,024 km²). If you had to fly from Perth to Brisbane, it would take about 5 hours. This makes it 22 times bigger than the UK. Wow!

 

 

Population:

 

More than 22 million people live in Australia, which actually isn’t that many when you consider its size.

 

Kangaroo Facts

Geography:

 

More than two thirds of the country is desert, called the ‘outback’. There must be a serious amount of sand there.Even though there’s heaps and heaps of desert, there are rainforests here too.

Bet you think Australia is just a hot country, well it’s not; it’s a land of extreme opposites. The highest temperature ever reached was 103 degrees Fahrenheit (50.7 degrees Celsius) and the lowest temperature was minus 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius). Now that’s something interesting!

The country’s coastline is 22,292 miles long (35,877 km) and they have over 10,000 beaches. Their coastline spans three oceans which covers about 7,456,454 square miles (12,000,000km²)! That’s humongous!

 

Food:

 

Lamington is a square of sponge cake coated in chocolate and shredded coconut. Frequently served with afternoon tea.

Granny Smith apple

The Granny Smith Apple is an all-purpose apple with green skin, firm, crisp flesh, and a pleasantly tart flavor. Named after its discoverer Maria (or Mary) Ann Smith (died 1870), an Australian gardener. Smith had found the seedling growing where she had thrown out some apples, she began using the fruit for cooking, and was soon marketing the fruit. It is believed to have originally come from the seed of a French Crab apple.

Macadamia nuts are native to Australia. They are named for John Macadam, a Scotish born physician and chemist who promoted the nuts cultivation in Australia.

A yabby is a freshwater crayfish from Australia. In the wild some varieties can reach 10 pounds, but the farm raised ones found in markets are usually 2oz to 5oz. They are bluish green their meat is very sweet, and there is a fair amount of claw meat in addition to the tail meat.They are being flown in live from Western Australia, and are available in large city markets in the U.S.

Powdered butter was developed in Australia in 1962.

Melba toast was created by Auguste Escoffier in 1897, and supposedly named by Cesar Ritz of the Savoy (or his wife Marie) in honor of Nellie Melba (stage name of Helen Porter Mitchell), an Australian born opera singer.Melba toast is very thin, dry, crisp toast.

Vegemite is a popular spread in Australia and New Zealand. Vegemite is made from a brown yeast extract. It is spread on bread and sandwiches, and used to flavor soups and stews. The flavor is mostly yeast and salt. It is similar to marmite.

 

TOP 20 Facts About Australia

 

1) It is the 6th largest country in the world, occupying an entire continent of some 7.6 million square kilometres.

2) It has the world's 3rd largest ocean territory, spanning three oceans and covering around 12 million square kilometres.

3) Vegetation covers nearly 7 million square kilometres or 91 percent of Australia.

4) The largest Greek population in the world beside Athens in Greece can be found in Melbourne Victoria.

5) Most of Australia's exotic flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

6) The Indigenous 'Dream Time' is the foundation for tens of thousands of years of spiritual aboriginal art, traditions, legends, myths, folklore and culture.

7) The only nation-continent of 20 million people in the world.

8) The wattle was adopted as the national floral emblem in 1912.

9) The first Australian Friendly Society with the motto of 'Advance Australia' was the Australian Natives' Association (ANA) formed in Victoria in 1871.

10) More than 80 percent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast making Australia one of the world's most urbanised coastal dwelling populations.

11) Over 200 different languages and dialects are spoken in Australia including 45 Indigenous languages. The most common non-English spoken languages are Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin.

12) The world's highest proportion of migrant settlers in a developed nation with over 25% of Australians born in another country.

13) Today's Australia is very multicultural with Indigenous peoples and migrants from some 200 countries.

14) Australia's first small step to a fully multicultural Australia was the result of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean after 1945.

15) It contains an amazing ecosystem with unique flora and fauna including pristine rainforest, ancient rock formations and beautiful beaches.

16) The first Australian of the Year award was awarded to Professor Macfarlane Burnet who had won the Nobel Prize in the same year of 1960 for his groundbreaking physiology research.

17) Debate continues today on the calls to change the Australian flag because of the prominence of the British Union Jack, which does not reflect contemporary Australian society.

18) It has 16 world heritage listed sites including historic townships, cities and landscapes.

19) While 1988 was named a 'Year of Mourning' for Aboriginals, it was also regarded as a celebration of survival where the Aboriginal community staged a 5 kilometre march for "Freedom, Justice and Hope" in Sydney.

20) Australia used to be a beer-drinking nation but its quaffing plunged to a 65-year low in 2010-2011 with only 4.23 litres consumed per person.

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