Australia is an amazing country, full of variety and incredible history. We’ve collected some real golden nuggets of information for you! With the oldest civilisation in the history of mankind, dating back 75,000 years, and indigenous flora and fauna that has developed somewhat set apart from the rest of the world, this immense country/continent is full of interesting things to discover. In this article we have collected 20 of the most unusual facts about Australia.
N°1 – The distance between Sydney and Perth is longer than the one between Paris and Moscow
It might be hard to believe, but there are 3,200km between Sydney and Perth whereas from Paris to Moscow, it’s 2,800km. So yes, you’re going to cover a lot of kilometres in Australia – this country is 14 times the size of France, and about 32 times the size of the UK!
N°2 – The largest agricultural property in Australia is bigger than Belgium
It’s also the biggest cattle farm in the world! This property spans an area of 24,000 km2 – an area as big as Israel! Its name: Anna Creek Station, located about 680 km north of Adelaide in South Australia.
No. 3 – Over 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast.
Cities in Australia have naturally developed in places with a more favourable climate. The coasts are more exposed to the wind and are more temperate and fertile than many areas inland. The majority of the Australian population is, therefore, concentrated in the country’s major cities Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, all of which are along the coastline.
No.4 – In 1880, Melbourne was the richest city in the world
Thanks to the gold and wool trade. The wool market moved from England to Australia at that time, given that there was infinitely more space to exploit.
And for the record, the city of Melbourne has been ranked the most liveable city in the world seven years running.
No.5 – Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman
Gina Rinehart earns $1 million every half hour, or $598 per second. By 2021, her fortune was estimated at $36 billion. This wealthy woman is the heir to the mining empire founded by her father, Hancock Prospecting, the world’s largest coal and iron reserves.
No. 6 – Australia was the second country to give women the vote
Women got the vote in Australia in 1902. New Zealand was the first country to introduce the right to vote for women in 1893. As a comparison, the UK did not grant women the right to vote until 1928.
No. 7 – One of Australia’s former prime ministers holds a world record
Robert Hawk, Australian Prime Minister in 1955, holds the record for drinking 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds! We couldn’t think of anything more Aussie!
N°8 – The oldest fossil found in Australia was 3.5 billion years old
Rocks containing traces of organic life were found in Western Australia in 1979. This discovery also advanced NASA’s research into fossil rocks on Mars.
No. 9 – In Australia, the population density is 35 times lower than in France
In the UK, the population density is 276.4 inhabitants per square kilometre. In Australia, it is 3.3 inhabitants per square kilometre.
This means that the population density in the UK is more than 35 times higher than in Australia. This is partly because Australia is a much larger country with a much smaller population. Australia has an area of about 7.7 million square kilometres, while the UK has an area of about 243,610 square kilometres. In 2023, the population is just over 26 million.
No. 10 – Australia has the longest fence in the world
The Dingo Fence is a 5,614-kilometre-long fence that was built in Australia to prevent dingoes, a species of wild dog, from entering agricultural areas. The fence is also known as the Dog Fence, as it also protects livestock from wild dog attacks.
Construction of the Dingo Fence began in 1880 and was completed in 1885. It runs from the south-east of South Australia to western Queensland, crossing several Australian states. The fence is made of barbed wire and is approximately 1.8 metres high.
No. 11 – Australia’s first police force was created by ex-prisoners
Ironic, isn’t it? In 1789, the Sydney Night’s Watch, created by Governor Philip, was made up of the most deserving prisoners.
No. 12 – Saudi Arabia buys camels from Australia
Saudi Arabia can no longer import its camels from the Horn of Africa because of diseases as these camels are for food. Instead, these ones are found in the wild in the Australian bush.
No. 13 – Before humans arrived in Australia, Megafauna ruled the land
Among this megafauna, there were kangaroos 3m high and reptiles 7m long!
N°14 – Kangaroos and emus can’t walk backwards
This is one of the reasons why these animals were chosen as the emblem of Australia. A progressive country!
N°15 – If you wanted to see a new beach every day in Australia, it would take 27 years to see them all
Australia has no less than 12,000 beaches on its 60,000 km of coastline!
No. 16 – The Great Barrier Reef, located along the east coast, is the largest living structure on the planet
It is also the only living structure that can be seen from space.
No. 17 – The male Platypus has enough venom to kill a small dog
It’s unlikely to happen but it’s good to know! Here is our article dedicated to the platypus, a creature straight out of a science fiction novel.
N°18 – There are almost twice as many kangaroos as inhabitants in Australia
There are nearly 40 million kangaroos in Australia, for about 26 million inhabitants!
N°19 – Wombat droppings are cube-shaped
Scientist Patricia Yang explains “A cross-section of the wombat gut is like a rubber band with two ends held slightly taught and the middle section droops. The rigid and elastic parts contract at different rates, creating the shape and corners of the cube”.
N°20 – More snow falls in the Australian Alps than in Switzerland.
This little-known area covers 1.6 million hectares. Divided into 11 national parks, it is spread over the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory. Australia’s mountains are quite high, but it’s not about the height! The reason is that they are much closer to the sea than those in Switzerland. This geographical situation brings more precipitation and therefore more snow!