Australia, most people's southernmost neighbor, was inhabited by Indigenous Australians for about 50,000 years before the first British Settlement in the late 18th Century. It's the world's sixth largest country by total area, and one of the most fascinating landscapes globally. Below are some of the most interesting facts about Australia.
1/25. Australian Koalas are in danger of extinction because over half of them have chlamydia.
2/25. The Gympie Gympie is a plant, native to Australia, that will make you vomit in pure agony just by touching it. The sting is potent enough to kill humans and horses.
3/25. A common myth about the kangaroo's English name is that "kangaroo" was a Guugu Yimithirr phrase for "I don't understand you." According to this legend, Cook and Banks were exploring the area when they happened upon the animal. They asked a nearby local what the creatures were called. The local responded "Kangaroo", meaning "I don't understand you", which Cook took to be the name of the creature. This myth was debunked in the 1970s by linguist John B. Haviland in his research with the Guugu Yimithirr people.
4/25. In 2013, a pig in Australia stole 18 beers from a campsite, got drunk, then tried to fight a cow. We're still not sure who won.
5/25. You are required by law to show up to vote in Australia. If you don't, you'll face a fine.
6/25. Australia was the second country in the world to give women the vote, just behind New Zealand.
7/25. Australia exports camels and sand to Saudi Arabia.
8/25. In 2007, it was estimated that 22 per cent of living Australians had a convict ancestor.
9/25. In 1838 it was declared illegal to swim at public beaches during the day. This law was enforced until 1902.
10/25. Under ideal viewing conditions, like in the Australian Outback, the naked eye can detect about 5,780 stars.
11/25. Australia is home to the world's most venomous marine creature. The Box Jelly fish has killed more people in Australia than stonefish, sharks and crocodiles combined.
12/25. Per capita, Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation.
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13/25. Cotton candy is called fairy floss in Australia and all candies are referred to as lollies.
14/25. Australia once declared a war against the Emu, and lost.
For those who don't get it, emu is a large and flightless bird, similar to the ostrich. After World War I, significant number of ex-soldiers took up farming within Western Australia. But back in 1932, their farms faced difficulties by the arrival of about 20,000 emus. The newly migrated emus found that the farmlands were an amazing habitat for them and they began to settle.
Farmers became concerned over this and called on the then Minister of Defence, Sir. The soldiers requested their deployment. The Minister readily agreed and declared war. The weapons and troop deployments were financed by the West Australian government. Their objective was to drive away the emus. Military involvement began in November 1932 led by Major G.P.W Meredith of the Royal Australian Artillery.
Things did not go so well. Emus can run fast and are difficult to target, they are also skilled in hiding behind trees. In one battle, the military ambushed 1,000 emus and managed only a dozen kills. At one stage, they even went so far as to mount one of the guns on a truck, but failed miserably.
Later in November, the army used 2,500 rounds of ammunition and only managed to kill less than 200 emus (means there are still at least 19,800 emus left standing). This led to an embarrassed Prime Minister to announce defeat and stop the campaign. One politician facetiously suggested that the troops be awarded medals, another retorted that the medals should go to the emus, since they had won every round so far.
15/25. There are about 750,000 wild camels in the Australian desert.
16/25. In 1967, Australia's Prime Minister went to the beach for a swim and was never seen again.
17/25. The SEX Party in Australia is looking to legalize marijuana, euthanasia, censorship, abortion, and tax the church.
18/25. An Iraqi man moved to Australia and used the Welfare System as income. Years later, he became successful and wrote a check to the government for every cent they gave him.
19/25. In Victoria, Australia, only a licensed electrician is allowed to change a light bulb.
20/25. The Church of Scientology runs a child labor camp in Australia.
21/25. 75% of Australia's living species are unknown to (hu)man.
22/25. Australia has over 10,000 beaches. You could visit a new beach every day for over 27 years.
23/25. There is a mountain in Australia called Mt. Disappointment because its explorers found the view from it sub-par and wanted to reflect that.
24/25. In Australia, Burger King is called "Hungry Jack's".
25/25. There's a book store in Australia where books are wrapped in paper with short descriptions so no one can "judge a book by its cover."