I am not talking about ignorance towards anyone else other than themselves. They are ignorant when it comes to knowledge about their own country, its history and its heritage. This is an accomplishment in itself as written history about Australia only goes back a few hundred years. Comparing European history books to its Australian counterparts is like comparing Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to a Chinese menu. That said, who remembers those?
In truth Australians just do no think their country or its history is that interesting. They love it to death, but interesting? No not really. That label is reserved for pretty much every other country. Nevertheless, Australia is an odd place that garners at lot of interest from every corner of the world. And rightly so.
There have been many books written about Australia and its intriguing geography, its people, and wonderfully diverse and unique flora and fauna. However, true to its odd nature there are actually a lot of interesting facts about Australia that are not so well-known. Extensive research that almost reached PhD-level proportions (read: a Google search) revealed some very unusual facts. Here are 10 things you did not know about Australia.
Warning: if you know more than two of the following facts it is time to get out more. Get a hobby.
1. Australia is the only continent with no active volcanoes.
2. Australia has more than 20 of the world’s poker machines.
3. Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.
4. Fiji and New Zealand almost became part of Australia. In fact, New Zealand is still mentioned in the Australian constitution.
5. In 1901 Australia was the second country to give women the unrestricted right to vote (after New Zealand), well ahead of the United Kingdom (1928).
6. Since 1896, the beginning of the modern Olympics, only Greece and Australia have participated in every Games.
7. In 1933 Western Australia tried to become independent from Australia. However, they needed permission from the British Parliament before they could officially become a new country. Britain simply ignored the request so Western Australian remained part of the Commonwealth.
8. In 1954, Bob Hawke made the Guinness Book of Records for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Bob later became the Prime Minister of Australia.
9. In 1967 Australia lost its Prime Minister – literally lost, to this day. Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach, near Portsea, and was never seen or found again. This event has been referred to as ‘the swim that needed no towel’.
10. South Australia is the only state never to have received any convicts.
You see, it even looks like a Chinese menu. I like no.3, thanks.