100 Interesting Facts About Australia

1Manhattan Project experiment

In 1946, a 4-year-old Australian boy named Simeon Shaw was flown to San Francisco to receive cancer treatment. Instead, he got caught in a Manhattan Project experiment and was injected with plutonium. He died a year later.

2. Australian politician Sir Billy Snedden “expired ‘at the peak of physical congress’ (as a policeman memorably told Truth)” in 1987. Nineteen years later, his son (and lover of the same woman with which Sir Snedden was having sex at the time of his death) was quoted as saying “I’m sure the old man went out happy anyone would be proud to die on the job.”

3. There is a lake in Australia named lake disappointment. It is named such because explorer Frank Hann followed several freshwater rivers in the area and expected to find a large freshwater lake, but instead, it turned out to be a salt lake

4. When in 1960 a Dutch aircraft carrier (HNLMS Karel Doorman (R81)) wanted to dock in Australia, the local seamen's union wouldn't help it dock. The crew solved this problem by tying the planes to the deck with chains and using the aircraft’s propeller thrust to dock.

5. In Australia, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide participate in daylight saving, but Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane do not.

6Tasselled Wobbegong

Though it sounds more like a British insult, there's a type of carpet shark (Tasselled Wobbegong) that is found in the shallow coral reefs of northern Australia.

7. In 2015, two gorgeous new species of peacock spiders nicknamed “Skeletorus” and “Sparklemuffin” were discovered in Australia. Sparklemuffin was named such due to bluish and reddish stripes on its abdomen.

8. In 2005, 82-year-old Australian cartoonist named William Ellis Green, confronted a burglar running through his house in Victoria. He called the police and took pen to paper to produce a caricature of the burglar. The police immediately recognized the burglar from the drawing and he was soon apprehended.

9. In 2006, thieves planning to steal one of the koalas in Rockhampton Zoo of Queensland, Australia changed their mind after it proved too vicious because “apparently [the koala] scratched the shit out of them” and stole a crocodile instead which was easier.

10. In 1878, an Australian bandit named Kelly Gang wrote an 8,000-word letter (Jerilderie Letter) justifying his actions and gave it to a teller at a bank he robbed.

11Mexican's 9 month survival

In 2005, three Mexicans (Lucio Rendon, Salvador Ordonez and Jesus Eduardo Vivand) got lost at sea and drifted from Mexico almost to Australia over the course of nine months. They survived by eating raw fish and drinking rain water.

12. In 2012, an Air Canada passenger flight took a detour and dropped from 37,000 feet to 4,000 feet to help find a stranded yacht off the Australian coast. It took the passengers 25 minutes after the emergency beacon was activated to locate the yacht.

13. In Australia, Weird Al’s “Eat It” reached number one on the music charts, while the original, “Beat It”, only peaked at number three.

14. In the 1980’s, Australian beer companies had to change the design of their bottles so a species of beetle would stop trying to mate with them.

15. In Australia, voting is compulsory and citizens over 18 are fined if they do not vote.

16Frank Clewer

In 2005, an Australian man (Frank Clewer) wearing a nylon jacket and wool shirt built up 40,000 volts of static electricity, resulting in burned carpets, melted plastic, and a massive evacuation

17. The flags of Australia and New Zealand are so similar, the Prime Minister of Australia was greeted with the flag of New Zealand on a state visit to Canada in 1984.

18. In 1970 due to a wheat production quota dispute between a Farming family in west Australia and the Government, the family declared their land to be independent of Australia and created a legal micronation called the Principality of Hutt River which exists till today.

19. In 1999, an Australian, Bill Morgan was declared for 14 minutes from a heart attack. Later he was revived and lived unscathed. To celebrate his survival, he brought a scratch card and won a $27k car. The news team asked him to re-enact the scratch card moment, so he brought another card and won $250,000 jackpot in in it.

20. In order to prove that the bacteria H. pylori could cause stomach ulcers, an Australian doctor named Barry J. Marshall drank a culture of H. pylori, developed an ulcer, and successfully treated it with antibiotics. He won a Nobel Prize for it in 2005

21Andrew Carnegie

One of the most tangible examples of Industrialist Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy is the founding of 2,509 libraries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries throughout the English speaking world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Of these libraries, 1,679 of them were built here in the United States. Carnegie spent over $55 million of his wealth on libraries alone and he is often referred to as the “Patron Saint of Libraries.”

22. Saudi Arabia imports sand and camels from Australia.

23. In the 1950s and '60s, the British government tested atomic weapons on the rural South Australian town of Maralinga. Australian and British soldiers were used as guinea pigs to test the effects of radiation on humans, and the area was also populated with indigenous Australians at the time.

24. There was a man named Joseph Bolitho Johns who escaped Australian prison so many times, they built a special cell just for him. It was so strong that they promised to forgive his crimes if he could escape again. He escaped that as well.

25. The Hawaiian Pizza was invented in Canada and is the most popular pizza in Australia, accounting for 15% of pizza sales.

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