Lots of South Africans have immigrated to the “land down-under” (aka Australia) in the last couple of decades. But there’s a lot more to this country (apart from the fact that it’s at the bottom of the world map). They are definately one of South Africa’s sport rivals (the main reason why I won’t ever move there). I would not mind seeing this beautiful country one day though.
Here are 10 facts you might not have known about Australia
1. Australia is the word’s smallest continent and the world’s sixth largest country. Western Australia is the biggest Australian state and covers one third of the continent. Its total area is over 2.5 million square kilometres. That makes it 3.6 times bigger than Texas, 4.6 times bigger than France and 11 times bigger than the UK. It’s an interesting fact that, despite its large size, Western Australia is home to only +/- 2 million people.
2. For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, the region was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who belonged to one or more of the roughly 250 language groups.
3. A census taken in 1828 found that half the population of New South Wales were convicts and that former convicts made up nearly half of the free population. It is estimated that by the time transportation ended in 1868 that 40 percent of the country’s English-speaking population were convicts. In 2007 it was estimated that 22 per cent of living Australians had a convict ancestor.
4. Today the country has an estimated population of 22.1 million. The majority of people live in the coastal regions of the country.
5. Sydney is the biggest city in the country with a population of over 4.5 million. Melbourne is the 2nd biggest with a population of almost 4 million. Canberra is the capital city of the country and has a population of 400,000.
6. The first recorded European sighting of the Aussie mainland and the first recorded European landfall on the continent were attributed to the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon, who sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula on an unknown date in early 1606.
7. Apparently the first European settlers in the future colony drank more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind. In 1954 Bob Hawke made it into the Guinness Record Book: he sculled 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. He went on to become the Prime Minister of Australia when he got older.
8. There are 1500 spider species, 6000 species of flies, about 4000 species of ants, 350 species of termites and 150 million sheep in Australia.
9. Sydney Harbor Bridge is the world’s largest steel arch bridge and the Sydney Tower Center is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere.
10. The country has the lowest precipitation of any of the world’s inhabited continents. (Antarctica gets less.) 70 percent of the country gets less than 500 mm (20 inches) of rainfall per year.
Well, there you have it, 10 facts you might not have known about Australia. If I left anything out, feel free to leave a comment below.
Watch this space for updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.