The land down under

Australia - the world’s smallest continent and the sixth largest country in the world. Common knowledge. Legends of Terra Australis Incognita. The flag's original design. Unusual Australian facts: history, convicts, natural environment. Aimed at friends.

Рубрика География и экономическая география
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Язык русский
Дата добавления 12.05.2012
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Minsk State Linguistic University

The land down under

Minsk, 2011


In this paper I will tell some fun facts about Australia, "The Land Down Under". Australia is the world's smallest continent but is also the sixth largest country in the world. If it is summer here then it's winter there! Australia has some incredibly hot weather and some of the world's greatest animals and forests. The hottest temperature actually reached 53.1C in 1889. If you want to go to Australia you should learn some of their unusual lingo. Yes, they do speak English but they have their own language for almost everything. Australia is referred to as "The Island Continent".

Common knowledge

Australia ( /??stre?lj?/), officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Neighboring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the northeast and New Zealand to the southeast.

For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups. After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing Crown Colonies were established.

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system which functions as a federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The federation comprises six states and several territories. The population of 22.6 million is heavily concentrated in the Eastern states and is highly urbanized.

A highly developed country, Australia is the world's thirteenth largest economy and has the world's seventh-highest per capita income. Australia's military expenditure is the world's twelfth largest. With the second-highest human development index globally, Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedom and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Australia is a member of the G20, OECD, WTO, APEC, UN, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, and the Pacific Islands Forum. [1]

Pronounced [??st?ж?lj?, -li?] in Australian English, the name Australia is derived from the Latin australis, meaning "southern". The country has been referred to colloquially as Oz since the early 20th century. Aussie is a common colloquial term for "Australian".

Legends of Terra Australis Incognita--an "unknown land of the South"--date back to Roman times and were commonplace in medieval geography, although not based on any documented knowledge of the continent. Following European discovery, names for the Australian landmass were often references to the famed Terra Australis.

The flag of Australia is a defaced Blue Ensign: a blue field with the Union Flag in the canton (upper hoist quarter), and a large white seven-pointed star known as the Commonwealth Star in the lower hoist quarter. The fly contains a representation of the Southern Cross constellation, made up of five white stars - one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars.

The flag's original design was chosen in 1901 from entries in a worldwide competition held following Federation. It was first flown in Melbourne on 3 September 1901. A slightly different design was approved by King Edward VII[1] in 1902. Over the next few years, the exact specifications of the flag were changed several times both intentionally and as a result of confusion. The current specifications were formally gazetted in 1934, and in 1954 the flag became recognized by, and legally defined in, the Flags Act 1953[2], as the "Australian National Flag".[1]

Unusual Australian Facts

1. History

* Swimming - In 1838 it was declared illegal to swim at public beaches during the day! This law was enforced until 1902.

* The secret ballot was first used in Victoria and South Australia following the granting of responsible government. Other states introduced secret ballots as follows: 1856 - Victoria & South Australia 1858 - New South Wales & Tasmania 1859 - Queensland 1893 - Western Australia. The secret ballot was referred to as 'kangaroo voting'. World wide, secret voting is often referred to as the 'Australian ballot.

* Female vote - Australia was the second country to give women the vote.

* In 1932, Francis De Groot[3], a retired cavalry officer, managed to get himself selected as part of the honour guard at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge[4]. When the ribbon was about to be cut, he galloped forward on his horse and slashed the ribbon with his sword, declaring the bridge open in the name of 'the decent citizens of New South Wales'. The ribbon was then tied back together and the ceremony continued. De Groot was carried off to a mental hospital, declared insane and later fined for the replacement cost of one ribbon.

* Independence for WA- In April 1933, 68 per cent of West Australians voted in favour of seceding from the Commonwealth of Australia. However, they needed permission from the British Parliament before they could officially become a new country. Meanwhile, Australia's Federal Parliament was arguing that Britain should not interfere in Australian politics. The end result was that Britain never made a decision. Consequently, Western Australian remained part of the Commonwealth.

* In 1954, Bob Hawke[6] was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records[5] for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Bob later became the Prime Minister of Australia.

*Sir John Robertson[7], five times premier of New South Wales, drank a pint of rum every morning for 35 years. Later said: 'none of the men who have left footprints in this country have been cold water men.'

* Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach, near Portsea on 17th December 1967, and was never seen again. The event has been referred to as 'the swim that needed no towel'.

* Until 1984, Australia's National anthem was "God save the Queen/King."

* Cartoonists - A cartoon is a drawing that makes a satirical, witty, or humorous point. On 17 July 1924, the world's first society of cartoonists, the Black and White Artists' Society[8], was formed in Sydney.

* Yowie sighting - In 1987, the Alice Springs police station received a call from a frightened family. The family had stopped for a cup of tea after a morning of rabbit hunting. Then a huge ape like creature, two meters tall and covered in hair, leapt out of an empty water tank and began walking towards them. The family fled to their truck and the creature ran after them before disappearing into the bush. The man, Frank Burns believed it was a man however the women, Phyllis Kenny, told the press she could tell the difference between man and beast and this was definitely a beast. The following day police searched the area and found a man, 203 centimetres tall weighing a estimated 127-159 kg (or about two Oprah Winfreys) sitting naked by the roadside. The man was then taken to a local mental hospital.

*Australia day - January 26, Australia day, is the anniversary of ships arriving in Sydney carrying a load of Convicts.

*Australia was the 3rd country, after the US and Russia, to launch a satellite into orbit. It was for the British, using a 'Blue Streak'[9] rocket

2. Convicts

*A census taken in 1828 found that half the population of NSW[10] 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, 40 per cent of Australia's English-speaking population were convicts.

*In 2007, it was estimated that 22 per cent of living Australians had a convict ancestor.

*Convicts were not sent to Australia for serious crimes. Serious crimes, such as murder, rape, or impersonating an Egyptian were given the death sentence in England.

*Crimes punishable by transportation included recommending that politicians get paid, starting a union, stealing fish from a river or pond, embezzlement, receiving or buying stolen goods, setting fire to underwood, petty theft, or being suspected of supporting Irish terrorism.

* Alcohol- It has been reported that the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per head of population than any other community in the history of mankind.

* Police force - Australia's first police force was a band of 12 of the most well behaved Convicts.

* Mass moonings - In 1832, 300 female Convicts at the Cascade Female Factory[11] mooned the Governor of Tasmania during a chapel service. It was said that in a "rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor's party could not control their laughter.

3. Natural Environment

*The Australian Lyre Bird[12] is the world's best imitator; able to mimic the calls of 15 different species of birds in their locality and string the calls into a melody. Also been known to mimic the sound mobile phones.

*The echidna[13] is such a unique animal that it is classified in a special class of mammals known as monotremes, which it shares only with the platypus. The echidna lays eggs like a duck but suckles its young in a pouch like a kangaroo. For no apparent reason, it may decide to conserve energy by dropping its body temperature to 4 degrees and remain at that temperature from 4 to 120 days. Lab experiments have shown that the echidna is more intelligent that a cat and it has been seen using its spikes, feet and beaks to climb up crevices like a mountaineer edging up a rock chimney.

*Purple wallaby[14] - The Purple-neck Rock Wallaby [Petrogale Purpureicollis], inhabits the Mt Isa region in Northwest Queensland. The Wallaby secretes a dye that transforms its face and neck into colours ranging from light pink to bright purple.

*The Fierce Snake[15] or Inland Taipan has the most toxic venom of any snake. Maximum yield recorded (for one bite) is 110mg. That would probably be enough to kill over 100 people or 250,000 mice.

*The Wombat[16] deposits square poos on logs, rocks and even upright sticks that it uses to mark its territory.

*A 10kg Tasmanian Devil[17] is able to exert the same biting pressure as a 40kg dog. It can also eat almost a third of its body weight in a single feeding.

*Australia is the smallest, flattest, and driest inhabited continent in the world. It is the only country which is also a whole continent.

*Over 90% of Australia is dry, flat and arid. Almost three-quarters of the land cannot support agriculture in any form.

*A baby kangaroo at the time of its birth measures 2 centimeters.

*Kangaroos[18] need very little water to survive and are capable of going for months without drinking at all. When they do need water, they dig 'wells' for themselves; frequently going as deep as three or four feet. These 'kangaroo pits' are a common source of water for other animals living in the kangaroo's environment.

*A kangaroo being chased by a dog may jump into a dam. If the dog gives chase, the kangaroo may turn towards the dog, then use its paws to push the dogs head underwater in order to drown it.

*Emus[19] and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.

*A monotreme[20] is an animal that lays eggs and suckles its young. The world's only monotremes are the platypus and the echidna.

*The male platypus[21] has a poisonous spine that can kill a dog and inflict immense pain on a human.

*When a specimen of the platypus was first sent to England, it was believed the Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.

*Box Jelly fish[22] - The box jellyfish is considered the world's most venomous marine creature. The box jellyfish has killed more people in Australia than stonefish[23], sharks and crocodiles combined.

*The Sydney Funnelweb spider[24] is considered the world's most deadly spider. It is the only spider that has killed people in less than 2 hours. Its fangs are powerful enough to bite through gloves and fingernails. The only animals without immunity to the funnelweb's venom are humans and monkeys.

*Lung fish[25] - Queensland is home to lung fish, a living fossil from the Triassic period[26] 350 million years ago.


* Mungo man - In 1974, scientists discovered the Mungo man - a primate who was ritually buried 40-60,000 years ago with his hands covering his penis. ANU's John Curtin School of Medical Research found that the skeleton's genetic material contained a small section of mitochondrial DNA. It was analysed and compared to the genetic material from nearly 3,500 people; including Neanderthals, Asians, ancient Aborigines, and present-day Aborigines. It was found that Mungo Man's DNA lacked a gene that was common to all the other samples. Consequently, unlike every other known person on the planet, or unearthed skeleton, Mungo man can not be traced to humans that left Africa any time in the last 200,000 years.

*Robust - The first humans travelled across the sea from Indonesia about 70,000 years ago. These people are called 'Robust' by archaeologists because of their heavy-boned physique.

*Gracile - 50, 000 years ago, the more slender 'Gracile' people; the ancestors of Australian Aborigines, arrived in Australia. At the time of their settlement/invasion, the Gracile were the most technologically advanced people in the world.

*Tasmanian Aborigine - The Tasmanian Aborigine was of a different race to those on the mainland with features more similar to Africans. No full bloods live today.

*Convicts of African descent - Convicts comprised many different racial groups and many of these minority racial groups were very prominent in colonial society. Australia's first bushranger was a Convict of African descent. Another African Convict was arguably Sydney's first eccentrics as he walked around in a top hat and tails.

*Gold Rush[27] - During the Gold rush of the 1850's, Australia received massive waves of migration from China, America, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England. An Italian migrant named 'Raefello Carboni' subsequently led the Eureka Rebellion.

*People: 92% Caucasian descent, 7% Asian descent, 1% Aboriginal descent.

*Post World War II - From 1945 through 1996, nearly 5.5 million immigrants settled in Australia.

*Four out of 10 Australians are migrants or the first-generation children of migrants.


*Happy birthday anthem - In 1977, Alan Jones scored a surprise victory in the Austrian Grand Prix. Initially officials were going to play the Austrian anthem but then realized that Australia and Austria were not the same country. Unfortunately, they didn't have the Australian anthem so instead a local drunk played "Happy Birthday to You" on a trumpet.

*Don Bradman[28] - Don Bradman averaged 99.94 during his career. The next highest average in the entire history of the game is around 60.

*Australian Football was invented by Sydney Tom Wills and Henry Harrison - both were born in Sydney. Tom played the Aboriginal game of Mangrook as a child and it is believed the native game inspired the rules he initially proposed. The game then took hold in Victoria, and was largely rejected by Sydney.

*America's cup - In 1983, the yacht "Australia II" ended the Americans 132 year dominance of the America's cup

*4 X 100 meters - The American 4 X 100 meters freestyle relay team had never been defeated until the 2000 Olympics when they were beaten by the Australians.

*Duncan Armstrong - At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, underdog Ducan Armstrong upstaged the great American Matt Biondi to win the 200m freestyle. (Australians like to beat Americans.) The win was made extra enjoyable when American's accused Armstrong of "surfing" the wave created by Biondi. Only thing more enjoyable that seeing Americans defeated, is them bitter as well.

*Sydney Olympics - The Sydney Olympics were labeled the 'best ever games' by IOC[29] president Juan Samaranch. What makes this a particularly sweet accolade for Australians is that they followed the Atlanta Olympics - staged by Americans.

*A Sydney Australian football match was once stopped after fans smuggled a pig into the stadium, wrote the name of a big-boned player on the pig's side and then released it onto the ground.

*Dawn Fraser - Dawn Fraser is the only athlete to ever win gold in the same event at three consecutive Olympics. At the 1964 Olympics, Dawn Fraser marched in the opening ceremony and wore a custom made swimsuit. For these breaches of protocol, the Australian Swimming Federation banned her from competition for ten years.

*Rod Laver is the only male tennis player to win the grand slam and he did it twice.

*Jeff Thompson once bowled a ball that was calculated to be at least 160 kms per hour which makes him the fastest bowler of all time. He is reported to have said that the sound of the bowl hitting the batsmen skull was music to his ears.

*Cazaly - When charging from their trenches, Diggers would yell "Up their Cazaly" in tribute to the ruckmen Roy Cazaly. "Up there Cazaly" was later made into a song that reached number one on the charts.

*Susie Maroney is a swimmer who from time to time feels inclined to swim long distances - such as Cuba to Florida.

*The day of the Melbourne Cup[30] (a horse race!) is a public holiday in Melbourne.

Cities and States

*Sydney - Australia's first and largest city. Also known as Sin City. Wanted to be Capital of Australia but its convict stigma counted against it.

*Melbourne - Wanted to be the Capital of Australia on the basis that it was the home to the Australian establishment and was not founded by Convicts. (Founded by John Batman; son of a Convict)

*Canberra - Because Sydney and Melbourne kept bickering over which city should be the capital of Australia, it was decided that neither of them would be capital and instead, a new capital would be built in the middle of them both.

*Hobart - Australia's second oldest city. The too-frequent visits by French explorers concerned the British authorities and in 1803 it was decided that a colony should be established on the island to secure British territorial claims. Convicts were then sent.

*Newcastle - Newcastle's coal deposits were discovered by a party hunting escaped Convicts. Sydney's difficult Convicts were then sent to Newcastle to mine the coal. Known as an egalitarian city where miners and winemakers share a beer or a fine drop.

*Adelaide - Claim to fame is that it is a City that has lots of Churches. Adelaide is the Capital of the only Australian state never to have received Convicts.

*Perth - The last Australian state to receive Convicts. It has been said most of them now work in parliament or business.

*Brisbane - In 1824, a southern state governor sent a party of difficult Convicts to found a new settlement in Queensland. These days, southern state children send their difficult parents to Queensland to retire. Also a Mecca for Southern State teenagers who upon finishing school, head north for a week of booze and debauchery.

*Tasmania - The island state is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products. The government maintains strict controls over areas of opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; major consumer of cocaine and amphetamines.

*Long fence - The 'dingo fence' in Australia is the longest fence in the world, and is about twice as long as the Great Wall of China.


australia fact flag history

*Waltzing Matilda - 'Waltzing Matilda' the title of Australia's most famous song, is German for 'carrying a backpack'.

*Bludger - Australians refer to lazy people as 'bludgers'. The word is derived from 'bludgeoner' which is a prostitute's standover man.

*Larrikin - A larrikin is a comical, roguish individual who is prone to rowdy and unruly behaviour. The term was coined from an Irish policeman in a Melbourne court, claiming the prisoner was "larkin about".

*POME - Australians refer to English people as Poms or Pome. This is an acronym for Prisoners of Mother England. May have originally been an abbreviation for pomegranate which is Convict rhyming slang for immigrant.

*The name Australia comes from the Latin Terra Australis Incognito which means the Unknown Southern Land.

*Seppo - Australians may refer to Americans as 'Seppos'. This is an abbreviation for 'Septic Tank' which is rhyming slang for 'Yank'.

*Drongo - Australians may refer to fools, idiots and hopeless cases as Drongos. Drongo was a 1920's racehorse that showed promise but never won anything in 37 starts. In the 1940s, the term was applied to recruits of the Australian airforce.

*Digger - Australian servicemen are referred to as Diggers. This term comes from miners on the Australian goldfields of the 1800's.

*Kangaroo - The name for the Australian marsupial Kangaroo came about when some of the first white settlers saw this strange animal hopping along and they asked the Aborigines what it was called. They replied with 'Kanguru', which in the native language meant 'I don't know' .

*Moomba - The city of Melbourne has a cultural festival using the Aboriginal word Moomba. It seems the festival's initial organizers asked the local Aborigines to suggest a name, and were told that moomba means 'lets get together and have fun.' The grateful organizers subsequently used the name.

In hindsight, the organizers really should have been suspicious that 'lets get together and have fun' could be expressed in two syllables. In reality, 'moom' means 'bum', 'buttocks', or 'anus', while the suffix 'ba' means 'in', 'at' or 'on'. So moomba actually means 'in the bum.'


*Stolen baby - On August 17, 1980, Lindy Chamberlain, the wife of a Church minister, told authorities that a dingo took her baby Azaria from their campsite near Uluru. Curiously, the Australian public was more inclined to place faith in the character of a wild dog rather than in a minister's wife and as a consequence, Lindy was convicted of murder. Some years later, her conviction was quashed yet still, some Australians are adamant that the dingo was innocent.

*Dropbears - Dropbears are an evil species of koala that fall from trees and attack humans. The evil strain of koala don't actually exist. The story was created to fool Americans.

*Yowies- Like the Nth American big foot, the yowie emits a vile odour and screams offensively. Numerous sightings of Yowies have turned out to be escaped mental patients or hermits in jungle attire.

*Lost Prime Minister - In 1967, Harold Holt, the Prime Minister of Australia went for a swim at the beach and was never seen again. Theories about his disappearance include kidnapping by a Russian submarine, eaten by a shark or being carried away by the tide.

*Bunyips - Bunyips haunt rivers, swamps, creeks and billabongs. Their main goal in life is to cause nocturnal terror by eating people or animals in their vicinity. They are renowned for their terrifying bellowing cries in the night and have been known to frighten Aborigines to the point where they would not approach any water source where a Bunyip might be waiting to devour them. Some scientists believe the Bunyip was a real animal, the diprotodon, extinct for some 20,000 years.

*Megafauna - 20-30 thousand years ago, Australia was home to Megafauna; giant species of marsupials including a wombat the size of a rhino, meat eating kangaroos, kangaroos three meat tall and lizards 7 meters long. It is not known exactly what happened to them. One theory is that were hunted to extinction by Aborigines or that the Aborigines use of fire destroyed their habitat. Another theory is their habitat was destroyed by the progressive drying of Australia.

*The Bradshaws - The Australian Kimberley is home to a mysterious form of rock art known as the Bradshaws. The art is dispersed in around 100 000 sites spread over 50 000 sq. km. Although the art's pigment can't be dated, a fossilised wasp nest covering one of the paintings has been dated at 17,000 + years old. This makes the art at least four times older than the pyramids.

The Bradshaws depict people with straight hair and poney tails. One painting even depicts a boat, with a rudder, and 29 people on board. Unlike other Aboriginal art, it is not known what purpose the Bradshaw paintings served. Graham Walsh, the foremost expert on them, has suggested that they might be a form of iconography(picture writing) painted by a now extinct Asiastic race.

*Marree man - In 1998, a huge engraving of a Aboriginal warrior appeared in the Australian outback. It was 4km long, held a throwing stick, was bearded and had a penis which was estimated to be 200m in length. The markings appeared to have been made by a tractor pulling some sort of plough which created furrows 10m wide in the difficult terrain. To this day, the artist is a mystery.

*Phar lap - Phar Lap was Australia's greatest race horse winning 37 of his 51 starts. After handicappers saddled him with enough weight to stop a train, his owner took him overseas to race in America. He easily won his first race but then died in mysterious circumstances.

* Mungo man - In 1974, scientists discovered the Mungo man - a primate who was ritually buried 40-60,000 years ago with his hands covering his penis. ANU's John Curtin School of Medical Research found that the skeleton's genetic material contained a small section of mitochondrial DNA. It was analysed and compared to the genetic material from nearly 3,500 people; including Neanderthals, Asians, ancient Aborigines, and present-day Aborigines. It was found that Mungo Man's DNA lacked a gene that was common to all the other samples. Consequently, unlike every other known person on the planet, or unearthed skeleton, Mungo man can not be traced to humans that left Africa any time in the last 200,000 years.

Mungo Man's unique DNA has been used to challenge the 'out of Africa' theory of human evolution.


*Rosaleen Norton - Rosaleen was born in 1917. She lived outside the realm of respectable society; flouting all moral and social conventions. Her published book of illustrations was declared obscene by the censors and banned in 1952.

Popularly known as the Kings Cross Witch, she was hounded by the media who seized on her alleged satanic rituals, sex orgies and drug-taking. When asked whether she ever considered leading an ordinary life, she exclaimed: "Oh God no, I couldn't stand it! I'd go mad or sane. I don't know which."

*William James Chidley - William was born in 1860 and came to prominence due to his unconventional theories on sex, diet and clothing. Donned in a Spartan tunic, he preached living a 'natural' life of nudity and a diet comprising only fruit and nuts.

He suffered constant persecution by the authorities, was committed to various asylums and jailed. Ironically, he was regarded as a pervert for mentioning sex when he was something of a puritan in his teachings and lifestyle. However the public became fond of him and subsequently petitioned parliamentarians and the media to get him released.

*Billy Blue - Billy was a Convict of African decent. He was quite a character due to his respectable attire of top hat and discarded military uniform.

So colourful was his personality that his frequent law infringements were looked upon with a 'benevolent ' air by police.

*Tim the Yowie man - Tim began his career as a mild mannered economist but during a bushwalking expedition, his life changed after coming face to face with a Yowie. (Australian bigfoot)

Tim realized his calling and gave up the figures to investigate those mysterious occurrences that others were too afraid to openly discuss. Tim named his genre "cryptonaturalism" and to this day, he remains the genre's only occupant.

Economy and lifestyle

*Homicide - Australia was founded by Convicts. Its homicide rate is 1.8 per 100,000 population. The United States was founded by religious zealots. It's homicide rate is 6.3 per 100,000. Almost 400% greater than Australia.

*The ocker - 10 percent of Australians satisfy the definition of an 'ocker' . This 10 percent of the population consume 80 percent of the beer drunk in Australia.

*Gun toting- On average, American soldiers fired seven times as many bullets as Australian soldiers during the Vietnam war.

*Newspaper readership - Per capita, Australians read more newspapers than any other nation.

*Urban dwellers - Australia is one of the world's most urbanised countries, with about 70 per cent of the population living in the 10 largest cities.

*Gambling - Per Capita, Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation.

*With less than 1 percent of the world's population, Australia has more than 20 percent of its poker machines.

*Australia's expenditure on arts products ranks among the highest in developed countries.

*The average world population density is 117 people per square mile, that of the United States 76 and that of Macao is 69,000. Australia's is only 6.

*Employment of Australians - 80% service sector 14% manufacturing 5% rural.

*2.3 percent of Australia's GDP[31] is derived from agriculture.

*15 percent of Australia's GDP is derived from mining.

*.02 percent of the Australian land mass is used by mines. More land is occupied by pubs.

*Rabbits - For each person in Australia there are two sheep and over 16 rabbits, the latter introduced in 1859 by one enterprising man who brought 24 wild rabbits from England in an effort to remind him of home.

*Bicentenary - At the highpoint of the Bicentenary in 1988, 51% of Australians couldn't see any good reason for celebrating.

*Cannabis arrests- In 1999, 46,000 Australians were arrested for possession or use of Cannabis.

*Cannabis use - It is estimated that 50% of Australians aged 14-19 are active users of Cannabis.

*Cannabis industry - The sale of illegal cannabis industry constitutes 1 percent of Australia's GDP and is twice the size of the Australian wine industry.

Australian humour

"The country itself is the ultimate joke; the wave you body-surf into shore after a day at the beach could contain a shark or a rip-tide and, when you get back, your house could have been burnt to the ground in a bush fire. That's where the whole 'no worries' thing comes from." Mark Little- actor and critics of the Australian sense of humour

When first coined, the term 'Larrikin' referred to street criminals and was uttered in same breath as rapscallions, hooligans, and scallywags. In contemporary times, it is applied to anyone with an Australian sense of humour. Larrikin humour tends to be good natured, self-depreciating, and quite subtle.


When comforting someone who is dying of cancer, it probably isn't tactful to joke about how much one is enjoying a mini-series. Yet such black humour is one of the most notable aspects of Australian comedy. For example, when a serial killer kidnapped backpackers and buried their bodies in the Belangalo State Forest[32], a hardware shop in Moss Vale (near the forest) began selling souvenir shovels with the letters 'B.S.F' engraved upon them. Similarly, when seven bodies where discovered decomposing in barrels of acid in the country town of Snowtown, the town's stores began selling souvenir coffee mugs with captions such as "come to Snowtown, you'll have a barrel of a time."

In 1967 Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at a Portsea beach and was never seen again. As a mark of 'respect', construction soon began on the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Pool. Psychologists have offered two different explanations for the origins of black humour. The first is 'incongruity theory.' Incongruence is caused when someone experiences conflicting motivations after being presented with disparate ideas. For example, if someone wants to like Australians but also believes one should respect the dead, they will have conflicting motivations about the Snowtown souvenir mugs. This attitude incongruence may cause one of the attitudes to 'give'. For example, they may decide they don't like Australians anymore or decide they don't care about disrespecting the dead. If attitude change is not a desirable outcome, the person may just laugh and then move on.

The second theory is a 'catharsis release'. Freudian psychologists believe that humour allows people to release tension associated with difficult experiences. This helps them address those issues that they can not openly discuss. For example in the Convict era, Convict etiquette demanded suffering in silence whilst the law considered complaints as insolence and punished it with flogging. As both Convict etiquette and the law prevented the Convicts from discussing their emotional distress, they were forced to make jokes to deal with their emotional turmoil.

The same kinds of needs are still expressed today. When Australian comic Bill Leak found out that his mate had lost his right-big toe in an accident, Leak had confused emotions. Although he could have sent flowers and a get well card, instead he sent a thong with big toe attached in the appropriate position and a note: 'Glue here.'


Honesty is quite a common feature of Australian humour. In response to stories that distort reality or cloud perceptions, Australians often tell a joke that is funny in its truthfulness. For example, after noting that the media always has the tact to portray a murder victim as quiet and nice, and generally liked by the neighbours, Natalie Tran[33] wished that the media could run an honest story that portrayed the woman as disliked by her neighbours and was generally disliked. In the simulation, the neighbours sunk the boot into the victim with statements like "At the end of the day, I'm nice to people and I'm alive."

Natalie Tran wishes the media story on the murdered neighbour didn't always portray her as quiet and nice.

Natalie wants truth in advertising

The character of Chopper Reid[34] on the Ronnie Burns Half Hour is another one whose humour is derived from honesty. In Chopper's case, the humour comes from attacks on political correctness that compels people to act in ways that are contrary to how they think of feel. Rather than conform, Chopper is honest enough to state how he thinks and feels. This results in him criticising the art world, lactose intolerant kids and men who go by the name of Stefan.

Not sensitive or compassionate- Chopper Reid tells people to harden the fuck up

Upside down

Australian humour is often upside down. The joke almost seems to be that the label is the opposite to what it should be. For instance, Australians take delight in dubbing a tall man "Shorty", a silent one "Rowdy" a bald man "Curly", and a redhead is "Blue". A bastard may mean a good bloke. Likewise, larrikin, wog, and mongrel may all be used as terms of endearment.

Belittling the wowser[35]

Although humour is used to strengthen friendships, it is also used to demean those who are too serious. Anyone who promotes a sense of moral decency inevitably invites ridicule. In 1832, the Governor of Tasmania prepared to deliver a moral speech to the female Convicts at the Cascade Female Factory[36]. When he approached the elevated dais, "the three hundred women turned right around and at one impulse pulled up their clothes showing their naked posteriors which they simultaneously smacked with their hands making a loud and not very musical noise..... In a rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor's party could not control their laughter."

In contemporary times, wowsers are demeaned in the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gra. Assimilationalist Pauline Hanson and moral crusader Fred Nile are featured in floats that question their sexuality or mock their overly serious expressions. As for the crowd, they are continuingly mooned so as to cut down any onlookers that possess a high command of morality.

A lawyer by the name of O'Sullivan even lionized mooning in an attempt to get his aboriginal client, James Albert Ernest Togo, off the hook for baring his buttocks at a policeman. O'Sullivan argued that " mooning was accepted Australian behaviour and should be seen as a national icon." The police prosecutor, Michael Purcell, asked in response "whether bare buttocks should replace the emu and kangaroo on Australia's coat of arms."

During the Sydney Olympics, Roy and H.G unveiled the lewd and rude Fatso the Fat arsed wombat as the mascot of their show, The Dream. Fatso was posed in a perpetual moon and comic animations depicted him waddling across the TV screen leaving little nuggets as a reminder of his grace.

Aimed at themselves

An Australian's humour is often self-depreciating. For example, a cerebral palsy sufferer by the name of Steady Eddy turned his disability into an asset by making a comic routine about it. In his quest for love, he recounted that upon seeing a beautiful girl, he often wished: " if only she had a limp..."

Aside from being directed at oneself, humour may also be directed towards ones racial group. For example, Australians of Greek extraction occasionally reminisce about their upbringing; fondly recalling their mothers teaching them how to put on their underwear - yellow at the front and brown at the back, or how their fathers gave them gold chains so they would know where to stop shaving.

Self-depreciation is also common on a national level. During the opening of the Sydney Olympics, an obviously drunk Governor General pronounced "Sa-sa-Sydney" and then knocked over the microphone. It was a shameful performance that would have had most countries scared that they world would think they are being led by a socially inept buffoon!! Oddly, most Australians just found it funny, and even speculated that if he got sacked for being pissed on the job, he may have a career as a rap singer to fall back on.

Steady Eddy - Cerebral palsy comedian

Aimed at friends

Somewhat paradoxically, to make a joke at a mate's expense is to signal a sense of comfort in the strength of the friendship. On the goldfields in the 1850's, to blow up a mate's dunny was considered hilarious whilst 'mongrel', 'galah' and 'bastard' were terms of endearment.

On an international level, despite being shafted at Gallipoli[37], Australians probably get on better with Pomes than any other nationality. At the very least, Poms[38] have helped Australians out by taking the likes of Our Kylie and Germain Greer off their hands. Curiously, the level of piss-taking between the two countries is also extremely high. Poms have been known to define an Australian as someone "who reads comic books without moving their lips". They have also stated an Australian gentlemen is "someone who offers to light his girlfriend's farts."

The Australian retort is often a little different. Rather than rattle off a one liner, Australians tend to personalise an English stereotype by applying it directly to the individual standing in front of them. For example, upon meeting a Pom at Bondi Beach, an Australian might say he saw him earlier and knew he was English judging by the way he was trying to surf white-water, by his resemblance to a tomato or the abundance of flies surrounding him. In a bar, an Australian may welcome an Englishmen with a handshake and a warm 'g'day mate' only to then introduce him to other patrons with make a public announcement that there Pom is in the house and wallets should be kept under guard. In front of his new friend, he may then inform the barman that he requires another drink as "he is as dry as a pommy towel" in reference to the aversion Poms have to bathing.

Australians also have a reasonable relationship with the Kiwis and accordingly, have the insults to boot. They may speculate that there so many Kiwis are living in Sydney so they can go up Blue Mountains[39] way where the abundance of cliffs has the sheep backing up harder. They may even speak fondly of Kiwi produce, citing the lamb is especially tender due to loving New Zealand farmers.

Like the English, the Kiwis like to make jokes about the lack of Australian intelligence. In 2004, it seemed that both the jokes about the Kiwi's love of sheep and Australian's lack of intelligence indeed had an element of truth in them. To compensate it for taking for 52,000 Australian sheep, Australia paid Eritrea, an African country, $A1 million ($NZ1.16 million) in addition with 3000 tones of feed. In Kiwi eyes, the deal made Australians look quite stupid, and the Kiwis let their thoughts be known. In Australian eyes; however, the Kiwis were just upset about a potential love boat being sent in the wrong direction, and were letting their emotions be known.

Relations with nations such as America aren't quite as strong and perhaps it is no co-incidence that such countries are less inclined to either take or give the piss. For example, simple attempts at hilarity involving George Bush's inability to eat a pretzel, let alone lead his country, invariably raise the ire of Americans who rush to their president's defence. Unfortunately, a situation of mirth may then descend into fisticuffs.

Breaking the rules

In the colonial era, the ability to make a policeman laugh may have been the difference between the gallows and freedom. A notable exponent of such comedy was a convict of African extraction by the name of Billy Blue. Billy wore a discarded military uniform, a top hat and and possessed a repertoire of jokes that flowed like fine wine. So well did he endear himself to the authorities, they 'believed' his claims that rather they be an alcohol smuggler, he kept finding liquor floating in Sydney harbour and had been stopped before he had a chance to report it to the authorities.

Daniel Gordon, another convict of African extraction, faced court expecting to receive a death sentence. When he appeared in the dock, Daniel was wild and incoherent in a performance that smacked of a praise-the-lord pastor crossed with a black and white minstrel. Everyone from other convicts to the court clerk thought he was acting. Fortunately, the usually skeptical judge deemed him mentally unfit for trial. When his condition failed to improve, the case was called off. Daniel eventually died 32 years later, aged 81.

When full-figured cricket player Shane Warne was found guilty of using a banned diuretic, he pleaded that he was just trying to lose weight to look good for the cameras. He even threw in a few fat jokes, for example that he was tired of being teased about having "more chins than a Chinese phonebook." Instead of being given the standard two year suspension, Shane was only banned for one year. Perhaps this indicates that his jokes were given a bare pass mark.

Paul Hogan - Australian Olympics

Cynical Australians are a cynical bunch. Unfortunately, they are faced with a dilemma as if they express there criticism they may be called a whingeing pom, an elitist wanker or even worse, a wowser.

The clever Australians resolve this quandary by disguising their criticisms as jokes. Tony Martin expressed his distaste for the commentators of a commercial television station by saying:

"Channel nine's pissing me off at the moment, is it just me or does anyone else hate the cricket as much as I do? Because I'm sorry, but when I turn on the TV and it's just like 12 blokes in white clothes, standing in a all day and Tony Greg says "Well it just doesn't get much more exciting that this." I beg to differ, I'm sorry, I just do..Max Walker was hosting the AFL last year and somebody said to him, "Grand final Max, what d'ya reckon?" "Well I tell ya what, Grand final, it's a pretty big day for football." Well thanks for that Max. Cheque's in the mail. Very nicely done."

Finally, convicted criminal Chopper Reid put in his two cents on police brutality:

"The tough approach at least produced tougher crooks, not like today. When the police questioned via the use of fist, boot and baton it produced a tough, hard breed of stand up criminal".

Australian animal jokes

Australia is a land full of strange things animals that many people around the world have difficulty believing are true. For example, for most people around the world, it is bizarre to think an animal such as a kangaroo could exist. Not other country has animals that have a pouch, give birth to babies less than an inch long and hop around on two legs. Likewise, no other country has animals like the platypus, which lay eggs, suckle young, have a mouth like a duck and fur like a rat. In fact, when a platypus specimen was first sent to England, the English thought Australians had played a joke on them by sewing the mouth of a duck to a rat.

As the world has become accustomed to the unbelievable being possible in Australia, Australians have exploited the world's belief by arguing that very ridiculous things occur in Australia. Americans have been told than kids ride in the pouch of a kangaroo to school. Europeans have been told that Australia is populated by dropbears, an evil species of territorial kolas that drop from trees to claw and bit at the neck. To ward off the danger, they should wear a bicycle helmet when walking in the bush. Some foreigners have even been fooled into thinking that in Australia there is a Hoop snake that takes its tail in its mouth and then goes bowling merrily along.

Inaccurate stereotypes

Australians often make jokes about the inaccuracy of stereotypes. Many of examples could be seen in the movie Crocodile Dundee[40]. In the movie, wealthy reporter Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) hears about the heroic tale of survival of Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) and flies to the outback to verify his story. As they travel to the outback, Mick uses good natured dishonesty to win her charms. Mick secretly uses a razor to shave, but when he hears her coming, he pulls out a huge knife and pretends to shave with it. He looks at his mate's watch then pretends he can tell the time by looking at the sky.

One night, the two are visited by one of Mick's Aboriginal mates, Neville Bell, on his way to a corroboree. Sue tries to take the man's picture, but Neville says:

"You can't take my picture"

Sue responds:

"You are afraid it will take away your spirit"

Neville answers:

"No. You got lens cap on."

Neville then wanders off into the bush. Sue asks Mick how his finds his way in the dark. Mick says: "telepathy." Then there is the sound of the black fella walking into a tree, and an anguished cry:

"I hate the bush."

The underlying message behind the jokes is that stereotypes of Australians are not always accurate, but that Australians like to have fun with them anyway.

Crocodile Dundee - Making humour out of inaccurate stereotypes


Australia is a marvelous place with its own culture, customs and traditions, with various nature and landscape. There you can find deserts, mountains and sunny beaches. It seems refreshingly free of class prejudice. Sometimes people there are rough and straightforward, but they take you for what you are, and are less concerned with how you speak, what job you do, where you went to school etc. I enjoy meeting people from many walks of life and treating each other as equals. I would like to visit Australia one day and to make sure myself that stereotypes about Australians don't work.


1. King Edward VII (король Эдуамрд VII) - (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 - 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. He was the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which was renamed the House of Windsor by his son, George V.

2. Flags Act (Закон «О флаге») - is an act of the Parliament of Australia which defines the official Flag of Australia. Queen Elizabeth II gave Royal Assent on 14 February 1954 after opening the Commonwealth Parliament during her 1954 Royal Tour. It was the first of the few Commonwealth Statutes enacted by the reigning Monarch.

3. Francis De Groot (Френсис Де Грооте) - (24 October 1888 - 1 April 1969) holds a notorious place in Australian history for his high-profile upstaging of New South Wales Premier Jack Lang at the official opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932.

4. Sydney Harbour Bridge (Харбор-Бридж (Сидней))- is a steel through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore.

5. Guinness Book of Records (книга рекордов Гиннеса) - is a reference book published annually, containing a collection of world records, both human achievements and the extremes of the natural world.

6. Bob Hawke («Боб» Хоук) - (born 9 December 1929) was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party (ALP) Prime Minister.

7. Sir John Robertson (Джон Робертсон) - (15 October 1816 - 8 May 1891) was an Australian politician and Premier of New South Wales on five occasions.

8. The Black and White Artists' Society - Australian professional cartoonists' organisation and was established on 17 July 1924

9. Blue Streak (быстро движущийся предмет)- was a British medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) designed in 1955.

10. NSW (Новый Южный Уэльс) - New South Wales is a state of Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively.

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