Australia

Australia Facts

Australia has an interesting history from first being called ‘New Holland’ to then being home to lots of criminals who were sent there as punishment!

It might have been a scary place to go back then, but things have certainly changed. Let’s look at some interesting facts about Australia.

map of australia

******

  • The first people to live in Australia were the ‘Aborigines’, and they’ve been there for approximately 60,000 years…that is a seriously long time! If you’re 10, it seems like you’ve been around for ages surely, now multiply that by 6,000 and that’s how long Aborigines have been there…wow!

******

  • Next came the ‘Torres Strait Islanders’ who’ve been there for about 10,000 years.

******

  • Did you know that Australia was first called ‘New Holland’? Well that was because Dutch explorers landed on the fine Aussie shores in 1606, so therefore ‘New Holland’ became its name as this was now their second home.

australian wildlife

******

  • Then the British arrived in 1788 and set up the first ever colony.

******

  • Amazingly the British sent criminals to Australia as punishment many, many years ago, and this little bit of history still lives with Australia today.

******

  • The name Australia was given to the country in 1824. It comes from the word ‘terra australis incognita’ that means ‘unknown southern island’.

******

  • In 1851 coalminers unearthed a very precious metal. Can you guess what it is? It would make you very rich! Well it was gold!

gold

******

  • Kargoorlie is a really small remote town in Western Australia and just that little town alone is one of the world’s largest producers of gold! That’s amazing.

Geography of Australia

Australia is a land with a truly fascinating geography! If you find this subject boring, you won’t anymore. Read on for some super-charged facts about the deserts, rivers and forests of this huge country – and lots more besides.

  • Australia is the only country in the world that covers an entire continent, but amazingly it’s also an island! An island continent, fancy that! Certainly the largest island in the world.

******

  • It is rather large at 4,779,602 square miles (7,692,024 km²). If you had to fly from Perth to Brisbane, it would take about 5 hours. This makes it 22 times bigger than the UK. Wow!

australia aerial view

******

  • More than 22 million people live in Australia, which actually isn’t that many when you consider its size.

******

  • More than two thirds of the country is desert, called the ‘outback’. There must be a serious amount of sand there.

******

  • Even though there’s heaps and heaps of desert, there are rainforests here too.

******

  • Bet you think Australia is just a hot country, well it’s not; it’s a land of extreme opposites. The highest temperature ever reached was 103 degrees Fahrenheit (50.7 degrees Celsius) and the lowest temperature was minus 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius). Now that’s something interesting!

******

  • The country’s coastline is 22,292 miles long (35,877 km) and they have over 10,000 beaches. Their coastline spans three oceans which covers about 7,456,454 square miles (12,000,000km²)! That’s humongous!

ocean coastline

******

  • 91% of Australia is covered in vegetation. That’s 7 million square kilometers. It might be easier to get rocket launchers on your feet instead of walking.

******

  • The Great Dividing Range is a 2,300 mile (3,700km) long stretch of mountains and sends water to the most important rivers and the Great Artesian Basin. This is the largest groundwater source in the world.

******

  • Now this is interesting! Canberra was chosen as the capital and that’s because Sydney and Melbourne couldn’t stop arguing about which one should be the capital. See, it doesn’t pay to argue.

canberra war memorial

******

  • The highest mountain in Australia is Mount Kosciuszko which is 7,310ft high (2.228m) high. The average 8 year old is about 5ft tall, so it would take about 1,500 kids standing on each other’s shoulders to be as tall as that mountain. Best you start making lots of friends to help you.

******

  • ‘Uluru’ is the largest lone standing rock in the world. It pops out the desert like a massive big red rock, very massive!

******

  • Western Australia is a state of Australia and it is 1,643,908 square miles (2,645,615 km²). Just to give you an idea of how big that is, England would fit into the state over 20 times, Germany over 7 times and France around 4 times! That’s just one state.

******

  • Now best you sit down for this fact! It snows in Australia…yes it really does. In winter they can get more snow than Switzerland.

Australian Nature Facts

  • Australia is really remote, that’s why it’s nicknamed ‘down under’ and because of this they’ve got loads of animals and plants that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Cool huh. So if you want to see a kangaroo, platypus, echidna, kookaburra or a koala, then you’ll have to hop on a plane.

******

  • Love them or hate them, Australia has over 750 different species of reptiles…more than any other country in the world.

******

  • Creepy fact…Australia is home to some of the deadliest animals on the planet. If you go there, be prepared! There are 36 species of poisonous funnel-web spiders and 20 types of venomous snakes. There are only 25 venomous snakes in the world and Australia has 20 of them. No other country can top that! Watch your step.

funnel web spider

******

  • Unbelievable but true. This is the only place in the world where you can still find the lung fish. It is a living fossil from the Triassic period 350 million years ago. Now that’s something to boast about.

******

  • Have you heard of the Great Barrier Reef? Well it’s the biggest coral reef in the world. There are more than 3,000 reefs that form part of it, and there are more than 1,500 species of fish! It would be good to take a dive down under there.

******

  • Beware those great big crocodiles with their huge teeth! The tropical northern Australia is home to the world’s largest species of salt water crocodiles. They can grow as big as 22ft (6.7m). Don’t go walking there alone.

The Australian People

  • Even though this is a big country, it doesn’t have all that many people living there! There are about 3 people per square mile. Now let’s compare that to other countries to give you an idea; America has 32.3, the UK has 262, Germany 226, and France has 118 people per square mile. Unbelievable.

******

  • Today aborigines live in the desert areas of the Australian outback and they’ve learnt to survive under these harsh desert conditions. Can you imagine, it’s hot, hardly any water and a there’s a whole heap of sand!

australian outback

******

  • Nearly a quarter of all the people that live there are born in other countries!

******

  • Aussie people love the sea, and more than 80% of them live within 100km of the coast. That means more people live near the coast than in any other country in the world. Cool beach trips.

******

  • Can you believe that over 200 different languages and dialects are spoken in Australia of which 45 are indigenous! That’s a whole lot of languages…imagine trying to learn to speak them all?

******

  • Australia is home to the largest Greek population in the world besides Athens in Greece. They live in Melbourne, Victoria.

More Fun Facts On Australia

  • Australia is a commonwealth of the United Kingdom, which means that the head of state is none other than the Queen of England! Loads of Australians think that these ties should be cut and they should be a country to call their very own! A vote in 1999 decided against the separation, but the debate still goes on fiercely.

******

  • The Australian flag has three sections, the Commonwealth Star, the Southern Cross and the Union Jack.

flag of australia

******

  • The ‘outback’ is huge and very remote, with people living hundreds of miles away from each other. So how do kids go to school? Well they don’t actually go to school, they learn via a radio and soon technology will help too. Imagine listening to a radio each day to learn all you need to know!

******

  • Ever heard of a cattle station that’s bigger than a country? Well Australia has the largest cattle station in the world at 21,126 square miles (34,000km²). That’s even bigger than Belgium. Wow, that is one big cattle ranch!

******

  • Ever heard the term Pome? Well this is what Australians call English people and it means Prisoners of Mother England.

******

  • Ugg boots were actually invented in Australia, but they are not too keen on them. The locals call them ‘very ugly boots’.

******

  • Who would have thought that the Australians are great inventors! They’ve invented loads of things including lawn mowers with engines, the Black Box on airplanes, smoke alarms, aspirin, the pacemaker, penicillin, the wine cask, electric drill, car radio, and the bionic ear and long wearing contact lenses. They’ve even got the technology to produce bank notes that are the hardest to produce in the world. They’re quite smart down under.

 

kangaroo drawing

******

  • This is super awesome! Melbourne used to be called Batmania! Maybe Batman lived there for a while? Well actually it was named after the founder John Batman – a pretty cool name to have.

******

  • Another awesome fact! They seem to have super speedy dragon flies! One dragon fly was caught flying at a record speed of 36 miles per hour (57km per hour)! For an insect that is seriously fast. Maybe he was flying away from a snapping croc.

******

  • Did you know that there’s someone who actually measures fences? Well apparently they do…the longest fence runs through Australia. It’s called the Dingo Fence and is 3,436 miles (5,531km) long! Bet your friends won’t know that.

Well Australia certainly is an interesting country with loads of stories to tell. Share these facts with your friends, and you’ll be sure to wow them!

Useful Websites

If you want to learn some more interesting facts about Australia, be sure to check out the Time for Kids Australia guide.