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Things you probably didn't know about Australia....


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Some things you probably didn’t know about Australia (unless you’re Australian!)

If you intend to drive around Australia, make sure that you drive round the continent anticlockwise, as it's about 900 metres shorter than going clockwise.

There are nearly 20,000,000 people in Australia. Roughly 80% of them live in cities next to the sea.

Australia has possibly the lowest population density of any country in the world, i.e. two people per square kilometre. Japan has 327 people per square kilometre.

The first Australian Aboriginal word in the English language was "kangaroo" and was used by Captain James Cook. The original spelling was "kanguaroo". Legend goes he asked an Aboriginal man “What’s that creature?†to which to which the Aborigine replied “Kanguroo.†Which means, “I don’t know!â€* see footnote|

The so-called 'Dingo fence' in Australia is the longest fence in the world, and is about twice as long as the Great Wall of China. It has a gate every 19 kilometres along its length. It runs for over 5,530 kilometres and is designed to keep dingoes away from the sheep.

The wine cask, the plastic bag full of wine inside a cardboard box, was invented in Australia in 1967.

Australia is one of the most governed countries on earth, with one politician for every 20,000 people. The British have one politician for every 45,000 people.

The refrigerator was invented in Australia, in the 1850's.

Every airliner in the world uses a piece of navigation equipment called DME, or Distance Measuring Equipment. This was invented in Australia in the 1950's.

As above, the ubiquitous 'black box' flight recorder was also invented in Australia in 1958.

Australia has more beaches than any other country, about 7,000 of them.

The Australian $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes are made out of plastic.

Australia has the largest sand island on earth, Fraser Island, which is off the Queensland coast, 200 kilometres north of Brisbane.

The world's largest structure created by living creatures is the Great Barrier Reef, off the Queensland coast. It's over 2000 kilometres long, and covers an area of nearly 260,0002 kilometres.

The area of Australia that is covered by snow in winter is larger than the area of Switzerland.

70% of the world's wool comes from Australia. We have over 126,000,000 sheep, which use fully half the continent for grazing.

Australia is one of the safest places in the world, with a murder rate of two per 100,000 people. The USA has around eight per 100,000.

There are only two egg-laying mammals in the world, both of which come from Australia: the echidna, or spiny anteater, and the duck billed platypus.

Vegemite is a popular spread in Australia. It’s made from a brown yeast extract. It is spread on bread and sandwiches, and used to flavour soups and stews. The flavour is similar to marmite.

Notepads were invented in Australia, in 1902.

The Emu is the national bird of Australia.

*Cute, but is it true? I dunno--the actual aboriginal words for the marsupial in question sound nothing like "kangaroo," which seems to have sprung into existence just about the time of Cook's explorations. However, slangmeister Eric Partridge declares that kangaroo is in fact of aboriginal origin and means "jumping quadruped." Someday we definitely have to get this straightened out.

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Thanks, that was fun...

I heard a similar story to how the budgerigar got it's name to the kangaroo....

Australia's Aboriginal people use a word "betcherrygah" which means "good eating".

So when Captain Cook asked what these birds were called, the reply was 'good to eat' and so they were called budgerigar.

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Some things you probably didn’t know about Australia (unless you’re Australian!)

If you intend to drive around Australia, make sure that you drive round the continent anticlockwise, as it's about 900 metres shorter than going clockwise.

I think this one is something of an urban myth.

I have no idea who started it - I'll bet they never actually measured it. It appears to be derived from saying that we drive on the left hand side of the road, so the clockwise path is outside the anticlockwise path, and is hence longer. By that logic clockwise would be longer, but by how much?

If you actually try to work it out it seems to depend not on the enormous size of Australia, but on the separation of cars travelling in opposite directions. If it was a perfect circle the difference would be 2xPIxS for a separation of S. Some of the roads would be dual carriageway where the separation could be some tens of meters, but for most of the journey I would guess the separation would be 4m at most. Based on that, I would guess the trip distance in the clockwise direction would be at most 35m more than in the opposite direction. Of course it is nowhere near a perfect circle, but still...

Some more useful information:

Until 1984, Australia's National Anthem was "God Save The Queen".

Four months and three days - average time that elapses before a new migrant sees a repeat of the clip with Whitlam saying "Well may we say 'God Save the Queen'; because nothing will save the Governor-General."

I just made that last one up, but it is probably just as accurate as the claim about clockwise or anticlockwise trips around Australia.

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Vegemite is a popular spread in Australia. It’s made from a brown yeast extract. It is spread on bread and sandwiches, and used to flavour soups and stews. The flavour is similar to marmite.

I think that vegemite is nothing like marmite. It has caramel in it which makes it sweet rather than salty. Having said that, my kids took to it relatively easily and they were real marmite addicts. I don't like it though and still go tto the South African store to get marmite.

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I think this one is something of an urban myth.

I have no idea who started it - I'll bet they never actually measured it. It appears to be derived from saying that we drive on the left hand side of the road, so the clockwise path is outside the anticlockwise path, and is hence longer. By that logic clockwise would be longer, but by how much?

If you actually try to work it out it seems to depend not on the enormous size of Australia, but on the separation of cars travelling in opposite directions. If it was a perfect circle the difference would be 2xPIxS for a separation of S. Some of the roads would be dual carriageway where the separation could be some tens of meters, but for most of the journey I would guess the separation would be 4m at most. Based on that, I would guess the trip distance in the clockwise direction would be at most 35m more than in the opposite direction. Of course it is nowhere near a perfect circle, but still...

Would using an oval not be more appropriate? :ilikeit:

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Would using an oval not be more appropriate? :ilikeit:

It turns out it doesn't matter that it is not a perfect circle.

I happened to start reading a book yesterday, called "Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities" - it is full of mathematical games, puzzles and other odd items. I had only read a few pages, but today, after I had been considering the "around Australia" issue, I had the thought to look in this book to see if there was anything similar there.

It turns out that there is! It is not put it in terms of driving around Australia, but instead it is driving around the M25 motorway in the UK (a road around London). He also starts out considering the case if it was a perfect circle and comes up with the 2 x PI x S formula. However, he then goes on to consider a rectangle, with rounded corners, and the formula is still the same. In fact the formula remains the same for a road composed of any number of straight lines joined by arcs of circles at the corners, even if road bends inwards (is concave) in places. An 'artificial' road like this should be able to follow a real road as closely as you want.

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I just made that last one up, but it is probably just as accurate as the claim about clockwise or anticlockwise trips around Australia.

:ilikeit::lol::lol:

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