Australia is the 6th largest country globally by total area that consists of mainland Australia, the Tasmanian island, and numerous other islands. Canberra is the capital, and the country has several other large metropolitan areas such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth. The country has the fourteenth largest economy of the world, with the tenth-highest per capita income. If you are planning to stopover in Australia, here are some interesting facts about the country.
1. Why is Australia a continent instead of an island?
Australia is the smallest continent in the world consisting of several other countries with Australia by far has the largest landmass. There are no official guidelines for a landmass to be considered as a continent. Generally, features such as size, history, tectonic independence, unique flora and fauna, and cultural uniqueness make Australia a continent instead of an island.
2. The majority of the population lives along the edges of the country
Australia is the driest continent of the world besides Antarctica. 73% of the country's landmass is a long open stretch of red and orange dessert known as "the outback." As a result, 85% of the country's population lives in urban areas within 50 kilometres of the coast, making Australia one of the world's most sparsely populated countries.
3. One in five Australians is a descendant of a convict
The Dutch were the first European nation to chart Australia. They named the western and northern coastlines "New Holland." The English explorers landed on the northwest and claimed the the area they called "New South Wales" for Great Britain. After losing the American colonies in 1783, the British sent more than 160,000 prisoners to Australia. Today one in five Australians believed to be a descendant of those convicts, and many take pride in their convict history.
4. Canberra became the capital following a dispute between Sydney and Melbourne
Canberra is the capital of Australia despite only being the 8th largest city in the country. Sydney and Melbourne grew into developed and powerful cities under the British colonial settlers. In the late 19th century, a dispute arose between Sydney and Melbourne to be the national capital. To settle the dispute the regional government compromised with both cities to build a new city with the conditions that it had to be in New South Wales and 100 miles of Sydney; hence Canberra becomes the capital.
5. Australia declared a National sorry day to commemorate its indigenous people
Australia is home to many different indigenous populations. They thrived in Australia in nomadic societies for centuries before European colonization policies and various diseases hampered their growth. In 1998 the government declared an annual event to commemorate the mistreatment of these indigenous people.
6. Australia has a gambling crisis
Australia has 20% of the world's poker machines and spends over 18 billion dollars per year on gambling, making it one of the world's biggest gamblers. 70% of Australians participate in gambling each year. This addiction is causing many consequences in the society like financial crisis, relationship problems, and mental health problems.
7. 28% of Australian's population are born overseas
Australia ranked only behind Luxembourg and Switzerland regarding the foreign-born population as a percentage of the total population. Immigration adds 1.1 percent to the population each year, which is higher than the country's birth rate. Many of these immigrants arrive as skilled workers and students. However, this high level of immigration is causing several concerns and issues within Australian society.
8. Australia is home to the largest living structure in the world
The great barrier reef is the world's largest living structure stretching over 2,300 kilometres over an area of 344,400 square kilometres. The great barrier reef is even visible from outer space and supports more than 1,500 different fish species. Unfortunately, climate changes are causing massive damage to the great barrier reef, losing half of its coral since 1995.
9. Australia has a global reputation for venomous creatures
Australia is home to some of the most venomous creatures in the world. 8 out of 11 most venomous snakes are inhabiting Australian land and sea. Other venomous animals in Australia, such as Geography cone snail, Box jellyfish, Sydney funnel-web spider, and Blue-ringed octopus, are hazardous to human beings. The harsh environment and scarcity of food are the main reasons behind Australia having such nasty creatures.
10. An Australian island has the world's cleanest air
Located about 240km to the south of the Australian mainland is Tasmania, the 26th largest island globally. The island's lack of pollution due to its location in the Southern Ocean, far from other landmasses, is the main reason for Tasmania's clean air. .