Australia, a continent known for its diverse wildlife and vibrant culture, is also a land brimming with surprising facts and unique history. From its ancient inhabitants to modern-day quirks, Australia offers more than just picturesque landscapes and iconic landmarks.
Let’s explore six fascinating facts about this remarkable continent.
- Antarctica’s Name Game: Before 1824, the icy continent we now know as Antarctica was actually called ‘Australia.’ This all changed when modern-day Australia adopted the name, leaving its polar counterpart without a moniker until it was officially named Antarctica in the 1890s.
- Aboriginal Australia’s Ancient Roots: The Aboriginal people of Australia have a profound connection with the land, stretching back over 60,000 years. Remarkably, studies have shown that the first Australians consumed giant eggs, weighing around 1.5 kg, from now-extinct massive flightless birds, showcasing their adaptability and survival skills in the ancient landscape.
- Outback Steakhouse’s Surprising Origin: Contrary to what many believe, Outback Steakhouse wasn’t born in Australia. In fact, it was founded in Tampa, Florida by four Americans who had never set foot in Australia. Their inspiration stemmed from the popularity of Australian-themed concepts following the release of the 1986 film ‘Crocodile Dundee.’ The restaurant’s motto? “American food and Australian fun.”
- Australia’s Continental Shift: In a striking demonstration of our planet’s dynamic nature, all GPS coordinates in Australia were adjusted by 1.8 meters in 2017. This was to account for the continental drift since the last update in 1994. Moving at a speed of 7 cm per year, the Australian tectonic plate is among the fastest-moving in the world.
- Brisbane’s Penal Colony Origins: The city of Brisbane has its origins in a rather dark history, having been initially established as a penal colony. This settlement was specifically for convicts who committed additional offenses after arriving in Australia, marking a stark contrast to the vibrant, bustling city it is today.
- The Tale of Mt. Disappointment: In a curious twist of naming, there’s a mountain in Australia known as Mt. Disappointment. This rather unusual name was chosen by the mountain’s first explorers, who, upon reaching its summit, were underwhelmed by the view they encountered. Wanting to immortalize their feelings of letdown, they aptly named it Mt. Disappointment.