From venomous spiders to ski resorts and the invention of selfies, the Land Down Under is a truly peculiar part of Earth
#1 Both kangaroos and emus lack the ability to walk backwards. For this reason, the Australian army features the animals on their uniforms.
#2 Canberra was selected Australia’s capital for the sole reason of resolving disputes between Sydney and Melbourne which had both wanted to be the country’s administrative center.
#3 Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano. The place is deadly enough already.
#4 For instance, around 1,500 species of spiders live in Australia. While some of them are super venomous, others are completely harmless. Yet, between the years of 2000 and 2013, more people were reportedly killed by horses than by all of the country’s deadliest animals combined.
#5 And despite all of this, on average Australians pride themselves on having one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
#6 Thanks to the discovery of gold in the state of Victoria, the city of Melbourne experienced a rapid economic boom in the second half of the 19th century. In 1861, it became more populous than Sydney, and in 1880, it was reportedly the richest city in the whole world. However, the golden era ended eleven years later when Melbourne’s economy got struck by a severe depression.
#7 Nowadays, Melbourne remains a world capital of sport and is also home to the largest population of people with Greek heritage outside of Greece.
#8 Australia is the birthplace of the word selfie. While it was American photography enthusiast Robert Cornelius who took a picture of himself in 1839, the term selfie was first used in 2002 to describe a self-portrait photograph on an Australian internet forum (ABC Online).
#9 There are ten times more camels than koalas in Australia.
#10 Australia is home to the longest highway in the world. Spanning over 9,000 miles (14,500 km) in total, the Highway 1 network circumnavigates the country, joining all mainland state capitals.
#11 The island of Tasmania prides itself on the world’s cleanest air and water.
#12 Australia has more than 10,000 beaches overall, meaning that it would take more than 27 years to visit a new one every day.
#13 While associated mostly with beaches and surfing, Australia is also a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. In fact, each winter, more snow falls on the Australian Alps than on the entire country of Switzerland.
#14 Inhabiting the continent for more than 50,000 years, the Australian Aboriginals are the world’s oldest culture.
#15 Australia is truly a land of extremes with the highest temperature ever recorded being 50.7 °C (123.3 °F) and the lowest −23.0 °C (−9.4 °F).
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