Fun Facts: Australia Day
If you're reading this on Jan 25, guess what day tomorrow is? If you guessed Australia day you might know much about it already, so you can just skip to the second part of this article.
How do people celebrate on January 26?
Most Australians take the day off work and all schools are closed. There are many other celebrations across the country, including many spectacular fireworks displays.
Why is Australia Day on January 26?
On this day in 1788, Captain Arthur Philip, commandeering a small fleet with 736 convicts, entered Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour, Australia), which he described as "the finest harbour in the world". A landing party was sent ashore. This was to be the site of the new settlement.
Why don't all Australians celebrate this day?
Many Aboriginal Australians do not like the idea of a day to celebrate the British landing, which is understandable.
Apart from all the celebrations and fireworks there is an award ceremony in which the Australian of the Year is selected.
The criteria: An individual who has demonstrated excellence in his/her field, has had a significant contribution to the Australian community and nation, and an inspirational role model for the Australian community.
There are four categories: Senior Australian of the Year, Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year, and Australia’s Local Hero. People are chosen from all walks of life.
This year, for example, the candidates include a submarine designer, a media icon, an anti-poverty campaigner and even a dancer. You can check the finalists here: http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/
Australia in itself is a very exciting country. I’ve collected some funny and interesting facts that you might not know:
1. The Australian Coat Of Arms has a kangaroo and an emu on it. The reason for this is that the kangaroo and the emu cannot go backwards but can only walk forwards. Also, Australia is the only country that eats the own national animal.
2. Australia's first police force was made up of 12 of the best-behaved convicts.
3. Australians often use opposites to describe people. For example, a redhead is called "Blue" or "Bluey", a bald man would be called "Curly", a tall man will be called "Shorty", a silent person would be nicknamed "Rowdy' and bastard is often used as a term of endearment. Check out more Australian expressions in one of our previous posts.
4. The name for the Australian marsupial kangaroo came about when some of the first white settlers saw this strange animal hopping along and they asked the Aborigines what it was called. They replied with 'Kanguru', which in the native language meant 'I don't know'.
5. Australia has the longest fence in the world. It is called the ‘dingo fence’ and is about twice as long as the Great Wall of China.
6. While Australia was founded by convicts, the homicide rate is in Australia is only 1.8 per 100,000 of population, one of the lowest in the world.
7. It seems that Australians are fans of big things
• The Big Banana
• The Big Pineapple
• The Big Orange
• The Big Rocking Horse
• The Big Axe
• The Big Lobster
• The Big Prawn
• The Big Golden Guitar
• The Big Merino
Phew..... and the list goes on. Watch this rather hilarious video about most of them here.
8. Dropbears. Have you heard of them? They're said to be large, fierce man-eating koalas, that deliberately fall from trees onto their unsuspecting victims and do terrible things to them. The only known deterrent is a generous smearing of Vegemite behind your ears. Of course these are just myths, which you may believe or not :).
If you are still interested in Australia we have created a wonderful infographic a couple of month ago: https://www.kaplaninternational.com/blog/australia-infographic/