15 interesting Australian facts that are proven WRONG!
G’ Day Kawa Nation! 🙂 I am not sure if many of you know, by I (the author of the English blogs on the Kawa Kawa website) am Australian. Well, technically I was born and raised in Malaysia, and look like a Malaysian/Chinese Asian (super Asian looking -v- ); but I moved to Australia about 10 years ago. So technically, I’ve been living half of my life in the “land down under”. In this post we will discuss about interesting Australian facts that are proven wrong which would be interesting for you to know as well.
The reason why I came up with the idea to write about this was because Australia Day just past (Jan 26th – mark that into your calendars, everyone! Even if you aren’t Australian). Basically Australia Day marks the anniversary of when the First Fleet, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, arrived to New South Wales back in 1788.
Since then, the British took over Australia. They chased the indigenous people away, brought over their guns, germs, and steel, and the rest is history. Nowadays, there are more and more immigrants coming over here to stay to the point where Australia is known to be the second most multicultural country in the world.
Even though there are many people from all around the world coming over to Australia for a visit or to live, there are still many people out there that don’t know too much Australia. There are also many misconceptions about the land down under.
So today, I am going to exposed the truths about land of Aussies. Hopefully once and for all stop any false stigmas that tourists and non-Australians believe about Australia.
15 interesting Australian facts
1. Everyone has a koala and kangaroo in their backyard
…*sigh*… Okay, um, (can’t believe I have to say and spell this out loud) NO we do NOT have a koala and kangaroo in our backyard. Okay, I get it that kangaroos and koalas are our country’s animal symbol, but they are not common to find in the wild at all!
In the 10 years I have lived here, I have seen a kangaroo of a whopping total of 3 times! And that is at a zoo; not in the wild. This is the same for the koala as well; only seen it at a zoo, and I have actually held them once (they are fluffy, heavy and smells amazing!).
Fun fact: Adult koalas carry chlamydia (a type of STI), so watch out for them.
2. All men look like Chris Hemsworth
Hah, I wish! Sadly, that is not the case. There is also a popular stereotype that all Australians have blonde hair, blue eyes. But that is definitely false. Many of us either come from another country like China, or have descendants coming from another country, and their genes not containing the blonde hair and blue trait (as they are recessive).
3. Everybody knows how to surf
Again, this is false. Not everyone lives near a beach, and if they rich enough to, some people still do not know how to surf. This is an extracurricular hobby that is not compulsory to do.
4. Everybody is laid back and lazy
Actually, this is somewhat true, but for the most part it is false. I guess Australians are just more innovative and find new and weird methods on how to do a task with lesser effort.
So in that case, Aussies are actually smarter. Moreover, from my education experience here, Australian schools teach students how to think “outside the box” and a lot of problem solving skills. In Malaysia and most Asian countries, the schooling system relies on the student to memorize from the textbook and almost nothing more, and so by the end of it, students have a solid mind-set structure on topics, but if asked a question slightly outside that structure, they break down and can’t answer.
Australian students are taught how to think flexibly and how to overcome problems that they will encounter. Also, there are many intelligent Australians out there. Some are brilliant at science and maths, as there are actually quite a lot of Australians doing Medicine, Engineering, and especially Law at my university (The University of Queensland – which is one of the top 50 universities in the world).
5. Everybody descended from convicts
No we don’t. Like I stated before, most of the population come from other countries apart from England, such as China. So it is very rare to come across someone whose ancestor was one of the convicts from the First Fleet.
6. The capital city is Sydney or Melbourne
Ah, yes, the age old question that is being asked by all philosophers around the world…Actually, neither are the capital city of Australia! Shocking, isn’t it?
Even though Sydney and Melbourne are the most popular city for people to visit or to live in, Canberra is actually the capital city. Canberra is in the small territory called “Australian Capital Territory” – search it up!
Geography Fact: Australia has 6 states (New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australian, Victoria and Tasmania) and 2 mainland territories (Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory). The difference between states and territories are that states have a constitution and a more “powerful” government compared to territories.
7. Fosters is Australian for beer
To the non-alcoholic drinkers (like myself), this probably doesn’t really matter to you, but still hear me out. Fosters is a BRAND of beer, not what we call beer.
We have many different names for many kinds of beers. For example, a “Schooner” is a term used for tall glasses of beer, about 443 mL in volume. A “Stubby” is a small, short bottle of beer, normally about 373 mL. Also, side note, barely anyone drinks Fosters. Most people say that it doesn’t taste very good.
8. Shrimp on the barbie
Nobody says that. Full stop. I have met and befriended many true-blue Aussies (meaning someone born and raised in Australia) in my time here, and none of them say that phrase. Only people who want to imitate Australians say it. We say “Chuck the PRAWN on the barbie.”
9. Be prepared to die from a snakebite, shark attack, or crocodile attack when you visit – every animal can kill you!
One of the biggest things Australia is popular for is the dangerous wildlife. Many people say that there are spiders EVERYWHERE and all of them are venomous. Well…that is half true.
Yes, we do have a lot of spiders (there is one living outside, in front of my window currently, and I am looking at it right this instance. There is also one crawling on the glass on my window at this instance), but there isn’t one on every living space there is.
Most of the humongous spiders you see in pictures are actually not venomous at all. They are called “Huntsman” spiders, or “House” Spiders, as they are common to find in houses (I have came across one of those spiders while living here…let me just say that I nearly burned my house down…). Even though they are huge, they aren’t aggressive at all. They will not attack unless you attack them first, and even then, they will most probably just run away.
That being said, animal attacks of any kind in Australia are not common at all! In fact, more people are likely to be attacked by cows than by sharks! Also, you’re more like to get bitten by a human in New York than by a shark on the Australian Coast. Like I said before, the main reason why they would attack you is if you attack them in any way, or you’re intruding into their territory.
10. Everyone carries a boomerang as a weapon
Just because some of the indigenous Australians use it as a weapon, doesn’t mean that EVERYONE in Australia uses one. So no, not everyone has a boomerang. In fact, I would be surprised if anyone I know has a boomerang in their house.
11. Australia is one giant desert
This is only partially true. We do also have quite large rainforests in Australia. Even though most of the central parts of Australia is a desert, the places nearer the coast and up north like around Cairns are more tropical. It has more greenery and vegetation around.
12. Everyone loves vegemite
Again, this is false. Not everyone is Australia has the same taste bites and genes (stated before, not everyone was from the convict era), so no, some people in Australia still do not like vegemite. However, there are many non-Australians who do like vegemite, so that stereotype that vegemite isn’t liked anywhere else is also false.
13. Australia is a backwards country
This means that people state that people are all mean, rude, and lazy. We have already talked about not all Australians being lazy, but also, not all Australians are mean and rude. Yes, there are some people who are still racist and sexist and all that, but that is just the minority. Most people I have come across are super nice, caring and considerate. Even in shops, most of the time people are polite.
14. It is always summer
Even though it is hot most of the time, that is not true. Australia does have all four seasons, including winter. The winter here is normally around 5-10 degrees celsius minimum (around the nighttime), but it depends how far up north or down south you are (up north like Cairns is more warmer during winter, while Melbourne can get down to the negatives). However, winter, or the cold parts of the year, leaves very quickly and starts to warm up soon after (as much I don’t like it…I dislike summer a lot).
15. Australia doesn’t exist
Okay, no kidding, this is something that some people think…I mean, unless I am under a coma or really high from drugs at the moment, I am pretty sure Australia is real, and that I am living in it…
Anyways, I hope you all like this really informal kind of blog post about me just ranting about random topics like misconceptions about Australia. Let me know what you guys think, and I shall see you all in the next blog post! 🙂
Also, make sure you check out the Kawa Kawa’s English eBook (which is FREE to download) about how to improve your English pronunciation. This will be really helpful, and it gives the best advice and tip on how to improve your English speaking and confidence! And who knows, maybe you would have enough confidence to visit Australia one day 🙂 (it is not as bad as I make it to be, I promise!).