Australia: Random Facts and Trivia
Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Australia including abouts deserts, wool and sheep, stereotypes, voting and drinking.
So vast are the west-central desert lands that accurate aerial maps have been made only in the last 12 years, and in 1973 there was still no airline that would fly over the Gibson desert. There are miles of surfing beach, and divers love the Great Barrier Reef, 1,250 mi. long, which is located off the northeast coast, the greatest continuous coral formation in the world. Unfortunately, the Reef has been disappearing and is considered to be an endangered environment.
Australia's isolation has preserved some of the world's most unusual animal life, including the wombat, dingo (Australian dog), platypus, wallaby, koala, kangaroo (from the size of a hare to 6' tall), the giant earthworm (10' long), and the emu.
Australia, with 163 million sheep, leads the world in wool production, supplying 1/3 of the world's total need. One worker in 5 is employed by the Government.
The stereotype of the friendly Aussie with a love of beer, gambling, and sports is, to a large degree, accurate.
One visitor credits the Aussie reputation for being happy in part to the lotteries: "If a man has a bet going, he won't commit suicide because he has a chance of winning." Aussies spend $2 billion a year on gambling, 2/3 of it legally, but a great portion on the outlawed coin-toss game "2-up." And if happiness equals beer drinking, the Aussies must be approaching nirvana. A 1974 government report says the Australians are downing 100 gallons of beer per person annually, one of the world's highest marks. Most Aussies spend one or 2 evenings a week at the pub.
Aussies are extremely upset over French testing of nuclear devices in the atmosphere above the Pacific. Fallout has occurred over a widespread area of Australia. Protests range from formal government objections to individuals parachuting into the test zones.
Voting is compulsory, and few risk the $4 fine for abstaining.
The constitution is silent on civil rights. Special authority is needed in many areas for picketing, parading, or outdoor meetings.
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