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Here are some fast facts about our corner of the planet to keep you amused while we build our MDW page.


  • 7.6 million square kilometres (only slightly smaller than the United States)
  • the only country which encompasses an entire continent
  • the world's 6th largest country
  • the world's smallest and flatest continent
  • the world's most arid inhabited continent, and the least fertile soils
  • total land under cattle ranching over 30,000 square km (about the size of Belgium)


  • derived from the Latin "Australis" ("of the South") or "Terra Australis Incognito" ("Unknown Southern Land")
  • first colonised by Europeans 200 years ago, but first occupied by hunter-gather Indigenous peoples from South East Asia as much as 45,000 years ago, with likely brief incursions from Indonesia as much as 70,000 years ago
  • life expectancies from birth: males 78, females 84
  • 40 percent of Australia's English speakers were convicts when transportation ended in 1868, and in 2007 it is estimated 20% of all Australians have a convict ancestor


  • inflation sits between 2-3%
  • interest rates between 5-6%
  • unemployment a little under 5%


  • second country in the world to give women the right to vote
  • from the population of 21 million, more than 4 million speak a second language
  • the day of the Melbourne Cup is a public holiday in the state of Victoria. Yes, that's a horse race.
  • despite having 0.4% of the world's population, we have 20% of the world's poker machines
  • less than 0.02% of our land mass is under mining, which accounts for 15% of our GDP. More than 0.02% of our land mass is occupied by "pubs".
  • in 1954, Robert James Hawke achieved note in the Guiness Book of World Records for completing 2.5 pints of beer in just 11 seconds. In 1983 he became Prime Minister of Australia.
  • the average Australian swallows 3 spiders per year. Why is this important? It's a common question asked of new arrivals by Immigration.

We might have made that last one up.