What don’t most people know about Australia?

eastern-grey-kangaroo by pen_ash / 912 images

It is not so much what they do not know, it is what they think they know is wrong.

They think kangaroos are pets. They are wild animals and if you get too close will either attack you or run away.

They seem to think that every Australian home is constantly besieged by dangerous animals. This is quite recent, it must be because of garbage schlockumentaries on el cheapo TV stations, mostly in the USA. Most Australians live in cities and towns and would not see most or any of those animals from one year’s end to another. The most dangerous animal in Australia is the common horse.

They seem to think that Queen Elizabeth II rules in Australia. She does not. She does not in the UK, New Zealand, or Canada either. Australia is ruled by the Federal and State Parliaments, Prime Minister, and state Premiers who must be elected every three years. Legislation is approved by a Governor-General for the nation and a Governor for the states. These are appointed by the Queen from a very short list of nominations sent in by the government of the day, they are all Australian. Recent ones have been prominent lawyers, university administrators, a retired military general, scientist, or bishop.

Australia does not have a president, thank heavens.

They want to know why central Australia is mostly uninhabited. Granted, most of it is not as bad as Death Valley, but much of it is like the Sahara, with stony plains and sand dunes. Another large amount looks rather like West Texas or New Mexico. It does not matter what country it is, if there is little rain and much evaporation, people do not live there. The town of Alice Springs with a population of about 25,000 is an anomaly mostly supported by tourists.

If you want to study immunology, marine biology, or radio astronomy, Australia is a good place to do those.

Australia is not solely populated by the descendants of British convicts. The first convicts arrived in 1788 but by 1825 were already outnumbered by free settlers. Gold rushes from 1851 tripled the population by 1865 and convict transportation ceased by 1868. The largest sources of immigrants are now China, India, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The gold mined in Australia and California increased the money supply in Europe, and though the French had little interest in Australia, the gold and greater money supply partly financed the huge construction projects by Napoleon III in France.

The first really effective anti-anthrax vaccine was developed in Australia since Pasteur’s vaccine was not fully effective.

23% or so of the Australian population are nominally or devoutly Roman Catholic. Another 22% are Anglican while another large minority are Methodists. Christian fundamentalism and its attendant myths of young-Earth creationism and idiot “Bible prophecy” are a joke here. Most Australians have little interest in religion.

The second or third medical X-ray was taken in Adelaide, South Australia in the 1890s.

This article was originally posted on quora by Ted England


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