Table of Contents
(More States To Be Added)



Australia is nearly three million square miles. That is as small as it can be and still be an island continent. It is the smallest of all seven continents. Australia is between the Pacific and Indian oceans in the Southern Hemisphere. Its capital is Canberra.

Australia has six states: New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA), Tasmania (TAS), Victoria (VIC) and Western Australia (WA) and two territories, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT). The two territories function as states, except that the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to modify or repeal any legislation passed by the territory parliaments.

Indigenous Australians inhabited the continent for about 65,000 years prior to the first arrival of Dutch explorers in the early 17th century, who named the country New Holland. Australia is the oldest, flattest, and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils. It has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq miles). A mega-diverse country, Australia has a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the northeast, and mountain ranges in the southeast.

Australia generates income from a wide variety of sources, including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking, manufacturing, and international education. Australia is a highly developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy. It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power and has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure.

The country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, civil liberties, and political rights. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum, and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism.

Australia is experiencing a shift towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. In 2018 the average age was nearly 40 years old. Today the population consists of more than 270 ethnic groups. Immigrants account for approximately 30 percent of the overall population, the highest proportion in any country with a population over ten million.

Australia has no official language, but English is the main language. Australian English is a major variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon, and differs slightly from other varieties of English in grammar and spelling. There are some languages of immigrant groups, most notably Chinese, Italian, and Greek.

There are hundreds of Aboriginal languages, though many have become extinct since 1950, and most of the surviving languages have few speakers. Mabuiag, spoken in the western Torres Strait Islands, and the Western Desert language have about 8,000 and 4,000 speakers, respectively. Approximately 50,000 Aboriginal people may still have some knowledge of an Australian language.

Australia has no state religion. The Australian Constitution prohibits the federal government from making any law to establish any religion, impose any religious observance, or prohibit the free exercise of any religion.

Australia has world-class beaches, more than 10,000. The beaches look different in the tropical northern part, opposed to the windswept southern part. There is untamed wilderness in Kimberley in Western Australia and Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. The white sand beaches and palm trees of tropical North Queensland, look different from the coastline that hugs Victoria's Great Ocean Road or Sydney's legendary city swimming spots.

Australia is the only continent without an active volcano. Its isolation from other continents explains much of the singularity of its plant and animal life. Its unique flora and fauna include hundreds of types of giant eucalyptus trees and the Golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) that is native to southeastern Australia and was named the national flower of Australia in 1988. Australia has the only egg-laying mammals on earth, the platypus and echidna. Other animals include dingoes, kangaroos, the wallaby, the wombat, possums and gliders, koalas, the spiny anteater, kookaburras, and various birds. Australia has 27 species of possums and gliders. (More about possums later.)

The Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Queensland, is the greatest mass of coral in the world and a huge tourist attraction.

The distribution of climates, topography, and soils that has produced the zones and ecological variation of Australian vegetation has also been reflected in the distribution of animal life. Australia probably has between 200,000 and 300,000 species, about 100,000 of which have been described. There are some 250 species of native mammals, 550 species of land and aquatic birds, 680 species of reptiles, 190 species of frogs, and more than 2,000 species of marine and freshwater fish. The remainder species are invertebrates, including insects.

Australia has over 100,000 Aboriginal rock art sites, and traditional designs, patterns, and stories infusing contemporary Indigenous Australian art, "the last great art movement of the 20th century" according to critic Robert Hughes. Its exponents include Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Early colonial artists showed a fascination with the unfamiliar land. The impressionistic works of Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, and other members of the 19th century Heidelberg School, the first "distinctively Australian" movement in Western art, gave expression to nationalist sentiments in the lead-up to Federation. While the school remained influential into the 1900s, modernists such as Margaret Preston, and, later, Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd, explored new artistic trends. The landscape remained a central subject matter for Fred Williams, Brett Whiteley, and other post-war artists whose works, eclectic in style yet uniquely Australian, moved between the figurative and the abstract.

The national and state galleries maintain collections of local and international art. Australia has one of the world's highest attendances of art galleries and museums per head of population.

Australian literature grew slowly in the decades following European settlement though Indigenous oral traditions, many of which have since been recorded in writing, are much older. In the 1870s, Adam Lindsay Gordon posthumously became the first Australian poet to attain a wide readership. Following in his footsteps, Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson captured the experience of the bush using a distinctive Australian vocabulary. Their works are still popular.

Paterson's bush poem "Waltzing Matilda" (1895) is regarded as Australia's unofficial national anthem. Miles Franklin is the namesake of Australia's most prestigious literary prize, awarded annually to the best novel about Australian life. Its first recipient, Patrick White, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1973.

Australian Booker Prize winners include Peter Carey, Thomas Keneally, and Richard Flanagan. Author David Malouf, playwright David Williamson, and poet Les Murray are also renowned.

Many of Australia's performing arts companies receive funding through the federal government's Australia Council. There is a symphony orchestra in each state, and a national opera company, Opera Australia, well known for its famous soprano Joan Sutherland. At the beginning of the 20th century, Nellie Melba was one of the world's leading opera singers. Ballet and dance are represented by The Australian Ballet and various state companies. Each state has a publicly funded theatre company.

Australia is known for its cafe and coffee culture in urban centres, which has influenced coffee culture abroad, including New York City. Australia claims invention of the flat white coffee, purported to have originated in a Sydney cafe. A flat white consist of espresso with microfoam - steamed milk, comparable to a latte, but smaller in volume and with less microfoam. References to the beverage dates to the mid-1980s in Australia. However, the origins are contentious, New Zealand also claims the invention.

Cricket and football are the predominating sports during summer and winter. Australia has professional leagues for four football codes. Australia water sports include swimming and surfing. The surf lifesaving movement originated in Australia, and the volunteer lifesaver is one of the country's icons. Other popular sports include horse racing, basketball, and motor racing. The annual Melbourne Cup horse race and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race attract intense interest. Australia is one of five nations to have participated in every Summer Olympics of the modern era, and has hosted the Olympic Games twice: 1956 in Melbourne and 2000 in Sydney.


Responding to the influx of Chinese immigrants, the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 ("White Australia" policy) aimed at excluding all people who were not of British or European descent from entering the country. This law was designed to prevent the diluting of Australia's Anglo-Celtic heritage - that is, to support the notion of a homogeneous country consisting purely of a "white" population.

Immigrants who wished to settle in Australia were required to pass a dictation test administered in English or a European language. This made it difficult for Asian migrants. By the late 1940s people of Asian descent made up only approximately 0.21 percent of Australia's population. Although the policy was unproductive and discriminatory, it was made attractive by blending imperial and nationalistic sentiments that proclaimed "population capacities" of 100 to 500 million in Australia's "vast empty spaces."

The massive influx of migrants in the postwar years marked a major cultural shift from a mono-cultural British-oriented society to one of the world's most multicultural societies. From 1945 to 1960 Australia's population almost doubled, from seven million to 13 million. By 1961, eight percent of the population was not of British origin, with the largest migrant groups being Italians followed by Germans, Greeks, and Poles.

In the mid-1950s, as the Australian government began to relax its White Australia policy, one of the first changes was to allow non-European migrants to apply for citizenship. This was followed by the abolition of the dictation test under the Migration Act of 1958, which put an end to the exclusion of non-European migrants.

The most significant change was Prime Minister Harold Holt's introduction of the Migration Act 1966. This allowed non-Europeans with professional and academic qualifications to apply for entry. This ended the White Australia policy (which was officially abandoned in 1973) with migrants being selected according to their skills and ability to contribute to Australian society, not on the basis of ethnicity. This act aimed at developing trade, tourism, and closer ties between Australia and other countries, particularly in Asia.

The 1970s marked a significant turning point in official immigration policies and in prior assimilation policies whereby new arrivals were expected to adopt Australian customs and culture. In 1973 the new Labor government, led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, implemented the Universal Migration Policy, heralding the beginning of a culturally diverse society. This radical change in policy allowed a person from any country to apply to migrate to Australia, without being discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity, gender, or religion. The policy encouraged skilled and professional workers to apply for immigration to increase Australia's productive capacity and to directly benefit the economy. Mass migration programs were renounced, resulting in a dramatic decline in the number of British and European immigrants from 1975.

A new wave of migration began with the arrival of the first Asian refugees as part of the assistance programs signed with the United Nations to provide resettlement in Australia for people fleeing hardship and government persecution in other countries. As the Vietnam War wound down, most of the refugees came from Southeast Asia, fleeing persecution from communist regimes.

In 1975 the first refugees arrived from Vietnam by boat, landing on the shores of Darwin, Northern Territory. By 1985 more than 75,000 refugees from Southeast Asia had come to Australia. These immigrants worked mostly in low-skilled jobs. The number of migrants from Asian regions continued to increase during the 1990s, peaking in 1990-1991 with 60,900 settlers. By 1998, 33 percent of Australian migrants were Asian-born.


Australia is an important source of export cereals, meat, sugar, dairy produce, and fruit.

Australia's sheep population peaked in 1970, dropping by about one-third at the beginning of the 21st century. Australia remains the world's leading producer of wool, supplying nearly one-third of the global total despite a collapse in world prices that caused production to fall during the 1990s. There was a drop in sheep farming along with the reduced agricultural revenues.

Australia's grain and livestock production held stable at approximately two-fifths of agricultural turnover. During the early 1950s, agricultural production accounted for between one-sixth and one-fifth of the gross domestic product (GDP), but by early 21st century that proportion declined to less than five percent. Much of the decline was attributed to reorganized economic priorities. Some was the result of increasing competition from European and North American producers who took advantage of subsidies and enhancement programs.

Australia hosts several festivals, which attract international audiences. Particularly noteworthy arts events are the Sydney Festival (January), which features concerts and theatre and is accompanied by fireworks displays; the biennial Adelaide Festival of Arts (March); and the Melbourne Festival (October).

Aboriginal arts festivals include the Barunga and Cultural Sports Festival (June) and Stompin Ground (October), held in Broome. Sydney's vibrant Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, held annually in February, attracts hundreds of thousands of merrymakers from around the world and is believed to be the world's largest celebration of its kind. Chinese cultural celebrations include Chinese New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Lantern Festival.

Boomerang/Aboriginal Invention: The origin of the term is uncertain. One source asserts that the term entered the language in 1827, adapted from an extinct Aboriginal language of New South Wales, Australia, but mentions a variant, wo-mur-rang, which it dates to 1798. The first recorded encounter with a boomerang by Europeans was at Farm Cove (Port Jackson), in December 1804, when a weapon was witnessed during a tribal skirmish. A boomerang is a thrown tool, typically constructed as a flat airfoil, which is designed to spin about an axis perpendicular to the direction of its flight. A returning boomerang is designed to return to the thrower. It is well known as a weapon used by some Aboriginal Australian peoples for hunting. Boomerangs have been historically used for hunting, as well as sport and entertainment. They are commonly thought of as an Australian icon, and come in various shapes and sizes.

Pest of National Significance: Australia is home to the world's largest feral population of camels. Most are the Dromedary camel (one hump) imported from Africa and Arabia. Some are Bactrian camels (two humps) from Asia. They were brought to Australia by early explorers to help with the exploration and settlement of central and western Australia until motorised transport took over in the 1930's. In the 1930s many camel owners released their camels into the wild. There are approximately 300,000 camels in Australia today. When culling began in 2009 there were approximately one million.

Please don't say "Put Another Shrimp on the Barbie" - if you say that you will make most Australians cringe. The 1980s advertisement cliche featured Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee fame encouraging Americans to visit Australia. Australians call those tasty crustaceans prawns; they do not call them shrimp.

The Australian Drop Bear
(Tourists Beware)

The most legendary Australian marsupial is the mythical blood dripping Australian drop bear, a creature with mysterious origins. Similar to the jackalope and other North American critters, a drop bear is a hoax in Australian folklore. Drop bear stories are commonly used to frighten and confuse tourists while amusing locals. The imaginary drop bear drops from the camouflage of trees onto unsuspecting bush walkers.

An Australian Geographic April Fool's Day 2013 article "claimed" researchers had found that drop bears are less likely to attack tourists who say words like 'crikey', 'Gday mate' and 'bonza' with an Australian accent.

Allegedly, drop bears will not attack people with forks in their hair. Supposedly, spreading Vegemite behind your ears can be deterrent. Also, so it is said, if you string bottle corks to the brim of your hat it will not only kept flies away but drop bears as well.

The website of the Australian Museum has a tongue-in-cheek entry, created for the "silly" season. The Australian Museum has a small exhibit that may, or may not, relate to actual Drop Bears.

In late 2016, Mayor Col Murray and the city counsel in Tamworth, New South Wales voted to name a street Drop Bear Lane.

The film Drop, will be released in 2021. The story is set on a remote sheep farm and tells of a family struggling to keep their property and livelihood in the face of horrific drought and encroaching bushfires, while the terrifying drop bear creature is forced into a world that has elected to forget it.

The drop bear is mentioned in an advertisement for Bundaberg Rum. The rum's popular mascot, the Bundy Bear is with young men on a camping trip. The men clumsily explain to young female tourists that they cannot camp where they are setting up because of drop bears. When the women show signs of doubt, Bundy Bear drops from a tree and send the women screaming to the men's camp area. Bundy Bear gestures to one of the men, who then subtly acknowledges that he understands Bundy Bear's ploy to help. The advertisement ends with everyone happily sharing Bundaberg Rum.

(Not Opossums)

From D.B. Pacini-Christensen

The possum lives in Australia. It is a distant cousin to the North American opossum. The Australian possum and the North American opossum have animal lineages from separate continents. They are different animals with different names. Both animals are marsupials that carry their young in a pouch, but the Australian possums are more closely related to kangaroos.

In North America, people (mostly Americans) incorrectly shorten "opossum" to "possum" to describe the same animal. Australians know that the North American opossum is not a possum. Many Americans do not. Unfortunately, "possum" has become an unquestioned, accepted, and frequent misspelling for the North American "opossum" in the United States. I have done extensive research about animals. I have never found this misspelling in any country other than America.

The Redback on the Toilet Seat
By Slim Newton

"The Redback on the Toilet Seat" is a popular Australian country music EP, with all four tracks written and performed by Slim Newton. It was released in June 1972 and peaked at No. 3 on the Go-Set National Top 40 Singles Chart. Several artists have covered the song.

A native of Perth, Western Australia, Ralph Ernest (Slim) Newton in from a family of three boys. He is steeped in the tradition of authentic Australian country music, and draws inspiration from artists of the genre of Hank Williams and Slim Dusty. An excellent songwriter, Slim sent a demo tape to Hadley Studios in Tamworth and the studio was so impressed they offered him a contract. He became the first composer to be offered a ten-year songwriter/publisher contract. In 1971, he packed up his wife and four children and moved to Tamworth. His first record, an EP, "Redback on the Toilet Seat" made history, and sold more than 100,000 copies.

In 1973 Newton won a Golden Guitar Trophy at the inaugural Country Music Awards of Australia for Top Selling Record for the EP. He continued his career as a part-time musician and released several albums while also working in his trade as a welder. In 1977 the Country Music Association of Australia inducted him into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame, and in 2009 into the Australian Roll of Renown.

1976: The Australian Roll of Renown was inaugurated by Radio 2TM in 1976. The award honours Australian and New Zealander musicians who have shaped the music industry by making a significant and lasting contribution to Country Music.

1977: The Country Music Hands of Fame Cornerstone was established in 1977 as a tribute to icons of Australian country music. Each year the hands of inductees are imprinted during the Tamworth Country Music Festival. The Hands of Fame Park is located at the corner of Kable Avenue and Brisbane Street, Tamworth.


There is much more about Australia. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


New South Wales, Australia


Indigenous Australians have inhabited the Sydney area for at least 30,000 years. Thousands of engravings remain throughout the region, making it one of the richest in Australia in terms of Aboriginal archaeological sites.

As in America, white people proved to be deplorable. When the British arrived in Sydney, they declared Australia as Terra Nullius, meaning the land belonged to no one. This included the native indigenous tribes who owned the land. The treatment the tribes received was barbaric. They lost their land, were denied their rights, were forced to move or be killed, and the British relocated many to missions where some died from foreign diseases brought to Australia by the British.

Sydney became a city in 1842. It is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. In June 2019, Sydney's metropolitan population was a little more than 5,300,000. It is home to approximately 65 percent of the state's population. Approximately 35-40 percent was born elsewhere. Sydney is 1580 square kilometres (610 square miles) across, more than double New York's 780 square kilometers (301 square miles).

Sydney's inner city measures 25 square kilometres (10 square miles), the Greater Sydney region covers 12,367 square kilometres (4,775 square miles), and the city's urban area is 1,687 square kilometres (651 square miles) in size.

Sydney is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There are more than 250 languages spoken and about one-third of residents speak a language other than English at home. English, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek, and Vietnamese are the main languages spoken in Sydney.

Sydney's citizens are known as Sydneysiders. Sydney has plenty of coffee shops, cold beer, friendly people, and sunny beaches. There are more than 100 beaches. The most well known include Bondi, Coogee, Bronte, and Manly.

Sydney surpasses New York City and Paris real estate prices, having some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Point Piper, a street in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, is the ninth most expensive street in the world. The median value of a house there is a little more than seven million dollars.

Sydney has over 100 beaches. The smallest is McKell Beach at Darling Point, accessible only by boat during low tide. Sydney's popular cliff top coastal Bondi to Coogee walk, with views of beaches, bays, and ocean rock pools, runs six kilometres and takes approximately two hours to complete.

Bondi Beach is perhaps the most famous stretch of sand in the world, packed with swimmers, surfers, sunbathers, artists, actors, and people from many communities. Australia's largest outdoor sculpture exhibit, Sculpture by the Sea, began at Bondi Beach in 1996. In 2007 Bondi Beach set a Guinness World Record for the largest ever swimsuit photograph shoot when 1,010 bikini-clad women congregated on the iconic strip of sand.

The City2Surf is an annual 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) running race from the central business district to Bondi Beach and has been held since 1971. In 2010, 80,000 runners participated which made it the largest run of its kind in the world.

The Sydney Fish Market is the largest market of its kind in the southern hemisphere and the world's third largest fish market.

Crime in Sydney is low, with The Independent ranking Sydney as the fifth safest city in the world in 2019.

Sydney is a gateway to Australia for international visitors. Each year approximately 3.5 million international visitors visit Sydney.

Sydney is the highest-ranking city in the world for international students. More than 50,000 international students study at the city's universities and a further 50,000 study at its vocational and English language schools.

Sydney has hosted major international sporting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics. Boasting over 2,500,000 acres of nature reserves and parks, its notable natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Royal Botanic Garden, and Hyde Park, the oldest parkland in the country. Attractions such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House attract international visitors.


The Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge was completed in 1932 and took 272,000 litres of paint to cover. That is approximately sixty-football fields worth of steelwork to paint. The chosen paint colour was grey because it was the only colour available in a large enough quantity. Before becoming a star in Hollywood, actor Paul Hogan - Crocodile Dundee, was one of thousands of workers who painted the steel bridge to protect it from corrosion. The bridge is the widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge in the world. Placing 96 railway engines on the bridge tested its strength. It is called "The Coathanger" because its arch-based design resembles an arched wire hanger. The top of the bridge arch rises and falls about 180 mm (seven inches) due to changes in the temperature.

Almost 500 buildings and homes on the North Shore of the harbour were demolished to allow construction for the bridge with little or no compensation being paid to the owners.

The Australia Day Regatta in Sydney Harbour is the oldest annual sailing regatta in the world. The first event was in 1837, five years after the bridge was completed.

The four pylons on either side of the bridge are merely decorative. In 1973, Philippe Petit walked a wire rigged between the two north pylons bringing traffic to a standstill. A year later Petit made international headlines because he wire-walked between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York.

The Sydney Opera House

In 1956 three judges of the 232-person competition to design the Sydney Opera House initially rejected Danish architect Jørn Utzon's design. A fourth judge chose his entry.

Utzon was 38-years-old. He had never visited Australia when he won the competition. He used naval charts of the harbour to assess the site. Ten years later in 1966, he resigned as chief architect, after the Minister of Works stopped payments to him.

There were demands that Utzon be reinstated, but he had left Australia. When Queen Elizabeth II opened the Sydney Opera House on 20 October 1973, Utzon was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of Architects Australia, but he was absent from the ceremony.

Designed by Jørn Utzon, but completed by an Australian architectural team headed by Peter Hall, the Opera House had challenges. It took four years to determine how to build the roof sails, costs escalated, the Minister of Works eventually refused to pay Utzon, and Utzon resigned. Instead of saving money, the new architects required even more funds. A state lottery was necessary to pay for the project. It wasn't until construction was completed and the Opera House attracted global attention that it was considered an achievement at home.

It took 14 years and ten thousand construction workers to build. During construction, lunchtime performances were often arranged. Paul Robeson was the first person to perform at the Opera House in November 1960 when it was a building site. The visiting African American bass-baritone concert singer, actor, and civil rights activist scaled scaffolding to sing Ol' Man River and Joe Hill in his booming voice. After the performance he signed hard hats for many of the workers.

A total of 6,233 square metres of topaz coloured glass was used in the construction. The glass was custom-made by Boussois-Souchon-Neuvesel in France in a special shade used exclusively for the Opera House.

The cost was $102 million instead of the estimated cost of $7 million. It is the third busiest opera company in the world; hosting approximately 3,000 events and giving approximately 200,000 people guided tours annually. Performances have an annual audience of two million. The Sydney Opera House is one of the 20th century's most famous and distinctive buildings.

It has 6,225 square metres of glass and 645 kilometres of electric cable. The site covers 5.798 hectares. Eight Boeing 747s could sit wing-to-wing on the site. It is 185 metres long and 120 metres wide. There are more than one million roof tiles covering approximately 1.62 hectares sitting over the structure. The tiles were made in Sweden. The highest roof point is 67 metres above sea level, the same as a typical 22-storey high building. It's roof is 2,194 precast concrete sections weighing up to 15 tons each and fastened together by 350 km of tensioned steel cable which if laid end-to-end would reach Canberra.

There are 1,000 rooms. Concert Hall with 2,679 seats is the largest of seven venues. The smallest venue is the Utzon room, which seats up to 210 people.

The Opera House's sails were built using tower cranes made specifically for the job in France, each costing $100,000. It was one of the first buildings constructed in Australia that used tower cranes. The sails look white from a distance, but they are a chevron pattern composed of 1,056,006 tiles in two colours: glossy white and matte cream.

The Opera House's Grand Organ is the largest mechanical tracker-action pipe organ in the world. It has 10,154 pipes and took ten years to build. Each individual pipe is named.

Novel: Helga's Web was a 1970 novel by Australian author Jon Cleary, the second to feature his detective hero, Scobie Malone. Cleary did not originally intend to use the character again but he wanted to write about the construction of the new Sydney Opera House and thought Detective Scobie Malone would be a good way to access that. In the novel a body is found in the building's basement.

Movie: In 1975, Jon Cleary's novel Helga's Web was adapted into a film called Scobie Malone, starring Jack Thompson.

1980s: A net was installed above the orchestra pit in the Joan Sutherland Theatre during the 1980s following an incident during the opera Boris Godunov. The opera featured live chickens and one bird walked off the stage and landed on top of a cellist.

1980: Arnold Schwarzenegger (former actor and Governor of California, USA) won his final Mr. Olympia bodybuilding title in 1980 in the Concert Hall.

1990s: In the late 1990s, the Sydney Opera House Trust resumed communication with Jørn Utzon. In 1999, he was appointed as a design consultant.

2003: In May 2003, Sydney Opera House architect Jørn Utzon was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize - the Nobel Prize of the architectural community. The citation read: There is no doubt that the Sydney Opera House is his masterpiece. It is one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the world, a symbol for not only a city but also a whole country and continent.

Utzon Family: Four generations of the Utzon family have been architects - Aage (Jørn’s father), Jørn, his son Jan, plus Jan's son Jeppe and daughter Kickan. The refurbished Utzon Room is the first Utzon-designed interior at Sydney Opera House. Due to changes made to the building after Utzon left the project in 1966, this is the only 100 percent authentic Utzon interior.

2004-2016: In 2004, the first interior space rebuilt to a Jørn Utzon design was opened, and renamed "The Utzon Room" in his honour. Utzon died on 29 November 2008. A state memorial service, attended by his son and daughter, celebrating his creative genius, was held in the Concert Hall on 25 March 2009.

Refurbished western foyer and accessibility improvements were commissioned on 17 November 2009, the largest building project completed since Utzon was re-engaged in 1999. Utzon and his son designed the work.

On 29 March 2016, an original 1959 tapestry by Le Corbusier, commissioned by Utzon to be hung in the Sydney Opera House and called Les Dés Sont Jetés (The Dice Are Cast), was finally unveiled in situ after being owned by the Utzon family and held at their home in Denmark for over 50 years. The Sydney Opera House bought the tapestry at auction in June 2015. It hangs in the building's western foyer and is accessible to the public.

2007: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Paris, France listed The Sydney Opera House as a World Heritage site in 2007. It is the youngest to be included on the list, and one of two cultural sites inducted while the architect (Jørn Utzon, 1918-2008) was still alive.

Since 2014 a wild New Zealand fur seal is often spotted sunbathing on the Opera House's northern VIP steps. Nicknamed "Benny" after Bennelong Point, the seal appeared with Homer Simpson in a Matt Groening cartoon created for GRAPHIC Festival in 2016.

2019: The Opera House lights its sails red to celebrate the Lunar New Year each year. Mandarin tours are provided. In 2019, 25,000 people celebrated the event.

15,500 light bulbs are changed every year at the Opera House.

The Opera House is cooled using seawater from the harbour. The system circulates cold harbour water through 35 kilometres of pipes to power the heating and air conditioning.

When the orchestra is on stage in the Concert Hall, the temperature must be 22.5 degrees to ensure the instruments stay in tune. Temperature and humidity are critical to musical instruments.

To see the magnificent silhouette of the Opera House, head southeast, through the Botanic Gardens, and north toward the tip of the peninsula. At the end you will find Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, which is a "bench" carved into sandstone. It provides a spectacular view of the Sydney skyline.

Wendy's Secret Garden

Wendy Susan Whiteley is best known as the former wife of Australian artist Brett Whiteley, and as the mother of their daughter, actress Arkie Whiteley (1964-2001). Although they divorced three years before he died, Wendy had control of Brett's estate. An interesting tidbit of information, when Wendy and Brett were at Hotel Chelsea in New York their infant daughter Arkie was babysat by blues singer Janis Joplin.

At considerable personal expense, reportedly millions of dollars, Wendy cleaned and landscaped derelict land owned by the New South Wales Rail Corporation that was adjacent to her home in Lavender Bay. The land was choked by weeds and lantanas, and strewn with old train carriages, abandoned refrigerators, rotting mattresses, and broken bottles. Homeless people sometimes slept there.

The Rail Corporation had no interest in doing anything with the land. They helped by removing the larger pieces of junk. Wendy treated the garden like a giant painting, structuring, planting, pruning, and letting nature do its work. Over fifteen years, the garden became a coveted spot, with benches in quiet spots, secluded paths, and a spectacular view to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

A variety of bird life previously unknown to the area arrived. It is affectionately known as Wendy's Secret Garden, and has been described as rivaling Claude Monet's garden. Features of the garden include an antique fountain from the Paddington garden of Margaret Olley, Bangalore palms donated by Wendy's daughter Arkie, and objects found in the scrub, like an old tricycle and a child's scooter. The quiet and peaceful garden has tiny fairies, old sinks, and little silver owls among hidden treasures scattered around for tourists to discover.


The Granny Smith apple was born in Sydney. The story goes that it sprouted in the yard of Eastwood woman Maria Ann Smith in the 19th century because of her habit of throwing Tasmanian-grown French crab-apple cores out her kitchen window. The story is still celebrated each year at Eastwood's Granny Smith Festival.

Sydney has an annual fashion show for ducks. As part of the Sydney Royal Easter Show, ducks and geese parade in haute couture. Known as the Pied Piper Duck Show, this event is a huge success.

Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the biggest gay pride parades in the world.


Cardiac Pacemaker: In Sydney in 1926, Dr. Mark Lidwill created the pacemaker, a lifesaving electrical heart device. He was a medical pioneer in anesthesiology and cardiology. His knowledge and expertise extended not only to his invention of the cardiac pacemaker but to the design and manufacture in 1910 of his mechanical-anaesthesia apparatus, the "Lidwill Inter-tracheal Anaesthetic Machine", which remained in use in operating theatres in hospitals throughout Australia for more than 30 years. The cardiac pacemaker has saved innumerable lives and is listed by Australian Geographic amongst the top ten Australian inventions that changed the world.

Black Marlin: Dr. Lidwill was a pioneer fisherman. He skippered his self-designed sea cruiser "Vialeen" and was an avid angler for most of his life. On 8 February 1913, he became the first angler to catch a black marlin with a rod and reel. The marlin, weighing approximately 32 kg (70 pounds), was caught from a small Port Stephens launch operated by Mr. Dick Waterson of Nelson Bay after a fight of 12 minutes on 21 thread cuttyhunk linen line.


Kingsford-Smith Airport: The main passenger airport serving the metropolitan area is Kingsford-Smith Airport, one of the world's oldest continually operating airports.

Central Station: Established in 1906, Central Station, the largest and busiest railway station in the state, is the main hub of the city's rail network.

The 2.3 kilometre Sydney Harbour Tunnel was completed in 1992 at a cost of $738 million. Its use cuts the crossing time by approximately ten minutes and saves approximately 13 million litres of fuel annually.

There are 15 parks under the administration of the City of Sydney. The largest in the metropolitan area is Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, established in 1894 with an area of 15,400 hectares (59 square miles). It is regarded for its well-preserved records of indigenous habitation. More than 800 rock engravings, cave drawings, and middens have been located in the park.

Royal Botanic Garden is the oldest scientific institution in Australia. It is the most important green space in the Sydney region, hosting both scientific and leisure activities.

Sydney has the deepest natural harbour in the world with 504,000 megalitres of water. One megaliter equals 264,172 gallons.

One of Australia's oldest and most popular soap operas, Home & Away, is set and filmed in Sydney. The fictional town of Summer Bay is filmed in Sydney's Palm Beach, in the northern beach region. Home & Away has been running since 1988 and has a devoted following in Australian and in Britain. The Matrix, Frost/Nixon, Planet of the Apes, The Great Gatsby, and Independence Day are some films that were partially filmed in Sydney.

Fat Man, the atomic bomb detonated on Nagasaki, was named after Kasper Gutman, Sydney Greenstreet's villainous character in "The Maltese Falcon".

Sydney is home to dozens of bird species, commonly including the Australian raven, Australian magpie, crested pigeon, noisy miner, the pied currawong, and others. Introduced bird species ubiquitously found in Sydney are the common myna, common starling, house sparrow, and the spotted dove.

Reptile species are numerous and predominantly include skinks. Sydney has a few mammal and spider species, such as the grey-headed flying fox and the Sydney Funnel Web spider, and a huge diversity of marine species.

Sydney Funnel Web Spider

There are approximately 40 species of Sydney funnel-web spiders. They are found in forests and urban areas throughout New South Wales, along the coast and as far inland as Lithgow which is approximately 100 miles inland of Sydney. They have been found in residential backyards and in domestic swimming pools. They can survive in water for up to 24 hours or more. They are one of the most venomous (to humans) spiders in Australia, and second most venomous in the world.

Sydney funnel-web spiders have a reputation for being aggressive. Their acidic venom is twice as strong as cyanide. Not all species are dangerous, but some can kill a human. Their fangs are sharp, strong, and much bigger than the fangs of a brown snake. Their fangs can pierce fingernails, gloves, and shoe leather. Their bites are more painful than other spider bites, not only because of their venom and the large size of their fangs, but also because they will cling and bite repeatedly. In some cases they remain attached until dislodged by shaking or flicking them off. These spiders do not chase people and they do not jump. It is a myth that they jump when attacking.

There were 15-recorded deaths caused by this spider between 1927 and 1981. Since the antivenom became available in 1981, there have been no recorded fatalities. A Sydney funnel-web bite is a medical emergency requiring immediate hospital treatment.

In September 2012, the antivenom was running low. The public caught funnel-web spiders to be milked. One dose of antivenom requires approximately 70 milkings from a spider. Humans and monkeys are the only animals with no immunity to the venom.


The Sydney Tower was the tallest structure when it opened in 1981. It is now the second tallest freestanding structure in Australia at 1,001 feet over the Sydney CBD.

Cadman's Cottage in The Rocks, built in 1816, is the oldest house in Sydney.

Operating since 1875, Sydney Ferries carry over 14 million passengers each year.

Approximately 13 percent of the known species of eucalyptus in the world is found in the Blue Mountains. This made the Greater Blue Mountains a World Heritage area in November 2000.

Tom Wills and Henry Harrison, both Sydney natives, created Australian Football. Wills played the Aboriginal game of Mangrook while growing up. The game was initially rejected by Sydney but became popular in the state of Victoria.

Sydney's local AFL team, or "Aussie Rules" as it is known in Australia, is the Sydney Swans. The Swans are the only team who play in New South Wales. The University of Sydney was established in 1850 and is the oldest university in Australia.

Sydney was in the Guinness Book of Records for producing the longest line of pizzas at 221 metres in the Italian quarter of Leichhardt.

Architect Francis Greenway, who originally arrived in Sydney as a convict in 1814, designed the Macquarie Lighthouse in Watsons Bay, St James' Church, Hyde Park Barracks, and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Greenway was on the first Australian ten-dollar bill. He was an odd choice since he had pleaded guilty to forging a financial document in Britain. He is perhaps the only convicted forger depicted on a banknote.

There is much more about Sydney. Australia. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


South Australia, Australia


South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 miles), it is the fourth largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has 1.76 million people. South Australia's capital city is Adelaide with an estimated population of about 1.34 million people.

The top five ancestries for people in South Australia are Australian, English, Scottish, Irish, and German. The top five languages (other than English) spoken in South Australia are: Italian, Mandarin, Greek, Vietnamese, and Persian/Dari. The South Australian flag dates to 1904. As with all Australian state flags the Union Jack appears in the top-left corner of the flag of South Australia. The badge to the right of the Union Jack is a Piping Shrike bird standing on the branch of a gumtree against the rising sun.

South Australia was home to numerous Indigenous peoples. The Murray River and the Coorong were home to the Ngarrindjeri and Nganguraku people. The Kaurna people were the owners of the Adelaide plains in South Australia. Some Kaurna place names still remain, such as Willunga. Parks and squares throughout Adelaide are dual named using the Kaurna Warra language. Victoria Square is also known by its Kaurna name, Ntanyangga, which translates to 'red-kangaroo rock place'. The Torrens River also goes by the Kaurna name of Karrawirra Pari. Evidence has been found in caves beneath the Nullarbor Plains at Koonalda that Aboriginals were mining flint there approximately 22,000 years ago. There is evidence of Aboriginal Australians at Wyrie Swap using boomerangs to hunt waterfowl approximately 10,000 years ago.


A suffragist was a woman who fought for the equal rights of women during the late 1800s and early 1900s. On 18 December 1894 the South Australian Parliament passed the Constitutional Amendment (Adult Suffrage) Act. It granted women in the colony the right to vote and allowed them to stand for parliament. This right was excluded from women (and men) who were aboriginal natives of Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, unless accepted under section 41 of the constitution. South Australia was the first electorate in the world to give equal political rights to both men and women. (In 1893 New Zealand was the first nation to give women the right to vote, but not to stand for parliament.)

In 1983, which was 89 years after 1894, a married woman's application for an Australian passport no longer required authorization from her husband.


The Ghan Railway is named after the Afghan camel drivers who arrived in Australia in the 1800s. The Afghans and their camels accompanied expeditions to explore the outback, and they assisted transport and communication. The first train to run the original Ghan line, in 1929, was steam powered. It was called the Afghan Express. The line followed the route of an explorer named John MacDouall Stuart from Adelaide to Alice Springs (then named Stuart). In 1980, the old railway track, which was narrow and termite-riddled, was abandoned. In 2004, the route was extended to Darwin in the Northern Territory.

South Australia is nicknamed the Festival State. It is an art and culture hub and holds numerous creative festivals each year. Visitors enjoy events such as the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Film Festival, Feast Festival, and Cabaret Festival. The popular WOMADelaide world music festival attracts international artists, while the Adelaide Fringe Festival is a premier, open-access event and the largest annual arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Adelaide Christmas Pageant is the largest Christmas parade in the southern hemisphere. An estimated 400,000 people gathered along the parade route in 2015 to watch the floats and other entertainment. This was equivalent to approximately one in every three residents of Adelaide attending the event.

South Australia is the driest state on the world's driest continent. Lake Eyre National Park's stark landscape is home to Australia's largest salt lake and the lowest point in the whole country. The Lake Eyre basin covers one-sixth of the continent. South Australia's Coober Pedy mine is the world's largest producer of opals. The oldest surviving German settlement in Australia is the town of Hahndorf located in the Adelaide Hills. Hahndorf's main street is lined with 100-year-old elm and plane trees and showcases beautiful restored buildings.

South Australia is home to the world's largest cattle station, Anna Creek Station, located near Coober Pedy. It is six million acres in size, which is larger than Israel, Belgium, Slovenia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Luxembourg, and Malta. Anna Creek Station is more than seven times larger than the USA's largest ranch. The second largest cattle station in the world, Alexandria Station, in the Northern territory is almost two million acres smaller than Anna Creek Station.

The only giant pandas in the southern hemisphere are housed at the Adelaide Zoo. They are named Wang Wang and Fu Ni. There are only seven other giant panda exhibits in the world.

South Australia is home to Kangaroo Island, an internationally renowned wildlife haven. Kangaroo Island is South Australia's third largest island and is often described as a zoo without fences. It is home to more than 250 species of birds and numerous native Australian animals. It is the only sanctuary in the world for Ligurian bees.

Adelaide is where wild dolphins live closest to the metropolitan area of a city. There are believed to be more than 300 individual dolphins that visit the Port River. The Fremantle Port Harbour in Western Australia also has wild dolphins. Other than Port River and Fremantle Port Harbour there are no other metropolitan areas in the world with wild dolphins. The dolphins in the Port River are renowned for their popular tail walking. They leap from the water and propel themselves backwards while remaining vertical. They are the only wild dolphins in the world that have mastered tail walking.

The Adelaide Central Market is the largest fresh produce market in the southern hemisphere. The Barossa Valley is Australia's richest and best-known wine region. Premium wineries, five-star restaurants, and cellar door establishments are in the hills and vineyards. The Adelaide Botanic Gardens is home to the oldest glasshouse in the southern hemisphere, the palm house. The palm house was imported from Bremen, Germany to Adelaide in 1875. It is believed to be the only Victorian glasshouse of its type in the world.

The Royal Adelaide Show is believed to hold the record for the number of times a show has been held in the world. The Royal Adelaide Show surpassed the number of shows held by the Royal Bath and West England Society that was founded in 1777. In 2015, the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society held its 240th Royal Adelaide Show. The first show was held in the yard of a pub in Grenfell Street in the year 1840. The Royal Adelaide Show is the biggest event in South Australia and is attended by approximately 500,000 people each year.

There is much more about South Australia. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.