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23 Fucking Crazy Aussie Facts That'll Fry Your Brain

Everything's bigger Down Under.

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1. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke held the world speed record for drinking beer – after downing a yard of ale in 11 seconds. ⏱🍺

Hawke felt his feat won him great respect from the nation's voters – Australians are among the world's thirstiest beer drinkers. πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί 🍻

Channel 9

2. Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth, with the lowest precipitation and run-off of all: here's where water flows permanently.

Robbi Bishop-Taylor / Via etsy.com

3. Australia is dry because it is hot. And getting hotter. More than 123 temperature records were broken in 2013, with the Bureau of Meteorology adding a new incandescent purple to track 50ΒΊ centigrade plus temperatures.

Bureau of Meteorology
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4. The red areas below show where half of Australia's population live – 15.8 million of Australia's 24m people live in the eight state and territory capitals.

JND-AU / Via reddit.com

5. But actually, Australia isn't as dry as you think. Here's the estimated (mostly highly ephemeral) 1.3m temporary water courses.

Robbi Bishop-Taylor / Via etsy.com

6. In 2010-11, record-breaking floods, with one foot more rain than average, DROPPED global sea levels by 7mm.

7. Most of 2010-11's heavy rainfall remained inland, filling the Lake Eyre basin: "Only in Australia could the atmosphere carry such heavy tropical rains to such a large area, only to have those rains fail to make their way to the ocean" – US National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist.

← Slide β†’
NASA / Via earthobservatory.nasa.gov
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8. Australia's 20m cats kill about 75m native animals a day – authorities plan to cull 2m feral cats by 2020.

AAP / NT Land Management

9. Australia has lost one in ten native mammal species since 1788, the world's worst extinction rate over this period.

(This is the last known thylacine or Tasmanian tiger, which died in 1936)

10. During the last Ice Age, Australia's original Aboriginal inhabitants had to contend with giant Megalania predator lizards, which weighed about 500kg and grew up to 6m long.

Epic Wildlife / Via youtube.com

11. Humans, not climate change, caused the disappearance of large mammal species in Australia 40,000 years ago – including the rhino-sized Diprotodon.

Henry Woodward / British Museum / Via commons.wikimedia.org
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12. This year, record temperatures have seen the worst coral bleaching event in the history of the Great Barrier Reef, killing more than half the coral in the northern sector.

13. A 400km wide asteroid impact zone in central Australia is believed to be the world's largest.

Australian National University

14. In 2015, scientists discovered the longest chain of continental volcanoes on Earth, stretching 2000km through eastern Australia. Extinct for millions of years, the volcanoes had long been known to science: the discovery that they were all formed by passing over the same hotspot was new.

Drew Whitehouse/NCI National Facility / Via abc.net.au

15. An underground coal seam fire at Burning Mountain Nature Reserve in NSW has been burning 30m underground for 6,000 years, making it the the oldest coal fire on Earth.

Brent Mail / NSW Parks & Wildlife
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16. Australia has a timezone, Central Western Standard Time, home to less than 200 residents, that splits the difference between the two adjoining zones to run at UTC +8:45 – yep, a time zone based on the quarter hour!

17. Australia has both a Lake Disappointment AND a Mount Disappointment.

The former, a salt lake in the Pilbara, was named by explorer Frank Hann in 1897, who thought he'd found a lagoon. The latter, a mountain in Victoria, was named by Hamilton Hume and William Hovell in 1824, who were disappointed not to be able to view Port Phillip Bay from the summit.
Landsat / NASA / Via commons.wikimedia.org

The former, a salt lake in the Pilbara, was named by explorer Frank Hann in 1897, who thought he'd found a lagoon. The latter, a mountain in Victoria, was named by Hamilton Hume and William Hovell in 1824, who were disappointed not to be able to view Port Phillip Bay from the summit.

18. Circumnavigating the continent, Australia's 14,500km Highway One is the longest national highway in the world, ahead of the Trans-Siberian (11,000km) and the Trans-Canada (8,030km).

Flickr: chrisfithall / Creative Commons

19. Australia's total land area is 7,692,024 km sq, slightly larger than the contiguous United States (7,633,941 km sq).

Kelvin Thompson / Via mapfrappe.com
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20. The 5,896,500 km sq Australian Antarctic Territory is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation – only four other countries recognise the claim, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the UK.

Lokal Profil / Via wikipedia.org

21. Even combined with a massive chunk of Antarctica, Australia is NOT bigger than Pluto (16,647,940 sq km). But it is big – the sixth biggest country on Earth after Russia, Canada, the USA, China, and Brazil.

David Murray / NASA / Via imgur.com

22. After the Skylab space station accidentally crashed into Western Australia during re-entry on July 11, 1979 , the Shire of Esperance fined NASA $400 for littering. The fine was finally paid in April 2009, when Californian radio host Scott Barley raised the funds from his Highway Radio listeners.

NASA

23. Australian scientists and brewers won the space race that matters in 2011, developing a beer that can safely be consumed in space. 🍻 🍻 🍻