30 facts about Australia culture

Australia is diverse nation with rich cultural heritage, heavily influenced by colonisation, and areas of stunning natural beauty. Here are some facts about the country.

The history of Australia

  1. The name Australia comes from the Latin Terra Australis meaning “southern land”.
  2. However, until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as Nieuw-Holland, later anglicised as New Holland, thanks to Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644.
  3. The Australian flag features the Southern Cross, a constellation of the southern sky; the Union Jack to represent Australia’s Commonwealth membership, and the Commonwealth Star below it.
  4. Australia became a nation (the Commonwealth of Australia) on 1st January 1901.
  5. Australia does not have an official motto but “Advance Australia” featured on its Coat of Arms from 1908–1912.

Admin stuff

  1. Australia is a member of the UN, G20, the World Trade Organization, Pacific Islands Forum, Pacific Community the Commonwealth of Nations; ANZUS, and is a non-NATO ally of the US.
  2. Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world.
  3. The capital of Australia is Canberra.
  4. The national language of Australia is English but it does not have an official language (although English is classed as de facto)
  5. Australia has a population of about 25.89 million people (as of 2021, according to the country’s census)
  6. The currency of Australia is the Australian dollar.
  7. The average life expectancy in Australia is about 83 years.
  8. The Australian economy is the world’s thirteenth-largest by nominal terms, and the 18th-largest by PPP.
  9. Australians drive on the left-hand side.

Food and drink

  1. Australia is the fifth-largest exporter of wine in world, sending at least 800 million litres a year across the globe (source)
  2. Australian cuisine is originated from indigenous “hunter-gatherer” diets, known as bush tucker, before British and Irish influences became dominant due to colonisation. From there, immigration programs added East and South Asian as well as Mediterranean dishes to the mix.
  3. The legal drinking and alcohol purchase ages are 18.

The arts

  1. Australia has over 100,000 Aboriginal rock art sites with the oldest confirmed evidence of rock art painting dating back 28,000 years ago.
  2. Australia is home to many famous writers, including Byrce Courtenay, Kate Grenville, Tim Winton, Melina Marchetta, Kim Scott, and Helen Garner
  3. The literacy rate in Australia is between 96–99% (source 1 and source 2)


  1. Soccer and cricket are the most popular sports in Australia.
  2. Australia has won five Cricket World Cup titles and two Rugby Union World Cup titles (as of June 2023), amongst many more titles in other sports.
  3. The Australia women’s national basketball team are heavily decorated, having medalled six times at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and five times at the Summer Olympics.

Nature and geography

  1. The highest mountain on the Australian mainland is Mount Kosciuszko (2,228m/7,310ft).
  2. Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef.
  3. The laughing kookaburra is Australia’s national symbol and the emu features on its coat of arms
  4. The national flower of Australia is the golden wattle.
  5. The short-beaked echidna and the platypus live in Australia, meaning the nation is home to 40% of the world’s monotremes (mammals that lay eggs)
  6. The largest remaining population of dugong live in Australian waters, particularly between Shark Bay and Moreton Bay.
  7. Uluru (also known as Ayer’s Rock) is one of Australia’s most recognisable natural landmarks, sacred to the Pitjantjatjara and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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