South Pacific

Did you know this about Australia?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world.

  • There are currently eighteen World Heritage Sites in Australia. To view the properties inscribed on the World Heritage List Australia you can visit unesco.org/en/statesparties/au
  • Australia’s Indigenous people have the world’s most ancient living culture. The Aboriginal people of Australia have a continuous history spanning at least 50,000 years.
  • The didgeridoo is possibly the world’s oldest musical instrument, and has become a symbol of Aboriginal music. Didgeridoos were originally found in Arnhem Land and known as ‘yidaki’. It is made from tree trunks and branches that have been hollowed out by termites.
  • Australian Aboriginal art is the oldest ongoing tradition of art in the world. Rock carvings, body painting and ground designs were the initial forms of artistic Aboriginal expression. The world’s oldest known art was created around BC43,000 by Aboriginal people, who engraved animal images on rocks in the Olary region of South Australia. There are more than 100,000 individual rock art sites in the country.
  • Besides place names, there are many Aboriginal words used in the Australian language. For example: Yakka means work; Yabba means talk; Cooee is a cry made to signal one’s presence; a Willy-willy is a sudden circling gust of wind; and a Billabong is a water hole.
  • Songlines reveal the creation and secrets of the land. They are pathways that criss-cross the country, follow ancient boundaries and connect communities. Aboriginal people passed the songs of creation along these lines. The Dreamtime is the Aboriginal peoples’ understanding of the world’s creation and stories.
  • And by the way … Toilets do not flush counter clockwise in Australia. While this rumour has elements of truth, thanks to the natural phenomenon known as the Coriolis Effect, the truth of the matter is that the small area inside a toilet basin is not large enough to cause the water to alter direction. However, larger bodies of air and water such as hurricanes and typhoons do actually rotate in different directions as a result of being in the Southern hemisphere.
  • Keep your eyes open for a Purple-neck Rock Wallaby which inhabits the Mt Isa region in Northwest Queensland. The Wallaby secretes a dye that transforms its face and neck into colours ranging from light pink to bright purple.

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