50 Interesting facts about Australia

  1. The Australian Alps get more snow than the Swiss Alps.

 

  1. 90% of Australians live on the coast.

 

  1. Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.

 

  1. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest ecosystem in the world. It is made up of nearly 3,000 individual reefs and can be seen from space.

 

  1. Australia has over 60 separate wine regions.

 

  1. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world.

 

  1. The Indian Pacific train has the longest straight section of train track in the world.

 

  1. The Great Ocean Road is the world’s largest war memorial.

 

  1. 80% of Australian animals are unique to Australia.

 

  1. 5 km of Ayers Rock is underground.

 

  1. Australia has the world’s longest golf course measuring more than 1,350kms long.

 

  1. Australia is home to 21 of the world’s 25 most venomous snakes.

 

  1. Perth is the only city in the world that can have aircraft land in its CBD.

 

  1. Australia is bigger than we realise, it’s almost the same size as mainland USA.

 

  1. The largest cattle station in the world is located in Australia, Anna Creek Ranch in South Australia, and it’s bigger than Israel.

 

  1. The first Police Force in Australia was made up of the most well-behaved convicts.

 

  1. It would take around 29 years to visit one new Aussie beach every day – there are 10,685 of them!

 

  1. AFL was invented to keep cricketers fit in the off-season, there are claims that the game may have been influenced by Indigenous Australians.

 

  1. The world’s largest rock is not actually Uluru, but Mount Augustus in Western Australia & actually twice the size of Uluru.

 

  1. Australia is the 6th largest country in the world

 

  1. There are 1 million camels that roam wild in Australia’s deserts, the largest number of purebred camels in the world, they are exported to the Middle East.

 

  1. You can fly from Perth to Melbourne faster than you can fly from one end of Western Australia to the other.

 

  1. There are over 60 different types of kangaroos, and a baby kangaroo when born is only about 2 centimetres long.

 

  1. Aboriginal culture is the oldest on Earth – it is estimated that the continent’s original inhabitants, the aboriginal people, have been in Australia for between 40,000-60,000 years.

 

  1. Australia has 19 World Heritage Listed sites.

 

  1. 91% of the country is covered by native vegetation.

 

  1. 33% of Australians were born in another country.

 

  1. Over 300 different languages and dialects are spoken in Australia including 45 Indigenous languages. In fact, 21% of Australians don’t speak English at home!

 

  1. WA is home to what is believed to be the oldest evidence of life on Earth – the Stromatolites.

 

  1. Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano.

 

  1. In Australia, sheep outnumber people 2.5 to 1 (in 2020).

 

  1. Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote in 1902.

 

  1. Per capita, Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation, with over 80 per cent of Australian adults engaging in gambling of some kind.

 

  1. Canberra was selected as the capital because Sydney and Melbourne could not stop arguing which city should be the capital.

 

  1. Australia is home to the longest fence in the world, the Dingo Fence. Originally built to keep dingos away from fertile land, the fence is now 5,614 km long.

 

  1. The Australian dollar is considered to be the most advanced currency in the world – it’s waterproof, made of polymer and notoriously hard to counterfeit.

 

  1. Australia is the only continent covered by a single country.

 

  1. The world’s oldest fossil was discovered in Australia – 3.4 billion years old.

 

  1. Australia has around 600 varieties of eucalypt trees.

 

  1. Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations.

 

  1. Stonemasons in Australia instituted the 8-hour working day back in 1856.

 

  1. In Aboriginal culture, women are not allowed to play the didgeridoo.

 

  1. The venom of the elusive platypus can kill a small dog.

 

  1. Australia’s most deadly marine animal is the Box Jellyfish which is responsible for more deaths per year than snakes, sharks and saltwater crocodiles.

 

  1. The only two mammals in the world that lay eggs are found in Australia – the echidna and platypus.

 

  1. Before the arrival of humans, Australia was home to megafauna, three-metre tall kangaroos, seven-metre long goanna’s, horse-sized ducks, and a marsupial lion the size of a leopard.

 

  1. Both kangaroos and emus lack the ability to walk backwards. This was the reason they were chosen for Australia’s coat of arms – to symbolise a country always moving forward.

 

  1. The termite mounds that can be found in Australia are the tallest animal-made structures on earth.

 

  1. Australia is home to more than 1,500 species of spiders.

 

  1. The Great Victoria Desert is bigger than the whole of the United Kingdom.

 

 

 

 

Vale Tony Ravesi – RAA

The RAA Association of South Australian have advised of the death on 28 July 2022 of Tony Ravesi. Tony undertook National Service training in the late 1950’s at Woodside as a member of the ‘artillery platoon’, and subsequently joined 13 Field Regiment at Keswick where he continued to serve for some time as a Gunner. In later years he joined the Association and, although suffering from ill-health for several years, made his best effort to attend the Gunner Dinner on several occasions. His funeral service will be held on Thursday 11th August at 10.30am, at St Patrick’s Church, 268 Grote St, Adelaide, followed by his burial at Centennial Park Cemetery, Pasadena.

RIP Tony Ravesi

Peter Bruce, OAM

Obituary Resource Officer

 

Searching for Families

If you can help with any of the information about these veterans’ families please email me at [email protected] and I will pass the details on. Tks Ray

Ray, I received this today from Ken O’Brien, Rick O’Brien’s son, can you help?

Hi John. I hope all is well with you. I have recently been handed some medals of a Vietnam Veteran and we are trying to get them to the family. Do you have any connections still?

I am seeking a Sgt Lindsay John Millar – Service Number 43314 – A and B Squadron Section, 1st Armoured Regiment Light Aid Detachment

 Pvt Peter Vance Wauchope – Service Number 44463 – 102 Fd Workshop Army

and

Pvt Bert Edward Bunce – Service QX2062 – Army – Discharged 9 August 1945 – 1 Aust Corps Troops Supply Column

John Smith

Vale BARRY DAVID (BEN) GODDARD

Coll Flatters has advised of the death on 26 July 2022 of Barry David Goddard. He was two days short of his 83rd birthday. Barry, better known to his Army mates as Ben, joined the Army through the Army Apprentices scheme back in 1955 and was a member of the 10th Intake. He was trained as a Vehicle Mechanic and served in 2 Base Workshop and 1 Company RAASC before being posted to 101 Field Battery Light Aid Detachment (LAD) in 1960 and then 103 Field Battery LAD at Terendak Camp near Malacca in Malaya. Barry was a very popular figure in both the sub-Branch and the community and will be sorely missed.

RIP Ben Goddard

Peter Bruce, OAM

Obituary Resource Officer

 

RAAF Aircraft to Deploy to New Zealand

Several pilot training aircraft will fly across the Tasman to take part in a joint military exercise.

Four Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) PC-21 aircraft and two JTAC instructors are set to take part in Exercise Raven Kahu — a combined training exercise with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

The joint exercise, to be held from 8 to 19 August from RNZAF Base Ohakea, is expected to focus on enhancing New Zealand’s Joint Terminal Attack Control (JTAC) and forward air control (Airborne) capabilities.

According to Commanding Officer of No. 4 Squadron, Wing Commander Sean Jobson, the collaboration would further strengthen interoperability with Australia’s closest strategic partner.

“Deployments are a regular part of ADF operations, but training with our New Zealand partners demonstrates the longstanding relationship and ability to operate together as a joint force,” WGCDR Jobson said.

The RAAF’s PC-21 aircraft from No. 4 Squadron is based at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW.

The pilot training aircraft are designed to provide a forward air control (Airborne) training capability and ADF JTAC training support.

The deployment for Exercise Raven Kahu marks the first time the RAAF has sent PC-21s for an international activity.

Exercise Raven Kahu is one of a number of multinational training exercises involving the RAAF this month.

Australian and United States military personnel recently commenced Exercise Teak Action 22 — a joint exercise based out of RAAF Base Richmond, NSW.

The exercise aims to strengthen ties between the RAAF and the United States Air Force’s (USAF) 353rd Special Operations Wing, deployed from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

This is designed to improve joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations at short notice, testing the ability to deliver people and equipment in challenging scenarios.

As part of the exercise, the USAF’s MC-130J Commando II combat transport aircraft are expected to conduct flying activities over Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains, RAAF Base Williamtown and parts of central NSW.

The activities are to resemble training operations performed by RAAF Hercules aircraft at regional airfields throughout the year, including day and night-time flying at a low level.

Exercise Teak Action 22 is the fourth iteration conducted from RAAF Base Richmond since 2018.

 

Vale 1400239 Henry (Harry) Thomas Pooley – 1RAR Korea

13 Nov 1930 – 5 Aug 2022

Harry Pooley passed away last Friday in Brisbane. He was a great First Battalion Korean veteran who for many years supported the 1RAR Association in Brisbane he will always be remembered. His funeral service will be held at 1000hrs 19th August at
George Hartnett Metropolitan Funerals
Holland park chapel
42 Gaza Road Holland Park

Lest We Forget

The Massacre of the 3rd Light Horse

Disaster at the Nek: The Massacre of the Australian 3rd Light Horse;
7th August 1915 “Goodbye and God Bless”

By Lieutenant Colonel Alistair Pope, psc, CM (Australian Army, Retired)

Introduction

In Peter Weir’s film “Gallipoli” when Mel Gibson screamed an anguished “No!” everyone in the audience was horrified as they knew that 600 men were being sent to their death. In the film Gibson failed to reach the Command Post in time to prevent the charge of the 8th & 10th Light Horse Regiments at the Nek. Weir’s film was good cinema, but bad history. In the film indolent and uncaring tea-drinking British officers were blamed for the Australian disaster at the Nek, when in fact it was an entirely Australian affair. The destruction of the 8th and part of the 10th Light Horse became something that everyone in Australia knew about, but nobody mentioned. As a result incompetent officers continued their careers uninterrupted by blame or guilt – while their heroic soldiers died needless deaths. One question that continues to intrigue historians, sociologists and psychologists today is: why did they do it? There are some indisputable facts about the disaster that befell the 8th and 10th Light Horse Regiments; the rest is myth, legend and truly heroic sacrifice.

The ‘plan’ to capture the Turkish position at “The Nek” was as simple as any attack plan can be. Bombard the enemy for thirty minutes then charge them head-on and capture or kill them with the bayonet.

The Reasons for the Attack

After the amphibious landings on 25th April 1915 at ANZAC cove any chance of advancing across the peninsula had petered out. By May the initiative was lost and a ‘Western Front’ stalemate among the hills and gullies of the peninsula was solidly in place. Both sides were now well-entrenched and any attack to gain a few metres could only be made at an extraordinary price in lives. In August just such an attack was planned by the Allies to break the deadlock by capturing the high ground of a feature called Sari Bair then held by the Turks. This advance was eventually designed to link up with a new landing taking place further up the peninsula at Suvla Bay.

To reach the Turkish entrenchments on “Baby 700” required crossing ‘The Nek’, an area about the size of three tennis courts, and no more than 30 yards wide. The attack by the Australian 3rd Light Horse Brigade was planned as a diversion, supported by an attack by the New Zealanders from the rear of the position, from Chunuk Bair, a position they were due to capture during the night of 6th August 915.

The Attack

The attack was due to commence at 04.30 am of 7th August, preceded by a 30 minute naval bombardment. However, as the watches of the naval gunners and the troops had not been synchronized the guns fell silent seven minutes early. The Light Horsemen waited while the Turkish soldiers re-occupied their positions and set up interlocking machine guns. At the due time the first wave of 150 men of the 8th Light Horse ‘went over the top’, led by their commander, Lt Col A. H. White. They were mown down in seconds, but it was reported
(almost certainly incorrectly) that some made it to the Turkish trenches. Based on this report the second wave attacked two minutes later and were also massacred.

The Commander of the Western Australian 10th Light Horse, Lt Col N. M. Brazier appealed to the Brigade Major, Colonel J. M. Antill to call off the slaughter, but Antill (who thoroughly disliked Brazier) simply replied “Push on.”

Brazier returned to his regiment and ordered the third wave to charge. The ‘battle’ had become nothing less than plain murder. The Turks were now thoroughly ready and killed or wounded all 150 men within thirty seconds of leaving their own parapet! Brazier again appealed to Antill to stop the slaughter – and received the same reply to “Push on.” However, this time Brazier found the Brigade Commander, Brigadier Hughes who lamely suggested trying a different angle of attack. Finally Hughes agreed to call off the attack, but before Brazier could return to the trenches the left flank of the fourth line rose from their trench and charged without orders in the absolute certainty that they would be killed. Their attack went no further than their predecessors.

Supporting Attacks

It would be remiss to honour these warriors without mentioning some other equally brave actions on the same day. At Quinn’s Post, in another diversionary attack 2nd Light Horse Regiment of the 1st Light Horse Brigade sent 50 men in the first of four waves to attack a Turkish trench less than 20 yards (18 metres) away. The follow up attack was called off when
49 of the 50 troops were killed without crossing even this short space. In a supporting attack two companies of the Royal Welch Fusiliers launched an attack against a strong position called the “Chessboard” (because of its interlocking trenches). That attack was also abandoned after 65 casualties were incurred for no gain.

The Results

It is often said that as WW1 was a war of attrition in which the measure of success is the number of enemy casualties inflicted compared to one’s own. By any measure August 7th,
1915 was a disaster for the Australians. Of the 500 or so men from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade who charged at the Nek that day 372 were killed or wounded. The cemetery at the Nek contains the remains of 316 Australians. A further 49 died from 1st Light Horse Brigade and 65 from the Royal Welch Fusiliers. It is possible that the Turks may have suffered a few casualties.

Their Epitaph

Trooper Harold Rush died in the third wave. His headstone in the Walker’s Ridge Cemetery records his last words to friend nearby:

“Goodbye Cobber; God Bless You”

As the Author, Les Carlyon writes after visiting the scene of such heroism – and such a waste of heroes, “… visitors to the peninsula stare at the words and wonder why, when they open their mouths, no words come out.”

The question of ‘why’ remains unanswered and forever unanswerable. The Australians of that era felt a need to prove they had the grit and fortitude to be the equal of any in the British Empire. But those were also the days when supporting your ‘cobbers’ (friends and colleagues) was the most important part of the ethos of a pioneering, frontier nation. They died for each other as that counted for more to them than life itself or anything else.

They truly embodied the Spartan epitaph at Thermopylae:

 

Seven US spy planes detected flying around Taiwan

On Friday (Aug. 5), the second day of China’s live-fire drills launched around Taiwan, seven U.S. reconnaissance planes, including a U-2, and six tankers were detected flying in the vicinity of Taiwan.

Beijing-based think-tank, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), tweeted that one U.S. Air Force (USAF) Boeing RC-135S Cobra Ball measurement and signature intelligence aircraft, one USAF RC-135V Rivet Joint electronic surveillance aircraft, three U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, one USAF Boeing E-3G Sentry airborne early warning and control aircraft, and one Lockheed U-2S high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, were in flight near Taiwan.

The Chinese think-tank also reported the presence of six Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. On the SCSPI’s map, the reconnaissance aircraft could be seen in the north, northeast, east, southeast, and south of Taiwan at varying distances and headings.

The flights took place as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted a second day of massive live-fire exercises in six zones surrounding Taiwan. The think-tank described the aircraft’s presence as strengthening U.S. military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations around Taiwan.