Week of August 20, 2023


Australia is home to the oldest civilization on Earth. Recent genetic studies indicate modern Aboriginal Australians have origins going back about 75,000 years.


Speaking of Australian ancients, specimens of the earliest known life on earth, stromatolites, appear on the continent in both living and fossilized forms. Dating back 3.5 billion years, these organisms gave Earth’s atmosphere the oxygen which allowed modern life to thrive.


After lots of camel importing between the late 19th and early 20th century to help settle the vast interior, Australia has more non-native Arabian (Dromedary) camels than anywhere on Earth.


Australia’s long history of geographic separation, along with its unique environment, have led to the evolution of many fascinating animals unique to the continent, such as dingoes, cassowaries, Tasmanian devils, bilbies, brolgas, wallabies, wombats, platypus, koalas, and of course, kangaroos.


The term “kangaroo court” – implying a sham court which operates without the usual procedural safeguards of justice – actually has American, not Australian origins.


Australia is the world’s smallest continent, but the only continent which is a single country.


The European first colony in Australia’s Botany Bay was famously a British penal colony, but the convicts included women and weren’t the most hardened type of criminals, since British prisons were overcrowded at the time and a faraway sentence didn’t reflect the crime committed. Many had been sentenced to seven years “transportation”, the then-legal lingo for being taken to a distant colony.