Our Aussie Blog

[Blog Post] Dollars & Cents - Australian Currency

Australia was the first country in the world to make bank notes out of polymer (plastic), these provide added security against counterfeiting as well as being able to last much longer than the old paper notes.

In 1966 Australia changed to decimal currency after using the old British system of pounds, shillings and pence.

The $100 note features world-renowned soprano Dame Nellie Melba, and the distinguished soldier, engineer and administrator General Sir John Monash.

The $50 note features Aboriginal writer and inventor David Unaipon, and Australia’s first female parliamentarian, Edith Cowan.

The $20 note features the founder of the world’s first aerial medical service (the Royal Flying Doctor Service), the Reverend John Flynn, and Mary Reibey, who arrived in Australia as a convict in 1792 and went on to become a successful shipping magnate and philanthropist.

The $10 note features the poets AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Dame Mary Gilmore. This note incorporates micro-printed excerpts of Paterson’s and Gilmore’s work.

The $5 note features Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Parliament House in Canberra, the national capital.

The $2 coin, which replaced the two dollar note in 1988, depicts an Aboriginal tribal elder set against a background of the Southern Cross and native grass trees.

The $1 coin, which replaced the $1 note in 1984, depicts five kangaroos. The standard $1 design, along with the 50, 20, 10 and 5 cent designs, was created by the Queen’s official jeweller, Stuart Devlin.

The 50 cent coin carries Australia’s coat of arms: the six state badges on a central shield supported by a kangaroo and an emu, with a background of Mitchell grass.

The 20 cent coin carries a platypus, one of only two egg-laying mammals in the world. It has webbed feet and a duck-like bill that it uses to hunt for food along the bottom of streams and rivers.

The 10 cent coin features a male lyrebird dancing. A clever mimic, the lyrebird inhabits the dense, damp forests of Australia’s eastern coast.

The 5 cent coin depicts an echidna, or spiny anteater, the world’s only other egg-laying mammal.

[Blog Post] Australian Animal Facts – The Kookaburra

[Blog Post] Australian Animal Facts – The Kookaburra
  • Kookaburras use their laughing call to defend their territories and guard their mates.
  • Their laugh is one of the most familiar sounds of the Australian bush.
  • Early European settlers in Australia called them the “settlers’ clock”, because of their loud laughing choruses every morning.
  • They are common around picnic areas, where they can steal food from unguarded tables – or even right off the grill.
  • They can catch and kill snakes in the bush.
  • In urban areas they also hunt mice and rats.
  • They can live for more than 20 years and have the same mate for life.
  • Young kookaburras stay with the family for several years. Family groups of more than 6 are common.
  • Their greatest threat in suburbia is from the loss of trees due to development.

Check out our selection of great kookaburra plush toys, pewter figurines and pins – click here to purchase kookaburra products.

[Blog Post] Interesting Australian Inventions - Late 1800s

The Australians have always been an inventive lot, not only did the Aboriginals invent some amazing things, in more recent history we have created some much needed things to make life easier and more comfortable.

1838 – Pre-paid postage
Colonial Postmaster-General of New South Wales, James Raymond introduced the world’s first pre-paid postal system.

1856 – Refrigerator
James Harrison, commissioned by a brewery to build a machine that cooled beer, produced the world’s first practical refrigerator. He used the principal of vapour compression.

1858 – Football
Tom Will and Henry Harrison wrote the first ten rules of Australian Football, thus becoming the first in the world to codify a kicking-ball game. These rules predate those of Rugby, Soccer and Gridiron. Australian Football may have been inspired by the Aboriginal jumping/kicking game of Marn Grook.

1879 – Refrigeration
After being credited with the manufacture of the first artificial ice, Eugene Nicolle and Thomas Sutcliffe Mort developed shipboard refrigeration that allowed the export of meat from Australia to Great Britain.

1889 – Electric Drill
Arthur James Arnot patented the world’s first electric drill on 20 August 1889. He was an employee of the Union Electric Company in Melbourne. Its design was primarily for drilling rock and digging coal.

1897 – Differential Gears
David Shearer, South Australia built a steam car with a differential inside left rear wheel hub.

1900s – The ‘Australian Crawl’
For most of human history, humans didn’t know how to swim effectively. In the 1900s, Australians invented the Australian Crawl, since becoming known as the ‘overarm’ or ‘freestyle’ swimming stroke.

1902 – Notepad
For 500 years, paper had been supplied in loose sheets. J A Birchall decided to cut the sheets into half, back them with cardboard and glue them together at the top.

[Blog Post] On the Road to Gundagai Lyrics – Aussie Bush Song

[Blog Post] On the Road to Gundagai Lyrics – Aussie Bush Song

One of a couple of old Australian songs about the “road to Gundagai”. Gundagai is a town in New South Wales. Although a small town, Gundagai is a popular topic for writers and has become the representation or an icon of the typical Australian country town. It sits along the Murrumbidgee River.



Oh, we started down from Roto when the sheds had all cut out,
We’d whips and whips of Rhino as we meant to push about,
So we humped our blues serenely and made for Syndey town,
With a three-spot cheque between us, as wanted knocking down.

But we camped at Lazy Harry’s, on the road to Gundagai.
The road to Gundagai!  Not five miles from Gundagai!
Yes, we camped at Lazy Harry’s, on the road to Gundagai.

Well, we struck the Murrumbidgee near the Yanco in a week,
And passed through old Narrandera and crossed the Burnett Creek.
And we never stopped at Wagga, for we’d Sydney in our eye,
But we camped at Lazy Harry’s, on the road to Gundagai.

Oh, I’ve seen a lot of girls, my boys, and drunk a lot of beer,
And I’ve met with some of both, chaps, as has left me mighty queer,
But for beer to knock you sideways, and for girls to make you sigh,
You must camp at Lazy Harry’s, on the road to Gundagai.

Well we chucked our blooming swags off, and we walked into the bar,
And we called for rum-an’-raspb’ry and a shilling each cigar.
Bur the girl that served the pizen, she winked at Bill and I –
And we camped at Lazy Harry’s, not five miles from Gundagai.

In a week the spree was over and the cheque was all knocked down,
So we shouldered our Matildas, and we turned our back on town,
And the girls they stood a nobbler as we sadly said good-bye,
And we tramped from Lazy Harry’s, not five miles from Gundagai.

Last chorus:
And we tramped from Lazy Harry’s, nor five miles from Gundagai.

[Blog Post] A Pub With No Beer Song Lyrics

The well known song ‘A Pub With No Beer’ which was made famous by Slim Dusty was adapted from the original poem ‘A Pub Without Beer’ by Dan Sheahan of Ingham in North Queensland. It was developed into a song by Gordon Parsons and recorded in 1957 by Slim Dusty. In the Top 30 Australian songs of all time, it came in at number 5.

A Pub With No Beer Lyrics

Oh it’s-a lonesome away from your kindred and all
By the campfire at night we’ll hear the wild dingoes call
But there’s-a nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear
Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer

Now the publican’s anxious for the quota to come
And there’s a far away look on the face of the bum
The maid’s gone all cranky and the cook’s acting queer
Oh what a terrible place is a pub with no beer

Then the stockman rides up with his dry dusty throat
He breasts up to the bar and pulls a wad from his coat
But the smile on his face quickly turns to a sneer
As the barman says sadly the pub’s got no beer

Then the swaggie comes in smothered in dust and flies
He throws down his roll and rubs the sweat from his eyes
But when he is told, he says what’s this I hear
I’ve trudged fifty flamin’ miles to a pub with no beer

Now there’s a dog on the v’randa, for his master he waits
But the boss is inside drinking wine with his mates
He hurries for cover and he cringes in fear
It’s no place for a dog ’round a pub with no beer

And old Billy the blacksmith, the first time in his life
Why he’s gone home cold sober to his darling wife
He walks in the kitchen, she says you’re early Bill dear
But then he breaks down and tells her the pub’s got no beer

Oh it’s hard to believe that there’s customers still
But the money’s still tinkling in the old ancient till
The wine buffs are happy and I know they’re sincere
When they say they don’t care if the pub’s got no beer

So it’s-a lonesome away from your kindred and all
By the campfire at night we’ll hear the wild dingoes call
But there’s-a nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear-a.
Than to stand in the bar of that pub with no beer.

[Blog Post] I Still Call Australia Home Song Lyrics by Peter Allen

"I Still Call Australia Home" by Peter Allen is a great Australian song in recent years that really strikes a chord in most Australians, particularly when they’re travelling! On a Qantas flight back in from overseas it was what they played as the plane taxied to the terminal and is a bit of a choker when you’ve been feeling homesick. It’s often used in different commercials for Qantas, Australia’s first airline (also known as “The Flying Kangaroo”).

I Still Call Australia Home

by Peter Allen

I’ve been to cities that never close down
From New York to Rio and old London town
But no matter how far
Or how wide I roam
I still call Australia home.

I’m always travelin’
And I love bein’ free
So I keep leavin’ the sun and the sea
But my heart lies waiting over the foam
I still call Australia home.

All the sons and daughters spinning ’round the world
Away from their families and friends
Ah, but as the world gets older and colder
It’s good to know where your journey ends.

And someday we’ll all be together once more
When all the ships come back to the shore
Then I realize something I’ve always known
I still call Australia home.

No matter how far
Or how wide I roam
I still call Australia home.

[Blog Post] Australian Animal Facts – The Saltwater Crocodile

[Blog Post] Australian Animal Facts – The Saltwater Crocodile
  • Australian saltwater crocodiles are the largest reptile in the world in terms of mass (can be over 1000kg), and the largest crocodile with a confirmed measurement.
  • The males can reach a length of up to 6 or 7 metres (2.5 to 3m for females), though such a size is rare.
  • Each crocodile jaw carries 24 sharp teeth meant to grasp and crush, not to chew. They swallow stones that grind the food inside their stomachs (the stomach stones also serve as ballast). The teeth are continuously replaced along the crocodile’s life. Crocodiles can exert enormous pressure when closing their jaws, but the force for opening them is so weak that an adhesive band is enough to keep a large crocodile’s jaw shut. The powerful jaws can be extremely delicate, working like pencils, when removing offspring from the nest.
  • Often crocodiles stay on the river banks with their jaws wide open. That is not an aggressive posture, but a way to cool off; they sweat through the mouth!
  • Crocodiles have a four-chambered heart like birds (their closest relatives) and mammals, for an active life. When diving, the heart behaves like a three-chambered reptilian heart, enabling them to stay underwater longer.
  • 99% of their offspring are eaten in the first year of life by large fish, monitor lizards, herons and adult crocodiles.
  • Crocodiles can swim just with the help of their powerful tail up to 40 km (25 m) per hour, and can stay underwater for 2-3 hours. They can also execute jumps out of the water, gaining a lot of height.
  • The first crocodiles appeared 240 million years ago, at the same time with the dinosaurs (to which they are related), had less than 1 m (3 ft) in length and ran on two feet! That’s why even today, crocodiles have longer hind limbs than fore limbs.
  • Crocodiles can live up to 80 years!

We sell many different crocodile designs and products in our store – click here to check them out.

[Blog Post] Australian Animal Facts – The Wombat

[Blog Post] Australian Animal Facts – The Wombat
  • Wombats are a mostly nocturnal herbivorous marsupial mammal and live in burrows. They are the largest herbivorous burrowing animals in the world.
  • A wombat warns off intruders with an aggressive display of head shaking, gnashing teeth and a guttural growl.
  • When wombats are resting in a burrow, their metabolism slows to two-thirds of normal to conserve water and energy.
  • The pouch of a wombat is backward facing to avoid it being filled up with dirt!
  • They have a stout body, blunt head and broad paws with strong claws making it a powerful earth-mover, burrowing up to 2 metres a night. A typical burrow is about 50 cm high and 50 cm wide and can be up to 30 metres long with several chambers including nursery burrows.
  • Wombats have the largest brain to body size ratio of any marsupial and their intelligence has been likened to that of a dog.

We sell a number of different wombat related products in our store, including pewter figurines and cute plush toys – click here to check the wombat range out.

[Blog Post] Australian Animal Facts – The Tree Kangaroo

[Blog Post] Australian Animal Facts – The Tree Kangaroo

Everyone has heard of the Australian kangaroo that hops across the earth at speed, but have you heard of a tree kangaroo?

  • Tree kangaroos can leap 60 feet (18m) to the ground from trees without getting hurt.
  • Instead of sweating, tree kangaroos lick their forearms and allow the evaporation to help cool their bodies.
  • Young tree kangaroos are called joeys.
  • Tree kangaroos move with agility in trees and can leap downward several yards to another tree or the ground. When they descend a tree more slowly, they back down.

[Blog Post] Interesting Australian Facts & Trivia

  • Australia was first called that by a local explorer, Matthew Flinders, who decided to promote the name “Terra Australis”, or “South Land”. It was not officially recognised until the then governor of the country, Lachlan Macquarie named it as such in a dispatch to London in 1817.
  • Australia has the largest sand island on earth, Fraser Island, which is off the Queensland coast, 200km north of Brisbane.
  • The world’s largest structure created by living creatures is the Great Barrier Reef, of the Queensland coast. It’s over 2000km long, and covers an area of nearly 260,0002km.
  • Possibly the world’s biggest state, (of any country) is Western Australia. Covering over 2,252,0002km’s, (the western 1/3 of the Australian continent) it is bigger than all but a handful of countries by itself.
  • The area of Australia that is covered by snow in winter is larger than the area of Switzerland.
  • Australia is the richest source of mineral sands in the world.
  • The famous Aussie Akubra hat is named that, from the Aboriginal word, which means ‘head covering’. They are made from rabbit fur.
  • The first life-saving club in the world was founded in Australia, Bronte, Sydney, in 1903. It has since saved the lives of many surfers.
  • The first official world surfing championships were held at Manly, Sydney, in 1964 and won by an Australian, Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly.
  • Since 1896, the beginning of the modern Olympics, only Greece and Australia have participated in every Game.
  • Australians are the world’s biggest buyers of 4WD vehicles.
  • In the mid 70’s, Australians were the 3rd biggest beer drinker in the world.  (behind Germany and Belgium) In the late 90’s, we don’t even get into the top ten! (fortunately)
  • 70% of the world’s wool comes from Australia. We have over 126,000,000 sheep, which use fully half the continent for grazing.
  • Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of beef and veal.
  • Australia is one of the safest places in the world, with a murder rate of 2 per 100,000 people. The US is up around 8 per 100,000.
  • The most dangerous ants in the world are the Australian Bulldog Ant, (which is up to 4 centimetres long!) and is responsible for at least three deaths.

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