Viva Australia!

Hey look, I’m not Australian, know little about the land Down Under, but I do know a bloke…

In fact, we all know the bloke in question – our esteemed raconteur, a man of many wise words, and faithful friend – none other than our very own, James (Jim) Hillier. But I’m not here to bang on and on about our mate. It’s Australia – that lost continent somewhere down there bottom right if you look at an atlas that I’m referring to. But what most people don’t know is that Australians are an inventive lot and have brought some life-changing technology to the world.


Having said that I know little about Australia, but that isn’t exactly true because I’m currently reading the excellent travel book, Down Under by Bill Bryson and learning some very interesting facts along the way, such as:

  • The Australian Alps get more snow than the Swiss Alps
  • 90% of Australians live on the coast
  • Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world
  • Indian Pacific train has the longest straight section of train track in the world
  • 80% of the animals are unique to Australia
  • 2.5 km of Uluru is underground

Also, back in the 90s, I ran my own business in the UK manufacturing an Australian invention known as the Donway Traction Splint – a pneumatic device for reducing lower limb fractures in emergencies. The very same Melbourne-based company that I was associated with was also responsible for numerous other innovative tech devices in the medical field and here are just a few Australian inventions that are now part of our everyday lives:

  • Black box flight recorder (it’s actually orange)
  • Inflatable escape slide and raft for aircraft
  • Spray on skin
  • Electronic pacemaker
  • Google Maps
  • Medical application of penicillin
  • Polymer banknotes
  • Electric drill
  • Winged keel for yachts (see America’s Cup 1983)
  • WiFi technology
  • Ultrasound scanner
  • Cervical cancer vaccines
  • Frazier lens
  • Triton WorkCentre (I want one!)
  • Racecam
  • Tank-bred tuna system

It almost goes without saying that Australia has also produced some very famous people:

  • Russell Crowe
  • Cate Blanchett
  • Heath Ledger
  • Errol Flynn
  • Mel Gibson
  • Margot Robbie
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Paul Hogan
  • Bob Hawke
  • Rupert Murdoch
  • Germaine Greer
  • Steve Irwin

The list goes on, and for a land that doesn’t really get much attention from the rest of the world, except maybe for floods, bushfires, royal visits, and Australia thrashing England in cricket, it’s probably the way most Australians would prefer it.

And before I forget, an ode to Australia wouldn’t be complete without mentioning its influence in popular media. Although I never had time to watch Neighbours (but I do know about Kylie and Jason’s on/off romance), many stars began their careers in that soap opera, not least, the lovely Kylie Minogue. And then we have INXS, Midnight Oil, Men At Work, Crowded House, and last but not least, the fabulous Bee Gees.

I’ll leave you with this, but although I’ve yet to visit Australia, I’m transported there in my mind whenever I hear this brilliant song.

I definitely have a hankering to visit our friends Down Under one day, although how welcome a Pom from Wales would be is anyone’s guess. Mind you, I would never pass up the chance of cracking a tinnie at a barbie with some mates, so look out you Aussies!

4 thoughts on “Viva Australia!”

  1. Hey Mate,

    Love it! You forgot to mention all the deadly critters we live with though; snakes and spiders (including the worlds deadliest of both), crocodiles, blue-ringed octopus, box jelly fish, irukandji, sharks… oh my goodness, it’s difficult to know whether it’s safer in the water or out. 🙂 🙂

  2. Allow me to put a plug in for the ABC, Australia’s national broadcaster, which, IMHO, is truly superb (I’m listening to ABC RN (NSW) as I type this); of particular note, peruse the veritable smörgåsbord of programs offered at ABC RN. (Their classical and jazz programming are also exceptional.)

    ABC Radio National:

    ABC NewsRadio:

    ABC Classic:

    ABC Jazz:

    Their “signature theme” heard at the top of the hour before the news is The Majestic Fanfare, composed in 1935 by British composer Charles Williams.

    Full cut, as heard:

    Original recording of the full fanfare:

    The segue music that ABC NewsRadio uses at 0600 AET when they leave the BBC to begin their broadcast day is an edited segment of the pure instrumental version of “Garador’s Flight,” written & conducted by Jo Blankenburg: — the cut is “Garador’s Flight (Non-Choir)”.

    Finally, ABC News:


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