Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
|What is the name of the animal that was Australia's biggest TV star in the 1960s ?||Amazing Australians
Skippy. Of course, it's Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, star of a long running TV series in Australia in the 1960s and exported around the world. I remember desperately trying to get a sound out of a sycamore leaf in England to resemble the call sound Sonny and Co made from a gum leaf to summon Skip to help them out. Now I live in Australia and am still very fond of kangaroos!
|What is the name of the high marking Aussie Rules footballer who inspired a song by The Two Man Band ?||Amazing Australians
Roy Cazaly. Roy Cazaly inspired the song "Up There Cazaly" by Mike Brady and Peter Sullivan (The Two Man Band). The title is a reference to his high leaps when taking marks over the heads of opponents and was originally written to be a TV sports program anthem in 1979. 250,000 copies were subsequently sold, an Australian record at the time. Roy Cazaly is also credited with giving the Hawthorn Football Club the new nickname of the Hawks which was more appropriate. in his opinion, than the Mayblooms !
Bart Cummings. James Bartholomew Cummings has trained the winner of the prestigious Group One race The Melbourne Cup a record 12 times between 1965 and 2008. The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday in November and is known as the race that "stops the nation". Interestingly he is allergic to hay !
|Which famous Australian soprano with the real surname of Mitchell took her stage name from an Australian town ? ||Amazing Australians
Nellie Melba. Dame Nellie Melba was born as Helen Porter Mitchell, Her career spanned from 1887 to her final farewell performance in November 1928.Her first farewell was at Covent Garden in 1926 and this has spawned a popular Aussie saying of "More farewells than Melba" to describe someone reluctant to fade from the limelight.
Acclaimed French chef Auguste Escoffier created a delicious dessert in her honour called Peach Melba (peaches poached in rasberry sauce). The city from which she took her name is, of course, Melbourne.
|Which Australian swimmer was the youngest person to win a World Championship title in 1998 ?||Amazing Australians
Ian Thorpe. At age 14 at the World Championship event held in Perth, Western Australia, Ian James Thorpe won the 400 metres freestyle event making him the youngest ever winner of a world swimming title. Also known as Thorpey or the Thorpedo he won 5 Olympic Gold medals, the most ever won by an Australian.
|Which ex rock singer was elected to the Federal seat of Kingsford Smith in 2004?||Amazing Australians
Peter Garrett. Peter Robert Garrett was a rock singer with the band Midnight Oil from 1973 to 2002. He was known for his stiff and sudden dance movements as well as his environmenal and political concerns. He was elected to parliament in October 2004 and was made Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Arts in 2007.
|Which now deceased and much loved cricketer retired with a batting average of 99.94 in test matches?||Amazing Australians
Donald Bradman. The Don, The Boy from Bowral, had a batting average of 99.94 in test matches (and 110.19 in Sheffield Shield matches). England cricketers came up with an aggressive bowling technique called Bodyline purely to negate his prolific scoring.The Prime Minister of Australia in 2001, John Howard (a cricket fanatic) called him the greatest living Australian in 2001. He died on 25th February 2001 aged 92.
|Which internationally acclaimed surgeon was Australian of the Year in 2005 ?||Amazing Australians
Fiona Wood. Dr Fiona Melanie Wood emigrated from the UK to Western Australia in 1987. She is the Director of the Royal Perth Hospital Burns Unit and a highly skilled plastic surgeon. She came to prominence in the general community in 2002 when 28 victims of the Bali terrorist bombings were flown to Royal Perth for specialist burns treatment. Dr Wood has developed a spray on skin which is proving invaluable in the treatment of burns.
Patrick Rafter. Pat Rafter won the US Open singles in 1997 and 1998 and was runner up Wimbledon singles in 2000 and 2001. It was somewhat contoversial that he was named Australian of the Year in 2002 as he had lived in Bermuda during most of his tennis playing career. He retired in 2001 .
Winston. John Winston Howard was the 25th and second longest serving Australian prime minister. He served in Parliament for 22 years before becoming PM on 11th March 1996. His government lost office on 3rd December 2007; and he lost his own parliamentary seat of Bennelong, to become the second prime minister to lose his seat in parliament (the first was Satnley Bruce, on 12th October 1929).
|We definitely need a bouncer to keep this beach party under control after that last display of hooliganism. Let's invite Australia's most famous bushranger to keep the boys under control. If they don't behave, he can shoot them. What is his name?
||Beach Party with Australians!
Ned Kelly. Thomas Keneally is a famous Australian author. His is the pen that gave us works such as "Schindler's Ark" and "The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith." Patrick White is another famous Australian writer with works such as "The Tree of Man", "Voss" and "The Vivisector". The magnificent Henry Lawson is one of Australia's most famous early short story writers. His writing can make you laugh or cry, with his magnificent descriptions of life during the goldrush and outback days of the young country of Australia.
While much has been written about Ned Kelly, he wasn't an author himself. He was an Irish Australian bushranger, and the country can't make up its mind, whether he was a heartless killer or a folk hero. Born in 1855, he was hanged for his crimes when finally captured in 1880. Ned's father was an Irish convict and there was incredible animosity between the Irish convicts (most of whom were political prisoners) and the English-led police force of this country at that time. If you had a convict for a parent, and an Irish one at that, you were therefore doubly disadvantaged, and the police well and truly hounded the Kelly family. Ned made this victimisation worse by commencing an early career as a cattle and horse rustler, a bank robber, and an assault and robbery of a Chinese pig farmer called Ah Fook. Ned later shot and killed a police constable who tried to arrest him for drunkenness. And on it went until it all came to head in the following fashion:
A police constable who had a wound to his wrist claimed Ned had shot him when he went to the Kelly house to enquire about cattle rustling. While at the house, however, he had actually made a pass at Ned's sister, and Mrs Kelly picked up a shovel and hit the constable on his wrist to protect her pretty daughter. The other boys in the family then flattened the constable. No guns were involved, and Ned in fact, wasn't even in the state at the time. By the time the constable reported back to the station, however, he claimed that Ned had shot him. The full force of the law was after Ned from that time.
Ned, one of his brothers, and two friends subsequently went into hiding. Several months later, following a series of bank robberies, they were finally cornered, Ned by now had manufactured a suit of armour for himself, and in the shootout that followed, Ned advanced towards the police, wearing his armour, in a blaze of gunfire. The police downed Ned because his legs were unprotected, captured him - and he was hanged. A perfect bouncer for our party. The only trouble is that Kelly's body was later dissected by medical students, and they gave his head to a phrenologist to study any lumps and bumps thereon. So while Ned's body had finally been located, his head never has. Still, a headless bouncer at our party won't be too bad. At least he won't be able to drink the beer.
|What's that, you blokes? You want some eye candy to adorn the beach at this party? Oh very well then. Let's invite this beautiful Australian model who was born in Sydney in 1964, and is known worldwide as "The Body". Who is this lovely and talented woman?
||Beach Party with Australians!
Elle Macpherson. Elle Macpherson is a world famous model, actress, TV hostess, producer and businesswoman, and by 2012 her accumulated wealth from all that hard work was over sixty million dollars. (You want her to buy the beer, boys, did you say?). She was born with the name Eleanor Nancy Gow. Her parents divorced when Elle was ten years old, and her mother took the three children and moved to another area to live, where she later remarried. When Elle was enrolled at another new school, a clerical error in recording her details resulted in Elle's surname being registered as Macpherson, the name of her stepfather.
Elle enrolled at university to study law, but prior to beginning her studies, went to America for a year, to earn enough money from modelling to pay for the university fees. She became so much in demand there that she never did get to go to that institute of higher learning after all and - what? You're not interested in all that stuff? You want what? Very well then, perhaps this will keep you satisfied. Elle's hair is a natural light brown, her eyes are also brown, her measurements are 36C-25-35 and she's six foot tall. In other words, lads, she's way too tall for most of you. Happy now?
|Let's bring a touch of class to this beach party as well. It can't be all beer and steak sandwiches. We'll invite Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, who was born in Tasmania on the 5th February, 1973. By what other name do we know this beautiful and elegant woman?
||Beach Party with Australians!
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. Mary's father was a professor of the Department of science, and Dean of that establishment, at the university of Tasmania, until his retirement in 2003. Mary's mother was executive assistant to the Vice Chancellor at the same university. Following the death of his first wife in 1997, Professor Donaldson married the novelist Susan Moody in 2001. As a girl, Mary excelled at many sports and, as a teenager, rode professionally in equestrian events as well. She also studied flute, clarinet and piano, attended various schools, and eventually graduated from Hobart College. From there she attended the University of Tasmania, and graduated from there with a combined degree in commerce and law in 1994.
Mary then moved to Melbourne and worked in advertising as an accounts executive. She met her prince, Frederik, the Crown Prince of Denmark, during the 2000 Olympics, which were held in Sydney. They met at a pub of all places. It was really a high class inn in disguise. They kept their courtship quiet and hidden from the public at this stage. In 2002 Mary moved to Denmark to take up work there, and the courtship progressed. In 2003, Queen Margrethe II announced the forthcoming marriage of the young couple.
The marriage ceremony, which was televised in Australia as well, was just lovely. As he saw her walking down the aisle towards him, Prince Frederik was overcome with emotion and shed a few tears. When she reached his side, Mary laughed at him. Since then, the couple have had four children - boy, girl, and twins (boy and girl). Let's hope her Frederik, the handsome prince who won this Aussie girl's heart, never turns into a pumpkin.
|Oh let's have some fun now and have races along the waterfront! It'll help sober us all up, and hopefully nobody will drown. One of Australia finest indigenous athletes should be invited to our beach party to help organise these races. She won gold for Australia in the women's 400 metres race at the 2000 Olympics which were held in Sydney. Who is she?||Beach Party with Australians!
Cathy Freeman. Though the other three women listed above were brilliant Australian athletes during their sporting careers, it was Cathy I was after. Born in Mackay up in Queensland in 1973, Cathy began racing at a very young age. By the time she reached early teens, she'd already scooped up a pile of regional and national titles. In 1987, a professional coach took over her training. During this period, she attended an exclusive college for girls in Toowoomba, another Queensland town.
By 1990, she was representing Australia in the 4 x 100 metre relay at the Commonwealth Games held in New Zealand, making her the first ever indigenous gold medalist at a Commonwealth Games. She was her team's youngest member at this time as well, at the grand old age of sixteen. She continued to win race after race in the following years - and then came her 400 metre race in the 2000 Olympics.
I was working for the public service at that time and we all watched that race on the big TV screen in the conference room. It was incredibly exciting. Not only were we cheering for an Australian - we were cheering for an indigenous Australian, a wonderful stout-hearted representative of our nation. And as the racers turned into the straight, Kathy suddenly took off. Her speed was astonishing. She left the other contestants blinking as she sprinted across the line that day. And I have never been able to make up my mind ever since which was the most exciting event on this occasion. Cathy's race - or the sight of a bunch of Australian public servants suddenly becoming animated and alive and cheering their bureaucratic heads off - without putting in a later claim for overtime to do so.
|Some of our beach party goers like to talk politics over a lazy beer or ten, and have requested we dig up and invite along Australia's first Prime Minister. Who is he?||Beach Party with Australians!
Edmund Barton. Barton (1849-1920) was a judge, our first PM, and a founding Justice of Australia's High Court during his career. It was in this latter position that he served most of his time, but his fame rests on the historical fact that he was the first Prime Minister of the federated states of Australia. This came into being in 1901. Prior to this date, all our states were actually separate colonies, and long and bitter was the struggle for one united country. Barton only stayed in this position from 1 January 1901 until 24 September 1903 and resigned of his own accord to pursue his legal career further. Would that we were so lucky with some of our other Prime Ministers.
Barton was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, was good looking, went to the top schools in the country in his youth, and then attended the University of Sydney (a beautiful and gracious set of buildings) where he graduated as a barrister in 1871. He was an early supporter of the federation of this nation and was instrumental in helping draft our first constitution. His government was responsible for the 1801 Immigration Restriction Act which would lead to the later White Australia Policy. Barton stated in a fine display of humanity that "The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of the Englishman and the Chinaman" - as fine a piece of racism as ever I heard. He did introduce one excellent reform however in 1902 when Australian women were given the right to vote. Oh big deal - look what they had to choose from.
Barton liked a drink or twenty as well - he'll be perfect for our beach party as long as his throat isn't slit for his policies - and was known by the nickname of Toby Tosspot.
|We definitely need someone to lead the singing around our beach party campfire. Born in Sydney in 1975, and with her debut album "Left of the Middle" having sold over 7,000,000 copies worldwide by 2012, this singer, songwriter and actress would be perfect for the job. Who is she?||Beach Party with Australians!
Natalie Imbruglia. Natalie comes from a father of Italian descent and a mother of Anglo-Celtic descent. No wonder she's so musical! As a child, she studied tap, ballet and highland dancing, hoping to make her career out of dance, but her singing genes simply could not be denied. Her single "Torn" was an outstanding success, and by early 2012 she had four albums of her work to her credit as well, with her fifth album due to be released later the same year.
Also an actress, Natalie was a regular on the Aussie television series "Neighbours" for two years until she left to further her singing career. It seems anyone who's anybody these days has worked on that particular soapie. In 2003, Natalie married Daniel Johns, the frontman for the band "Silverchair". They were married in a ceremony on the beach up at Port Douglas in Queensland. Hopefully she'll make it down to our party in time to celebrate a beach anniversary as well.
|Many Australian beach parties go all day and into the night. Nothing is nicer then, with the stars twinkling above, the sea murmuring, and the breezes ruffling our hair, just to sit around a campfire made of dry driftwood. That's when it's time to sing, or listen to tall tales, or simply just to enjoy being alive in this beautiful country. One of Australia's famous earlier poets would be perfect for this occasion. He could recite his most famous poem to us all. Titled "The Man From Snowy River", who wrote this classic piece of Australian poetry?||Beach Party with Australians!
Banjo Paterson. Banjo Paterson (1864-1941) was born at Orange in New South Wales. Over the course of his life, he was a jockey, solicitor, song writer, poet, journalist, author, farmer, horse vet, and World War I soldier and ambulance driver in France. He lived with his parents on an isolated sheep station for the first five years of this life, until, following a huge flood which destroyed most of the property's livestock and wool clip, the family moved a little closer to civilisation. From the family's house there at Yass, he witnessed all the colorful characters from early Australia passing by the door. These included bullock drivers with their teams of animals, coaches filled with settlers going to and from distant destinations, horsemen from the Murrumbidgee and Snowy mountains areas, drovers, farmers, hobos, and families going to church, shopping, polo matches and bush picnics - everything that symbolised colonial life in Australia at that time.
All this found echo in his writings and his books, and "The Man From Snowy River" his most famous poem, along with "Clancy of the Overflow" are works that ring with the essence and flavour of those long ago days in this new country. Such is his fame that his image appears on the Australian $10 dollar note, along with an illustration from that great piece of poetry. Just perfect to entertain us all, don't you agree, with the sun going down over our beautiful hills and oceans.
|Just to keep the hearts of the beach ladies thumping wildly, we should also resurrect this Australian actor who was born in Tasmania in 1909. En garde, "Captain Blood", you swashbuckling rebel! What is the name of this actor?||Beach Party with Australians!
Errol Flynn. Set in the West Indies and the Caribbean, "Captain Blood" (1935), Flynn's first film of many, is your typical hero turned pirate turned hero again, with a bit of romance and lots of swordfights thrown in for good measure. All this is interwoven with the Monmouth Rebellion and King James II of England. It's gloriously, completely historically inaccurate, but a history lesson was not what filmgoers of the 1930s were interested in. They wanted action, feats of daring, lots of gory fights and romance - and that's just what Flynn gave them in most of his more than sixty films.
Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Flynn's father was a professor of biology at the University of Tassie. Flynn described his mother as coming from "sea-faring folk" and the descendants of the mutineers on Captain Bligh's ship, the "Bounty", but romantic as this was, it wasn't actually true. Ah well, why let the truth get in the way of a good yarn?
He was expelled from a posh boys boarding school in Sydney, where he had been sent to gain a good education. The reason? Fighting constantly with the other lads - and having sex with a laundress. And that just about sums up what his life would be from then on. He was wild, he was untamed, he was rebellious - and he drank like a fish.
He rose to fame in America where he had moved in 1942. There he went through the ladies as fast as he churned out the films. He took self-medicated hard drugs for chronic and ongoing back pain, he had a bad heart (preventing his fighting in the war, and which would kill him when he was fifty), malaria, the after effects of tuberculosis - and several venereal diseases. Because of his success with the ladies, Flynn's boudoir activities gave rise to the saying "In like Flynn". In short, he sounds like the average Australian male, just perfect for a party behind the sand dunes.
|Just in case we want to keep a record of our beach party, we should invite a famous Australian film director whose many film credits include the excellent 2001 "Moulin Rouge" and the 2008 film "Australia" starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. Who is he?||Beach Party with Australians!
Baz Luhrmann. Baz Luhrmann was born in Sydney in 1962. His father was on the land, and his mother taught ballroom dancing. Such was his love of this form of dance, that Baz incorporated it in his work when he directed the excellent 1992 film "Strictly Ballroom". This features a love story intertwined with exquisite dance routines. "Moulin Rouge" and all its many dance numbers and songs also reflects this love.
Though born in Sydney, Baz was raised at a tiny country settlement called Heron's Creek. His father, who was a farmer, also ran a movie theatre and a petrol station there. Baz's love of the land is reflected in the movie "Australia", which is set on a cattle station in the far north of Australia, during world war two.
Baz Luhrmann was born with the given names of Mark Anthony, but was given the nickname Baz by his classmates because they said he looked like the children's hand puppet, Basil Brush. Poor Baz.
|The first person we should invite to our Australian beach barbie is a notable musician, painter and entertainer. Who will watch the sun arise while playing his didgeridoo?||Beach Party with Australians!
Rolf Harris. Rolf Harris was born in Perth on 30th March 1930. His move to England in 1952 bought a host of opportunities his way, including television shows and chart success with his songs "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", "Jake the Peg" and "Sun Arise". He bought us the wobble board, a piece of hardboard with enough flexibility that would make it "whoop-whoop" when flicked with both hands.
He was also a talented artist and could often be seen creating a masterpiece on television using a large section of blank canvas and applying paint in a haphazard way. His official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 took the country by storm.