Vivid Sydney Festival  

A unique annual event of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney is a multi-award winning winter festival which features an outdoor “gallery” of extraordinary lighting sculptures, a cutting-edge contemporary music program, some of the world's most important creative industry forums and, last but not least, the mesmerising illumination of the Sydney Opera House. Next one will be 25 May - 16 June 2018

Every year, the festival returns to illuminate Sydney with new thrilling precincts to explore, new light art to inspire and a feast of entertainment for everyone. This event has grown into the largest of its kind in the world, attracting more than 1.7 million visitors ear year.
Part of the lighting festival also includes performances from local and international musicians and an ideas exchange forum featuring public talks and debates from leading creative thinkers.
The winter event takes place in central Sydney over the course of three weeks in May and June. The centrepiece of Vivid Sydney is the light sculptures, multimedia interactive work and building projections that transform various buildings and landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in and around the Sydney CBD into an outdoor night time canvas of art.
Vivid began as a Smart light festival in 2009 for energy efficiency curated by Lighting Designer Mary-Anne Kyriakou and headlined by Brian Eno. The latter, in collaboration with lighting designer Bruce Ramus, projected Light Painting onto both sides of the Opera House.
Vivid is also a commercial success. According to New South Wales Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner, Vivid 2012 attracted more than 500,000 visitors to the outdoor exhibition and events, generating around $10 million in income for the state. One year later, the festival attracted more than 800,000 visitors, contributing more than $20 million to the NSW economy.
In 2014, the festival involved the Sydney Opera House, Walsh bay, Circular Quay, The Rocks, North Sydney, Darling Harbour, and, joining in for the first time, Harbour Lights, The Star and Carriageworks. In 2015, Vivid Sydney attracted more than 1.7 million visitors to the city.
Vivid Sydney also includes a large range of interactive activities with the unique technology that is offered. While the large light shows are displayed on the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Birdge, there are also multiple smaller exhibits located around the harbour.
One of the interactive activities in the harbour was called Musical cubes. In this activity, a group of 6 individuals would take part in a musical experiment. There is also another activity in the harbour called the Heart of the City.
The Heart of the City resembled a large, solid beanbag chair and was located near the Sydney Opera House. Upon reaching the front of the line, participants would be asked to seat themselves in the middle of the chair. Once seated, they had to insert their fingers into a small hole in the middle of the chair. If your finger was inserted right, the chair would begin to light up red to match your heartbeat. As participants realised this, their heart rate would increase causing the chair to light up very quickly.
Another activity involved Canon Cameras. So if you attend VIVID Sydney with a Canon camera, you are able to participate in special unique activities that are meant to make use of your Canon Camera.

 

Learn to surf in Australia with Mojosurf  

The idea of surfing might seem extremely slippery. For sure, your first attempt at surfing will feel like there is no way to keep your balance or ever stand on the board. But if you persevere, you'll soon be catching a wave and paddling back to give it another go.

Since it takes quite a while to master the art of surfing, the best way to learn is at a surf camp - a guesthouse with guides who take you to the beach every day and teach you in the water. It will force you to learn how to surf, instead of taking single lessons every once in a while, and you will meet people in process as well as you will find spots only the locals know. One of the best surf camps in the world is brought to you by Mojosurf.
Mojosurf caters specifically for beginners and intermediate surfers who want to learn how to surf or improve their surfing in a fun and safe surf culture environment. The surf instructors and guides will take you to the most suitable surf locations according to your progress and help you understand the surf conditions, locations, local cultures, customs and other need to know jive around. Beyond the surfing adventures, Mojosurf also offers a vibrant nightlife, adventurous road trips and stunning remote locations. You can find surf camps along the East Coast of Australia, such as Spot X in Arrawarra, Byron Bay and Brisbane.
Mojosurf was founded by two friends Nat and Dan, who were born and bred surfing on Australia's East Coast. They met in the surf and shared the same dream to give up their day jobs and enjoy a life of fun, surfing, adventure, travel and meeting new people.
In 1998 the mates turned their vision into a reality when they created the guided Mojosurf adventure cruising the Coast between Sydney and Byron Bay. This was the life: meeting new people, surfing every day, teaching surfing, travelling to the best surf spots, eating great food, having fun nonstop day and night, and living the dream.
Such a great experience could not remain a secret for too long and soon word spread that they best way to learn surfing and experience the surfer's lifestyle was to catch a ride with Mojosurf and let the good times roll.
Mojosurf's idea that everybody should experience surfing, the lifestyle and the culture in a fun and safe way has seen them expand and become one of the world's biggest surf tuition, travel and adventure groups.
Mojosurf now operates surf schools, guided surf adventure and surf camps in awesome surf locations like Australia's East Coast between Sydney and Byron Bay; Raglan in NZ and Bali and beyond.
The breaks around Byron Bay are a good place to start. Mojosurf takes you to the best beach for your ability and will get you back in time for happy hour. Accommodation includes dorm room, waterfront cabin or tipi.
There are also other activities you can do at the campsite. For instance, you can play some beach volleyball/football/cricket, paddle a kayak, kick back in a hammock or beanbag, shoot some pool, amongst others.
Nightlife include drinks around the campfire or a rowdy night in Byron Bay.

 

Australian wisdom  

Although Australian culture was born in the convicts era, Australians have some very interesting things to say.

“I like villains because there's something so attractive about a committed person -- they have a plan, an ideology, no matter how twisted. They're motivated” - Russel Crowe, actor
“It's Australian to do such things because, however uncivilised they may seem, it's human to do them” - Hugh Mackay
“Never complain, never explain” - Personal motto of Kerry Packer - billionaire
“A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop” - Robert Hughes - art critic and author)
“ If the section cannot remain here alive, it will remain here dead, but in any case it will remain here. Should any man through shell-shock or other cause attempt to surrender, he will remain here dead” - Lieutenant F.P. Bethune - clergyman by trade
“It's dead easy to die; it's the keeping on living that's hard” - Douglas Mawson - scientist and polar survivor.
“You never want an Australian with his back against the wall. You put any 12 blokes together and you'll get a job done. Whether it's getting a bogged four-wheel-drive off the beach or standing in front of a cricket wicket and making sure we're in a dominant position. It's the same dog, different leg action, so to speak” - Matthew Hayden - cricket player.
“Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline” - General Monash
“We are not so much as disillusioned but illusion free” - Miranda Devine - journalist.
“The bigger the hat, the smaller the property” - Australian proverb
“A champion team will always beat a team of champions” - Early Collingwood Magpies team
“Where there are Torres Strait Islanders, there is a community” - Bill Stephens
“Unless you're willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won't happen” - Phillip Adams - journalist
“As a leader you must celebrate life, you must celebrate success and paradoxically, you must celebrate heroic failures” - Lieutenant General D.M. Mueller
“All our best heroes are losers” - Richard Clover - radio presenter
“There are people who wish to draw attention to themselves by attacking me” - Don Bradman - cricket player
“Always back the horse named self-interest, son. It'll be the only one trying” - Jack Lang - Labor premier
“As a work of art, it reminds me of a long conversation between two drunks” - Clive James
“I've never seen anyone rehabilitated by punishment” - Henry Lawson - poet
“The true Aussie battler and his wife thrust doggedly onwards: starting again, failing again, implacably thrusting towards success. For success, even if it is only the success of knowing that one has tried to the utmost and never surrendered, is the target of every battler” - Michael Page & Robert Inapen - authors.
Axl Rose AC/DC New Singer   

 

AC/DC officially announced the departure of longtime frontman Brian Johnson and his - at least temporary - replace by Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose. Brian Johnson was suffering of hearing issues that impeded him to carry on with the tour prompting the band to find a replacement for the vocals that could do justice to Johnson. Rose seemed to be the right replacement at the moment as AC/DC are currently touring and they have shows to perform ahead.

Here's the complete press release: "AC/DC band members would like to thank Brian Johnson for his contributions and dedication to the band throughout the years. We wish him all the best with his hearing issues and future ventures.
"As much as we want this tour to end as it started, we understand, respect and support Brian's decision to stop touring and save his hearing. We are dedicated to fulfilling the remainder of our touring commitments to everyone that has supported us over the years, and are fortunate that Axl Rose has kindly offered his support to help us fulfill this commitment." AC/DC will continue their Rock or Bust World Tour with Rose on vocals. The band will resume their 10 postponed U.S. shows with Rose on vocals, and then tour around Europe before the end of the World Tour. Following this European concerts with AC/DC, Rose will resume the Not in This Lifetime summer stadium tour with Guns N' Roses.
In the meantime, Brian Johnson has released a heartfelt message to fans explaining why he has quit the world tour. However, he has promised he will be the voice of AC/DC on upcoming studio recordings and hopes to be able to tour again the future.
"I was advised that if I continue to perform at large venues, I risked total deafness,” stated Johnson. “While I was horrified at the reality of the news that day, I had for a time become aware that my partial hearing loss was beginning to interfere with my performance on stage.”
“Our fans deserve my performance to be at the highest level, and if for any reason I can't deliver that level of performance I will not disappoint our fans or embarrass the other members of AC/DC," he added.
"I wish to assure our fans that I am not retiring. My doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that. For the moment, my entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing. I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances."
Fans were shocked when they band cancelled their Atlanta show and issued a formal statement of their website about the rest of the tour. It stated: "AC/DC are forced to reschedule the 10 upcoming dates on the US leg of their Rock or Bust World Tour," it said.
“AC/DC's lead singer, Brian Johnson, has been advised by doctors to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss. Tuesday's show in Atlanta through Madison Square Garden in New York, NY in April 2016."
However, the greatest shock happened when Axl Rose was spotted rehearsing in Atlanta and news broke that he might be replacing Johnson. “Yes, it's true,” said Ross Malcolm Young, son of AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young.
When some fans criticised the new choice of frontman arguing that Rose wasn't able to uphold the band's legacy, Ross Young responded by posting on Facebook: “He can and he will.”
 
Guns N' Roses "Not In This Lifetime" tour dates for North America later this 2017 are just announced including two nights at Madison Square Garden and two nights in Los Angeles arenas.
 
 
Chris Hemsworth leaves LA for Byron Bay  

Movie star Chris Hemsworth - famous for his performance as Thor - has moved back home to Australia so his children can have a ‘normal existence'.

The Australian actor and his Spanish wife, also a Hollywood star, Elsa Pataky recently bought a property near Byron Bay on the NSW north coast.
'We travelled so much anyway with work that our base didn't necessarily need to be in Hollywood so much anymore and it's just sort of chaotic with the paparazzi,' said Hemsworth. Accordingly, it was the “best decision” they ever made for their three children.
'We can walk straight down (to) the beach, we can have a normal existence and the kids have a hell of a lot more fun there than they did back in the States,' said Hemsworth.
Hemsworth's career is currently on the rising. He recently starred in Ron Howard's new film In The Heart Of The Sea, a true maritime story that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.
The 32-year-old actor confessed he has lost track of the number of scripts he is sent, but said he probably reads five or six a week. “You go through periods, certain seasons, when there's just a mad rush of films to get financed and set up,'” he said.
“A large percentage of what I get sent would be superhero-based action films but the ones you really want to do, in order to do something different, are the ones you've usually got to fight for and are a little more difficult to get made.”
Although he usually has the pick of the scripts, Hemsworth is humble enough to say a couple of his contemporaries would eclipse him. 'Leo certainly is probably top of the food chain along with Brad Pitt and then you've got Tom Hardy and (Michael) Fassbender,' said Hemsworth.
Hemsworth bought a $7 million Byron Bay home. The Australian-turned-Hollywood actor has spent no less than $7 million on a luxurious Balinese-style, seaside property near popular holiday spot Byron Bay. “Kooeloah” on Seven Mile Beach Rd in Broken Head spreads over 4.2ha and features a multi-level main house and multiple, separate villas.
The property has a total of 8 bedrooms and 11 barthrooms as well as a lap pool and a lagoon. The luxurious beach-side buy has taken place less than a year after Hemsworth and his wife snapped up their Malibu home for US$4.8 million.
The house is no doubt big enough for the Hemsworth and their three children, two of which are twin boys.
The Hemsworth haven't wasted any opportunity to enjoy what Byron Bay has to offer. They were seen on all loved-up at the 27th annual Byron Bay Blues Fest, on the New South Wales northern coast. They posted a photo to Instagram ahead of the Cold War Kids performance at the four-day music event. The Spanish actor captioned the post: ‘Byron/Enjoying' and added a number of hashtags to the snap: “blues fest en Byron”, “cold ward kids”, “music”, “love”, “partners night” and “yayyyy”.

Next film we're eagerly waiting for is Thor: Ragnarok release date: November 3, 2017 (USA).

Bungi jump in Cairns  

There is only one place to Bungy jump in Australia and that is in Cairns. Located in the rainforest, 20 mins from the CBD, AJ Hackett is the bungy originals and there can jump in many styles, swing and skywalk.

It was AJ Hackett the Kiwi who invented the modern bungy in pursuit of the ultimate adrenalin buzz. In 1987, he jumped illegally from the Eiffel Tower and that is how he launched bungy jumping to the world. Almost 30 years later and millions of jumps, AJ Hackett now operates the world's most innovative gravity related products anywhere on the planet.
Back in the 1980s, AJ Hackett was a young Auckland builder with a passion for thrill-inducing sports. Then he discovered a ritual by Pentecost Islanders by which men throw themselves off 35 metre-high wooden towers, with their ankles attacked to vines. This ancient ritual is believed to ensure a good yam harvest on the island in Vanatu.
He didn't think much of this daring activity until he met Aucklander Chris Sigglekow in the early 1980s. As a video editor, Chris had seen 1970s video footage of a British group calling themselves the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club, with young men undertaking a modern version of the Vanuatu jump. However, instead of wooden towers, the British men jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Chris had been inspired by the group's adventures and had already tried making a bungy cord with a parachute harness and jumping off the Pelorus Bridge in Marlborough, New Zealand. But the jump didn't go as planned so Chris shelved the idea till he met AJ. Together, they decided that if they could make the activity safe, then they could pursue it further.
“We decided, ok, let's suss out first of all if we can make this thing predictable. If we can't make it predictable then we stop – because I like a challenge but I don't like pain. I don't want to kill myself but I like to have some fun,” AJ says. Therefore, they approached the Department of Scientific and Industrial research and there they discovered a mathematical formula for the bungy cord rubber.
“What we discovered was that if you took a single strand of the rubber and stretched it to 6.7-times its length, it would snap. But at four-times its length, it was only using 15 per cent of its breaking strain,” AJ explains.
“All we had to know was the height of the bridge that we were jumping from, divide it by four, less a couple of metres for the length of the person and the harness webbing attachment to the bungy, and that would be the length of the cord.”
They proceeded to test their bungy cord at the Greenhithe Bridge in Auckland. First they tried with a bag full of lead and rocks and then they tested it out themselves. They both jumped off and it worked perfectly. That is where the story began. They tried it a few more times with more friends jumping off the Auckland Harbour Bridge, until the time came to fly out to France.
When they arrived in France, they approached some scientists to find out how the bungy cord rubber would handle in freezing cold situations. “I had this dream of jumping from a cable car into the snow and skiing off. It was kind of this romantic vision,” AJ says. Since it could be done, he convinced management at Tignes ski resort to let him jump head-first off a cable car. This was to be the first of many “extreme” jumps, but it was compared to his famous Eiffel Tower jump in Paris, June 26, 1987.
“When we'd first arrived in Paris we drove past the Eiffel Tower and I thought wow, that's a really beautiful structure, I'd love to jump off this building,” he recalls “So I measured the tower, figured it out how to jump from it, sorted out how the security worked, where the cameras were and all that sort of thing. One evening in Paris a big team of us went up to the tower. It was just closing, the girls were carrying bungy under their dresses, and in backpacks we had ropes and gear and camera crews and sleeping bags. Security all disappeared and so we settled in for the night and early the next morning the alarm went off too late so it was a rush job trying to get it rigged up, and finally we were ready to go. Anyway I jumped, the jump went perfectly and I was really happy to pull it off. And then the gendarmerie [French police] came from everywhere. They couldn't figure out what was going on at all. And the rest is history, really.”
AJ's stunt attracted media attention at a global scale. With the best publicity he could ask for, he returned to New Zealand and set up the world's first commercial bungy site in Ohajune in March 1988. And the rest is History.
Controversy - tourists to climb Uluru  

Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles is promoting the tourist climb of Uluru amongst Anangu people, who are the traditional custodians of the monolith. According to Giles, an official Uluru climb could rival the Eiffel Tower as a tourist attraction and also compared it to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Uluru is a very spiritual and sacred place for the Anangu people. Even though tourists are not currently forbidden from climbing Uluru, Anangu people have asked them to stay off site out of respect. However, in spite of this fact, thousands of visitors, most of them Australian, make the trek each year.
Debate around closing the climb has raged since 1985, when Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was handed back to the traditional owners by the then-prime minister Bob Hawke. Subsequently, the government secured a 99-year-lease on the land. Most of the members of the Uluru-Kaya Tjuta management board are traditional owners, yet the climb remains open.
The Anagu, who have lived by Uluru for thousands of years, are now based in the nearby Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu. They have said that people climbing the rock has caused them deep cultural offence and sadness.
Meanwhile, Giles says a sanctioned climb would be consistent with the government's Indigenous economic empowerment strategy. “It would see a great opportunity for local Anangu to participate in lucrative business and create much needed local jobs,” he said.
“Uluru rises 348m above the plane and more than 860m above sea level. It is higher than the Eiffel Tower and a whole lot more beautiful. That is why 300,000 or more tourists travel to Uluru each year, many of them wanting to climb if they knew that it was condoned by the local Aboriginal people.”
“There are plenty of examples worldwide of culturally sensitive sites and tourism experiences combining successfully for example: the temple Angkor Wat in Cambodia; the Taj Mahal in India and the Macu Picchu in Peru all coming close to mind,” he said.
Giles said he recently visited Uluru with legendary Australian golfer Greg Norman and both of them could see benefits in allowing people to climb.
“Just prior to that visit to Uluru [with Norman] I was in Sydney, coincidentally watching people climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge,” Giles told the NT parliament. “More than three million people from over 100 countries have climbed the bridge since the climb was opened in 1998. The experience has been voted as one of the world's most spectacular and exhilarating.” Giles said that while he is aware that the Sydney Harbour Bridge does not hold the cultural or spiritual significance of Uluru, it may be time to create an officially sanctioned climb.
Senator Peris said the plan is disrespectful to the wishes of traditional owners. “Comparing the Eiffel Tower to Uluru is simply ridiculous,” she said. “Uluru is one of the most culturally and spiritually significant places in Australia. It's not just a place to with a nice view. It's much more than that.” “Uluru's value comes from its cultural significance and the spiritual connection the Anangu people have to the area. That's not something to be messed with for the sake of a political point. Keshia Randall, whose family are traditional caretakers of Uluru, said that climbing Uluru is disrespectful. “I'm frustrated that the national park isn't shutting it down, they think that it's the main attraction and tourists just want to come here to climb a big rock. I think they (park management) are convincing those on the board that if the climb closes, the tourist money will stop.”
Peris says any decision should be made by the Anangu people, not politicians. “We want Uluru to be in pristine condition, 50 or 100 years from now, which is one reason traditional owners ask that tourists don't climb it, to preserve its beauty.”
In the meantime, Facebook and Twitter users have attached Chief Minister's views; and tour guides reject claims visitor numbers would drop if climb was banned.
A Federal Government manage plan for Uluru in 2010 said the climb will be permanently closed when adequate new visitor experiences were established, the proportion of visitors falls below 20 per cent, or when the cultural and natural experiences at Uluru are the critical factors when visitors decide to go there.
Great Barrier Reef in Danger  

A marine scientist known as the “Godfather of Coral”, Dr Charlie Veron, says the Great Barrier Reef - one of the seven wonders of the natural world - is in grave danger if the Australian government doesn't act on climate change. According to Dr Veron, who has worked on the reef for 45 years, without immediate action, the entire reef could be dead quite soon.
According to researchers from the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce (NCBT) - a federal government-funded initiative devoted to researching the reef - 7% of the world's largest living structure has been left unaffected by a massive coral bleaching event.
Coral bleaching happens when abnormal water conditions - for instance, rising temperatures caused by climate change - discharge tiny photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae, turning the coral white and subsequently killing it.
Veron says that the only reason why the coral bleaching didn't spread to 100% of the reef was thanks to a sudden easing of warm conditions last December. “Once the coral's bleached, it's dead. It's the end of the road,” Veron says. “It's a matter of time before that full whammy happens.”
Veron has been particularly against the federal and Queensland state governments; decision to approve the massive Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland's Galilee basin, 500km from the reef.
The mine could produce up to 60 million tones of coal each year from six open-cut pits and five underground mines. The project has the support of both the federal and Queensland state governments, which affirm it will create thousands of jobs and inject $16 billion into the economy. However, over its period of activity, the mine is expected to pump billions of tones of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
“Both governments have approved the the Adani mine without thinking of the consequences,” Veron says. “It's last thing Australia, of all countries, should be doing. I can't think of anything more harmful to do to the Great Barrier Reef than that.”
It's a sentiment echoed by Professor Terry Hughes convener of the NCBT, who says the approval of the mine shows the government isn't serious about stopping climate change and saving the reef. “I think an appropriate reaction from Hunt would be to rescind the 60-year permit. That would be real action for the Great Barrier Reef,” Hughes says.
Queensland's Environment Minister, Steven Miles, evaded any responsibility and passed it down to the federal government.“What the Reef needs is a set of policies that will cap and reduce emissions in real terms year on year,” Miles said. “The state government will play our part within the scope of our powers, but meeting our Paris [Climate Conference] targets is primarily the responsibility of the national government. What we don't have right now, and what we are demanding the Turnbull government deliver, is a national plan to meet those targets.”
Scientists from the Climate Council took a stand a placed a full page ad in Queensland's Courier Mail. The article explained that climate change is destroying the reef and immediate action is needed to prevent further damage. The open letter was signed by 56 experts with countless years of experience in studying climate change, and called for an end to investment in fossil fuels in Australia. “As you read this, a catastrophe is unfolding,” the letter reads, before going on to explain the extent of the coral bleaching event. (...) Why is this happening? As the Earth's temperature rises due to climate change, our oceans are experiencing record-breaking heat.”
Climate Councillor Professor Lesley Hughes stated there is no doubt that the massive coral bleaching event on the reef is due to climate change. “This is not a surprise because we have known for decades that the burning of fossil fuels is driving climate change, and that delicate ecosystems like the reef will be destroyed as a result,” she said. “We are now seeing first hand the damage that climate change causes, and we have a duty of care to speak out.” There's some great research on the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies website.
Crazy Facts About Australia  

Isolated from the world as an enormous island, Australia have developed their own little brand. As we kick off 2017 here are some interesting facts that will probably shock you about Australia.
Everyone knows Australia is quite big but nobody imagines that Australia is as wide as the distance between London and Moscow; therefore, the whole of the European continent could fit in this one single country Down Under. In fact, the whole of Belgium could fit in the biggest property in Australia. Even though Australia is so big, more than 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast. Australia is very sparsely populated: The UK has 248.25 persons per square kilometre, while Australia has only 2.66 persons per square kilometre. It is such an amazing country that each week, 70 tourists overstay their visas.
In terms of wealth, with a World History centred in Europe and the USA, nobody has stopped to think how rich Australia has been or is. For instance, in 1880, Melbourne was the richest city in the world. Guess how much Australia's richest woman -Gina Rinehart - earns every half hour. Nothing less than $1 million, this means she makes $598 every second.
Another interesting fact in Australian History is that in 1892, a group of 200 Australians unsatisfied with the government tried to start an offshoot colony in Paraguay to be called ‘New Australia.'
In terms of world History, the first photos from the 1969 moon landing were beamed to the rest of the world from Honeysuckle Tracking Station, near Camberra. Also Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote, after New Zealand. Ever wondered who came up with the 8-hour working days? Well, it originated in 1856 when stonemasons took action to ensure this working hours which later became recognised worldwide. Australia was also one of the founding members of the United Nations.
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a world record for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Thereafter, he suggested his love of beer was the key to his political success.
There are also things that only happen in Australia. For instance, Australia's first police force was made up of the most well-behaved convicts. Also, Qantas once powered an interstate flight with cooking oil.
Everyone knows Australians love their sports but what they might not know is that Melbourne is considered the sporting capital of the world, as it has more top level sport available for its citizens than anywhere else.
In terms of fauna, Australia can be very surprising as well. Before the arrival of humans, Australia was home to megafauna, including three metre tall kangaroos, seven metre long goannas, horse-sized ducks, and a marsupial lion the size of a leopard. As to the animals on the Australian coat of arms, Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backward. Speaking of which, Australia is one of the only countries where they eat the animals on their coat of arms.
The Great Barrier Reef is the planet's largest living structure and it has its own postbox.
The venom of the male platypus is strong enough to kill a small dog. When the platypus was first sent to England, it was believed that Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.
Sydney Christmas Markets  
From festive artisan food to carols, gifts, fresh produce, gourmet treats, Santa Claus, retro fashion gifts, arts and crafts, children's stocking fillers, and festival local cheer, Sydney Christmas Markets offer all that the holiday season can afford.
Whether you are haven't done your Christmas shopping yet and are looking for special handicrafts, or you want to indulge yourself in festive gourmet treats or just enjoy a time out with your family and friends, you'll be spoilt for choice in the city. Jingle all the way through Sydney's top Christmas markets.
Lindesay Christmas Gift Fair
Held in a majestic Georgian house - Lindesay - this three-day annual market is the place to shop for unique boutique Christmas gifts. From arts and crafts, fashion and children's stocking fillers, you name it, they've got it. Shop till you drop surrounded by old-fashioned interiors and and period furniture. Indulge yourself in delectable treats from the stop kitchen and servants quarters as you enjoy the view of the Sydney Harbour.

Upcoming Dates:
  • 17 Nov 2016 10:00 am — 4:00 pm
  • 18 Nov 2016 10:00 am — 4:00 pm
  • 19 Nov 2016 10:00 am — 4:00 pm
 
Eryldene Christmas Fair
With over 50 quirky stallholders, the Eryldene heritage home in Gordon offers a unique Christmas shopping experience. A visit to its famous garden and the open house tour of the Historic Houses Trust property are the perfect addition to a the festive shopping day.
Upcoming Dates:
  • Eryldene Christmas Fair Saturday & Sunday 26 & 27 November 2016
 
Round She Goes
If you are a vintage and retro fashion lover, this is the market to do your Christmas shopping. Located in Marrickville Town Hall here you can find a gift for anyone of your family and friends and, of course, for yourself. From frocks and bags, brooches and buttons and plenty of bargains, you'll be spoilt for choice. At Round She Goes events and on the online marketplace, you can shop for preloved designer labels and quality vintage clothing, accessories and jewellery.
Upcoming Dates:
  • 12 November 2016
 
Central Coast Christmas Fair
If you happen to be around Sydney with your family during the holiday season, this is an unmissable family Christmas event. Widely known amongst locals, here you can choose from over 150 gift stalls, and even grab your fresh Christmas tree from the Rotary stall. Activities for the kids also abound. Enjoy your shopping while your kids are jolly getting pictures with Santa, going on rides or enjoying puppet shows and performances all day long. The Central Coast's favourite Christmas event returns to the beautiful waterside tranquil location of Mount Penang Gardens. You can enjoy the Coast's largest free outdoor Christmas shopping experience on the water in a relaxing environment with plenty of free parking.Now in its ninth year, the event features over 160 hand-picked, high-quality local arts and crafts stalls, international food zones and fresh seasonal produce areas, puddings, and delicious cakes. Santa will be there too and you can take photos with him on the water!
Upcoming Dates:
  • Sunday 4th December 2016, 9am-2pm
 
The Beaches Christmas Market
With over 100 producers offering a variety of the most delicious goods available, this is the market to stock up on farm fresh produce and gourmet treats. Apart from the delicious food, you can also find genuine artisan stalls and heaps of family friendly activities. Currently their most updated page is their Facebook page.
 
Upcoming Dates:
  • Sat 17 December 2016, 9am-3pm
  
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