10 Strange Things About Western Australia

Video highlights from Wild Australia

Today marks 187 years since WA was proclaimed a British colony.

1. Circular barren patches, known as “fairy circles”, have been found throughout the red-soiled Pilbara region of Western Australia. The cause is still baffling scientists.

2. Last year, Perth researchers discovered a meteorite older than Earth in the WA outback. The rock is around 4.5 billion-years-old.

3. When some space debris from NASA’s Skylab crashed into the West Australian town of Esperance, the council charged the space agency $400 for littering. NASA has yet to pay.

4. Madness, mutiny and murder. It might sound like the plot of an implausible Hollywood blockbuster, but the story of the Batavia is frighteningly real. In 1629, the ship struck a reef 40 kilometres off the coast of WA – and that’s where the terrible tale began.

5. An island in WA’s Recherche Archipelago has a body of water that has intrigued scientists and tourists for generations. The reason for Lake Hillier’s bubble gum pink colour was recently discovered.

6. Rottnest Island in Western Australia was originally named ‘Rotte nest’ meaning ‘rat nest’ in Dutch because the early Dutch explorers thought the quokkas who inhabited the island were rats.

7. In 1970, a farmer decided to secede from Australia after a dispute with the government, declaring himself a prince, building a “kingdom” and, at one point, declaring war on Australia.

8. After World War One, the government offered returning soldiers money and land in the barren west for farming. Australia was already struggling through drought and the Great Depression, but the WA farmers also faced a horde of 20,000 emus. And the war began.

9. In 1933, Western Australians voted overwhelmingly to secede from the Commonwealth. While 68 percent of people voted for secession, the Commonwealth refused the request and WA remained part of Australia.

10. If you were stranded in London with no money to buy a ticket back home, what would you do? When Australian javelin thrower Reg Spiers faced this problem in 1964, he chose a radical plan – posting himself back to Perth in a wooden box.

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