The Wine Cask And Other Aussie Inventions That Changed The World

Video highlights from Aussie Icons with HG Nelson

These five creations have changed life as we know it.

Look around the room. How many everyday items began with some good old Aussie ingenuity? Probably more than you think.

These are the amazing inventions and genius ideas that have put Australia on the map and changed our lives forever. 

Black box flight recorder

The world’s first flight recorder was invented by Aussie David Warren, a research scientist at the Aeronautical Research Laboratory in Victoria. The idea came to him after his involvement in the accident investigation for the world’s first jet-powered commercial aircraft.

After realising how useful a recording of what happened on the flight would have been, David recalled seeing the world’s first miniature recorder at a trade fair.

“I put the two ideas together. If a businessman had been using one of these in the plane and we could find it in the wreckage and we played it back, we’d say, we know what caused this,” he told George Negus Tonight.

Wine cask

When South Australia winery Angove’s were looking for a way to sell their wine in bulk without it going off too quickly, the wine cask was born.

Thomas Angove’s invention was based off the traditional European wine “bladder”, a leather pouch that collapses as it pours, stopping air from coming into contact with the wine. 


Wi-Fi

A group of five CSIRO scientists invented wireless LAN technology, otherwise known as Wi-Fi, which has revolutionised the world. The team used radio-astronomy to crack the problem of radio waves bouncing off surfaces indoors.

The research organisation earned more than $430 million in royalties until its international patents ran out in 2013.

Pacemaker

Medical researchers discovered the human heart could be contracted by applying an electrical impulse in the 1890s, but it wasn’t until decades later that the world’s first pacemaker was created.

In 1962, Aussie doctors Edgar H. Booth and Mark C. Lidwell invented the artificial pacemaker. While it was a simple model compared with today’s pacemakers, the device reportedly saved the life of a stillborn infant.


Polymer banknote

The Reserve Bank of Australia and CSIRO released the world's first polymer (plastic) banknotes in 1988 to commemorate Australia’s bicentenary.

Between 1992 and 1996, a new series of polymer banknotes were introduced, replacing the original decimal banknotes and making Australia the first country to have a full series of polymer notes. 

Polymer banknotes have many advantages over paper ones. They’re cleaner and more hygienic, last longer and can be recycled at the end of their life.

Discuss this article

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit