Macquarie Island is Australia's most distant possession. Located in the Southern Ocean at a Latitude of 54°30' South, longitude 158°57' East, Macquarie Island is actually 200km closer to the Antarctic continent than its parent state of Tasmania, which lies 1500 kilometres north-west. Measuring an area of 128 square kilometers, Macquarie Island is 34 kilometers long by just 5 kilometers at its widest point.
Between the towns of Ooldia and Nurina in Western Australia is the world's longest straight stretch of railway. It extends for 478.4 kilometres.
The Great Barrier Reef, Qld, is the longest coral reef in the world, extending over 2,012.5 kilometres.
Marble Bar, WA, recorded the longest period of extreme heat of above 37.7 C. for 160 days from October 1923 to April 1924.
WA has the longest coastline of an it Australian state. It measures 20,781 kilometres.
At 790 km, the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight - Wylie Scarp, Baxter Cliffs, Hampton Tableland and Bunda Cliffs - are the longest in Australia.
At 2,520 km, Australia's longest river is the Murray River.
Australia's longest cave system is the Exit Caves in Tasmania. They have a length of 17,000 metres.
On the banks of the Tarwin River near the town of Tarwin, Vic, is what is believed to be the longest barbeque table in Australia. It seats 120 people.
The longest single-span chairlift in the world is across Launceston's Cataract Gorge, Tas.
At 135 metres, the Empress of Australia was the world's longest roll on roll off (ro-ro) ferry when it was launched in January 1965. Built at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney, the Tasmania-Mainland ferry had a gross tonage of 12,037 tonnes. The Empress was replaced by the Abel Tasman. It was sold and renamed Royal Pacific. and sank in the Malacca Strait, in 1991 after colliding with a Taiwanese fishing vessel.
Murray River at Paringa, SA
Australia's Longest Rivers
The Murray River is the longest river in Australia at 2520km, combining with the Darling and Upper Darling Rivers to form the Murray-Darling basin. The Murray Darling extends over 15% of the continent, and serving 4 States and the ACT with water. The Murray also supports about 1/3 of Australia's agricultural production, supports 50% of Australia's sheep and croplands, and 25% of beef and dairy herds, contains about 62% of the country's irrigated land and supplies 50% of South Australia's water. Lengths shown are approximate.
River Murray (NSW/SA): 2,375 km
Murrumbidgee River (NSW/ACT): 1,485 km
Darling River (from River Murray to Culgoa River) (NSW): 1,472 km
Lachlan River (NSW): 1,339 km
Coopers Creek (Qld/SA): 1,113 km
Flinders River (Qld): 1,004 km
Diamantina River (Qld/SA): 941 km
Longest Rivers: by state/territory
Although the River Murray forms much of the border separating New South Wales and Victoria, it is not Victoria's longest river because the New South Wales border is delineated by the river's southern bank rather than by the middle of the river. The only section of the river considered within Victoria is a stretch of approximately 11 kilometres where it separates Victoria and South Australia. At this point, the middle of the river forms the border. Lengths shown are approximate and show the length of that river in that particular state or territory.
NSW: River Murray, 1,721 km
Qld: Flinders River, 1,004 km
WA: Gascoyne River, 834 km
SA: River Murray: 683 km
Vic: Goulburn River 683 km
NT: Victoria River: 510 km
Tas: South Esk River: 245 km
ACT: Murrumbidgee River, 59 km
The highest recorded temperature of 53.1 C was at Cloncurry, Qld, on 16 January 1889.
Marble Bar, WA, has the highest monthly average temperature of any locality in Australia. During the summer months, the town averages 41 degrees celsius.
The highest rainfall ever recorded in a 24 hour period in an Australian town was at Crohamhurst in South East Qld on 3rd february 1893. On that day 907 mm of rain fell. Ballenden Ker, Qld's highest mountain, holds the country's record - 960 mm (38 inches) - for the most rainfall ever recorded in a 24-hour period.
The highest 24-hour rainfall for the other states is:
NSW - Dorrign, 809 mm, 21st February 1954
WA - Broome (Kilto), 635 mm, 5th December 1970
NT - Roper Valley Station, 545 mm, 15th April 1963
Tas - Germantown, 508 mm, 22nd March 1974
Vic - Tanybryn, 375 mm, 22nd March 1983
SA - Motpena Station, 273 mm, 14th March 1989
ACT - Cotter River, 181 mm, 27th May 1925
The highest recorded rainfall in a 12 hour period was 707 mm (28 inches) at Wongawilli, near Wollongong, NSW on 18th February 1984. The mean annual precipitation for the area is 1194 mm.
The highest annual rainfall ever recorded in Australia was at Bellenden Ker in Northern Qld. The summit of Bellenden Ker, south-west of Cairns, recorded 12,461 millimetres of rain in 2000, breaking its own 1999 record of 11,852 mm by 609mm. The wettest month of 2000 at Bellenden Ker was February when 3376 mm was recorded. Of that, 1050 mm fell in three days during the passage of Tropical Cyclone Steve on February 25-28. This total fell short of Bellenden Ker's (and Australia's) monthly record of 5387 mm set in January 1979. Bellenden Ker - 1555 metres above sea level - is the wettest meteorological station in Australia. It averages 8,312 mm (328 inches) a year, about double that of towns in the region with high rainfall such as Babinda and Tully, which are near sea level.
Lake Margaret Dam in Western Tasmania has the most frequent rainfall in Australia. It rains on an average of 250 days per year. Its highest accumulated rainfall recorded in a calendar year is 4,504 mm in 1948.
The highest number of rainy days ever recorded in a year was 314 at Waratah in Tasmania's North-west in 1955.
The highest town in Australia is Perisher Valley in the New South Wales snow country. It is located at 1,740 metres above sea level. The highest towns in the other states are:
VIC: Hotham Heights 1,700 metres above sea level
TAS: Reynolds Neck 1,100 metres above sea level
QLD: Ravenshoe 930 metres above sea level
WA: Tom Price 750 metres above sea level
NT: Areyonga 700 metres above sea level
SA: Amata 700 metres above sea level
ACT: Canberra 660 metres above sea level
Heard Island is home Australia's only active volcano, Big Ben, which is also Australia's highest mountain. The highest mountain in on mainland Australia is Mt. Kosciuszko (2228 metres). The highest mountains in each state are:
NSW: Mt. Kosciuszko 2228 metres
VIC: Mt. Bogong 1986 metres
ACT: Bimberi Peak 1912 metres
QLD: Bartle Frere (S. Peak) 1622 metres
TAS: Mt. Ossa 1617 metres
NT: Mt. Zeil 1531 metres
SA: Mt. Woodroffe 1435 metres
WA: Mt. Meharry 1253 metres
Ben Lomond railway station on the former Great Northern Railway, NSW, was the highest point on the line and the highest point attained by any Australian railway. The railway station, currently not in use, is 1,363 metres above sea level.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Australia was minus 23 degrees celsius at Charlotte Pass, NSW, on 18th June 1994.
The lowest surface point in Australia is Lake Eyre, which is 16 metres below sea level.
Australia's deepest cave which is the lowest underground point, is Anne-A-Kananda at Mt Anne, Tas. It goes 373 metres below surface level.
Australia is the world's largest inhabited island.
The world's largest electorate (2,255,278 square kilometres) is Kalgoorlie, WA.
Australia is the largest continent occupied by one nation and is the least populated.
Wolf Creek, WA, has the largest meteorite crater in Australia, measuring 853.44 metres in diameter and 61 metres deep.
Australia is the largest exporter of camels in the world. 10 000 camels a year make the trip each year, earning the country $2 million in export.
Australia's largest state is WA. It has an area of 2,529,875 square kilometres.
Qld has the largest coastal waters of any state. They total 121,994 square kilometres.
Excluding Tasmania, Australia's largest island is Melville Island, NT. It has an area of 5,786 square kilometres.
Australia's largest desert is the Great Victoria Desert. It covers a vast 648,500 sq. km.
WA has 3,747 islands within its borders, the largest number of islands of any state of Australia.
Australia's largest water body is Lake Eyre, SA. Though rarely full, this salt lake has an area of 9,500 square kilometres.
Australia's largest man made lake is Lake Gordon in western Tasmania. It has a capacity of 12,450 cubic metres.
The largest desert in Australia is the Great Victoria Desert. With an area of 348,750 square kilometres, it covers 4.5% of the Australian continent.
The 6.5 million hectare Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve is the world's largest marine reserve. Situated 4500 kilometres south-west of the Australian mainland and 1000 kilometres North of Antarctica, it falls within Australia's 320 km Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding Heard and McDonald Islands.
The shortest street in Australia is Atherden Street in The Rocks, Sydney, NSW. Just 28 metres long, it extends from Playfair Street into what was once the face of a quarry. It is also among one of Australia's oldest streets.
Australia is the world's smallest continent. With an area of 7.8 million km2, it is just smaller than Brazil.
Australia's smallest state or territory is Jervis Bay Territory. It has an area of 73 square kilometres.
The world's smallest marsupial is the pygmy possum. It occurs in Tasmania and the mountainous regions of Victoria.
Holroyd, in the Sydney metropolitan area, is the smallest locality in Australia. Three streets form its borders and for many years it comprised solely of an abandoned brickworks site, in spite of the fact that its name is also that of the local municipal council. Until recently, no streets passed through it and 50% is of its area was a park. The brickworks site was recently re-developed as a residential area.
The Pro-Cathedral Church of Saint John the Baptist, in the SA town of Murray Bridge, is the smallest Cathedral in Australia. It is also the oldest church in the city, built 1887.
St Nicholas Church at Austalind, WA, is the smallest church in Australia and was originally built as a workman's cottage. It was constructed in 1848 and is one of the few surviving buildings from the original Australind settlement.
The Weebill is Australia's smallest bird. 8-9 cm in size, it has a pale "face" and a short pale bill.
The world's smallest Drive-In theatre is at Jericho, a small Qld town about one hour's drive from Barcaldine.
Groom, situated in the south-east corner of Qld, is that state's smallest and one of Australia's smallest regional electorates, covering an area of 6,417 square kilometres.
A tiny triangle of beach on Lavender Bay in Sydney, NSW, is the smallest registered beach in the whole of Australia. The beach once extend the full length of the bay's foreshore, but industry and then the development of wharves, boat moorings and seawalls has seen it shrink to its present miniscule size.
Surrounded by bleak, treeless plains, Betoota in western Qld is not only Australia's smallest town, it is believed to be the only town in the world with a population of zero. Its sole resident of 49 years retired in 1997, age 82. Situated on a rough dirt road between Windorah and Birdsville, its only structure is an abandoned hotel. Betoota is an officially designated town, complete with a town plan and a subdivision. The Birdsville-based Diamantina Shire Council recently put some blocks up for sale in Betoota for between $200 and $500 each. To the surprise of everyone, six were sold.
The town of Shackleton in the Western Australian Wheatbelt claims to have Australia's smallest bank. Measuring only 3 metres by 4 metres it is only open on Fridays from 3.00 pm - 4.30 pm.
Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state (228,000 square kilometres) and is slightly smaller than the US state of California, but about the same size as the the US state of Minnesota or the United Kingdom.
The last tram ran in Sydney on 26th February 1961.
Convict William Bond is believed to have been the last male alive from the First Fleet. Bond, who became a baker of Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW, made the first damper. Bond died in Sydney in 1839, aged 110 years.
Ann Huxley (nee Forbes), who was transported on Prince of Wales at 15 years of age for stealing 10 yards of material, was the very last of the convicts of the First Fleet to die. She had been sent to Norfolk Island before she was freed. After several liaisons she went on to marry Thomas Huxley and settled near Windsor, where she raised nine children to Huxley and four to Dringad Bannister. She died in 1851, age 80, and was buried in St Matthews Church graveyard, Windsor, NSW.
Ken Warby's hydroplane, Spirit of Australia, is the fastest boat in the world. Spirit of Australia set the World Water Speed Record in 1978; remarkably the boat still holds that record. It is on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum.
At 2.4 metres from kerb to kerb, Sydney's narrowest street is Argyle Lane in Millers Point (right). High Lane, which runs parallel to Argyle Lane, is just 8 cm wider but is on a higher elevation in its middle section. The two streets appear to be dual carriageways of the same street but they are not.
The narrowest house in Sydney and possibly the whole of Australia is a tiny, two storied Victorian house at 43 Enmore Road, Enmore (below). It is just 3 metres wide. In spite of its size, it was subdivided at one stage into 4 flats. Steep stairs in a blue and white pattern lead to the front door. The tiny verandah is heavily decorated with cast-iron lace.