It’s Australia Day...
SO TO CELEBRATE,
WE LOOK AT
of this great nation’s greatest
innovations & inventions
Launceston, Tasmania (1902)
By the year 1902, JA Birchall had had enough
of loose-leaf note taking. It was messy, difficult
to organise, and on windy days brought nothing
more than complete disaster. So he bound sheets
together, backed them with firm cardboard and
glued them at the top.
rry to ha
u for gra
for so ma
F om this
we will a
t your be
Melbourne, Victoria (1906)
What is now one of the world’s most cherished
forms of storytelling began with our nation’s
most notorious criminals.
Written and directed by Charles Tait and set
over 1200 metres of film reel, The Story of the
Kelly Gang chronicles the life of bushranger Ned
Kelly. The film premiered on Australia Day, 1906.
Image courtesy of: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/bushrangers/images/7883510/title/story-kelly-gang-photo
Adelaide, South Australia (1940)
Where would Aussie noses be without this oxidised
imperative? Somewhere between Rudolph the
reindeer and Kerry Packer, we suspect.
Thanks to the Fauldings pharmaceutical company,
beachgoers and cricket fanatics alike can breathe
easy knowing that their schnoz is sun-safe (and
colourful too, if that’s their thing).
Image courtesy of: http://blog.the-dot.co.uk/tag/vintage/
Sydney, New South Wales (1952)
It’s a brand name synonymous with Australia Day; a title
so infectious that it’s used across the globe to describe
portable boxes that keep things really, really cool.
The Esky is an Australian institution first marketed by
the Sydney-based refrigeration company Malley’s.
Esky racing: just another
ingenious Australian invention
We may not have invented the portable ice chest (that
was Illinois’ Richard C. Laramay in 1951),
but the Esky brand is recognised as the world’s
first official portable cooler.
Image courtesy of: http://www.atvwa.com/
Sydney, New South Wales (early 1900s)
When Richard Cavill dove off the blocks and into the
pool at an International Championship race in 1902,
he not only set a new world record (100 yards in
58.4 seconds) – he also sparked a swimming revolution.
His front stroke, later dubbed The Australian Crawl, was
an improvement on the British-made Trudgen stroke and
was inspired by the form of a young Solomon Islander
Alick Wickham who was living in Sydney at the time.
Image courtesy of: http://www.break.com/pictures/koala-leap-2329489
THE HILLS HOIST
Adelaide, South Australia (1945)
It’s not just a place to dry your clothes. It’s a pastime
reminiscent of childhood: dizziness, callouses,
parental anguish and sometimes (if you were
unlucky) a stint in the naughty corner.
Lance Hill began manufacturing his rotary clothes
hoist – the Hills Hoist – in his backyard in 1945. His
innovative design has since become a well-used
symbol of Australian suburbia.
Image courtesy of: http://thehoopla.com.au/swinging-hills-hoist-2/
THE BLACK BOX
Melbourne, Victoria (1956)
It may have a thoroughly deceptive title, but the black
box in-flight recorder represents a crucial development in
The brain-child of Australian scientist Dr David Warren, the
black box not only records the conversations that take place
within a plane’s cockpit but also stores the output data from
the plane’s flight instruments.
The box itself is built to withstand the impact of a crash so
that air-crash investigators can identify what went wrong,
educate pilots and, ultimately, save lives.
Image courtesy of: http://www.mactalk.com.au/content/rise-black-box-since-when-did-technology-get-so-hard-use250313-2995/
THE WINE CASK
Renmark, South Australia (1966)
Thomas Angove had a problem: he needed to
find a way to sell his cheaper red wines in bulk.
Large bottles were troublesome; once opened, air
exposure would cause the wine to take a turn for
the worst – and fast!
His solution was a gallon-sized resealable
polyethylene bag placed in a box and stored in the
fridge (or Esky!), and that was that. Genius!
Image courtesy of: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/australia_innovates/?behaviour=view_article&Section_id=1000&article_id=10021
THE BIONIC EAR
Melbourne, Victoria (1978)
It was a life lived in the company of his severely deaf
father that inspired Professor Graeme Clark to develop
the bionic ear.
In 1978, after 11 years of hard-slogged research,
Clark and his team successfully performed the world’s
first cochlear implant operation at Melbourne’s Royal
Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
His invention has since been implanted in almost
325,000 people worldwide.
Professor Graeme Clark & his Bionic Ear
Image courtesy of: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/photos-e6frg6n6-1225745294969?page=5
SPRAY ON SKIN
Perth, Western Australia (1990)
Developed by Dr Fiona Wood, ReCell (otherwise
known as Spray-On-Skin) became an internationally
renowned and celebrated innovation in 2002 after 28
victims of the tragic Bali Bombings were flown to Perth
to receive burns treatment.
An aerosol delivery system literally sprays skin cells
harvested from the normal cells of a patient onto the
wounded area, a process that not only spares burn
victims from painful skin grafts but also greatly reduces
Dr Wood was awarded Australian of the Year in 2005
for her innovative and life-altering efforts.
Image courtesy of: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/smart-country-sells-itself-short-20121109-2939k.html
Sydney, New South Wales (1990s)
Wireless networks had been kicking around since
the 70s, but they proved far too slow for the
overborne state of the world’s internet usage.
That’s why Dr John O’Sullivan and his team at
the CSIRO created Wireless LAN IEEE 802.11
(that’s the technical term for Internet Wi-Fi).
THE UNDERWATER PC
Townsville, Queensland (1993)
For the scuba-diving tech-head who has
everything, the WetPC helps marine scientists
and other water-based workers record data,
consult maps, count fish and diagnose faulty
We wonder if its creator, marine technologist
Bruce Macdonald, installed Facebook on his?
Norwood, South Australia (1980)
While working for Caroma, Bruce Thompson took
the distinctively Aussie concept of saving water to
a whole other level. He refurbished the standard
porcelain throne, adding another button to give potty
potentates the option of a half or a full flush.
In 2012, 12 protestors sat on an Adelaide beach,
calling for better amenities for beachgoers.
Image courtesy of Newspix/Rex Features: http://english.caijing.com.cn/2012-08-22/112074400.html
Melbourne, Victoria (1922)
Love it or hate it, this salty spread is an Aussie icon.
Made from brewers yeast, Vegemite was created by famed
food technologist Dr Cyril P Callister to compete with the
widely used, loved and established English spread Marmite.
In 1928, poor sales of Vegemite resulted in its name being
changed to ‘Parwill’ - “If Marmite...then Parwill” - a clever
marketing strategy that remained largely unsucsessful, so
the original name was quickly reinstated.
Regardless of its rocky beginnings, the Vegemite brand
holds a special place in Australia’s history.
Image courtesy of: http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/health/galleries/photo/-/9981137/what-your-food-cravings-mean/9981138/
Geelong, Victoria (1934)
Without it, the nation’s farmers, tradies, and friends of
friends who need it to move their new lounge furniture,
would be in utter shambles.
Designed by Lewis Brandt at the Ford Motor Company,
the ute was conceived after a farmer wrote to the boss
of Ford Australia in 1932 to ask: ‘Please make a two-inone car and truck, something I can go to church in on
Sunday, and carry the pigs to market on Monday’.
Image courtesy of: http://bussorah.fhost.com.au/busfeb13_files/142534-toy-ute.jpg
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