Did you know that an Australian was the first to invent the portable pacemaker? How about the fact that it was an Aussie who first explored both the Arctic and Antarctic by air?
Well, these and other firsts have made their way into a first of its own: a book called Great Australian World Firsts by Chrystopher J. Spicer.
In the book, Spicer covers a slew of Aussie firsts, ranging from the mundane to the mesmerising.
Australia’s own Mary Fortune was the first female author of detective fiction and, one of the most prolific crime writers of the nineteenth century, preceding even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in making a splash in the genre.
You may know that Helen Reddy was the first person born in Australia to reach the number-one spot on the U.S. popular music charts. Yes, the Bee Gees were citizens, but they were born on the Isle of Mann, so we can’t technically claim them. It’s not like they were from New Zealand, then they would automatically be Australian, wouldn’t they?
But, you might not know that Kay Cottee was the first woman to complete a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the world by sea.
Who is this author of mystery and intrigue?
In 2002, Spicer achieved a first of his own when his acclaimed biography Clark Gable was published in the United States to mark the centenary of Gable’s birth. Empire film magazine observed that the biography had a ‘meticulously researched and respectful approach.’ Spicer has been writing about Australian and American film and history for many years and has had books published in both countries.
A contributing editor of the former Australian arts magazine The Melburnian, Spicer was also a major contributor to the Encyclopaedia of Melbourne, the first encyclopaedia of an Australian city compiled in this country. Spicer now teaches writing at James Cook University in Queensland.
Spicer says, “This is my ‘’yes, anyone can achieve’ book for every Australian.”
More Australian first facts please…
Ok, ok, settle down:
WT Kelly, taxi driver and car salesman, brought us the first car radio; stockman Bobby MacDonald gave us the crouch start for a running race; electrician John Hoelscher was the first (with team-mate Lonnie Dupree) to circumnavigate Greenland by dogsled and kayak. Sir Jack Brabham, grocery delivery driver and mechanic, was the first person to win a Formula One World Championship in a car that he designed himself.
So, here we have great evidence of the entrepreneurial spirit of Australia. Care to add your name to the list? Well, you’ll have to create another world first. If you do, be sure to let us know.
There’s a bunch more fascinating facts in Spicer’s book. You can check out the 30 over-achieving Aussie’s in Great Australian World Firsts by clicking here.
Say, did you know that Australia invented boxed-wine? Did you also know that said goon is responsible for almost all shenanigans that take place during Schoolies week. Anyways, enough with the writing, I’m off to open the spigot on another box of Tangled Vine. Cheers!