South Australia is a stage for world-firsts, historic irregularities, and one-off intrigues. We here at Fritz HQ can’t get enough of these unique facts and love sharing them with SA via our Instagram page. We have compiled a list of the eleven best facts so far…
1. Do you know about one of South Australia’s rarest gems, Miss C?
Miss C was a toe-toed sloth who was born at Adelaide Zoo in 1974. We are deeply saddened to report she died at the age of 43 on Friday 2 June. Until last week, she was the only sloth in captivity in Australia and believed to be the oldest sloth in the world. Sloth’s only live to about 12 years old in the wild, so the fact she survived this long is a modern miracle and she will be deeply missed. Miss C was euthanised after her quality of life deteriorated due to age-related health issues. Goodbye, gentle lady, you were a worldwide wonder.
2. Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee
When it comes to Australian milk drinks, Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee is the dinky-di-real-deal, and to be honest, pisses on the competition. Big M? Big mistake. Moove? Yeah, moove over. Dare? Nah, we decline. F.U.I.C’s sweet nectar has been flowing through the veins of SA since 1977 – and is still as popular as ever. In fact, we are the only place in the world where a milk product outsells a cola product.
3. The Malls Balls
Bert Flugelman was a prominent Australian visual artist who was was responsible for many of SA’s most recognisable sculptures. You know of many of them – The Knot in Light Square, Tetrahedra in Adelaide Festival Centre Plaza and The Spheres in Rundle Mall. “The what?!” is exactly what SA residents say when they find out that their beloved Malls Balls is actually called. Surely, they should be renamed by deed poll.
4. Adelaide Luna Park
Right, this one is just crazy. We might be late to the party, but we had no idea that Magic Mountain/Beach House was once home to Adelaide’s Luna Park! After the popularity of Melbourne’s Luna Park (opened on 13 December 1912), Glenelg spent a few years in negotiations but finally built SA’s Luna Park in 1930. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. The park suffered from multiple hardships, such as restricted opening times, council disagreements, but the final nail in the coffin was when several people died there. The park was closed in 1935, everything went to auction and was shipped to Sydney, where most of it still exists today at their Luna Park. Boo – it’s lunacy to think we nearly had our own giant clownface.
5. Container Deposit Scheme
Container deposit schemes have been around for centuries. The first such scheme was 1799 in Dublin, where A & R Thwaites & Co would give you two shillings for returning their bottles. And Sweden has had a scheme since 1884, with a law being put in place in 1984. But it was South Australia that was the first to have legislation put in place (the refund on recyclable bottles and cans was introduced in 1977 following the Beverage Container Act of 1975) that made it compulsory for every bottle and can (and some other containers) to have a five-cent return printed on the packaging. With eight billion beverage containers landfilled or littered every year in Australia, and with now nearly every state set to launch their own schemes, we have South Australia to thank for leading the way for smart recycling.
6. West End Draught remains the largest selling beer in South Australia.
West End is also actively involved with the SANFL. It’s not only the original sponsor of the AFL Showdown, but is also one of the sponsors of the Slowdown charity football match. Plus it still carries on the tradition of painting the Thebarton brewery chimney with the team colours of the SANFL premiership finalists. Sure you may know all that but what about this little diddy? According to legend, the black and red colours of the SA Brewing Company came about after the West Adelaide Football Club (whose colours are black and red) defeated Port Adelaide in the 1909 SANFL Grand Final. The legend states that, had West Adelaide not won the match, the brewery’s colours would have become the black and white of Port Adelaide.
7. The Jewel in the Crown (Mints)
Robern Menz is well-known South Australian confectionary makers, with flagships such as FruChocs, Choc Honeycomb and Crown Mints among its products. Crown Mints were first manufactured in 1892, with about 200 million produced each year. But did you know, the original machinery bought to produce Crown Mints still exists in working order? They sure don’t make them like they used too.
8. Pie-floaters are quintessentially South Australian.
They usually consist of a meat pie served upside down in a thick pea soup, and then covered in tomato sauce. They might not be as popular today as they were way back when, but in the Adelaide city centre, in the 1880s, there were 13 pie-carts operating in King William Street and North Terrace. By 1915 there were nine pie-carts in operation. By 1958 this had reduced to two: Balfour’s pie-cart on North Terrace outside the Adelaide railway station, and Cowley’s in Victoria Square outside the GPO. When, in 2007, the Glenelg tramline was extended from Victoria Square along King William Street and North Terrace past the Adelaide Railway Station, the Balfour’s pie-cart was forced to close – leaving Cafe De Villi’s as one of the only places to get a pie-floater any time of the year.
9. We all love a good old pint, but what exactly are about the oldest venues in South Australia to enjoy one?
The oldest licensed pub is South Australia is the Edinburgh Castle in Currie Street, Adelaide. Its proprietor, John Guthrie, was granted the first license to sell alcohol in South Australia on 31 May 1837. The pub was originally known as Guthrie’s and parts of the original building are still in use. The oldest permanent hotel is the Princes Berkeley Hotel on Hindley Street, which was built is 1837 and is now called Black Bull Hotel. Other pubs opened in Adelaide later the same year include Fordham’s (known later as the Sturt Arcade Hotel), now Grenfell 110, Grenfell Street, and The British in Finniss Street, North Adelaide. The oldest intact and wholly original hotel building is the former Beresford Arms in Gilles Street, built in 1839.
10. Did you know South Australia is home to the world’s largest cattle station?
Anna Creek Station has an area of roughly 6,000,000 acres (24,000 square kilometres) which is slightly larger than Israel. It is 1,977,000 acres (8000 square kilometres) larger than its nearest rival, Alexandria Station in the Northern Territory and over seven times the size of the United States’ biggest ranch, King Ranch in Texas, which is 825,000 acres (3340 square kilometres/1289 square miles). Now that’s a lot of beef.
11. We all know just how beautiful Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens are, but did you know about the palm glasshouse?
Well, you should, because it is the oldest glasshouses in the southern hemisphere. The Palm or tropical house is a Victorian glasshouse located to the west of the main lake. It was designed by the German architect Gustav Runge (de) (1822 to 1900) and imported from Bremen, Germany in 1875, opened in 1877 and restored in 1995. As of 2007, it held a collection of malagasy arid flora, natives of Madagascar, and they are just as rare as the glasshouse they are protected by.
Do you have a fact that you’d like to share? Write in the comments, below.