We've already established before some of the most life-changing and life-saving innovations that we enjoy today started from the Land Down Under. But since there’s quite a lot of them, giving just five inventions won’t entirely paint the picture.
So without further ado, her are five more awesome things we have to thank the blokes for.
No. We’re not talking about the Window’s writing application that you only remember using when opening Microsoft Word isn’t just worth it. We’re talking about the real deal notepads you lunge around with you when taking notes on smart phones aren’t a thing yet.
Before the 1900s, paper was just produced and supplied in loose sheets. Anybody not writing a letter or a long document usually escorted around with scrolls of paper just to carry their notes with them. In 1902, J.A. Birchall, a book store owner from Tasmania proved that invention’s other parent is humanity’s constant pursuit for not looking too burdened. He decided to cut these paper sheets into smaller sizes, back them against a firm cardboard, and bind them together at the top with a glue. Alas, the notepad is born. Though he called it the Silver City Writing Tablet because brevity is not yet a thing during that time.
And the rest is notepad-driven history.
Nope. We’re kidding. The concept, though revolutionary, was not accepted readily. Birchall had to convince his British suppliers for quite a while to provide him with paper assembled that way. A hundred years later, the notepad is the most ubiquitous, convenient, and cheapest way store information for many folks from students to reporters to even billion-dollar CEOs (Virgin Group’s Richard Branson never leaves the house without carrying one).
The first practical vapor compression refrigeration system was invented and patented by James Harrison, an Australian immigrant, in 1856. Yes, the complex cooling machine was invented half a century before someone came up with the ultra low-tech notepad.
Before that, people rely on icehouses, buildings where ice is being stored, to keep things cool. People on mountainsides drink used to drink water from melted snow to freshen up. And milkmen had to deliver milk early in the morning lest they’ll be spoiled. Refrigeration was basically the holy grail of food storage back then.
With Harrison’s innovation, storing and cooling food became possible, pushing forth a new era where ice creams, frozen goods, and Starbucks Frappuccinos are possible to the probable disgust of milkmen in the unemployment line.
Before the age of ultrasound, couples will never have an idea what their child’s sex is until it has come out (predicting it through the baby bump’s shape can be quite problematic and inaccurate). So no advance shopping for baby dresses and painting the walls blue or pink. Or worse, congenital illnesses that could have taken care during pregnancy are never discovered until birth.
In 1959, the Ultrasonic Research Section at the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratory was set up in Sydney, with the aim of improving the current technology of the medical ultrasound. Headed by George Kossoff and David Robinson (NOT the Antonio Spurs center), the team developed the very first commercially practical water path ultrasonic scanner in 1961.
This innovation paved the way for the modern ultrasound that helped not only in pregnancies, but in detecting other illnesses like digestive problems, cancer, and kidney issues.
Despite the constant rise of credit card use, the world isn’t ready to give up cash. The rampant monetary forgeries Australia had undergone in 1967 was a proof of it. And this was on the heels of the country’s switch from British pound to the Australian Dollar, which made it more distressing.
In 1968, having enough with bogus money going around the country, the government set on a 20-year research to create money bills that will tire out forgers. They employed the help of the nation’s top physicists and chemists (it’s like the Manhattan Project, but with more monetary designing and less blowing things up) to make this possible.
In 1988, they created the world’s first plastic money that is not credit or debit card. It is more durable that the paper counterpart, is more environmentally-friendly, and less likely to carry germs and diseases (Though that last part never kept us away from money, doesn’t it?).
And since then, many other countries followed suit, like Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Great Britain, among others.
Our war against cancer is probably one of the toughest and longest fight humanity ever has. The illness has been upon us ever since we existed, as evidenced by the discovery of an 18th Century mummy suffering from colon cancer.
The fact that a vaccine against cervical cancer (not all cancers are the same, mind you) was invented is a crucial step in this battle. The cervical cancer vaccine was invented by Professor Ian Frazer from University of Queensland with help from American researchers. It aims to hamper infections by the human papilloma virus on its track. Infections caused by the virus can develop into cancer of certain body parts like vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, oropharynx, and anus.
The vaccine is estimated to avert 70% of cervical cancer, 80% of anal cancer, 60% of vaginal cancer, 40% of vulvar cancer, and possibly some mouth cancer.