Australian Inventions Quiz


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

The land Down Under is notable for many things, but Australia is also the home of many innovative and smart inventions that we use in our daily lives. Wanna find out what was invented in Oz? Then take this quiz and challenge yourself!

The technology behind this modern system was invented in Australia, making it possible for people to connect to the Internet without the use of cables. What is its popular term?

An Australian radio astronomer and his colleagues worked on a failed space project that resulted in the accidental invention of WiFi. Sometimes innovations can lead to better things!


The black box used to record important details in an airplane’s cockpit was invented Down Under. What was its original color?

Dr. David Warren invented the airplane black box, which was originally orange. It was invented so that investigators could determine what happened before a plane crashed, since it records readings of the plane's instruments and the voices of the pilot and co-pilot.


The Australian Aborigines have been inventing long before other races reached their soil. What weapon did they have which, when thrown, comes back to the person who threw it?

The boomerang was actually a hunting weapon, aerodynamically designed so the thrower could hit something and the weapon came back to his or her hands. Nowadays, it’s used as a toy or for sports.


The basis of this search engine’s global trekking layout was invented in Australia in the early 2000s. Now a viable app, what is it called?

Lars and Jens Rasmussen from Sydney invented a type of software in 2003 that makes it possible for you to search specific spots on the planet. Google bought the technology, and we now know it as Google Maps.


This huge weapon was first rolled out during World War II. What is this vehicle-weapon called?

The tank was invented by an Australian engineer. It has been used worldwide in countless wars.


Sheets of paper with a strong cardboard backing, all glued on the top edge, are an Aussie invention. What is this item called?

The daily item notepad was invented in Australia in 1902. It was invented in a city located in Tasmania.


We listen to it daily when we drive our vehicles. What Aussie invention is this?

The car radio was invented in New South Wales in 1924. It was installed in a Kellys Motors vehicle.


Speedo is now a household brand, invented in 1914. In what type of products does it specialize?

Alexander MacRae is credited for inventing Speedo swimwear. The business started in 1914 in Sydney.


A cervical cancer vaccine was also invented in Australia. What kind of virus does it fight off?

In 2006, the HPV vaccine was invented by a professor from the University of Queensland. It aims to prevent cervical cancer.


The cochlear implant was invented in 1979 to help people with which type of disability?

The cochlear implant was invented by a University of Melbourne professor. It is also called the “bionic ear.”


They call it it the “powerboard,” which is a device that makes it possible to plug many small appliances in a single time. What design innovation makes that possible?

The powerboard can be plugged into a wall socket to power multiple sockets designed on its board at the same time. In other parts of the world, they call this the power strip, extension cord or extension board.


Aussies love consuming Vegemite! But what kind of product is it?

Vegemite is a food spread invented in 1922. It was created in Melbourne.


An Australian had to convince people about his invention of the refrigerator by showing that it could do this to perishable food items.

James Harrison invented the system that powers the modern-day refrigerator. He patented it in 1855.


This kind of camera was first installed in an Aussie car for an important competition. What is it called?

The first car-mounted type of camera used to record a motor car race was installed in Australia in the 1970s. It's simply called RaceCam.


A very Australian invention is the Hills Hoist, which is a god-send for domestic duties. What is it used for?

The Hills Hoist is a unique invention that maximizes space while letting many pieces of clothing dry. It's a clothes line that kind of looks like an umbrella, and you can hang many clothes from the rounding wires on top.


So there's one utensil that combines three utensils, and it's called Splayd. Aside from being a spoon and a fork, what else is it?

The Splayd is much like today's "sfork," which is a spoon and fork combined. However, the Splayd has another utensil: the knife.


Aussies call it wine cask, but it's basically another kind of portable storage for wine that eliminates this specific thing. What was this thing?

The wine cask is an ingenious way of storing wine inside a box-like contraption that eliminates the use of the traditional glass bottle. However, without the glass bottle, wine's classy look might be suffering a bit, for those who like that look...


The Owen Machine Carbine was a popular weapon invented by an Australian in the late 1930s. What is its shortened practical name?

The Owen Gun was a kind of machine gun used widely during the 1940s during World War II. It was invented wholly by Australians.


Thanks to the Australian invention of the ultrasound scanner, we can now see this before it makes its appearance. What is this?

Ultrasound scanners allow pregnant women to have an inside look at their unborn baby. They can thank Aussies David Robinson and George Kossoff who invented this in the 1960s.


From sci-fi to sci-fact: A professor from Perth devised special technology to help burn victims recover from their topical wounds by having their own skin treatment applied in this manner. Which manner is this?

Plastic Surgeon Fiona Wood devised the technology called the spray-on skin which allows the burn victim's skin cells to grow in a lab, then later sprayed on to the victim's skin for treatment.


Paper or plastic: Australia was the first to invent this valuable item made entirely of plastic, not the usual paper. What is this item?

Modern-day money, or bank notes, use polymer as its base. Australia was the first to think of this technology, to fortify their bank notes against counterfeiting.


As early as the 1970s, Australians have been thinking of a better way to live, thus inventing permaculture. What sector does permaculture pertain to?

Bill Mollison helped pioneer permaculture, which pertains to a more sustainable kind of farming culture. It also goes hand in hand with sustainable living, and designing human living spaces in a more organic way.


The inflatable escape slide-raft found inside airplanes today is the brainchild of Australian airline employee Jack Grant. Can you guess for which airline he worked?

Jack Grant was working at Qantas Airlines in 1965 when the idea of the inflatable slide-raft came to him.


A type of deep-focus lens was invented by Australian Jim Frazier in the 1990s, which won him a special Academy Award for technical achievements. In which industry is the Frazier Lens widely used?

Jim Frazier is a cinematographer who works in the film industry. Naturally, his Frazier Lens is also used in that sector.


The salt water chlorination system was developed in the 1970s to help clean this better. What is it?

The salt water chlorination system was invented in the 1970s as a better way to clean up swimming pools. This system is now safer for humans, unlike earlier chlorine-heavy styles.


It was in Adelaide in the 1950s where stainless steel-type braces were invented, revolutionizing the dental industry. What part of our body does this invention help?

Braces were like torture devices before Percy Raymond Begg invented the stainless steel type used to straighten crooked teeth.


The Miller fluid head mount is a common item found in the global film and TV industry. To what kind of camera supporting device is it attached?

Australian Eric Miller devised a better way for cameras to move when mounted onto a tripod. Friction head mounts are awkward and noisy, while the fluid head gives better traction that's unnoticeable to the camera


In the 1920s, an Australian decided to improve upon the racket which hit balls in a particular lawn-played sport. Which sport is this?

Alfred Alexander from Tasmania improved upon the tennis racket design in 1922.


In 1922, a Tasmanian invented an automatic way of changing vinyl records, at a time when records were played manually, one by one. What does a vinyl record play back to its user?

Eric Waterworth must have loved listening to music on his vinyl records in the 1920s. He devised a machine that could play back six records automatically. Unfortunately, this invention didn't make him rich.


A commissioner from the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission invented the Dethridge wheel heavily used in farming. In what aspect of farming is it most useful?

John Dethridge invented this special irrigation wheel in 1910 which helps control the flow of water in a farm. So of course, the invention was named after him.


An indigenous runner somewhat invented the crouch-start as a starting position to begin what kind of sport?

Bobby McDonald somewhat invented the crouch-start and used this position to start a track running race in 1887. It was invented for a practical reason, as he wanted to avoid the cold gush of air that he would encounter if he remained standing before the race.


When you're into carpentry and you want to make a hole as fast and efficient as you can, use this Australian invention after powering it up. What is it?

There have already been many types of drills, but Australians invented the electric drill. It was designed in Melbourne in 1889.


Fill in the blank: Motorists have to thank two Bobs from Australia for inventing a kind of safety capsule that makes it possible to transport _______ safely inside a car.

Australians Bob Botell and Bob Heath designed the baby safety capsule back in the early '80s to keep babies and toddlers safer while inside a vehicle. It's like a small seat that fits inside any standard car seat, and it's got safety lock features that keep the passengers snug and safe.


In-vitro fertilization had its early roots in Australia when scientists first discovered they could fertilize this, then insert it back into a womb, for it to grow. What is this?

Monash University researchers published their early findings about having a fertilized egg inserted back into a living womb, paving the way for early in-vitro fertilization efforts.


Another Australian medical breakthrough was the re-invention of the hypodermic syringe. What was the Aussie version of this re-invention?

The disposable syringe was invented in the late 1940s by Charles Rothauser in Adelaide. It was also made out of durable plastic that can be sterilized through heating.


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