Australia tourist information on accommodation, tours, cheap flights and car hire. Accommodation | International Flights | Domestic Flights | Tours | Travel Insurance | Car Hire | Visas | Shopping | Dating | Humour
follow Amazing Australia on Facebook

Amazing Australian Blunders

darwin bombing blunder
Australia's people are usually pretty smart and ingenious, otherwise they never would have been able to settle this country of vast distances, climatic extremes and poisonous animals, but over the years they have made some real blunders too, below is a small selection of them;

australian blunders
Books have been filled with Aussie blunders!

APEC security blunder

In September 2007 country leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) got together in Sydney for a week of high level talks. Needless to say security was (supposed to be) at an equally high level and $160 million was spent on this.
Imagine the embarrassment of authorities responsible for security when members of ABC satire program The Chasers managed to drive through all security with a fake motorcade. Their convoy of vehicles, motorbikes and security on foot looked that professional that police waved them through several checkpoints and only when one of them got out of the car disguised as Osama Bin Laden was the whole prank discovered and a TV audience of three million people had a good laugh!


ASIO and Jack Roche

Jack Roche had overcome his drinking problems by converting to Islam, but unfortunately this brought him into contact with some hardliners and he went to training camps in Afghanistan where he met Osama bin Laden and was instructed to film Israeli embassies in Australia and gather information on a Jewish businessman from Melbourne. Back in Oz he got some doubts about the operation and rang ASIO, Australia's version of the CIA, and left a message on their answering machine that he had just returned from a training mission in Afghanistan and had some valuable information on terrorism. Much to his surprise his call was not returned, so he rang them two more times but ASIO never bothered to ring him back !!! Two years later when the Sari Club in Bali went up in smoke ASIO finally swung into action and Jack, who now lived a normal life working as a teacher in Perth, woke up in the dead of night when special forces in full combat gear smashed their way in to his bedroom and arrested him, much to the surprise of his wife who knew nothing of his past. In May 2004 he was put in jail for nine years.

Australia's biggest tree killed

Australia's biggest, most robust hardwood - 350 years old - has died in december 2003.
At 79m and with a girth of 20m, El Grande stood alone in a patch of cleared forest in the Tasmanian wilderness. Forestry Tasmania, finally admitted to responsibility for its death through an "accidental burning". Conservationists who have campaigned tirelessly to protect the hardwood forests of this region are outraged, they had already issued a death certificate in May - claiming the tree had been "cooked" by Forestry Tasmania in the regeneration burn - while Forestry Tasmania was waiting until spring to see if the tree would regenerate.

Baby bonus bonanza

In June 2004 it was reported that Centrelink ( the Australian Social Security Department) had made the blunder of paying the baby bonus of $600.- to both parents instead of one, to that many people that they had paid $1.2 milion too much. The government responded by asking people to send the money back ( it was not far before elections so they did not demand and threaten like normally happens when people have been overpaid by Centrelink) . It remains to be seen how many people will send a $600.- cheque to Canberra.

Cane Toads

cane toad
Some anonymous contributor sent us this photo
of an awesome cane toad, they are not usually this big.

Australia nowadays has many introduced species of plants and animals, some manage to co-exist without too much impact, some create real environmental problems. Most animals were brought in by your everyday people who had no idea what the consequences would be but the canetoad would have to be the biggest blunder in Australia's history as in this case scientists, paid by the Australian government, went overseas to collect canetoads and returned to Australia and set about thirty of them free in North Queensland in 1933. The idea was that they would eat the beetles that were causing economic damage eating the sugarcane but unfortunately the cane toads never touched the beetles but helped themselves to everything else they could find. Wildlife smaller than them they will kill and eat, wildlife bigger than them will eat them and die from the poison they have in glands on their back. The thirty toads that were introduced initially have now multiplied into the countless millions and are spreading across Australia and have recently arrived in Kakadu, Northern Territory where it is expected they will devastate the place as there are vast floodplains which are the perfect breeding ground for them. They seem to be adapting to the Australian conditions/distances too, scientists are studying the toxic pests' entry in to the NT, clocking them hopping up to 2km in a single night, or more than 50km a year - five times quicker than their predecessors travelled in the 1940s to 1960s. Some birds have actually adapted and learned how to turn them over and eat their insides avoiding the poison glands on the back. Ingenious Australians have also used the toads to make wallets, stubby coolers etc. Hippies desperate for a thrill but too broke to buy drugs sometimes cut the back with poison glands off the toad, dry it in the sun and then roll it into a joint to smoke ( don't try this at home!!) Some dogs are reported to have turned into druggies by becoming addicted to "cane toad sucking", getting high on the poison. Vet Megan Pickering said she has treated more than 30 dogs suffering from the deadly effects of bufo toxin at her Katherine Vet Care surgery. In an effort to reduce the numbers of this toad Australians sometimes also get the golfclubs out for a round of cane toad golf. Australian pubs in tourist areas often organize cane toad races where punters can buy a toad or bet on them in similar fashion to horse races. . In the Northern Territory and in Cairns you can do your bit to save the country by collecting cane toads and being paid a beer per bag at collection depots.

Calling 911

In the 1990s the American TV series 911 showing the daily happenings of American emergency services was popular and so it happened that when a Sydney factory caught fire most of the people present tried (unsuccesfully) to put out the fire while the person given the task of ringing the fire brigade also spent his time unsuccesful as the phone was not answered much to his frustration. Later, after there was nothing left of the factory, it came to light that all the time he had been ringing 911 while in Australia the number for emergency services is 000 !

Canberra's Exploding Hospital

Usually when a big explosion is expected people move away to a safe place but when the hospital in Canberra had to be demolished by a big explosion the government thought it a good idea to invite lots of people to come and watch this spectacular event.
Controlled explosions to demolish buildings in one hit are common in the U.S. but just because Americans have a talent for blowing up things does not necessarily mean Aussies are good at it too.
A first explosion was set off but not much happened, so crews entered the building and made some adjustments to the explosives, and boy, did this make a difference..
Nobody had been allowed within 200 metre of the hospital for the big bang, even though 50 metre was theoretically a safe distance, but soon after the second big explosion had sounded the calm waters of the lake where people had gathered in boats and canoes for a good view got stirred up by spectacular splashes as pieces of steel and concrete rained down from the sky, up to a kilometre away from the explosion.
Various pieces of hospital rained down on the spectator crowd resulting in various injuries and even the death of a young girl who was decapitated by a piece of metal. After the smoke cleared it took demoliton crews another three months to remove the rest of the building and make room for the new museum to be built.
Victims of this disaster had a seven year wait to receive compensation from the government.

Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez

cornelia rau
Cornelia Rau

Cornelia Rau, has lived in Australia since she was a child, but when she was found by Aborigines in north Queensland in a confused mental state she was not helped with psychiatric help but locked up in a Queensland jail for six months on the suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. As if that wasn't enough she was then locked up in South Australia's Baxter immigration detention centre, a remote facility where they normally only hold boatrefugees from Arab and Asian countries, and held there for another four months, until the mistake was finally realized and she was taken to an Adelaide psychiatric unit to be treated for schizophrenia. Her family, who had reported her as missing to police a year ago, was very happy to see her again. She was promised compensation but several years later she was still waiting for this.

Cornelia was not the only Australian resident to get in trouble with immigration. Ms Vivian Alvarez has held dual Australian/Philippines citizenship since 1986, but after she was seriously injured in a car accident she was mistakenly identified as an illegal immigrant and deported in July 2001 to the Phillipines where authorities lost contact her. It was only through sheer coincidence that four years later an Australian missionary in the Phillipines recognized her from a photo in the media and alerted authorities that she was staying in a Catholic hospice near Manila. Her lawyers claim that the Australian immigration department had been alerted a long time ago to their mistake but failed to act and want the government to pay Vivian $10 million compensation.

These blunders were so ginormous that at first treasurer Peter Costello, and later even PM John Howard personally apologized on national TV.

Daintree river ferry contract gap

Ferry across the Daintree river
Ferry across the Daintree river

Cape Tribulation, in the heart of the Daintree rainforest, is one of Australia's top tourism destinations and people from all around the world come to see this amazing place where ancient rainforests run right down to pristine beaches and the Great Barrier Reef.
Unless you do a very very long four wheel drive trip around Cooktown, the only direct access to this area is by cable ferry.
The local Douglas Shire Council has a contract with a ferry owner to run this service. And even though they had known for the past ten years that the ferry contract would expire on 21 March 2006, they signed a new contract with another ferry company that would start on 1 July 2006 !!!
Around mid January the council tried to calm their constituents and hotel operators with the news that they were making arrangements to ensure this MASSIVE BLUNDER would not cut off people's acccess to the outside world for over three months, and cost tourism businesses in the area millions of dollars in lost earnings. However, in early March with less than two weeks to go, still nothing was finalized, by now it had been announced that council would buy the old ferry from the operator for $540 000.- (it was estimated by some to be worth about $240 000.-) but by 9 March still nothing had happened, causing great concern amongst residents and resorts.
The council blamed this ginormous blunder on "an administrative oversight", but current ferry owner Colin Andreassen said he had notified council well in advance that tenders should be called for the contract.
When 21 March arrived the ferry kept running, to the relief of business owners and community, thanks to the council having spent a big amount of ratepayers dollars buying the ferry for a good deal more than it is worth only a few days before the cutoff date.

7 July update: the cost of this huge blunder is gradually becoming evident, the local newspaper reported that council has started advertising their $540 000.- ferry as they expect the new one to take over soon. Their ad brought in one offer; Foreshore Marine offered $10 000.- !!!
No word yet on whether the person responsible for this costly blunder will be sacked or not.

The new ferry was finally delivered and put in service in November and has since proven a reliable service across the Daintree River

When you're on the ferry you may wonder what the above resque equipment is all about. The orange block pictured above is rated for 18 persons, obviously they can not sit on this block but the way this resque equipment is supposed to save people is that they swim next to it while holding on to the ropes on the side. This makes some real good sense on a river where a dozen tour operators make a living out of crocodile spotting tours. It appears even the Titanic was better equipped for an emergency than this ferry.

Double army blunder

Jake Kovco was serving with the Australian army in Iraq but on 21 April 2006 his own pistol discharged and killed him with a bullet in the head, the exact details of this are still a mystery and under investigation.
As if this wasn't distressing enough for his family the defence department then returned the wrong body to Australia, when the plane landed in Melbourne it had a coffin on board containing Bosnian contractor Juso Sinanovic!
Jake Kovko's widow Shelley was understandably far from happy and rang John Howard out of bed in the middle of the night and gave him a whopping earful.
An investigation in to this blunder was launched by the defence department, headed by their most senior female recruit Brigadier Elizabeth Cosson. But, blunder nr.2; she left the disc containing the confidential report in a public computer at Melbourne Airport! The person who found the disc handed it in to a radio station where Derryn Hinch broadcast the details.

Durians on the plane

In late 2002 Australia was worried about terrorist attacks and a lot of places, especially airports, were on high alert ( for Australian standards). And so it happened that cargo handlers at Brisbane airport discovered a powerful smell in the cargo hold of a plane and raised the alarm. part of the airport was evacuated, all sorts of people and security forces called in, only to discover that the cargo hold contained a load of the infamous Asian fruit durian!

Fresh Kut

A few years ago Woolworths had a good idea where they would buy whole Dutch cheeses, cut them up into odd shapes of a few hundred grams and sell them individually. The brand name assigned to this was Fresh Kut. As the main customers for this line would be Dutch immigrants it was very unfortunate that the word 'Kut' is Dutch for Map of Tassie !

F***ing fantastic!

stephen conroy
Stephen Conroy

Victorian Senator and Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, the man in charge of Australia's broadcasting standards, was speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra in December 2011 about Australia as a place to do business when he dropped the F-bomb.
The debate was being broadcast live on ABC TV just before a children's TV show so he surprised a lot of people when he said; "If a tax goes up, God, that is sovereign risk, but if a tax goes down that's f***ing fantastic, excuse me, that is fantastic.''

Invitation to Barrack Obama

In February 2010 Anna Bligh, who used to be Education Minister, and now Premier of "the Smart State" Queensland, sent an official letter to US president Barack Obama to invite him to come and stay in Queensland, but she mis-spelled his name as Barrack Obama with an extra r.

Mossman Swimming Pool

This one is unconfirmed but local legend in North Queensland has it that the Olympic size swimming pool in Mosssman can not be used for official records because it was built to olympic size but the builders forgot to account for the tiles so after tiling the pool is undersize!

Multiple orgasms in Parliament House

In June 2008 Victorian MP Jason Wood, Federal member for Latrobe, was talking about genetically modified organisms in his maiden speech in Canberra but ended up mixing up his words a bit, much to the amusement of the crowd, and subsequently the whole country. His embarrassing slip up was caught on camera and available for your entertainment in this movie;


sydney opera house in new south wales

Early 2003 the Australian government was trying to convinve the Australian public that all security measures were in place to avoid any terrorist attacks, well known land marks in Sydney even had special security guards. Yet on 18 march Sydney woke up to an Opera House with big red letters saying "NO WAR" painted high up on the highest sail. It cost $110,000.- to clean up but it makes you wonder about the security the government had assured us that was in place. Later the two peace activists; David Burgess, 33, and Will Saunders, 42, were convicted of malicious damage and sentenced to nine months periodic detention and ordered to jointly pay $111,000 compensation to the Sydney Opera House Trust. A year later other midnight artists painted the slogan "John Howard, US bootlicker" on the side of an Australian Navy ship in Wellington harbour, New Zealand, but this time The Australian Defence Force took no action.

Northern Territory's illegal National Parks

One day a public servant in the Northern Territory was sitting around reading how the law states that National Parks can only be declared over vacant Crown Land that is not subject to an Aboriginal landclaim. As just about the whole Northern Territory is under landclaim he queried this with colleagues and the answer was basically; eh, yeah, you're right, I suppose all those National Parks we have declared the last twenty years are all invalid...
To avoid ginormous expensive court battles with Land Councils a deal was struck where ownership of a lot of National Parks was handed over to Aborigines.

Paul Keating

paul keating

In the days that Paul Keating was prime minister he managed to seriously piss off Malaysia's prime minister Dr. Mahathir by labelling him a "recalcitrant". Despite numerous calls refused to apologize for this resulting to cancellations of billions fo dollars of contracts and trade, even at his retirement in late 2003 Dr. Mahathir was still grumbling about it and according to the Bangkok Post he had been instrumental in many Asian trade conferences to block trade deals with Australia so it will never be possible to calculate how many billions of dollars that one word has cost Australia. Paul Keating has insulted enough people during his career to fill a website, so someone has put that together, see it here... In 2010 he added to his list by calling Tony Abbott a nutter and political nobody.

Peacetime bombing

darwin bombing
Tony Travers, also known as Datto, next to the Toyota 4WD that was bombed in an airforce blunder in 2000

Darwin has been bombed quite a bit during World War Two but the most recent one happened during Operation Pitch Black exercise at 9.15 Pm on August 3, when a dummy missile fell off an airforce bomber. At the time Tony Travers was preparing a BBQ for himself at his workplace and residence at # 2 Strath Road, Berrimah ( Datto's Rust Repairs), which unfortunately has gone out of business since then due to all this.

This is Tony's eye witness account of the event;

All hell broke loose when a AIM-7-CATM { Captive Air Training Missile } fell off a FA-18 Hornet
as it prepared to land at Darwin airport During Operation Pitch Black on 3 August 2000.
It landed 20 metres from me and hit a 1974 Toyota Landcruiser directly at the rear of my shed.
The ensuing destruction as the 250 Kg -12 foot Missile hit the Tojo at approximately 500 Kph shook the dust out of the roof of the shed as it sent a shockwave tearing through the shed.
The Boom was like a thunderclap directly overhead ,, Very Very Loud,,, It scared the Crap out of me,,, { And My 2 Red Heeler Dogs } Upon doing a search around the shed I found 1/2 of the Missile protruding out of the ground beside the Now Destroyed Toyota,, Absolute Awesome Damage ,, The Guidance Fin had cut the windscreen like a Bullet going through a playing card and the engine had been Smashed into a thousand pieces ,, You could see the pistons and internals of the motor everywhere,, Totally Destroyed !!! Diff ,, Chassi ,, Cab ,, Gearbox ,, Everything in its path,, { It Probably hit # 5 Cylinder Causing a massive backfire }
Upon Seeing this with my torch I literally Shit myself and uttered F#*K many times over, Knowing that another 2 metres further towards where I was standing and I wouldn't have had a chance ,, It would have Creamed Me and the contents of my workshop,,,
The other 1/2 that broke off on impact smashed into another 3 cars before hitting a fence,, and coming to rest next to my Nissan Patrol Mudracer , The Re Occuring Dreams of this incident are still haunting me to this day ,,,therefore being the subject of a Law Suit that is still going on ,, and
,, on ,,

Tony is still in a court case with the airforce, it took a long time before they coughed up part of the money for the three cars of Tony's customers that were damaged, and his rust repair business of 14 years has gone bankrupt.

Here are three pics of the carnage that Tony shot that disastrous night in August 2000, showing the missile and the totally rooted Toyo. ( Click pics to enlarge)

The wrecked Toyota 4WD, owned by Basil Roe who runs Berrimah Radiators,is still on display outside the radiator shop on Berrimah Road, although with an imitation missile, because the airforce took the evidence back. After a very long time of haggling the airforce was finally gonna cough up some money for the Toyo but only on condition they'd get the wreck. Basil told them to get f#&%!d and kept it as a display outside his shop.

darwin bombing
darwin bombing

Thanks to Craig Schneider for sending us these two pics !

As if Tony didn't have enough bad luck being bombed he also got done for drink driving in 2004. The judge was not convinced by his defence that after surviving the 2000 bombing he had to drink during every airforce exercise to keep his stress levels down and handed him a prison sentence.

Tony is still in a legal battle with the airforce, keep watching this site as Tony will keep us up to date..

Cops release saltwater crocodile in recreation area

Kununurra police got called out to a house where a woman had found a crocodile in her laundry. It was later found the croc was left there by her son who had caught it and on his way to delivering it at a croc farm had parked it there so he could go to the pub for a couple of beers. He thought his mum was away but she came home unexpectedly early. The police picked up the crocodile, photographed it and then, believing it to be a freshwater crocodile, took the reptile to nearby Lily Creek Lagoon and released it. This is a popular spot for boating, walking and bird-watching, with a caravan park and other accommodation located on its shores.
The shit hit the fan when a few days later Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) staff saw the photos and identified the reptile as a salt water crocodile! Although it was under two metres when released by police it had the potential to grow in to six metres, big enough to eat people. Traps were set in the following days but with the lake being home to thousands of freshwater crocodiles (that are harmless to people) the job of catching one saltwater crocodile was like finding a needle in a haystack. It took a couple of weeks and plenty of man hours but they finally managed to catch the saltie and relocate it.


A home sick English squire living in Victoria thought he would be able to cope better with his new home if he would have some rabbits to keep him company and remind him of Mother England. So in 1859 the first rabbits were brought into Australia, only a few but they immediately did what rabbits do best and that is breed like rabbits so very soon their numbers became a plague. People that used to eat them to survive sometimes called them 'underground mutton'. At first the need for rabbit skins for Akubra hats motivated hunters to kill them and keep their numbers down a bit but by the 1940s their numbers had grown to such proportions that the Australian government put scientists to work to develop and spread the disease mixomatosis that kills rabbits but leaves native wildlife unharmed. Millions died but some survived and were now resistant to this disease and by the 1990s their numbers had again increased to such levels that a new disease was needed, the same government agency (CSIRO) was working on the Calicy virus but before it was even fully tested and approved it appeared in the wild and killed scores of rabbits, fortunately it did not harm humans or other native wildlife. New Zealand farmers, also pretty sick of rabbits, also wanted the virus but their government said it had to be tested first and the farmers threatened to get on thhe plane and pick up some infected Aussie rabbits themselves to let loose between the sheep.

Scissors left inside patient

Pat Skinner, 69, had part of her colon removed at St George Hospital in 2001 but didn't feel a hell of a lot better afterwards. She continued to suffer pain for another one and a half year until an X-ray revealed the reason; she was carrying a 17 cm. long pair of scissors inside her body that the surgeon had forgotten! The scissors were then removed but oddly enough this reduces her chances of being paid compensation by the hospital!

TAB blunder

During the 2003 Melbourne Cup a man placed his bet of a $6 box trifecta 20 times on the winning combination of Makybe Diva, She's Archie and Jardine's Lookout to the TAB by phone but the TAB operator , instead of keying in 20 times, accidentally keyed in 203 times so instead of paying out around $250,000.- the TAB ended up paying $2.6 million!

Wrong anthem

In the opening ceremony of the Davis Cup final in Melbourne on November 28, 2003, Spanish tennis players and officials exploded in rage when, instead of their current national anthem, trumpeter James Morrison played a pre-civil war republican anthem that had been provided to him by Tennis Australia.


Have you heard about, or made some, amazing Australian blunder? Then tell us!

Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the User Agreement for this website
Contact us | Advertise on this site | Link to this site |Add your photos or stories to this site | Webmasters | Affiliates