Australian Inventions

One of the subjects in the No.1 Section Achievement Scheme is inventions. There is also a page about World Inventions.


Put together as many of the household items in the Australia list as you can. Lay them out on the floor and ask what they have in common. Man using inventions to invent other things. God creates things, man invent. Man uses what God has created to invent. Listed below are inventions that are common items and should be known to the Boys.

Australian Inventions

1838 Pre-paid postage – Colonial Postmaster-General of New South Wales, James Raymond introduced the world’s first pre-paid postal system.

1843 Grain stripper – John Ridley and John Bull of South Australia developed the world’s first grain stripper that cut the crop then removed and placed the grain into bins.

1856 Refrigerator – Using the principal of vapour compression, James Harrison produced the world’s first practical refrigerator. He was commissioned by a brewery to build a machine that cooled beer.

1858 Football – In 1858 Tom Will and Henry Harrison wrote the first ten rules of Football, thus becoming the first people in the world to codify a kicking-ball game. These rules predate those of Rugby, Soccer and Gridiron. Football may have been inspired by the Aboriginal jumping/kicking game of Marn Grook.

1876 Stump jump plough– Robert and Clarence Bowyer Smith developed a plough which could jump over stumps and stones, enabling newly-cleared land to be cultivated.

1889 Electric Drill – Arthur James Arnot, patented the world’s first electric drill on 20 August 1889 while he was an employee of the Union Electric Company in Melbourne. He designed it primarily to drill rock and to dig coal.

1897 Differential gears – David Shearer of South Australia built a steam car with a differential inside left rear wheel hub.

1902 Notepad – For 500 years, paper had been supplied in loose sheets. J A Birchall decided that it would be a good idea to cut the sheets into half, back them with cardboard and glue them together at the top.

1906 Feature film – The world’s first feature length film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, was a little over an hour long.

1906 Surf life – saving reel – The first surf life-saving reel in the world was demonstrated at Bondi Beach on 23 December 1906 by its designer Lester Ormsby.

1912 The tank – A South Australian named Lance de Mole submitted a proposal, to the British War Office, for a ‘chain-rail vehicle which could be easily steered and carry heavy loads over rough ground and trenches’. The British war office liked the idea but then developed the tank themselves without paying royalties.

1917 Aspro – A pain reliever based on aspirin was developed in Melbourne by George Nicholas. By 1940 it had become the world’s most widely used headache and pain treatment.

1922 Vegemite – One of the world’s richest sources of vitamin B, vegemite was invented by Dr. Cyril P. Callister. It is made by the autolysis of expired brewer’s yeast: a process where the yeast’s own enzymes break it down.

1924 Car radio – The first car radio was fitted to an Australian car built by Kellys Motors in New South Wales.

1927 Speedo -In 1927 Speedo launched the revolutionary ‘racer-back’ style, which reduced fabric drag. In 1955, Speedo introduced the use of nylon for their racing swimwear. At the
1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics, more than 70 per cent of all swimming medals were won by competitors wearing Speedo.

1934 Ute – The utility vehicle, with a front like a car and a rear like a truck was designed by Lewis Brandt at the Ford Motor Company in Geelong, Victoria.

1940 Zinc Cream – This white sun block made from zinc oxide was developed by the Fauldings pharmaceutical company.

1942 Transverse folding stroller – Designed by Harold Cornish, the sturdy, lightweight design of his Stoway Strollers made life easier for many parents using public transport as it could be folded and placed under a tram seat.

1944 Antibiotic penicillin – Produced by Howard Florey with help from a Pome named Ernst Chain.

1945 The Hills Hoist – A rotary clothes line with a winding mechanism allowing the frame to be lowered and raised with ease. Invented by Lance Hill.

1952 Victor mower – by Mervyn Victor Richardson, the two-stroke petrol lawn mower with rotary blades revolutionised mowing world wide. * 1957 Trousers with a permeant crease – The process for producing permanently creased fabric was invented by Dr Arthur Farnworth of the CSIRO.

1958 Black box flight recorder – The ‘black box’ voice and instrument data recorder was invented by Dr David Warren in Melbourne.

1962 Medical Ultrasound -David Robinson and George Kossoff’s work at the Australian Department of Health, resulted in the first commercially practical water path ultrasonic scanner in 1961.

1965 Inflatable escape slide – The inflatable aircraft escape slide which doubles as a raft was invented by Jack Grant of Qantas.

1965 Wine cask -Invented by Thomas Angrove, the wine cask is a cardboard box housing a plastic container which collapses as the wine is drawn off, thus preventing contact with air.

1970 Variable rack and pinion steering – The variable ratio rack and pinion steering in motor vehicles was invented by Australian engineer, Arthur Bishop.

1972 Orbital internal combustion engine – The orbital combustion process engine was invented by engineer Ralph Sarich of Perth, Western Australia.

1979 Race-cam – Race Cam was developed by Geoff Healey, an engineer with Australian Television Network Seven in Sydney. The tiny lightweight camera is used in sports broadcasts and provides viewers with spectacular views of events such as motor racing, which are impossible with conventional cameras

1979 Bionic ear – The cochlear implant was invented by Professor Graeme Clark of the University of Melbourne.

1983 Winged Keel – Ben Lexen designed a winged keel that helped Australia II end the American’s 132 ownership of the America’s cup. The keel gave the yacht better steering and manoeuvrability in heavy winds.

1992 Multi-focal contact lens – The world’s first multi-focal contact lens was invented by optical research scientist, Stephen Newman in Queensland.

More information and inventions available at