The A to Z of Australian Inventions

Some time ago, a comment was made by somebody called George in which he claimed that Australia is behind the rest of the Western world for innovation. Amongst the many things he said, one of the lesser insulting remarks was “You can’t glory in World arena by having OZ made Wine, Beef and Tim Tam Biscuit…

Tim TamsYou can read his specific comment about that here, but the conversation started a fair bit earlier than that and went on for quite some time as people were debating the pros and cons of Australia versus the USA.

Another reader, Brett, pointed out the following in defence of Australia:

  • Medical Cancer Vaccines and Blood products… World Leaders.
  • Ramjet & Scram-jet Technology… World Leaders.
  • Wi-Fi Technology as employed and used by EVERY phone/computer/device on the Planet…we invented it and own the patents.
  • Bionic Ears (replacing hearing)… World Leader
  • Heart Transplant Technology and innovation… World Leader (we just discovered a way to increase the supply of Hearts for Transplant availability by almost 40%
  • World leader in Tractor Beam Research: Recently moved a particle with tractor beam 200% further than any other countries research teams
  • Solar energy panel efficiency… World Leaders

And that was to name but a few.

For a country with such a small population, I don’t think Australia does bad for innovation at all. So I decided to do an A to Z of Australian inventions.

A to Z of Australian inventions

  • Australian Rules Football
  • Bionic ear
  • CPAP mask
  • Dual flush toilet
  • Electric drill
  • First full-length feature film
  • Gene shears
  • Hills Hoist
  • Inflatable escape slide
  • Jindalee Radar System


I can’t find anything Australians have invented that begins with ‘K’. Well, that’s the end of that then.


It’s a shame, I had much lined up for the rest of the alphabet, including latex gloves, mechanical clippers, notepad, orbital engines, Polilight forensic lamp, quantum bit, refrigerator, solar hot water, tank, underwater torpedo, variable rack and pinion steering, Wi-Fi and zinc cream.

I don’t feel too cheated by ‘K’ though, I didn’t have anything for ‘X’ or ‘Y’ either. The x-ray was a German invention and it appears the yo-yo was either Chinese or Greek.

Yes, I checked them out, that’s how desperate I was getting.

So, anybody know of any Australian inventions that begin with K, X or Y? It’s a shame to get so close and yet not make it. If we can’t think of anything then surely this is a challenge that Australian inventors everywhere should rise to?

Anyway, why am I mentioning all this now?

To accompany today’s YouTube video…

And of course, let’s not forget those Tim Tams as well.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • aline January 4, 2023, 6:49 pm |

    what about pet parking for P?

    You should continue the list!

    • BobinOz January 6, 2023, 6:41 pm |

      Pet parking, I had to Google that one, looks like a really clever little device. I suspect that hadn’t been invented when I wrote this article in 2015 though, but definitely an interesting addition to the list. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  • Rikki July 4, 2022, 10:49 pm |

    The Kangaroo Crane is an Aussie invention that begins with a K.

    • BobinOz July 6, 2022, 5:29 pm |

      Nice one Rikki. Interesting, I definitely didn’t come across this in my research, but now I’ve looked into it, I’m not sure. says “The self constructing tower crane (also known as the kangaroo crane or jumping crane) was invented by Eric Favelle in the early 1960s. The design allows the crane to increase its own height as the construction proceeds upwards. It is this Australian designed crane that has been used for the construction of many of the world’s tallest buildings..” says “Another of Stothert & Pitt’s innovations was the kangaroo crane. Rather than slewing (rotating) the crane to reach the delivery hopper on-shore, a kangaroo crane has its own in-built hopper beneath the jib…” and ” Stothert & Pitt was a British engineering company founded in 1855 in Bath, England.”

      That raises two questions, is the kangaroo crane just a nickname for tower cranes and also, was it really an Aussie invention or was it British?

  • JS July 23, 2021, 3:30 pm |

    1900’s | In 1911, Gilbert Toyne, a local Geelong farrier, wheelwright, and blacksmith, first patented his Aeroplane Rotary Clothes Hoist 73 years before the Hills Hoist was developed. This took place in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

    Leonard Hill [Hills Hoist] was not an inventor. He stole Gilberts patent as soon as Gilberts patents licence lapsed due to him being at war. Hoist copied Gilberts invention and stole the idea from Gilbert. Now Aussies see Hill as some kind of inventor when he was not and never was. Credit and rights is owed to Gilbert Toyne who not only invented the rotary clothesline he also served as an army digger for our country.

    • BobinOz July 26, 2021, 5:02 pm |

      There’s quite a bit that’s been written about it online, so in many ways, Toyne does receive plenty of credit for his rotary clothes line.

      For clarification, I found an article by the ABC. They say that in 1941, Toyne’s patent for the all-important hoisting mechanism lapsed, paving the way for competitors to use his invention. That’s when Lance Hill from Adelaide was able to legally incorporate Toyne’s know-how to create his own slightly different product.

      Lance Hill was also a soldier, he fought in World War II.

      So it would seem to me, from my very brief googling, that yes, Toyne invented it first, and Hill legally tweaked it as soon as the patent lapsed. Definitely not fair dinkum though, because as you say, Toyne was fighting in World War II at that time, having already fought in World War I.

      Thanks for pointing this out, interesting story.

      I leave you with a quote I found from Toyne’s great granddaughter Kylie Baetz, who said: “He wasn’t a man that talked a lot. He had a lot of ideas and great skill, he just wasn’t a businessman first.

      Maybe Lance Hill was.

  • ishraq August 3, 2015, 11:07 pm |

    Hey there Bob!

    Been following your website for well over the past year. I’ve truly enjoyed reading your blog posts. I’m in Australia myself. It was a bit of a wait although not as long as yours. I’m a student here. Studying in TAFE. Spending some time with my brother in Canberra at the moment though. Wanted to thank you cause you made the wait that much more bearable. Hope to see more of your posts. Keep on posting them and I’ll keep on reading. I’m sure so will a lot of other people. Best wishes to you and your family.

    A big, big fan from Bangladesh,

    • BobinOz August 4, 2015, 4:34 pm |

      Hi Ishraq, thank you very much, I really appreciate your kind words about my website. I will definitely keep on writing, hopefully others, including yourself, will continue to read it.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Sebastian Salm August 1, 2015, 11:38 am |

    I tried to click the links, but it says “Resource Limit is Reached.” What’s that mean?

    • BobinOz August 2, 2015, 8:04 pm |

      Which links? I’ve checked them this end, all working fine.

      • Sebastian Salm August 4, 2015, 8:37 am |

        Nevermind, bro. They work now.

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