Australian April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Australia's This Day Tonight ran a segment about the "Dial-O-Fish," a new electronic fishing rod that could be set to catch any desired species. A "fishing expert" demonstrated how to use the device. First he dialed up garfish, and soon had caught half a dozen. Next he dialed up tommy ruff. Hundreds of viewers reportedly called in wanting to know where to buy one, and a Japanese manufacturer declared it was ready to go into production immediately.
Sydney Opera House Sinking.
Australia's This Day Tonight reported that the Sydney Opera House was sinking into the harbor. The report showed scuba divers examining the foundations and included interviews with concerned "experts".
Endangered Species Restaurant.
The Sydney Morning Herald reviewed Species restaurant in their Good Living supplement. This unusual dining establishment allowed diners to sample animals featured on the World Wildlife Fund's endangered list. Among its specialties: braised slices of hairy nosed wombat, yellow spotted tree frog kebabs and Sumatran Rhino steaks. The owner of the restaurant was named April Phewell. The next day the paper received numerous letters from outraged readers who thought the restaurant was real.
Free internet access through digital radio.
Australia's Courier Mail reported that the roll-out of digital radio in Queensland had the unintended side effect of making high-speed internet access freely available through old radio receivers. The paper interviewed the University of Queensland's head of frequency physics Prof Sayd al Lio who said, "the technicians had tapped into something that had eluded researchers for decades." To access the free internet, readers were instructed to place a radio on a surface outdoors in a direct line towards the Mt. Coot-tha radio towers:
"Tune in to any AM station with a moderate volume, not so loud it annoys the neighbours. Place your laptop behind the radio receiver, again in a direct line with the towers, and open your favourite internet browser. Experts say that today, April 1, otherwise known as April Fool's Day, should produce the strongest signal."
Melbourne Cricket Grounds Renamed.
Australia's Herald Sun newspaper reported that a Chinese company, Mekong Industries, had submitted a multi-million dollar proposal to buy the naming rights to the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, renaming the stadium the Mekong Cricket Grounds.
The report played on fears that Asian companies were rapidly taking over Australian industries, especially in the mining sector, and provoked an angry response from readers. By midday, the story had attracted almost 200 angry comments such as “The Chinese corporate takeover of Australia has begun!” and “OZ Minerals, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Minerals, now the MCG. What next?” People suggested other names for the stadium, such as "Mainly Corporate Greed," "Mao's Cricket Ground" and "Melbourne Sports Ground (MSG)."
However, some did realize the story was a joke, noting that the spokeswoman's name was "April Fulton."
Melbourne makes bid to host Running of the Bulls.
Melbourne Tourism Minister Tim Holding announced the city was making a bid to host the Running of the Bulls:
"For too long the people of Pamplona have monopolised this event, the Brumby Government is determined to grab the bull by the horns and snare this important event for Melbourne."
Holding said the bull run would "start in the historic theatre precinct at the Paris End of Collins Street, travel through Chinatown, across Swanston Street, through the quaint King Street district and end at a packed Etihad Stadium."
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.