Historical Events  Geography
Mount Kosciuszko

Australia's highest mountain is Kosciuszko

Australia's highest mountain is not Kosciuszko

Where is Australia's highest mountain?

It sounds like a crazy trick question - which country is Kosciuszko, Australia's highest mountain in? The answer is a little contrived but none the less very surprising. To cut to the chase, it might be helpful to ask if Britain's highest mountain is still Ben Nevis if you include Britain's external territories. The technical answer, which itself comes as news to many, is no, it becomes Mount Paget in the South Atlantic.

The situation in Australia is similar. The highest point on mainland Australia is Mount Kosciuszko. But that's not the highest mountain in Australia. In 1947, Great Britain handed over to the Commonwealth of Australia one of its most remote areas, the Heard and McDonald Islands in the Indian Ocean. Heard Island is home to Mawson Peak, which is 1,700 feet higher than Kosciuszko, and that's why you'd naturally think the highest point on the mainland is Australia's highest mountain, but technically it's not.

Even more skullduggery

It gets weirder. It seems the mountain next to Kosciuszko was actually 11 meters taller when measured, after years of everyone being told it was not. So to fix this, a couple of hundred years ago, the simply swapped around their names!

The full history is here.