On April Fools’ Day 1978  Australian electronics  entrepreneur  Dick Smith arranged for a giant, fake iceberg to be towed into Sydney Harbour. In a co-ordinated campaign, 300 of his employees then rang  various radio  and television stations, saying ‘What on earth is coming through  the Heads? 

The giant 'iceberg' nears the Opera House.
The giant ‘iceberg’ nears the Opera House.

The public were told that the ‘ice’ would be carved into small cubes, called Dicksicles  which would enhance the flavour of any drink. They were to be sold for 10 cents each. In reality there was an  esky hidden on the barge, filled with real ice-cubes. Quite a few were doled out to some gullible  fellows  who arrived on a fishing  boat.  Meanwhile, thousands of intrigued Sydneysiders lined the foreshore.   American  author  Alex Broses included this prank on  a list of best April Fools’ Day tricks in  his   book, Museum of Hoaxes . It came in  at a very creditable no. 12.


Announcer Bob Cure presented  ABC radio’s  breakfast show in Hobart for many years. He once told listeners that personnel  manning the scientific station at the Antarctic were missing out on the  opportunity to play football and cricket. However, he said  it had been discovered that grass would  grow in the harsh conditions  if it had  a couple of inches of soil attached.  He asked his audience to carve a brick sized piece of turf from their lawn and to leave it  on the nature strip ready for collection by a council truck. The sections of  grass would then be packed up and sent south  to be reassembled; the first ‘drop in’ sports pitch!

A journalist working  for Hobart’s local paper The Mercury  phoned  the ABC to say it was a ridiculous prank that nobody would swallow.  In full flow,  he suddenly spotted his wife digging up a square of  their own front lawn!

Oddly enough No.  4  on Alex  Brose’s  best prank list also involved Tasmania. Florida residents were told that the Tasmanian  rock walrus  would make an ideal pet. They were assured that the animals purred like cats, had the temperament of hamsters  and that best of all…ate cockroaches!

Caught Short!

I used to pride myself on never being taken in by  April Fool jokes. However,  some are so elaborate, and breakfast show presenters catch us when we are still befuddled with sleep; well that’s my excuse!  I was  well and truly fooled by ABC  radio while living in Sydney a  few years ago.  There is a famous 14 kilometre ‘fun-run’ called The City to Surf, which attracts about 80,000 participants. Certificates are awarded to those who complete the run. I woke one morning to hear that the previous year’s course  had mistakenly been set one metre short.  An apologetic  ‘official’ was interviewed. He said that  anyone who wanted an authentic  certificate would have to return to the starting point on a designated day to complete the extra  metre.  I was ranting to my husband about the  absolute stupidity of this for some time before he decided to  remind me of the date!

Off and running!
Off and running.  But not far enough!

Have you been caught out on April first? Or do you remember a perfect prank? I would love to hear from you. Leave your comment below. As always, do complete the anti-spam sum before pressing SUBMIT

  1. Gullible lot those Aussies

    • Pauline

      Well this Aussie is! But in fairness to Sydneysiders re the iceberg, there had been talk of towing one from the Antarctic for years to provide water during droughts. I think it had been done somewhere else…honestly!

  2. Two years ago I posted a picture of a lovely big RV. You know the kind – the ones that resemble buses. I do believe that most of them start at around half a million dollars. Anyway – I posted that I was planning on selling my home and touring the country. My son read the post and got most upset. He made a few comments to my ability to drive such a vehicle and had I considered that the price of petrol was exorbitant? And was I physically capable of hooking up the waste tank etc? It took him many hours till he remembered that it was April 1st.

    You would think that my son would know me better. Only two years previously I had “got him” again on April 1st. I had fallen and broken my wrist and it had been in a cast, which had been set to be removed on April 1st. I came home from the doctor’s office, without said cast, but posted online that I had to keep the cast on for at least another 6 weeks as my bones were not healing. Mark immediately posted something to like ” OMG – What – do you have match-sticks for bones ? You need a better doctor”. lol

    Shame on me. Some day I will tell you the story of how I made him think that he had been drafted into the Air Force when he was only 14. That April Fools joke was priceless.

    • Pauline

      Ha ha, I seem to remember that RV story.Your friends and neighbours were all horrified! Oh dear, your poor son, especially thinking he was off to the Airforce at 14. xx

  3. I remember a programme on Australian tv back in the 1980’s I think, that linked all major disasters in the world with the assassinations of world leaders – quite plausible at the time until the credits rolled up and we realised we were April Fooled!!! Does anyone else remember???

    • Pauline

      Thanks for your message, Max. I don’t remember that particular prank, but I was probably taken in by it. As you say, they make it all sound so plausible! I am determined not to be fooled tomorrow.

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