An no I am not saying Aussie, Aussie Aussie .. whatever, but we did certainly put on a good Olympics didn’t we? On the 26th January each year, we also put on a mega country wide party to celebrate not only Australia Day but the fact that we get the Monday off as pay back for it falling on a Sunday.
Why Australia Day?
We commemorate or celebrate Australia Day because the first Europeans settled in Sydney, in 1788. It is an opportunity for Australians to come together to celebrate our country and culture.
We all know that we were not the 1st people here and that the Aboriginal people have been here a long long time before we white fellas. We are also aware that this day is quite sensitive for them, and with valid reason.
What this post looks at is our subjective perspective on what it is like to be an Australian.
We have lived in Australia all of our lives, so really know no difference to our lifestyle. What we have done however, is travel extensively for many years. This serves as a good basis for understanding similarities and differences.
A spot on summation about Australia
Dorothea Mackellar wrote about her love of Australia in the early 1900’s when she was in England and desperately homesick; and she was right on the mark
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!
She captured what is Australia, a land contrasts, and it goes deeper than the geography of the country.
On being so multicultural
Australia is such a multicultural society anyhow that it is not difficult or indeed unusual for us to have family and friends from very different cultural backgrounds. The school that I taught at had 46 different cultural backgrounds represented. We don’t know any difference, but what we do notice is other countries where the multiculturalism is not particularly present or accepted. That is not to say that things between the various cultures in Australia are always smooth. It isn’t, but in the main it does work well.
For us to go out for a meal, the big decision is which cuisine we will try whereas we have noticed in some countries there is just the one cuisine. We still do like our meat pies and vegemite. We also get to experience so many different festivals and different ways of doing things from all of the different peoples.
The Aussie character
In defining what our characters are like, we are a mongrel breed – a bit of this and a bit of that. One thing that I think that is universal is that we are pretty laid back, have a great if irreverent sense of humour and we are really very friendly and embracing of anything and anyone. As in any country, we have our die-hard people of ultra-conservative views, but in the main we are a pretty liberal country.
Is Australia expensive?
Australia is expensive. I suppose because we travel so much that when we arrive in a place that we have been forewarned is expensive, we do not find that to be the case. The reason being is our benchmark is so high. There are however ways to avoid paying so much for things. There are so many free activities and free sights that if sensible, Australia will not break your bank. Read some of our posts to assist you to get more for your money; there are hints on free things to see and do.
Why are we so easy going?
So why are we so laid back? Well, the weather is really very good. A lot of sunny days and our winters are many other peoples summer days. Most people like the beach, and the majority of the Australian population live around the coast of this bloody big island. The red centre is hot and dry though quite cool in the evening. If you want to meet some very dinky di Aussies, stop at a local pub and have a chat. They will talk back for sure. Shout them a beer and they will never shut up and I know that that is a generalization, but I also know that I am not far off the mark.
We also realize that we are far away from many places, and we are known as the land down under – maybe this makes us not care what people think so much. Also when we travel, most people will say, “are you Austrian?” and then, “such a long way away”.
Our unique sense of humour
We take the piss out of everyone. No one is safe. If you are an American, we call you Yanks and we have some fantastically derogative things to say about you. We refer to English people as Poms, well really whinging Poms and we have a go at them constantly particularly around the cricket season. New Zealanders cop some full on bagging mostly to do with their fascination with sheep. Look it up, we seriously do go them. Everyone is a target of our humour or wit or whatever. Don’t take it personally it is just something that we do that is not in the slightest racist. Quite the opposite actually.
Sports of course
We are sports mad, full stop. It doesn’t matter what sport, Australians are into it. Australian’s also like putting a bet on anything that might have a chance at winning; check out the cane toad races in northern NSW and Queensland and you will understand my point.
How we enjoy our down time
We like to socialize with others, and we do have a lot of BBQ’s because the weather is conducive to this. Australians in the main are very good with different foods and trying different cuisines. Gone are the days of the meat and 3 veg that the Poms gave to us. We like beer and we like very good Australian wines. That is said with and without bias as we do excellent wines as do our Kiwi neighbours. We have a good work/lifestyle balance that I think is more unique to Australia.
Championing the underdog
I have heard us called cheeky, and this is totally right. With the exception of our indigenous population the Aboriginals, most of us can trace our routes back to our convict family members sent to Australia for inane crimes in the main. You know what, it is a bit of a street cred to be descended from a convict.
We champion the under dog pretty much always. Ned Kelly, a bushranger, on paper might not have necessarily always done the right thing, but we think that he had the right intentions, so we like our anti-heroes a lot. Even when he went to his death, before he was hung he said, “Such is life”. We are pretty awful to our high achievers unless they are sportsmen, but we tend to cut down anyone who gets too big for their boots. Tall Poppy syndrome.
I think that why we work so well as a culture is because of all of these things. We are indeed a blended culture and a mongrel breed country and we love it.