The Australian stereotype of a ruggedly handsome, self-reliant, no-nonsense adventurer is not without justification, but such Crocodile Dundee clones are certainly in the minority. Australia is now a very multicultural country and most Australians are more likely to live in the suburbs of a major city and work a regular, 9 to 5 job.
Australians are still predominantly Caucasian – either Australian or United Kingdom born – however there are large numbers of those with a southern European or Asian background. There is also an increasing number of Middle Eastern Australians, with many coming from Lebanon and Turkey. Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders make up a small percentage of the population.
Most Australians are exceptionally proud of their country and the values it represents. In fact, in order to become a citizen, one must pass a test which includes questions about Australia’s values. Australian values include, in no particular order: a ‘fair go’, mateship, egalitarianism and an easy-going nature.
Racism is present in Australia but rarely acted on unless someone is provoked. Visitors with dark skin, Asians or Muslims may hear occasional derogatory comments, however for the most part Australians will treat you the way you treat them: if you act with a sense of entitlement, arrogance, superiority or plain downright rudeness, you’ll have the favor returned tenfold.
Aussies don’t take life too seriously. They have an intense dislike of anyone too full of themselves and make sure anyone suffering from tall poppy* syndrome is quickly cut down to size. A sense of humor is vital to bond with any Australia and a repertoire of dirty jokes will create an instant rapport(these need not be politically correct).
An outdoors lifestyle comes with being Australian. Barbecues, trips to the beach and sport (either participating or watching) are important components of an Australian’s life. You might think this would make Australians a happy, healthy bunch but a consumer culture and long working hours has made a large percentage of Australians tubs of lard and many Aussie kids barely able to get up from their Playstations and Xbox 360s to head down to the local Maccas. [Mcdonalds]
Art and culture run a poor second to sport in Australia, but Australia does have a vibrant and growing art scene. Artists such as Norman Lindsay**, Arthur Boyd, Ken Done and Brett Whiteley are internationally renowned.
Cuisine – in part due to multicultural influences – is second to none and you won’t go hungry. For a true blue and traditional Australian experience, buy a meat pie and apple turnover from the local bakery. It shouldn’t set you back any more than about $5. Few Australians eat kangaroo meat or any native Australian species. Kangaroo dishes are served in restaurants but you may also be able to find relatively cheap kangaroo steaks in supermarkets. Many Australians are still more likely to feed kangaroo meat to the dog.
- In Australian, tall poppy syndrome is in fact not a medical condition associated with smoking opium or injecting heroin. A tall poppy is a successful person who has started to take himself/herself too seriously and therefore needs to be ‘cut down to size’.
- Norman Lindsay spent most of his life painting nude chicks. In fact American officials burned 16 crates of his work as ‘pornography’. The movie Sirens is about Norman Lindsay. Watching it is a great excuse to see Elle McPherson, Kate Fischer and Portia de Rossi naked.