|This fish mascot wandered about the celebration for photo ops.
In June, 2015 we posted a brief history of diversity in Australia at this link while we were living in Trinity Beach during our first foray into life on the continent. Australia has a rich indigenous history some of which may be found at this link.
|“Smallest Pancakes in Town”
Unfortunately, we’ve had little opportunity to get up close and personal with the indigenous citizens of Australia as we have in some other parts of the world. However, we’ve had more readily available contact with the non-indigenous citizens, comprising over 90% of the population, easily encountered in day to day life.
|Homemade jellies, jams and condiments.
Now in Tasmania for three months with only 3% of the population as indigenous citizens, interacting with their traditions is equally unlikely as it was when we lived in the mainland with 6% of the general population whom identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
During our many months living amongst the Aussies we’ve found a unique culture that emerged over the centuries as people from many lands migrated to the continent seeking a new and better way of life. All these cultures are revered and held in high regard.
|Clever and pleasing-to-the-senses soaps.
This morning, Prime Minister Malcomb Turnbull made an eloquent speech honoring the Chinese New Year, Year of the Rooster, and the Chinese people’s influence and value to Australia.
Not unlike many western civilization, the melding of nationalities contributes to a distinct persona that may be clearly defined over the centuries. That culture in itself is different in many ways from our experiences in our old lives in the US and in many countries in which we’ve lived over these past 51 months.
|Food or soaps? Soaps!
After living in Trinity Beach, close to Cairns, Australia for three months, spending a few months on cruises with mostly Australian passengers, we’ve come to the point of having somewhat of a grasp on Australian culture.
Whether its their easygoing style of living, ways in which they’ve embraced their love of their homeland, their penchant for humor and lightheartedness, their seriousness and determination in dealing with important issues, and their commitment to integrity and ethics, the Aussies embody a special demeanor we’ve found to be enchanting.
|Tom checked out the baked goods but resisted.
From this university site, we gleaned the following description of the Australian culture which we found clear and concise:
“Australians are generally laid-back, open and direct. They say what they mean and are generally more individual and outgoing than many other cultures. You may think that most Australians live in the ‘outback’ out in the country. In fact, more than three quarters of Australians live in cities and in urban centres, mainly along the coast.
Some key values that reflect the Australian way of life include:
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of religion
- Equality regardless of sex, marital status, religion, nationality, disability or sexual preference
- A ‘fair go’ (equal opportunity) for all and support for the underdog.
In most practical ways, Australia is an egalitarian society in that there are no formal class distinctions. There is no segregation between people of different incomes or backgrounds and everyone is free to live where they like, attend university and follow whichever religion and occupation they choose. (Continued below).
|There was a long queue at the ice cream booth.
What are Australians like?
In the workplace and among friends, Australians generally call each other by their first names. When meeting someone for the first time, it is usual to shake the person’s right hand with your right hand. People who do not know each other generally do not kiss or hug when meeting. Australians show respect by looking people in the eye, however they don’t stand as close or have as much physical contact (such as hugs and kisses) as other cultures.
You may find that your Australian friends have difficulty pronouncing your name, at first. Be patient and prepared that you may need to repeat your name or say it slowly at the beginning. As friendships develop, you may find that your friends give you a nickname, which is very common in Australia and is a form of endearment.
Australians love their sport and most people watch the finals of major sporting events, even if they don’t normally have an interest in the sport. Popular events include the State of Origin and Melbourne Cup.
Men and Women
Men and women are treated equally in Australia. Women make up nearly 50% of the workforce and most women remain in the workplace after they marry, and many after they’ve had children. Women are also free to breastfeed in public.
There are no social rules regarding friendships or dating in Australia. Friendships with members of the opposite sex, and social events with both sexes are common. It is also common for couples to live together before they are married, or for men and women to live in a share-house together.
People in Australia generally don’t have servants, and men and women equally share the cooking and domestic duties in the home. (Continued below).
|The batter fried mushrooms smelled delicious.
Australians often use humour and are considered to be quite sarcastic. The Australian sense of irony may be difficult for you to grasp at first but you’ll get used to it. The Australian accent and use of ‘slang’ may also be confusing, but if there is ever anything you don’t understand, just ask.
- Arvo – afternoon
- Aussie – Australian
- Barbie – BBQ/barbeque
- Bloke – man/guy
- Boardies – board shorts
- Brekkie – breakfast
- Brizzie – Brisbane
- G’day – good day/hello
- Goldy – Gold Coast
- Mozzie – mosquito
- No worries – no problem/that’s OK
- Roo – kangaroo
- Snags – sausages
- Sunnies – sunglasses
- Telly – TV
- Togs – swimsuit/bikini
Of course, there are countless Aussie expressions that are far removed from our familiar use of the language. Its never a matter of what’s correct use of the language. Instead, it revolves around cultural language differences from one country/continent to another.
|Homemade pillows and casual furnishings.
We’ve enjoyed the Aussie’s use of the English language as unique and entertaining from our own experience such as:
- When moving from one home to another, they say “move house.” Whereby in the US its referred to as “moving.” That simple difference makes us chuckle over their easy use of the language.
- They don’t say “sports” in reference to sporting type activities. Instead, the say “sport” in reference to any such activities.
- Comparable to the UK, when referring to a person “in the hospital,” they say “in hospital” a simple dropping of the word “the” in the sentence.
|Scented handmade soaps are popular in Tasmania as personal and gift items.
Its these little nuances that make us smile. There are endless examples of these types of language differences which ultimately are easily understood by unfamiliar visitors.
We’ve found that Australian news, although serious when appropriate, is often hilarious over the more lighthearted storylines. At times, they may use a swear word or slang expression we’d never heard from newscasters in our old lives.
|Handcrafter products made with wood.
On each occasion, we find ourselves laughing out loud, loving the ease and humor they include in telling a story. Even their locally produced TV drama series illicit a sense of humor and lightness.
Although we’re a bit isolated in this remote area of Castle Bay Forbes in southern Tasmania, with little interaction with locals on a day to day basis, we can’t help but grasp every moment possible to spend with these special people.
Enjoy the upcoming weekend!
Photo from one year ago today, January 28, 2016: