- Politics and Social Issues
What Does It Mean To Be Australian
What Is Being 'Australian'?
I would ask that question and out of every answer no matter how many I asked, it would most likely be slightly different.
Americans are 'patriotic', The English, French and Germans, are very 'nationalistic', yet usually a word that comes to Australians when asked how they feel about their country is 'pride'.
The Australian way of life is very similar and also very diverse to other cultures, even such as those of England (where we came from and still have close roots) and the US (whom we have close cultural and political ties)
One 'essence' of being Australian is the philosophy of each and every one of us having a 'Fair Go'. A fair go is slang for a belief of all Australians, including those emigrating to this country, of making their mark, gaining good employment, and enjoying freedoms experienced here and having a fair chance of doing so on their own terms, without potential issues from political, religious, cultural or financial prejudice of a culture.
Pardon, What Did You Say?
Since 1788, our cultural use of language has changed considerably since our first colonial settlements of primarily English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Chinese people up to the use of language in today's world.
Some words, are considered recognizable to many, and alot of other words just leave some scratching their heads and asking others if they know what was said.
Australian language does have one unique aspect of very few words being different between the major cities as well as almost no known differing (localized) accents in either the major cities or country areas. So someone who is from Brisbane will meet and talk easily with someone from Perth and will not know where each is from until they ask.
Here are a few Australian slang terms, some will be familiar, others may be your first read.
G'day - Hello
Crikey - an exclamation, as in, wow, or whoah
Off ones face - drunk, very drunk
Cozzie - shortened term for swimming costume
Bush Tellie - camp fire
Captain Cook - rhyming slang for 'a look', as in 'lets have a captain cook'
Flick - to get rid of someone, to no longer deal with an individual, such as 'give her the flick mate, she's no good for you'
Grouse - great, terrific, very good
Mates rates - to do a better price deal on a purchase, as you are dealing with a friend, rather than a salesperson.
Pozzy - shortened form of position, in reference to getting a good seat at the theatre, sporting event, concert, etc
A Brief History Of The Founding Of Australia
To know some aspects of Australia, one must first look at our tumultuous beginnings.
Even as far back as early Roman times, a place called Terra Australis Incognita was the term used for a known continent or island somewhere 'in the south'. Yet discovery and confirmation of a landmass did not happen until much later.
Prior to discovery throughout the 17th and 18th centuries from a few European explorers, it was not known by then that the land had been inhabited by the Australian Aborigines for about 40,000 years.
In 1770, Captain James Cook sailed around and mapped part of the eastern coast, which he termed New South Wales, and made claim for England.
On the 26th January, 1788 Captain Arthur Philip arrived with the 'First Fleet; and claimed Port Jackson as a Crown Penal Colony for the British Empire. This date also marks Australia day and is celebrated every year in Australia as a national holiday (very much like Bastille Day for the French and Independence Day for the USA)
Other penal colonies were founded in other (modern day) states later on;
- Tasmania in 1803
- Queensland in 1824
The following places were founded as colonies, but initially not as penal colonies (never received convicts direct from England), hence they started with 'free' settlers and gained convicts released as free persons settlers, later on.
- Western Australia 1829
- South Australia 1836
- Victoria 1837
- Northern Territory 1911
Modern Australia - Military Conficts And Service
Australians have also served in just about every major international
conflict throughout the last century. They have served along side with Allies such as England, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.
The Boer War 1899 - 1902
WWI 1914 -1918
WWII 1939 - 1945
The Korean War 1950 - 1953
The Malayan Emergency 1950 - 1966 (longest served conflict)
The Vietnam Conflict 1962 - 1972
Defense of Kuwait 1999 - 2001
Defense of Afghanistan 2001 - 2010 (and currently ongoing)
The Australian Military (usually in conjunction with the Federal Police) have also served as a 'peace keeping force' in countries such as Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Solomon Islands and Fiji, although no major conflicts have been recorded in these events.
Australia also has never had a civil war.
Modern Australia - Political System And Territories
Australia operates as a constitutional democracy with a parliamentary system of government (not too different from the Westminster system used in the UK)
Australia has 6 states and two major territories, with one additional minor third territory. The third being Jervis Bay, and local representation in government is administered by one ACT Senate member.
Australia also has full or partial administration over the following islands;
- Christmas Island
- Cocos Island
- Ashmore Island
- Cartier Island
- Heard Island
- McDonald Island
- Coral Sea Islands
- Australian Antarctic Territory
Modern Australia - Cultural
Australia is home to a very diverse representation of almost every culture in the world. People have emigrated from countries such as Sudan, Somalia, South Africa, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Jamaica, China, Ethiopia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Peru, Mexico, and many others.
The Chinese have been emigrating from since at least the Second Fleet (possibly the First Fleet) which arrived in 1789 (the next shipping fleet to provide more, settlers, convicts and goods to the original Sydney Cove colony At Botany Bay)
Since World War II, many emigrants from Europe arrived from then up to the early 1970's mainly from the UK, Greece, Turkey, Italy and Spain.
This period had a somewhat dark era as well, as white Australians and those predominantly from the UK, were suspicious and fearful of these new arrivals, with initial name callings such as 'wogs' and 'derro's' used as well as occasional violent clashes on the streets.
Each decade seemed to help each new type of immigrant eventually become 'accepted and tolerated' into Australian culture over time. Muslims, Indians, Pakistani's and East Africans residing in Australia may currently experience this type of intolerance. Over time, understanding and finding out about the uniqueness of each new culture, through dance, food, discussions, friendships even inter-relationships, help ease initial fear and loathing to become tolerance and then acceptance.
Although racial intolerance still happens (unfortunately) in Australia, it has rarely broken out into major civil disobedience.
Australians love their sports such as Cricket, the Football codes of Australian Rules, Rugby League, Rugby Union and Soccer, Swimming, Diving, Athletics, Gymnastics, Hockey, Netball, Basketball, Formula One, and have so many represented, and are a dominate force that they have major wins in most world wide competitions including the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
Advance Australia Fair - Official Version
Advance Australia Fair
Up until 1984, the national anthem of Australia, was 'God Save The Queen (King)'. Oddly enough the Scottish composer, Peter McCormick created 'Advance Australia Fair', and was even played for the first time in 1878. It was not until 1984 and up against stiff competition of 'God Save The Queen (King)', Song Of Australia and Banjo Patterson's ' Waltzing Matilda' did it become the new national anthem.
Unofficial National Anthems
There are many songs that Australians consider the official 'un-official' versions of what they believe should be the national anthem in place of Advance Australia Fair, again the main contender being Waltzing Matilda .
Yet one song that will bring tears to ex-pat Australians and I brook no apology here is Peter Allen's 'i Still Call Australia Home', written and performed by Peter Allen as something of a catch-cry for Aussies abroad and longing for home.
More To Come!!!
There will be more information regarding 'What Does It Mean To Be Australian' on this hub, coming soon!