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Australia a local view.
The land down under.
Although Australia is big in land area, if you look from outer space you will see an orange/red country with only a thin green fringe around some of the mainland. That's where we all live apart from a few in Tasmania!
Tasmania, our Island state being the only state that is mostly arable and greened by rain.
In fact we do not have much arable country in Australia at all.
Our major cities are modern and as big as most large world cities, we just don't have many of them. Australia has a lot of smaller cities and towns mostly scattered around the coast, with just a few big inland cities. Those big inland cities are usually wonderful peaceful and set in beautiful surrounds.
The mainland deserts are beautiful and take days or even weeks to cross, and most of Australia is desert inland.
All the Major cities except Perth and Adelaide are sprinkled along the massive east coastline with little population on the far North East and North West coast or near the center.
Most of us live on the East coast in or around four major Cities.Melbourne, Sydney, Surfers Paradise and Brisbane.
Apart from Tasmania and Victoria the weather is hot on average for most of the year by comparison to many other countries.
Australia is hot and dusty more
than a few hundred miles inland from any direction and it hasn't rained
on a lot of it since Noah was a pup until this year when it all got drowned again. That's the outback cycle .Drought flood, drought flood.
People survive in the outback because the Australian sense of humor is as dry as the desert itself. Although we have very little rain water inland, when it does rain it rains a lot! In some places floods replace drought every ten years or so, refilling huge inland lakes at the same time.
Within weeks these lakes are surrounded by growth that has been waiting for the rains many years. The number of birds that take up residence in what was an arid barren place just weeks before is astonishing!
To give you an idea of the Australian attitude to life in the raw, I recall the last time I was in the outback, the temperature got to 45c (113 Fahrenheit.)
I was sitting in the shade on the veranda of an outback "milk-bar" or general store/ petrol station, hardware store. A local came up the road, dressed in stubby work shorts and a tee shirt.
he stepped up to the veranda I greeted him with the standard weather
related greeting. "G'day mate, a bit warm ay?" He grins and shakes
his head slowly, the sweat had saturated the tee-shirt and Stubbies
(very short shorts, ) and was running down his face in rivulets. "Air
conditioning" he says, glancing at himself. "I'm as dry as a nuns
naughty bits." He wanders in to the
shop. "Might get warm later" says the shopkeeper."Nah" says the local.
They both laugh ...... big outback laughs.
When the country is flooded with 10 inches of rain in a few hours the local greeting will be something like... "Might get a bit damp later on ay mate?"
usually delivered with a big conspiratorial grin if you are a bit of a wag. If your delivery is
good and funny, you get local brownie points in the outback.
Humor is a funny thing. (sorry could not resist the silliness of that.) Australian humour is often self deprecating, irreverent, laconic and exaggerated.There is a good reason for that.
Living in the outback, sooner or later you are going to confront this harsh land. This year or next you could be watching your house float by with only the roof showing in a river 100 miles wide, were there hasn't even been a drop of rain for years, or be stuck in the desert with a broken vehicle, a broken GPS or flooded in with no way out for weeks or even months.
You can get washed away by the floods or die of thirst if your four wheel drive breaks down in the same piece of country depending on time of year and weather patterns on of the remote parts of Australia's outback.
Australian entertainers and sports.
A lot of Australians are very proud of our world sports heroes and entertainers who have succeeded on the world stage in almost every area of sport and entertainment.
Barry Humphrey's 'Dame Edna Everage" character is world renown, our great larrikin Poet Banjo Paterson who is among the worlds best, and very funny too.
Nicole Kidman and many other movie stars who you will already know if you are a movie buff which I am not.
Hollywood does not move me often.
It's absolutely true that we have more of the best motorcycle racers, golfers, cricketers, basketballers, actors and ratbags in the whole bloody world! Yet somehow we can spoil it by being immodest about it at times....
Sports humour is a bit nationalistic
for my liking.
"Go home yer pommy bastards" is a common greeting familiar to our British cousins at the famous MCC. (Melbourne Cricket Club)
We beat the English cricket team and beat them consistently much to our delight.
Australian nick-names stick and
are often very insulting.
Porky (not nice, but Porky doesn't seem to mind. (My mate's pet pig)
"The singing budgie" Kyle Minogue. For those who don't know Kyle she is a very famous, if somewhat diminutive Australian singer/performer.
"The silver bodgie" Our prime minister Robert or "Bob" Hawk copped that one for pretending to be one of the boys too many times. Bodgies were a teenage group who followed a particular dress code and are way uncool today.
John Howard another prime minister got called a lot of unflattering nick names, like "Teflon John" because nothing stuck to him.
Anyone with "dodgy" in their nick name should be avoided.
Gunna. An old bushy I know who is always going to do or gunna do something, but never gets it done.People call him gunna to his face, he thinks it's a compliment!
Gyro. After Gyro Gearloose a Disney character who is a mad scientist.
Gyro is a local hero and can repair anything mechanical.
Nicknames are very different to America and other English speaking countries.
We have nicknames not just for all our mates, but for just about everything else, so learning the language can be harrowing even if your native tongue is English.
We have a big Agricultural output for a country
that is tiny when it comes to arable land.We grow a lot of fruit like
oranges, apples, peaches Apricots and a big range of nuts. Tasmania is
also known as the apple state.
We have a lot of other nuts, so I will write more about the people later!
Australians as friends
If you have a real fair dinkum long term Aussie friend you have hit the jackpot.
Australians value loyalty, as we are used to not being able to visit each other all the time due to the distances we need to travel. That and the fact that we work pretty hard generally and are very productive.
Airplanes are great to reduce travel time but a bit hard if you want to take your pet kangaroo or the kids and dogs want to come.
It has to do with this big country teaching you that what works best in any one situation is not always obvious.
An Australian mate does not just mean female or male partner.
It has a specific meaning for each occasion.
My mate down at the hardware store can mean just about anything from I went there once, to the guy who owns it is a business friend of mine, but the implication is that he either has something that you want, or has an opinion you may want to hear.
If I say I am your best mate I mean that I will mortgage the house for you, share my last food and shelter with you, or lend you the Holden or let you babysit my kids, use my credit card, anything you need that I have is yours for the asking if you are in trouble.The whole family will join in supporting your best mate in a pinch.
F**k you too mate! is used frequently whenever someone gives you the bird and has a totally different meaning to "she'll be right mate" which is used to indicate all sorts of agreeable daily encounters.
Using "She'll be right mate" in an everyday conversation.
The delivery bloke may help you carry a heavy parcel he has delivered up the stairs without being asked.
We don't do tips for deliveries. He has given you a hand usually because he likes to be helpful. he gets paid pretty well, so we say "good on yer mate" with a friendly smile, he replies "she'll be right mate, which means you are most welcome!
Never make assumptions about the delivery bloke, or the bloke who comes out to demonstrate a new machine to you in Australia. He may own the company, or be a senior partner and you will not pick people by their flash clothes or apparent wealth either.
Many businessmen are hands on, like to meet the customers, and usually offer the same humility and respect that he asks his workers to.
Snobbery is not a part of the culture.
Although we do not tip for most deliveries and services, we do tip the franchised fast food delivery man as we know his pay stinks and it is a lousy part time job while he goes to uni.
Many races make up Australia, as I have said elsewhere in one suburb of Melbourne the people speak 180 languages.Yet the Australian's who have been here a while integrate and take up the way of life and strange language we call "strine" with great enthusiasm.
I adopted a boy from North west China in 1996 when he was six.
His most common phrase when he learnt English was "She'll be right mate!"
I trotted him off to a good Aussie school where he soon got the local input needed to indoctrinate him.
We do not always say things in ways that are intelligible to outsiders.
"Strine" is an elitist language. You have to pass through the humor to get to it!
If you understand the word strine, then you already have a glimpse of the self deprecating humor that is our trademark.
When an Australian says the word "Australian" it sounds like the word "Strine" we leave out any sounds that are unnecessary, and some wags would suggest it is because if you open your mouth to speak the flies will get in, so try saying Australian with you lips closed and almost still. See? You have a head start!
Now you will be able to read my hubs!
You will see Asian, African, European, American, Canadian, Greek, Italian, Dutch, German, Iranian, Iraqi Australian kids speaking with the same Australian style that is so entrenched in the whole culture of this country.
Within one generation many new Australians are pretty laconic and have soaked up the lay back lifestyle.It's not that we don't work hard, we just make sure we have some time to enjoy the wonderful outdoor life that the weather affords us.
We do not generally worry too much about what others think about us, we know who we are, we are a group of migrants who share a common culture that is irreverent, pliable, and easy going.
Those who have been here a generation or two wind up being uniquely Australian no matter what we look like or where we came from. The country itself seems to create a culture that is tolerant and fun to live in, no matter that your black, yellow, purple or boring old white like me.
I have, like many Australians lived and or worked in other countries and the word is this is the best country to live in on this little blue green planet, even if we do look like we are defying gravity hanging off the bottom of the globe.
We have strange looking animals, a pretty dense bush and a shipload of sand.
We have Nicole Kidman, a city named Darwin (who visited Australia as a young man) sun surf oodles of coastline and....sand.
Did I mention the desert? Sand, lots of sand.