8 Common Stereotypes And Misconceptions About Australians

As someone who was born in Australia and has lived here for most of my life, some stereotypes, myths and perceptions about Australians ring true. And some don’t.

Australia is a diverse country, with the outback and city side by side as I wrote in this blog post about the geographic land of Oz itself. Naturally, Australians are a pretty diverse bunch in general, diverse in terms of what they like, the way they choose to live their lives and who they chose to be.

Australia, a land where Australians are all shapes, sizes and personalities | Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience.

Australia, a land where Australians are all shapes, sizes and personalities | Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience.

There is the tendency to think of the average, person-next-door Australian like this:

1. Australians love the beaches and are good swimmers

Not all Australians live by the beach since beachside homes all over the country are in the multi-million dollar price-range. Also some Australian beaches are more popular than others – think Bondi Beach and Byron Bay Beach in NSW, always packing a crowd.

Not all of us are keen on swimming in the sea or know how to surf the waves. When there’s a great white shark circling the waters around the coasts of Bondi or Byron Bay, we get out of the water pretty much straight away – because these sharks are literally impossible to outswim. I myself do not like swimming one bit and avoid beaches because I get lobster-red sunburnt too easily. There’s also only so much to do at the beach (walk, sitting on the sand) before I feel bored.

2. Australians wear flip flops, singlets and shorts all day

This might be true if you live in northern Australia where it’s tropical weather all year round. The other summer day here in Melbourne, it was 19’C/66’F and it annoyingly left me with no choice but to wear my winter jacket outside.

3. Drinking is our national pastime

True to an extent given after-work drinks is part of the culture at many workplaces in Australia. Going to the pub for a beer or two is also something Australians like to do on a lazy weekend, or right before a meal out on the town or when watching sport. Also, South Australia boasts some of the world’s finest wine regions such as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Commonly there’s the misconception that Fosters beer is a popular drink here in Oz, though – it’s not and rather, it’s brewed in the UK today.

A million Australians consume on average eight drinks a day. Still, compared to the rest of the world, Australians are not among the top 10 countries of heavy drinkers. But drinking or not drinking is a choice and no shame in not drinking really. I have no shame in turning down drinks offered to me whenever, wherever, and no shame in asking for a free water.

4. Watching sport is also our national pastime

Each year, Australia hosts the Australian Open tennis. The F1 Grand Prix, motor racing. Test Cricket matches. The Australian Masters, golf. The Melbourne Cup, horse racing. World Rugby Sevens. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. And local sport such as Australian Footy / AFL. Australian Rugby League. A-league soccer.

Some say sport is a religion in Australia. But of course, some will disagree. There’s only so much sport we can follow. And like.

Australians are a bunch that love the sunshine and great outdoors.

Australians are a bunch that love the sunshine and great outdoors.

5. All Australians are bogans and not that smart

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘bogan’ refers to a lower socio-economic Aussie who is uncouth and unsophisticated. More generally speaking, it’s someone who likes flannel shirts, abbreviates their sentences with Aussie-slang, hooning, tattoos, drinking and a love for classic Aussie rock music. Certainly not everyone is a bogan in Australia; different classes of people speak differently, dress differently and have different  interests.

And certainly not all who are classed as bogans are not smart. For all you know they have the sharpest street smarts ever.

6. Australians like to wear black and nudes, unconservative

Walk down the streets of Melbourne and it’s actually quite common to see person after person wearing black from head to toe, especially in winter – a style that is always seen here as minimalistic and gives off cool vibes. If not black, then grey or beige. But the more cosmopolitan Sydneysiders are not shy about wearing colours be it in a bikini or short shorts or a plunging dress to spring carnivals.

Personally, I’m not a fan of wearing black as light colours make me feel more positive. In the summer, I like wearing light-coloured singlets without anything else on underneath. At home.

7. All Australians are white. Westerners

Australia was colonised by the British in the 1700s and 1800s and during this time convicts were resettled in Australia. British colonisation undoubtedly left its mark on Australia – Victorian architecture, fish and chips and monarch rule are (Western) markers of Australian society today. British colonisation also displaced Indigenous Australians and their way of life; Aboriginal land was taken over by the colonists on the basis the land belonged to no-one (‘terra nillius’).

Since then, slowly but surely Aboriginal communities and histories are being rediscovered. Various prehistoric Aboriginal sites and languages unearthed over the last few decades, and there is no one single Aboriginal culture. Also today, migration contributes to Australia’s social and economic fabric and a quarter of Australians are born overseas. I am Chinese, born in Australia. I am Australian. I am Australia.

8. Racist

Where there is cultural difference, chances are there’ll be cultural misunderstandings. From the Cronulla riots over a decade ago to repeated derogatory slurs on public transport to senator Pauline Hanson attempting to ‘normalise discrimination and anti-immigration’ from the vantage of Oz parliament, some Australians come across as racist both to those at home and on the world stage.

Maybe some of us are racist and we don’t know it.  After all, casual racism is common in Australia, especially in the media where certain ethnicities are cast in certain roles and poked fun at. Then again, some of us do fit the stereotype and sometimes poke fun at our own race all in good humour for a good laugh.

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There are also many other stereotypes about Australians: like how we are friendly, relaxed, all about a fair-go – yes when we don’t feel threatened. We like to throw a shrimp on the barbie – yes when the weather is nice enough for a BBQ. Australians are New Zealanders/kiwis and vice-versa – not true at all since New Zealand is a whole other country. That if you look anything but Caucasian then you’re not Australian – not true as well.

Australians also like turning on each other sometimes, arguing til no end in sight.

Australians also like turning on each other sometimes, arguing til no end in sight.

Over the last couple of decades, notable Australian icons and moments include outback bogan characters in the iconic Aussie film Crocodile Dundee starring Paul Hogan, the beach saturated tourism ad Where The Bloody Hell Are You and daredevil nature expert Steve Irwin. More recently, notable Australian personalities and moments include the acclaimed LGBT-themed comedy film The Adventures of Priscila Queen of the Desert and the TV show The Family Law starring an Asian-Australian family. Australia has come some way in redefining, or rather accepting, Aussie stereotypes, and identity.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to talk about Aussie stereotypes, there comes the question of what really is Australian or at the very least being as Australian as we possibly can. As per the Australian Citizenship Act 2007, there are a number of ways to be Australian – for instance by birth, adoptive parents, doing away with whether or not one fits stereotypical moulds. But if by law we aren’t defined as Aussie, no reason why we can’t share in the Aussie values and be a part of this country that is Oz. You don’t have to fit the stereotype in order to belong to a certain place – that feeling of belonging lies within you, because you feel it and believe in it.

Each of us change as we gain lessons and experiences, changes in terms of identity and personalities. In a country like Australia where multiculturalism is alive and cultural tolerance is coming around, slowly but surely, we are learning to get along a bit more better and see past typical stereotypes. Politics change, people change. And as people change, politics change. Maybe Pauline Hanson isn’t so bad after all, a reality check for us and reminding us of what we don’t want to be today and tomorrow. Or maybe she really is. As Indigenous leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu said on a new day:

 “It is a different world today from what it was then. It will be a different world tomorrow from what it is today.”

Australians. We are multicultural. But no one of us will agree like how the sky and sea always see eye to eye.

Australians. We are multicultural. But no one of us will agree like how the sky and sea always see eye to eye.

On Australia Day last year, me and my friend checked out some celebrations out in the western suburbs. As we queued up for a horse carriage ride, a Caucasian dad flanked by two kids in front of us asked us, “Where are you from?”. After a slight pause both me and my Chinese-Australian friend said Australia. Lifting one of his kids in his arms and without a pause, the dad nodded in reverence and then jovially launched into a story about how he was born and grew up in Bright, London, and how he and the wife decided to move to Australia and now they live here and are Australian. As I watched them get on the horse ride, I thought about how similar and dissimilar we are as Australians.

Sometimes we fit the stereotype. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes both. At least in Australia. And also…perhaps everywhere else.

What stereotypes have you heard about Australians?

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262 thoughts on “8 Common Stereotypes And Misconceptions About Australians

  1. I’ve met all kinds of Australians — some were child immigrants from Croatia, some were very high maintenance women from Sydney, and some were hilarious writers. I also worked with an Australian embezzler and had some gay buddies from Melbourne. Aside from the snobby women from Sydney, all were very friendly and nice.

    But yes, they could ALL drink me under the table.

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  2. Australian stereotypes I readily identify with 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8.

    If I didn’t have an adverse physiological reaction to alcohol I’d include 3 and beer, especially XXXX would be my drink of choice, because my Parochialism extends beyond being an Australian, but more importantly, being a Queenslander!

    In terms of 4, this was a much bigger part of my life when I was younger and before the commercialisation of sport ruined most the enjoyment in spending all afternoon or day watching cricket or the footy or even the tennis. I cannot bear to watch tennis or cricket anymore and I’m fast losing patience with rugby league in all its forms because of the amount of gambling advertising on the TV. I feel more strongly about TV gambling advertising than I do about American politics, even Australian politics for that matter.

    I can’t stand watching Australian Rules Football because (and this is another Australian stereotype), it would bore the tits off a bull [our language as a variation of English, is, I think the most pure form of communication in existence].

    The whole black thing is bizarre and I think it truly is a Victorian thing. That said, I do own a black long-sleeved rashie for the beach but I wear it with white boardies.

    Being an older Australian (not yet a senior Australian), I can understand and appreciate 7. As much as I look like I’ve stepped off a boat from Hong Kong, I still see myself as caucasian because growing up, that’s what Australia, at least the northern suburbs of Brisbane was.

    I think Australian-Born Chinese, can also be as racist as the next person. My maternal grandmother would say the most awful things about every other race. I inherited a very dark sense of humour from her and my cousins and I would be forever saying quite awful things when we were a lot younger and very naïve.
    The other thing I think many people think when they think Australian is that we’re big meat eaters. Forever, burning meat on a barbecue. Mabel, you know how much I love my meat, ironically, I’m typing this during my lunch break and I’ve just enjoyed a grilled mushroom and halloumi burger with salad and chips.

    Back to language, I think we’re also known for our ability to mix swear words with our cursing and blasphemy! Hopefully, you’ll appreciate some of this was written facetiously, but with a few grains of truth. As always, Mabel, I love your work. You deserve a tube of Cheeseburger Pringles for this post!!!

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    • This was so well-written, Gaz. Like a true-blue Aussie. You have a thing for words there, or a the very least Aussie-speak 😀

      I used to watch a bit of AFL and rugby but like you, don’t have much of an interest in it now. The advertising does put me off and apart from a few plays of the slot machine, I am not all up for gambling.

      Now I’m sure you meant wetsuit when you mentioned rashie, but that word also made me think of bacon…

      You bring up an excellent point there. Anyone can insult another race, and well, sometimes you can’t change their opinion. Stubborn that way.

      Thank you very much, Gary 🙂 I would love to call Cheeseburger Pringles Aussie food. Maybe they are. But they are made in Malaysia.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really loved this post! I hardly fit any of these stereotypes and coming from Melbourne I too understand that it isn’t always shorts and singlets weather! I like that you touched on how Australia isn’t filled with all unintelligent bogans. I believe we get this bad rap from other countries all too often. I also don’t always believe that all Australians are easy-going and friendly. I spent a wonderful 10 days in Taiwan last year where the people were unbelievably kind and giving. The moment I flew back, I was going through customs at Melbourne Airport and the Australian security guard was yelling at an Asian woman for not understanding his English. He was so very rude and aggressive. I definitely do not like sports, BBQ’s, swimming in general and drinking alcohol lol. I loved your pictures Mabel! Where were they taken? It looks like the Great Ocean Road. Lots of love! xx

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    • Sometimes the most casual bogan or Australian can be the most helpful and most honest! I am sorry to hear of that unpleasant incident you saw at Melbourne Airport. As the world becomes more accepting, maybe this behaviour will change. Sometimes it takes experiencing a different culture to look at our culture differently.

      The photos were taken along Half Moon Bay trail. Not too far from the city and it was a lovely 20’C there when I went x

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  4. Hi Mabel, interestingly I dont know any Australian – apart from you of course 😀 But I have to admit that I have this image of an over-loud brash big white guy wearing a loose colored shirt and shorts along with flipflops while guzzling beer. But it’s pretty clear that it’s time to discard that image and replace it with a pretty young girl 😉

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  5. Hi Mabel,

    It is interesting to read more about what being Australian is! I think natural borns exhibit the traits of a particular place more clearly as they adapt the general behavior with every passing day, especially from friends and peer group.
    Misconceptions and stereotypes exist in most of the countries and races and some are common as they get passed on very easily these days through T.V. shows or through social media. Beach love can be related to all those places where it is easily accessible. Choice of colors depend on the people around us as nobody wants to be an ‘odd man out.’ Habits are also molded by the family environment. I have seen people here in USA too who don’t touch meat and wine!!
    There are always exceptions to stereotypes, sometimes they happen to be more than expected!! Similarities and dissimilarities make us more human 🙂
    Thanks for sharing an in-depth study of the people of your country.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Guess where my husband and I are going in April? :0) Got a great flight/hotel deal from Honolulu to Sydney! So I guess I’ll know what to look for when I get there – HA!

    I agree with Balroop that no matter where we are, there are these stereotypes and those who fit them and those who do not. A friend visiting from the mainland US who used to live here for a bit cannot believe how long it’s been since Chris and I have been in the water. He goes every morning and every evening for sunset. Thinks we are insane. But you know, it’s there anytime we want it! And winter is really not the time to swim, though we’ve done so in the past when Chris did more bodyboarding. Now it’s more gardening and home improvement, which suits us fine. For now. Things always do change.

    Aloha, and I’ll wave to you in Melbourne when we’re there 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • On your way to Australia! I hope you and your husband have a good time in Sydney and you get to see the sights 🙂 You said it so well, “Things always do change”. They do, and over time we change tastes and who we hang out with. As long as there are differences, there will be stereotypes and misconceptions – we all don’t have the answers to everything and perception only makes us see so far.

      I will look out for your wave 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent Posting Mabel,
    I particularly liked your discussion of Multi culturalism and your comments on Racism and Chauvinism and the role of Colonialism although I would call it Imperialism. The exploitation of Indigenous peoples has happened elsewhere in the United States for Instance. an excellent insight into stereotypes.

    Laurence

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    • Thank you so much, Laurence. Imperialism was very much prevalent in the past, and good to see the world moving in a more multicultural direction. Sometimes I do think racism is worse here in Australia. Then again, racism is racism.

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  8. The one stereotype I have heard is that all Australians are funny. Perhaps it kind of goes with the partying stereotype. It’s a shame when we make these assumptions about an entire country. To some extent it happens in most countries I think.

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  9. Ah, stereotypes! Interesting how that is one thing that is the same everywhere, there will be stereotypes. I understand that it is in part because we as humans love to categorize things in order to understand the world around us, but they can be so limiting.
    I really like the photographs in this post Mabel.

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  10. The one that concerns me is point 8, but of course! Though I have not lived in Aus, based on numerous incidents of racism there it seems they are not so accommodative towards non-Australians coming over and settling there. But then, not everybody is so either.

    Interesting to read more about their culture here…I never knew there are so many misconceptions about them!

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  11. Well I did have some stereotype images about Australians. The most prominent being outdoorsy, beach bum ,strong austra-lhian accent and fosters. When fosters was launched here in India few years ago their tag line was ‘Australian for beer ‘. So I’m sure some things and events develop such stereotype images. 🙂

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  12. I consider myself to be Australian, Mabel. I was born in England and came to live here as a young lad with my family. I have also moved away from Australia to live in Singapore for a few years. I am a naturalised Aussie and although I am not a huge fan of sitting on the beach, I am a big fan of shorts and singlet 😊 . Excellent piece Mabel – I have just read it after coming back from taking the dog for a swim at the beach. My thongs are parked at the front door and the aircon is on – it’s still 30degC at 19:45. Have fun 😊

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  13. 19’C and winter jacket outside! 😀 Around here people would be tanning in the park while bbqing and enjoying some beers.
    “There’s only so much sport we can follow.” Yes, nothing. Sports are boring IMO.

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    • Tanning in 19’C with the sun shining…still too cold for me 😀 And I really am the kind of person who likes wearing a T-shirt and shorts this time of the year.

      Watching sport live is also so expensive 😀

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  14. I’ve never met an australian in person, but I’ve always imagined Australians sun-tanned and always smiling, like – always lol :)) and the Australian English sounds different from British or American English… that’s all I know… nothing much obviously.. such an interesting post, Mabel, really enjoy how you give us a glimpse into your world ♥

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    • Maybe I will be the first Australian person you will meet 🙂 True that many Australians like to sun tan. As for smiling, I think it depends on our mood for that day – and same for anyone else, lol. Australian English sounds more British than American English, but it sounds unique.

      You are so lovely as always, Alex. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read and comment ❤

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      • it would be lovely to meet someday indeed, Mabel 🙂 I have no idea why I’ve decided that Australians always smile (maybe some film I’ve watched when I was a child), but I’m sticking to this idea until proven wrong lol… it’s always a pleasure to read your blog and comments, Mabel ♥ have a great weekend 🙂

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          • you always put a smile on my face, Mabel:) and I’m sure by the time I come over to visit, I’ll be the one asking you for tips on photography 😀 ♥ hope you have a splendid week ahead xoxo

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            • And you always know how to say things that make me feel better, Alex. We could both learn from each other…and from your boys and the world too. Have a good week this week and stay safe ❤

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  15. I learned a lot about Australia in this post, and a lot about what Australia isn’t. Interesting.

    Diversity is a positive thing in countries that are made up of immigrants, and it’s too band when people don’t realize that…

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  16. I am not really sure whether I know really any stereotypes about Australians. Sure I know what many people from the US think or from other countries but only due to Televesion and the Internet.
    At least for me growing up first in Germany and then in Finland I didn’t really hear about any stereotypes about Australians except now for the past few years when it comes to Racism and how they take “care” of refugees.

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    • It is very true that racism, Pauline Hanson and mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees are making headlines around the world. I don’t know how you and Finland and also others perceive Australians because of this. They must be laughing at Australia and the way we roll as a country. Australians and Australia, we have a long way to go become more cultural tolerant.

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      • I’d say Pauline Hanson is a person where you wonder why she hasn’t been locked up yet. But then again such mentally deranged people can be found in every other country involved in politics around the world

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        • Many Australians see Pauline Hanson as someone who is simply expressing her opinion. Her political party One Nation now has more senators in Australian parliament. Wonder what she will say next, and I am sure you and the rest of the world will hear it soon :/

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  17. Oh wow, you’re Aussie-born. I thought you were Malaysian-born for some reason… I suppose you only moved there for some of your childhood then?

    1. Ha! Yeah, I live quite far from Sydney beaches – at least an hour’s drive and then there’s the parking… Brisbane doesn’t have any (real) beaches – it has to rely on Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast for its beach credentials. I don’t really know what beaches there are in or near Melbourne. Or much else around Australia, I suppose, other than not seeing any beaches in Perth. I used to swim lots when I was younger – even in London, Mum sent me to swimming lessons since before I was 5 – but that was only in pools. I’d say I’d prefer ocean water (and maybe saltwater pools) because the chlorine in most pools makes my hair sticky. I hardly swim nowadays. :/ But I used to be a fairly good swimmer, at least.

    2. I don’t like singlets. I also don’t like thongs (the footwear kind :p) that stick in between the big and second toes – I found those uncomfortable, even painful, so I’ve avoided them for years now. But I will wear sandals and shorts in summer time. I would wear shorts on casual Fridays but we’re only allowed long pants at work – and besides, the air-conditioning is so cold that I need a jacket even on hot summer days. Speaking of hot days, it’s the second 40+C day in a week in Sydney today. ):

    3. As you mentioned, many other countries vie for the alcohol drinking culture trophy. It’s certainly a stereotype for Australia though, and viewed, bizarrely, as a sort of virtue – for some reason it was news that Bob Hawke was chugging down beers at the Test cricket match against Pakistan recently. Heavy drinking is definitely a problem for many, and I’m sure it’s a contributing factor in things like domestic violence, sadly. Everything in moderation – even if I choose not to, I don’t mind others around me enjoying alcohol wisely.

    4. Speaking of cricket, I only got somewhat interested in it because of colleagues. I’d rather play tennis than watch it – I can only recall watching that epic match between Djokovic and Nadal in the (southern) summer of 2012 – I was in Mauritius at the time so it was late afternoon as opposed to early morning in Melbourne. That was pretty interesting to see.

    5. No idea of the truth of the matter, but I heard that ‘bogan’ originated in Victoria and I only heard the word in recent years. I suppose it’s the Australian equivalent of the American ‘red-neck’. But again, this is a stereotype – perhaps levelled (however unfairly) more against rural folks than city ones. In Sydney, perhaps those from lower socio-economic backgrounds/suburbs are labelled as ‘bogans’. But of course, most would like to think of themselves as smart and educated… and yet real wisdom eludes so many of us!

    6. This is something I hadn’t really heard of seen. But as you said, maybe this is a difference between Sydney and Melbourne. The all-black dress – I thought that was a trend back in my high-school days (1990s), could be labelled goth-punk or some such. Black in summer time would also be very unpleasant as it absorbs heat more readily than whites – with our black hair, I’m sure you notice this too!

    7. A sad part of British Australian history, no doubt, and a serious mistake. But we can work together on this, and more than just a political statement too. I admit I was quite insulated in my suburban Sydney upbringing, but helping in the Pilbara the past couple of years helped me open up to Indigenous folks and understand more of their history and culture – which is just as varied as white Australian culture, you get the good and noble just as much as the lazy and selfish in all cultures.

    8. As we’ve seen with recent UK and US voting, the resurgence of One Nation in the Australian government is likely due to the shift in popular thought with regards to immigration and racial stereotypes. It’s sad that we’ve sort of gone backwards in this regard – I remember when One Nation was first around, popular opinion was largely against Pauline Hanson with her quotes of Australia ‘in danger of being swamped by Asians’ and the like being ridiculed. And yet, now, it seems she’s being held up as some sort of heroine, a bastion of white Australia against the hordes of the non-white immigrants.

    New Zealand might be a separate country but it came close to becoming a state of Australia. (: It’s true that we bring some of who we were when we move to another country and also take on some of what is already present. I only lived in the UK for the first quarter of my life and while I’d consider myself primarily Australian I still have some affinity for the country of my birth as well as that of my parents, Mauritius.

    Funny story about you and that British chap last Australia Day. Last time I was in the Pilbara one of the Aboriginal kids asked me where I was from. He seemed somewhat disappointed when I said ‘Sydney’ so I asked him where did he think I was from. ‘China!’ was his enthusiastic reply. Not an unreasonable assumption I suppose – most of our group was Caucasian in appearance, if not origin. Still a funny moment when I look back on it, though.

    I think you’ve covered a lot of stereotypes already, not sure if I can add any more! A good post leading into Australia Day, thanks! And wishing you a happy 2017 too.

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    • Born in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve updated my ‘About’ page reflected recently to make it more clear where I’ve been. Three years in Malaysia, seven in Singapore. Great times.

      This is probably one of the more engaging, thoughtful comments received. Thank you, Simon. Such a joy to read You could have written your own essay on the subject 😀 I used to not like wearing thongs and the rubber chaffed between my toes. But then after a few months of continuous wearing, my feet and skin adapted and grew tougher. Now I really enjoy wearing them. But when it rains, they do not provide much grip at all, sadly. Don’t know if you have tried walking in flip-flops in the rain but I recommend that you don’t.

      Interesting to hear that the word ‘bogan’ could have probably had its roots in Victoria. Exactly – it is the Aussie version of “red-neck”. “you get the good and noble just as much as the lazy and selfish in all cultures.” So well said. I have yet to visit the city Perth or Brisbane, but perhaps there are more of them here. Over the last few months I’ve traveled out to the rural areas of Victoria and don’t remember encountering bogan-like behaviour. Perhaps it is just where I went, perhaps it is because of the people you hang out with.

      Black and goth. Ah, that actually eclipsed my mind. True that black is often associated with the darker mind of things, but I suppose when Melbournians wear black, they tend to want to exude a chilled out vibe instead. Black is basic, as some say. I’ve been up to Sydney a few times and I notice Sydneysiders – at least many women – are more fond of floral fashion compared to Melbournians.

      Looking at the positive side of that “Where are you from” encounter in the Pilbara, in a sense it isn’t all that bad when the Aboriginal kid guessed you are from China: he had the briefest knowledge of China, the world. He had a bit of an awareness that not all people are alike, and sounded like the kind who wanted to know more about different cultures.

      Very sharp. This post was indeed written to tie in with the upcoming Australia Day, which itself is always an interesting point of discussion. Best wishes for the year ahead, and stay safe, stay healthy.

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      • Of course, I should have thought to double-check that before writing anything. I know I read it before because I remember noting that we share a love for Mario and Final Fantasy games (and Florence and the Machine were featured in FFXV). I suppose I subconsciously thought that just because my migration movement was one-way that it would be similar for you – didn’t think that anyone would leave Australia only to return many years later.

        Again, you’re being too kind, I was simply responding to your well-written points. I haven’t really written an essay since university days. I’m not really the literary sort, though I do cringe at the lack of grammar and spelling skills of many on the Internet, simple mistakes and English-American differences notwithstanding.

        If I have to do any substantial walking in sandals it gets pretty tiring too, regardless of the weather, though if it was raining I’d just revert to shoes. I suppose one could get used to the toe split but I just chose not to. (:

        With reference to my comment about Indigenous and non-Indigenous folks I’m simply trying to avoid the generalisation that many people seem to do – I suppose that’s a tendency with racial categorisation, which often leads to racism. It was definitely a case of the good, the bad, and the ugly (in terms of personality and attitude) with the communities of Indigenous folks that I met – and perhaps the proportion of good is a little less that one might normally observe in ‘civilised’ non-Indigenous society, hence the stereotyping that so many non-Indigenous folks seem to do.

        My times in Brisbane were mainly visiting cousins in the suburbs, plus trips to the city (for both leisure and work). And I was only really in the inner city area in Perth. I don’t really get to meet personally with ‘average Joes and Josephines’ so it’s hard to say what they might be like in terms of any similarities or differences to Sydneysiders. Actually, I don’t really get to do that in most places I go to.

        I haven’t been to Melbourne for more than the occasional work trip in recent years, so I haven’t really noticed the ‘chilled black’ fashion before. I’ll have to remember that next time I visit. I suppose floral designs and patterns are somewhat popular but really any sort of colour seems fashionable in general casual dress in Sydney. Black seems to be more for formal and work suits/dresses.

        Oh yes, I was mildly surprised that he was aware of China though I suppose I shouldn’t have been. Those with relatively stable family conditions usually go to school. That the (tertiary) students we were supporting (the ones directly serving the Indigenous folks) were allowed to join the kids in school and relate to and have fun with them in that time too was really pleasantly surprising as that sort of thing wouldn’t be allowed back in NSW due to child-protection rules etc. Which isn’t to say that the students would do anything bad like that, but we do have to be careful in how we are seen, being ‘above reproach’, so having that opportunity was good.

        And yes, Australia Day discussions are always tricky to negotiate. There’s no easy answer to issues like these but I am concerned when I see or read about people pushing certain political directions – whatever their race might be – instead of respecting and relating to people directly. I suppose it’s the difference between generalising and treating people in groups rather than actually getting to know people face-to-face as we had the (perhaps all too rare) opportunity of doing. I realise I’ve come away a bit from your original topic of Australian stereotypes but I’d prefer to promote a mutual love and respect among Aussies rather than continue the ‘us vs them’ mentality. (:

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        • All of us are changing as time goes on, changing in terms of personalities, tastes and our affinity to a certain cultural side. Never did I see that Florenec and the Machine would sing on the FFXV soundtrack – amazing stuff there.

          Anywhere we go it is hard to avoid social, cultural and economic categorisation. The Indigenous community is extremely varied and all across Australia, and no one Indigenous community or tribe is the same. Your work in the Pilbara is admirable, reaching out first hand to those who need it and educate. Also an opportunity to show that Australians can get along side-by-side, whether they fit the stereotype or not. However, I do get the consensus that some Australians view some Indigenous Australians as “civilised” and some are not – it all depends on where you are and what you have achieved. It is sad, and a mentality that needs to be changed. One’s worth, be it personal, cultural or social, really shouldn’t be based on where we live or really where we are at in this continuum of life. As you said, some like to push certain political directions. It’s one thing to voice our opinions, and another to voice our views respectfully anywhere, anytime.

          It is good to hear (I’m guessing) that you didn’t show offense at the question by the kid. At that time of life, you tend to be curious about the world and those around. Just another learning opportunity for him. And you too and the rest of the world 🙂

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          • Absolutely! Every tribe is different even if many have been forced to co-locate due government decisions and/or history and/or other factors. I know my experience of the people of the Pilbara wouldn’t necessarily be the same as meeting with those who are tied to the lands of what we call NSW. One might argue why go all the way to WA in the first place (it’s further than NZ and Fiji!) – it’s because we have a relationship with the minister in Wickham and it’s a partnership that we have both with him and the elders of the Indigenous people we meet.

            Those who view (some) Indigenous people as ‘uncivilised’ are perhaps ignoring the thousands of years of history and culture of the Aussies who were already here, just because they don’t necessarily fit their definition of ‘civilisation’. And it’s also perhaps because of how things are now. Many Indigenous folks don’t lack for material possessions – but it’s mainly due to government hand-outs, from a government (past and present) which has denied them their wishes and traditions, and so a common response is to mis-use and mis-treat anything that’s given to them freely. Not saying this is a good response but it’s part of how things are.

            There’s also a cultural difference in how possessions are viewed. In western culture it’s very individualistic – what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours. Traditional Indigenous culture is often very communal in its possessions – what Indigenous folks would consider to be sharing, western folks would consider theft. And so many Indigenous folks are locked up for it.

            There are those who try to work within the rules and culture of westernised Australia, and that’s remarkable. But I fear many non-Indigenous folks see the worst of Indigenous Australians and assume all are like that.

            No! I wasn’t offended by the child’s question at all – more bemused, perhaps. And maybe I only felt a little bad because he seemed disappointed initially. The kids are a loving bunch – I might find the messiness a bit uncomfortable only because of my own habits (it was raining – a rarity to have so much of it! – so things got dirty very quickly) – but they’re so friendly and approachable. More so than western kids, perhaps. Some of the older ones might be led astray by young adults heading down the road of theft and drugs, but they responded so well to our attempts to reach out and serve their community that we could tell there was a change in their hearts. When you see change like that, you know it’s not our doing, that’s only the work of God. Coming back the second year they were so overjoyed to see us again – I’m hoping to go again a third year this winter.

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            • I loved this comment for the fact that it fleshed out some of our reactions towards Indigenous Australians and what Australians like you are doing to assist them. From what I gather, tt is not about having a nice long road trip to help them, but it is the journey and making the effort to connect first-hand, right where tradition started and still thrives.

              Pardon my ignorance, but I am not sure if I get when you say, “what Indigenous folks would consider to be sharing, western folks would consider theft”…

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              • Technically not a road trip because we fly (at least 8 hours including transit in Perth!), but I understand what you mean. (: For some kids it’s an opportunity to be loved and cared for in a way which, sadly, they just don’t get at home. I didn’t mention the Indigenous pastor (whom I only saw once in Roebourne the first year) who taught us (the students and us supporters) much of his culture and personal background. One of the Christian elders further inland near Karijini spoke heaps last year on his deep desire for his community to know what real love is about too.

                What I meant was in some cases where Indigenous and non-Indigenous Aussies live in close proximity, western laws about individual possessions are ignored – whether unintentionally or wilfully – and so things like squatting or theft (eg livestock or vehicles) can take place. Communal vs individual possessions. Can be quite a shock for non-Indigenous folks ignorant of Aboriginal customs – again, either wilfully or unintentionally.

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                • Such a valuable point at the end of your comment there 🙂 Funny how Western laws seem more favoured in certain parts of the world today. Territorial and possessions can divide, and it is time that all of us start respecting and …for the First Peoples each other, or at least try to see things from each other’s perspective. Also, education is very important too.

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  18. Growing up, I never was intersted in Australia. Never wanted to visit, despite the hight of Crocodile Dundee popularity in the US. When I moved abroad, I saw rather the worst qualities of Aussie men on holiday in Thailand, and was further turned off. I said, “Australian men remind me of monkeys that have been let out of their cages, uncouth and uncivilized.”

    I hope you are laughing.

    Of course, I met a few Aussies in Thailand who I now consider friends, and didn’t really see their nationality so much as who they are.

    In any case, now I’m working at an “Australian school” (Australian Centre for Education) and have met an interesting array of Aussies and Kiwis. And my old stereotype has been coupled with my new exposure to Australians. I’ve even been converted. Ever since I learned what an amazing place it is (nature) and, yes, even meeting you 😀 I’m eager to see it one day.

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    • I do think sometimes tourist places like Thailand and Bali bring out the worst in Australians – those who traffic illegal substance or recently like the “budgie smuggler” incident in Malaysia where a bunch of Australian men offended Malaysia by stripping down to Malaysian-flag underwear…

      So cool you are working at an Australian school. Maybe at some point your students will tell you stories about what they know about Australia, and your colleagues too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Mabel, enjoyed reading another interesting post from you about stereotypes.

    In this post, I learned the word ‘bogan’. I had two Australian friends – both of them bankers. Initially I found it very different to understand their accent. Though they dressed up casually most of the time, they were definitely not ‘bogans’. 🙂

    Nice to know that several Aboriginal communities of Australia and their histories are being rediscovered. While, anti immigration remains a debatable topic in many countries, attempts to normalize racism is a regressive step for any culture.

    Thank you for your earnest attempt to list down the stereotypes about Australians and for sharing your views on the basis/ baseless nature of the stereotypes. Stereotypes prevail in all cultures, and there are exceptions to stereotypes too. I sometimes wonder though how and why certain perceptions become so widespread and viral that those are propagated as stereotypes. 🙂

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    • It can be hard to understand the Australian accent sometimes. It’s not exactly blunt or flat, and some vowels have a sharp kind of intonation. Hope your banker friends were able to understand you and the others in your community 🙂

      It is interesting how stereotypes prevail as you pondered there, Somali. Maybe we all want a starting point to get to know someone, and so we repeat stereotypes over and over to start a conversation – that makes us comfortable.

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  20. I’ve met quite a few Australians over the years, Mabel, and also a number of people who have visited Australia as tourists, students or whatever so I’ve heard all sorts of things about it, but it has all been very random and so disparate. I don’t think I’d feel confident making any sweeping statements about the place. One thing I have heard from lots of Australians, though, is that Vegemite is a delicious spread for sandwiches. Having seen the stuff, I’m certain my leg is being pulled. What’s it really for? Greasing axles? Lubricating engines?

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  21. The scene I was watching at, in my mind, while I was reading each Australian stereotype on the list is I am looking at you, your friends in your IG photos, the people I see on The X-Factor show, and some random white faces I see on TV and the movies. It’s amazing how you described each and how I felt your presence in each word. You were right in saying that “slowly but surely, we are learning to get along a bit more better and see past typical stereotypes. Politics change, people change. And as people change, politics change.”

    There may be some Australian stereotypes that will stick around but they will change one way or the other. At least 50 years ago, I don’t think Australians will be described the way you did on this post. Today, immigrants are all over the place. They have become fully coalesced into the, I may say, Australian web. I say this because there are also a lot of Filipino Australians in the country and gleaning from what I saw during auditions for reality TV shows, they’re not being discriminated. I hesitate to say like “oh that contestant is a Filipino”. I mean, I’m looking at Australia now as a melting pot of races too and a country that is super welcoming to Asian races.

    I take my hats off to you, Mabel, for representing the voices of the many Australians there, of your kind in particular. The ones that echoes important sentiments and clarifications in order for us on the far side of the planet to understand misconceptions and stereotypes about Australians in this day and age.

    As to the question, Australians are heavy drinkers and it’s a common thing there that a refreshing cold beer at the end of every workday is a must have. I couldn’t argue now with your research (i.e., “compared to the rest of the world, Australians are not among the top 10 countries of heavy drinkers…”).

    I believe interacting with Australians in the future if fate permits will be easy with all the articles I have read on your site–it will always be my cultural reference now if I need to know something about Australia.

    Good day, Mate!

    PS

    Saddened to hear about your thin skin. I now perfectly understand why you’re not really into dipping in the salty waters of Australian beaches. What matters is you appreciate the paradise that is the beach. This was vividly portrayed in all your stunning shots of it. If there’s one thing I really feel connected with among the countless nature wonders around, it would be the beach. I’m at my happiest when I’m on it or at it.

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    • It sounds like you know Australia very well. It so true that Australians of Asian background are represented on reality TV shows, like the X-Factor. But not so much on other kinds of media like news bulletins and current affair shows. One show called Border Security really likes to pick on Asian travelers to Australia, right in the middle of the airport (you can YouTube it). However, the good thing about Asians like Filipino Australians being on reality TV is that they can reach every day Australians and it really is a representation of the diversity that is Australia.

      It is one thing for me to speak up and represent Australia. You are very kind and I am humbled that you say I represent the voices. Never seen myself that way and all I ever want is each and everyone to speak up and respect others no matter their background. Australia does need to improve on cultural tolerance and accepting varied lifestyles and choices – i.e. non-drinkers shouldn’t be looked down upon or pressured.

      Such an observant comment, Sony. Now, do you know, your comments and really, just what you say strikes a chord with my heart. I do have skin that is senstive to the sun. I spent a couple of hours along that beach taking photos, and all the time I wore a long-sleeved jacket and a cap. Didn’t feel hot, and was actually feeling a bit cold in the 20’C weather. Hope you get to see Australian beaches some day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I’ve never heard the word ‘bogan’ – so interesting to me to see with a varied vocabulary of the many English-speaking countries. (we all have our sterotypes, don’t we? — thanks for keeping us on our toes)

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    • As Simon said earlier in the comments, ‘bogan’ can be equivalent to ‘red-neck’. Stereotypes will be everywhere whether we like it or not. For one, they help capture the different personalities that are out there.

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  23. Beautiful photos, Mabel. I have a stereotype but not of the people. Of the insects: overly large and some never even seen outside of Australia.

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  24. Happy New Year Mabel!!:) Personally don’t know any stereotype about Australian. I’ve seen it used in a commercial with a Australian basketball player who players here for the San Antonio Spurs, Patty Mills. Have you seen it? If not here the link youtube.com/watch?v=9OtQs_G92jM

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    • Happy New Year, Mikey! Wishing you well this year 🙂

      I’ve not seen that commercial. Thanks for sharing. “barbie” really is an Australian word. Burgers on a barbie. That phrase has a nice ring to it.

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  25. Such interesting post…
    I tend to wear black (A LOT!)… so I guess I could fit that aussie trend too … Unless it is completely false! 😉 I have been told that in Europe, particularly in France, people under 50 often wear black… so there we have another joint point! 😀
    I loved reading this post and the way you deconstruct these stereotypes. 🙂
    Sending love & best wishes. Happy weekend, Mabel! ❤

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    • You pull off black very nicely 😉 Maybe if you come to Australia and wear all black, we will call you an honorary Aussie 😀 Thank you so much, lovely. I hope you have a good weekend too and it is a fun one ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Because of my husband’s work for Asian Development Bank in Manila and Vanuatu, I have lots of Australian friends. The Aussies we met in Manila were well educated and hard working. They were mainly white and Asian. And as far as I remember, none of them fitted the stereotypes you listed.

    Since Vanuatu is rather close to Australia, many Australians live there. Their lifestyle is more casual than in Manila–more Foster-drinking, more shorts and flip-flops, and, like all the expats in Vanuatu, the Aussies love the beaches. Vanuatu is a perfect place for swimming, snorkeling, boating, and scuba diving. The water is clean and warm, and there doesn’t seem to be much problem with sharks. I loved swimming when we lived there.

    The cruise ships that came in from Australia, however, carried passengers that fit many of the stereotypes–lots of drinking, and they were loud and dressed in shorts, flip-flops, and bikinis as they walked the street. And all of them seemed to be white. (This was in the early ’90s.)

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    • It is so interesting to hear you and Eugene met such a diversity of Aussies in the 90s. I suppose when we are educated, we have a desire to learn more about the world and a desire to be a bit more different.

      From what you described about Vanuatu, makes sense to see why the average Australian might be drawn to the island. Maybe those Aussies on the ship worked hard in another place, another time, and their trip to Vanuatu was time to let loose. From the way you described, I wouldn’t be surprised if they drew a lot of stares and attention to the peaceful nature of the island.

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  27. This is a super interesting post about Australian stereotypes. Which are always there, no matter the country right? Germans are punctual and focused, French people don’t shower, etc etc. Sometimes positive stereotypes, sometimes negative, and sometimes they fit and sometimes they do not. I can say from experience I got a bit put off by some young Australian guys in Bali who were too drunk for their own good and another group who were inappropriately loud and rather rude. But honestly, one can see that kind of behavior from people from any nationality. Especially if they have had too much to drink.

    I have never been to Australia but interestingly enough more than stereotypes I have had other travelers tell me that either it was the BEST place they went to, or conversely, the WORST!!! SO I guess I will just have to go there and see for myself. Which is always best. I do have two very good childhood friends from South Africa who both live there, so one day I do hope to go.

    As usual Mabel a thought provocative and well written piece. I do really like the photos you posted. Those alone should inspire anyone thinking of going, to go.

    Peta

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    • Bali is a tourist haven for Australians, a very, very popular place for Aussies. It is geographically close to Australia and you don’t have to spend that much money to get to Bali and a tropical, fun time there is very much affordable for the average Aussie. What irks me, though, is that many Australians tend to think of Bali as a separate country from Indonesia.

      Haha, I do think you have to come visit Australia to see if you will like it. I suppose different parts of Australia will appeal to different people. Thank you so much on your nice words about my photos, Peta. I had such a good time taking them, and I really do love photography.

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  28. Australia, like the U.S., was populated by foreigners, and all from different countries. Also, both countries have had people come that were prisoners of some sort. Both heritages are full of intelligence, strength, and courage. We don’t rely on so much of what was done before us, making our own ways in our societies.

    The emphasis on tennis is something I didn’t expect. I thought Australians were like most of the world, in love with soccer (football).

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    • Very observant, Glynis. True that immigrants make up a big part of both the U.S and Australia, from way back in history up until today. The more we evolve, the more we welcome distinct identities. Or maybe an amalgamation of identities.

      The Australian Open tennis has started in Australia this week. It goes on for a fortnight, an it is receiving round the clock coverage on the TV here and around the city.

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  29. Oh that was an interesting read, unfortunately I don’t think of any stereotype about Australians. I think about stereotype about the country, like the deadly animals, the platypus, the kangoroo etc, but not really about the people 😀

    I’m curious about the last picture, is it a long time exposure shot ? I love the water effect

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    • Haha, you are very open-minded when it comes to people around you. Nope, no long exposure shots here but I love doing those when I have the right gear with me. I had a bit of help with Photoshop, though. As with all my images 😉

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  30. Fun post, Mabel, and I love the edited shots of the water. I spent a nice long holiday in Australia once, traveling to many spots with some friends who were living just outside Sydney, and I did experience things that made these stereotypes ring true in some cases! Of course, no place can be reduced to a few of its common parts, and your lovely country is no exception!

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    • Very sharp, Lex. The photos are indeed edited but in reality, this beach was really very stunning. You are right. Stereotypes only tell one side of the story. The other parts of a place we have to experience ourselves and live it for what it is. Nice to hear you enjoyed Australia and you are welcomed back any time.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Perhaps every country and every community in each country are stereotyped by others.I don’t mind it when these are said in a naturally hilarious and lighter tone, but there are situations when people use filthy language against other countries and races. Personally, I don’t think it’s right to generalize but, I know that there are some facts in it when I heard the stereotyped statements about India or Bengalis (my community).

    I’ve heard Aussies are fun-loving with a laid-back attitude and also, as you’ve mentioned, racist. But, a few Australians I know personally and many more in the virtual world, in no way, display such traits. Humanity, love and friendly attitude are universal qualities and are not marked by oceans or continents. Mutual respect is the key… 🙂

    I enjoyed reading the post adorned with beautiful pictures. Personally, I love this island continent and wish to visit it someday.

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    • There is much truth in your words, Mani. Just like you feel some Bengalis fir the stereotype, the same I feel about some Australians. Stereotypes are just one kind of story of our communities. The other kinds of stories and other kinds of people might just generally don’t get much attention.

      “Humanity, love and friendly attitude are universal qualities and are not marked by oceans or continents” What a beautiful way of putting it. Our actions and the choices we make do not necessarily need to be based off stereotypes – they come from the heart.

      I hope you get to meet more Australians in the future 🙂 I have met quite a few Indians and they are all very polite and often jubilant.

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  32. Happy new Year Mabel. This is a wonderful and informative post, as always from you. I will forward the link to my son. He’s travelling to Australia this Spring (planning to stay a full year with a working Visa!). He’ll find this interesting. I think the stereotype I’m guilty of having is that the Aussie male gender are loud, like to party and definitely not feminist types. I’m sure that is blown way out of proportion.

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    • And happy new year to you too, Lisa. True that some Australians are loud and tend to come across as aggressive when they have had too much to drink. Sometimes we simply make poor choices. But I think at the end of the day, most of us mean good.

      Good luck to your son and his travels to Australia. I am sure he will have a great time here taking in the sights and local culture.

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  33. It may interest to know that various “younger” Aussies work temporarily in our western CAnadian mountain ski resort towns –Whistler, British Columbia, and Banff-Lake Louise National Park in Alberta. I’ve always wondered about this. Also various German young folks if they can speak English also. I think we must have fantastic snow conditions for all those winter sports –snowboarding, skiing (downhill and Nordic), skating and backcountry skiing/hiking.

    I am aware there are enough Asian-descent folks in the big cities but not much elsewhere in Aussieland? Unless they want to live in isolated areas….or set up an Asian restaurant in the wilds….which happened across Canada in1940’s right up to 1970’s. A lot of small rural towns in Canada, there may be at least 1 Chinese restaurant.

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    • That is interesting to hear many Aussies work in your Canadian ski resorts. I don’t think it snows as much here as it does in Canada during the cooler months, and can see why some Aussies are drawn to working there – for both the weather and a new experience.

      Correct. Many of Asian descent tend to congregate in the capital cities of Australia or the immediate surrounding suburbs. Quite a few rural towns I traveled last year, I barely saw an Asian face. But I am pretty sure most outskirt towns here do have at least one Asian restaurant be it Chinese or Thai or Japanese or a mixture of Asian cuisine in one restaurant.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Mabel, that’s a good amount of information layered within your article about Australian stereotypes. I didn’t know many of the things you mentioned. The part about South Australia, and Borossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Also Fosters brewed in the UK. Not that I drink . Never have 🙂 But one should know. Bogans…yeah we all are in some way or the other. I wasn’t aware of the difference between Sydneysiders and Melbournians as far as their liking towards black colour is concerned.

    At the end of the day, stereotypes are stereotypes. They do have a reason why they are there, and there are reasons why most of them are not completely true. You picked up a list of good ones and justified your argument well.
    I like this part “You don’t have to fit the stereotype in order to belong to a certain place – that feeling of belonging lies within you, because you feel it and believe in it.”
    I have never aped anything that others are doing. Had many distant relatives arrive here recently, and most end up getting desperate trying to assimilate, like compulsive barbequing and drinking or…peculiar dressing style. Maybe it does help one feel good as a new migrant but soon we see it is not necessary.
    Have a nice weekend!

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    • Thank you for the kind words, Alka. I really enjoyed reflecting about Aussie stereotypes while writing this. For some reason I don’t think the Barossa Valley or McClaren Vale are widely known unless you are really into wine. It is usually Australia’s beaches that tend to be promoted more internationally.

      “stereotypes are stereotypes. They do have a reason why they are there” Precisely. Stereotypes are stories from the past, and even still today. But of course there are myriad stories and personalities out there, and hence we should be open-minded these days.

      Using the word “ape” to describe how some migrants assimilate is very clever and very apt. Reminded me of the phrase, “monkey see, monkey do”. Compulsive barbecuing might not be so bad though – plenty of food and I am sure they won’t mind if you invite yourself around for some 🙂

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      • Getting invited to barbeques. No. That’s not the issue. The issue is not about me 🙂 Your topic was related to stereotypes so I mentioned how stereotypes influence new migrants. It is that stereotypes about a country are so entrenched in a new migrant’s mind, that at least in initial days or months or arrival, there are all sorts of absolutely unnecessary efforts involved in trying to assimilate in a superficial way. People end up focusing on wrong aspects of Australianness. Had I not noticed some obsessive-compulsive behaviour in others, I would have never written here. Everybody has a right to live the way they want to and also learn from their unique experiences as a new arrival.

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        • But, Alka, it is always so fun to get invited to barbecues 😀 Migrants getting overly entranced with local culture is an interesting topic. You come to think if they worship or respect the lifestyle of their adopted homeland. That can be an endless debate. Thank you so much for chiming in. Always much appreciated.

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          • Mabel, I thought you counted Aussie drinking habits as a stereotype. Barbecuing is accompanied by drinking and such repetitive ritualistic drinking only goes on to reinforce the stereotype. That is what I meant. But for those who drink…drinking is always fun. I am dealing with my husband’s cancer so no time for idle fun…and also, I do not drink.
            Migrants getting over involved. ..I will write on this topic soon.

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            • Thanks for clarifying, Alka. I actually never thought of barbecues that way. I love going to barbecues and eating the sausages and bread and grilled meat, but I don’t drink and so have never had a drink at a barbecue.

              I am sorry to hear of your husband’s predicament 😦 Best wishes to him and your family, and hope things will get better soon.

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  35. At the outset Mabel I must admire the way you have presented this post and the various aspects that you have touched and dissected with surgical precision. Though I have little knowledge of Australia lifestyle and culture and the way people live and love to live but this post of yours have given me a whole world of knowledge in a capsuled form.

    Stereotypes and misconceptions are there with every country and many times due to lack of knowledge and awareness we build a perception that would rooted in the past and with changing times and things keep changing rapidly what was true yesterday is no more exists. What was so fashionable yesterday has lost it’s shine today, what matters is how we look at life and how our outlook changes with changing things around us. Yes, immigration and multiculturalism have become an integral part of many countries, the debate on how this should evolve and how this is re-orienting the thoughts of a community and society…is a hot topic.

    As an outsider who has never gone to Australia and only have read about the country, carries a certain perspective and perception, some may be corrected and others may flawed; like Australians are outdoor personalities, they love sports, they enjoy the beach outing, they love adventure activities and they cherish series of beer glass and it is lively and lovable places…this aberrations of racism and discrimination is a part and parcel of every country, only the degree may differ.

    Also it all depends on the history of the country and British colonization in 1700s and 1800s of Australia has the influence on the architecture and composition of the country. As regard the dress, it all depends on the weather, the temperature decides and being tropical has its own advantage and disadvantage…

    I agree we needn’t be born in a country or look like the inhabitants of the country to be the real citizen of that country, today it has become such an open society, border-less and so much happens in different countries and the inter-mingling of the people and massive migration to different countries, we have reached a stage where the third or fourth generation of certain family have no connection to the country of the origin…

    Thanks Mabel for sharing a fact loaded and fascinating post.
    😀

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    • “What was so fashionable yesterday has lost it’s shine today, what matters is how we look at life and how our outlook changes with changing things around us.”

      This line of yours jumped out at me, Nihar. Stereotypes can come and go with each generation. But some will stick around for a long time to come. Either way, what matters the most is that we look at each other and each personality and each moment with an open-minded, showing respect all round.

      I hope you get to visit Australia some day so you can get a first hand feel of Australians and the way of life here. Racism is certainly a flaw of our society but really, cultural misunderstandings will arise wherever we are in this borderless world, as you so aptly put. With Australia, the racism that goes on here makes headlines around the world quite a bit. Why this is so is baffling – but I suppose a lot of us has always perceived Australia as a happy-go-lucky country and the media likes to shake things up a bit.

      True that some of us have no connection of our country of origin. We could even be born in a certain country; our parents and great-grandparents could have also lived in this country; yet we can still feel no connection or a sense of belonging to the country.

      You always say the most informative things, Nihar. Always a pleasure to receive a comment from you. Thank you very much, my friend 🙂

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      • Yes Mabel, the two important aspects that we can keep on debating is that of stereotypes and racism in any society. These are serious matters but when we look at things around it some are so insignificant we have made it bigger and we are creating a problem. Every society has these cliches and typecast, and many country has its own factors of discrimination though the degree may every and it is nothing do with the philosophy of the people of the country, it is just that few people have made this a problem and raised to a level where it is a cause of concern…the voice matters, if the society is dominated with good voices and positive influences then this stereotype and racism subsides and the good vibes spreads…

        As regard Australia, so much good things I have heard about the country, on the adventurism one can indulge and also so much to see in the nature’s beauty and bounty…yes, I will definitely visit and when I do I keep definitely keep my meeting with you as a agenda in my schedule and before I meet I have revise all our conversations so that it becomes really memorable in the real life.

        Always, always a pleasure exchanging thoughts with you.
        take care!!!
        😀

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  36. Happy New Year, Mabel.

    Do people still ask you where you were born, where your parents come from/born and if you are from China? Do people tell you that you cannot be Australian because of your shape of your face?

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    • Of course. Two days ago, some elderly man on the street said to me, “Ni hao. Not from China?”. Today, a Chinese girl came up to me and straight away asked me in Mandarin, “Do you speak Chinese?”

      Happy New year to you too, Traveller. Best wishes for the year ahead.

      Like

  37. The response to this post indicates the level of interest in your writing, Mabel! You are such a great advocate for multiculturalism and challenging barriers that divide us as a nation of people.. and people we are, – first and foremost. Everyone, in every country is an individual so stereotypes can often be wrongful and hurtful assumptions. I have met loud Americans, just as often as loud Germans, Italians, Indians, South Africans, Nepalese, Norwegians and……loud Australians. It could just as well be a loud individual from any country and not reflective of the values of a whole country of people.

    One could label a behaviour “bogan” but it would just be a label and not indicative, nor defining of, the person themselves. Yet people persist with these labels and sweeping generalisations and with stereotypes of a countryman’s characteristics. I feel that as the world gets smaller, through technology, immigration and understanding, these stereotypes will diminish. Your blog does just that and so much more.

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    • You summed it up very well, Amanda: “it would just be a label and not indicative, nor defining of, the person themselves” In many instances, stereotypes are usually just that and probably tell us about a person in a given moment in time.

      Sure there are loud Australians just as there are loud Americans as you mentioned – sometimes we meet them by chance. But it is odd to see how some jump to conclusions quickly. Maybe it is a comfort of defense thing, maybe we can’t bear not knowing something.

      Technology like the internet is a great resource to help us learn about other cultures and learn to see from a different perspective. I don’t know if my blog does that since it is very much anecdotal, but thank you very much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Truly enjoyed reading your post, Mabel. I’ve been following many Aussie bloggers (yourself included) and it’s safe to say that I’m learning so much. The best way to learn about any culture is to observe and let people talk. Sooner or later they will. And that’s how you know how similar or dissimilar we are. Thanks for giving a snippet of your life in Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Letting people point is such an important point, so glad you say that. I like to listen, and so I really don’t mind letting people talk away 😀 The more we talk with each other, the more we get to know each other and feel all the more closer. Thank you for following, Cheryl.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. The world’s becoming more multi-cultural, Mabel. I hope stereotypes become a thing of the past, other than as a source of fun. I do like the image of myself with bowler hat and rolled umbrella 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Personally I reckon stereotypes will always have their place. But we need to look past them and realise each of us are extremely individual. I like that image of you in the bowler hat and rolled umbrella. Practical 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  40. I think Australians are wonderful people!
    The word “bogan” is very interesting. It definitely sounds similar to the American word “redneck”.
    I haven’t met a lot of Australians in my life, but the few I have met were all very interesting. I have met a white, Middle Eastern, and Asian ones.
    As an Asian American, I can sympathize to the whole “where are you from?”. Growing up I think I used to take it more personally, but now I’m trying to learn to not be so sensitive to it. I wasn’t born in America, but I was raised there for 2/3 of my life, so I do feel very American and should be able to say that I’m from America.
    What’s your opinion on Perth? I have an uncle that lives there. Apparently it’s a big Anglo-Burmese population outside of Burma following WW II. So there’s a decent Burmese population or at least from what I have read online.

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    • “Redneck” would be a pretty close equivalent of “bogan”. It sound slike you have a lot of connections from different races and maybe interesting conversations too.

      Unlike you, I still take “Where are you from” rather personally but don’t hold it against the person asking the question. Some are just plain rude, some are just plain curious.

      I’ve never been to Perth but would love to some day. A lot of my friends from South East Asia find it an attractive destination for its proximity to Asia and relatively warm weather. Also there is more countryside and rural areas to explore compared to the other states. Maybe one day you can come visit Perth and connect with the Burmese population here, finding out your similarities and differences 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Ha! The stereotypes I here about Australians all the time is that also they do nothing but surf all day, live in flip flops and are bogans.
    Here in Spain, the rest of Europe also has stereotypes about Spain:
    1) Because its more south they think its eternally sunny and hot. Wrong: at this precise moment of writing this it is about 5ºC. Also because Barcelona is so humid, when it’s 5ºC the thermic sensation is more like -5ºC. Freezing!
    2) Everyone sings flamenco… not.
    3) Women always wear dotty flamenco dresses,… lol!!!

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