When I moved back to Australia about a decade ago, the typical Aussie ‘hellos’ confused me. When someone greeted me in Australian-speak, it always took a moment for me to realise that they were actually saying hi to me.
If you live in Australia or have travelled around Australia, chances are you’ve heard the word ‘mate’ a lot here. For instance, you might’ve heard, ‘G’day, mate’ or ‘How ya doin’, mate?’
Living in Melbourne, I’ve friends from different backgrounds, different ethnicities and different age groups living different lifestyles. Western, Asian, Indian, hippies, hipsters, corporate business types, baby boomer types – so many of them say ‘mate’ all the time.
The idea of ‘mateship’ goes hand-in-hand with the word ‘mate’. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, very broadly ‘mateship’ is ‘an Australian code of conduct that emphasizes egalitarianism and fellowship’. Throughout Australian history and up until today, saying ‘mate’ is a mark of Aussie culture:
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.
There are many stereotypes about the land of Australia. Whether you have lived in, visited or heard of Australia, chances are you’ve come across typical perceptions of Australia in the geographic sense – and come across Australians agreeing with them. And disagreeing with them as well.
Having lived in Australia for a while now, I’ve noticed some things are always predictable about this 7.692 million km2 patch of land called Down Under. At times its surrounds surprise me when I least expect it, and sometimes it doesn’t.
When it comes to talking about our national animal, Australians have different opinions on this. Australia has never formally proclaimed or adopted an official animal. Some animals seem to hold more significance towards our country than others and some even are emblems, while others simply popular in general with Australians.
Often we think of a national animal as an animal widely recognisable throughout a country. It can be an animal the majority of a country is familiar with. Some national animals around the world include: the markhor (wild goat) in Pakistan, the giant panda in China and since the 1300s, the unicorn in Scotland.
I have vivid memories of animals being a considerable part of my life growing up in Australia. As a kid, I always looked forward to trips to the zoo. Perked up seeing Big Bird on Sesame Street in the evenings on TV. As part of my collection of stuffed toys, my parents insisted there was a kangaroo and a koala – both long thought of as unofficial animals of Australia.