Monday, 4 May 2009


Association Meme: Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your blog and elaborate on the subjects given. Photobucket 
My country!! Oh yes, I'm so proud (not matter what a certain American says about it).


The People of Australia Are as Varied as the Terrain 

Australia is the only island-continent-country. Pretty cool, huh? Our very favourite thing to do is have a barbie or a public holiday (read: three day weekend.) We're the first country (that the world cares about - because clearly NZ doesn't qualify) to celebrate New Year's, which we do in style. We know how to throw an Olympics (or two.) We're trying to overcome our patriotic possessiveness.


Our somewhat mistaken pride in our history is perhaps never more evident than in the song Waltzing Maltida, often referred to as the song that should be our national anthem (because come on, our national anthem is really not all that stirring when you look at the lyrics.) Only problem is it's a song about a bloke who steals a sheep (a jumbuck) and then commits suicide to avoid apprehensions by the pigs. 

Some of the stereotypes are true. We're a fairly laid back kind of people, but we’re not as multicultural or open-minding as we’d like to think; we’re fairly homophobic and pretty Christian, especially when it comes to things like abortion (a law only just passed last year) and gay marriage (despite Sydney being the second gay capital of the world.

 We are sports-crazy. In the north – QLD, northern NSW and so on – rugby is the sport of choice (though god only knows why.) We of the more sensible – Victoria, South Australia, WA and NT – barrack for AFL (also known as aerial pingpong) like our lives depend on it. It’s also fairly true that we’re a beach society. After year 12, most people go on what's called schoolies, which usually means they travel up to the Gold Coast of Queensland for a week or two to party and so on to celebrate after exams. Christmas is usually spent somewhere on the coast. We do love to swim. We're very much a thongs,* bikinis and tan (i.e. skin cancer) society, which means skin cancer is actually kind of a big problem here. *that’s flip flops for you Americans

 Australia Bondi Beach Pictures, Images and Photos 

Unfortunately the whole stubby/beer culture isn’t a myth. Sport and beer (anything + beer) goes practically hand in hand, which leads to the rise of the “ocker,” yobbo and bogan

Aussie Sheila Pictures, Images and Photos  

For a significant number of Australian males to have a crashing hangover is to be respected, to be able to drink vast quantities well beyond the call of thirst is commendable, to 'chunder' this unnecessary liquid is hilarious, and to collapse paralytic on the floor from intoxication is magnificent. If conditions allow a fight then the ultimate plane has been reached. It is all part of the ocker syndrome and heavy drinking is much more important than sexual prowess. 
Jonathan King, Waltzing Materalism, 1976  

Australia is badass, don'tchaknow.


Our language (read: slang) is heavily colloquial and relies a lot on rhyming slang (on his Pat Malone = alone, on the dog and bone = phone, time to hit the frog and toad = road, pork/ie pie =lie, septic tank = yank.) Contrary to popular belief, we don’t start every sentence with “g’day” and end it with “mate.” Furthermore, he'll be growing a mullet, wearing a wife beater and saying "She'll be right" every other sentence. Grouse, fair dinkum and crikey are not as common as you might think. Root is something that often confuses Americans, because they think it either means “route” or to barrack for a team (“who do you root for?”) No. It means shag. (There’s a great joke to illustrate this, but it’s better read than written: Bloke #1: So which route are you going to take to Sydney? Bloke #2: I’ll take the wife, she stuck with me through the drought. Geddit? Read it out loud, and remember what I told you about route/root.  

Gentle Insults 
A significant number of Australian colloquialisms are affectionate insults or backhanded compliments. A clumsy friend or colleague may be called a 'dag', 'galah', 'drongo' or 'boofhead'. There are also many ways of saying that someone is not very useful, for example: 
• 'couldn't find a grand piano in a one-roomed house' 
• 'couldn't blow the froth off a glass of beer' 
• 'a chop short of a barbie' 
• 'useless as an ashtray on a motorbike'.  

Perverse reversals 

As writer, poet and member of the modernist literary and artistic movement the Angry Penguins, Max Harris points out in his book The Australian Way with Words , 'one of the Australian ratbag traditions is to take a word and perversely use it as the opposite of its intended meaning.' A well-known illustration of this is the word 'bluey', a nickname for someone with red hair. 

We’re quite fond of similes: 
Ankle biter: little kid 
Built like a brick shithouse: big strong bloke 
Happy as Larry: very happy 
Bob’s your uncle: you’ll be right. 
He hasn’t got a brass razoo: poor 
Not the full quid: not all there 
Stands out like a shag on a rock: very obvious 
Tall poppy syndrome: think you’re superior, being criticized for being successful 
Hard yakka: hard work 
Flat out like a lizard drinking: busy 

We also love contractions and shortening works (especially with y): breaky, arvo, aggro, bathers, chook, cuppa, rellies, etc.  



 One of the things I love about Australia is what Geoffrey Blainey called the tyranny of distance but I prefer to call splendid isolation. Sure, we’ve just past the point where more people now live in cities than not, but Australia is still more of a rural/urban country than a metropolis like America. In the middle of Australia – what we like to call The Outback – you can drive for hours or days without seeing another person or town (at the right time of year). 


An overview of our short but illustrious history:
  • 1770 James Cook explored the eastern coast of Australia and named it New South Wales. 
  • 1778 Great Britain made New South Wales a colony for prisoners. 
  • 1851 Gold was discovered in New South Wales and Victoria. 
  • 1901 Australia became an independent country. Its capital was Melbourne. 
  • 1927 Canberra became the new capital of Australia 
  • 1967 The Australian government passed laws to help the Aborigines and started giving them back their land. 
  • 1999 Australia’s population voted to stay a monarchy. Elizabeth II remains the Head of State. 
  • 2000 Sydney organised the 2000 Summer Olympics. 

I'd like to note that we only voted not to become a republic because of the question was not simply "do you want to become a republic?" but "to alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament," ie. that the President would not be elected directly by the people but by the Government. 

So this country might be a little backwards, and cinema releases might come out months later than everywhere else, and we're mocked for being in George Bush's back pocket, but it's my country, and I love it. 



jacques du'loque said...

Hmm. This post is almost so touchingly sincere and proud that I can't mock it. So many opportunities to mock but... I'll demonstrate some restraint.

Sharanya said...

I seem to recognize some bits of this post :D

I miss you :'(

Just a girl said...

jdl: :D

S: indeed you do, but you will notice they have been reworked, and now come complete with illustrations!* hurrah and all that jazz. ;-) am swamped with essay netball intercollegiate stuff and life in general but will email proper soon! sorry!


*plus I seem to have epiphanies when I write you :D

Tina said...

he he! loved this post!
loved the waltzing matilda song and all the slang info! that's one thing I am always baffled by! i have a friend in "Melbs" who throws aussie slang at me regularly while we're chatting and throws me completely off balance!!
i'd love to visit this great big crazy country of yours!

Arielle said...

I hope I'm not that certain American. I actually love Australia! My cousins live there.

Just a girl said...

Fear not Arielle, it is not you. That certain American knows who he is - it's jdl. ;-)


Just a girl said...

Sunday said:

OMG you must spend so much time on your blog. Your posts are so long!What can I say, it's a work of art. ;-) Also, some of this post was borrowed from previous musings. And I'll take that as a compliment :D