A little History
OK so Australia was founded in the late 1700s by the first fleet of settlers from England whom officially claimed it and yes they consisted of mainly criminals. So Lets think about for a moment, jails in England became too overcrowded so they sent a whole bunch of people on a boat to a huge island in the middle of nowhere with warm tropical weather, white sand beaches and huge amounts of land. (I’m sorry but who got the rough end of the stick). I’m sure you’ve all heard a little bit of the history about us folks from the land down under, Its funny because when I arrived in Holland of all places and told them I was an Aussie the first thing they told me was how they (the dutch) discovered Australia. Apparently they had landed in Tasmania and discovered a wild aggressive animal that was frothing from the mouth and they fled. Later we found out it was in fact the Tasmanian devil whom has the highly contagious disease called rabies.
Back in the old days and probably still to this day the most common stereotypes for us Aussies was that we either rode kangaroos to school or wrestled crocodiles, which is so far from the truth I mean I do realize for many years our country was famous for the movie ¨Crocodile Dundee¨ which later turned into Australia´s mascot the “Crikey” loving crocodile hunter Steve Erwin. Some people become so freaked out to travel to Australia because of the killer wildlife but lets look at the rest of the world for a moment shall we, Mexico had El Chapo, Colombia had Pablo Escobar, Iran had Saddam Hussein, Germany had Hitler and now the U.S has Donald Trump. At the least with the animals its purely instincts, as with people sometimes its not that simple. Now I’m not saying that these places I mentioned are not safe to travel to because I have traveled through some of them and absolutely loved it! All I have to say is just do some research, of course every person has their own preferences however from my personal experiences if you have a little common sense and keep your wits about you, you should be ay OK! Now, Australians are known for quite a number of things however we still have a reputation all around the world for being loud and proud beer drinkers, so if you ever want to be best friends with an Aussie bring a beer but don’t make the mistake of bringing FOSTERS because we hate that crap!!
Travelling around as an Aussie
Travelling around the world as an Australian is a very fun and crazy adventure to say the least, People from all over the globe have different impersonations and ideas about us Aussies.
In India the common sport played is cricket just like Australia so when I told the locals where I was from they would yell out “Ricky Ponting” “Rickey Ponting” whom is the Australian`s cricket captain. Now when I mean yell, I mean the whole street would cheer and clap and call out the name too.
When I lived in Belgium I met an old man who told me a story that he met a guy from Australia a few years before called Tom, he then asked me if I knew him I began to laugh because I was thinking how big do you think Australia is. (funny fact Australia’s largest property is bigger than Belgium.)
Other unusual things I’ve been asked along the road:
- Do you speak English in Australia?
- Have you eaten Kangaroo or crocodile?
- Does everyone wear clothes like the guy on TV? ( Steve Erwin or Crocodile Dundee)
- Does everyone have pet Kangaroos and Koalas?
- Australia is an Island so can you walk from Sydney to Melbourne?
Stereotypes of Aussies vs True Facts
- Australia is just an Island so it must not be very big, can I walk from Sydney to Melbourne? Sure! take plenty of water its only a couple hundred miles!! Australia is the 6th largest island in the world and it is also a continent – the largest property in Australia is the size of Belgium and it is as long as the width between London and Moscow.
- We eat Vegemite for breakfast, lunch and dinner! OK so a lot of Aussies love it but a lot don[t! It is an acquired taste and it can only be used sparingly preferably on hot toast with melted butter. It is so good we even made a theme song about it.
- Either Sydney or Melbourne is Australia[s capital city when in fact it is neither, they are both the 2 largest cities however when it came to the crunch time to choose which city was bigger and better they could not decide so they created a smaller city and state called Canberra in the A.C.T ( Australia’s Capital Territory).
- We all have kangaroos living in our backyards and we have them as pets – OK you might find a few if you live in the outback, 80% of Aussies live along the coast in large cities or suburbs so you don’t see many animals but of course in the country you will find more. Usually the wild animals are scared of humans so they flee. E.G my mother lived on 5 acres in the bush and her neighbor would look after injured wildlife especially kangaroos sometimes I counted 15 – 20 kangaroos in my mums property at one time.
- There are grey bears in trees that fall out and can eat your brain! yup they are called drop bears and they only eat peoples brains whom are from a foreign land – OK so i`m not really sure where this stereotype came from, perhaps people were camping and a koala fell out of a tree or even another animal and it scared a whole bunch of people. Drop bears are a fictional story that has been told for years just to scare people, as if we didn’t have enough dangerous wildlife someone had to make one up.
- Australia is full of killer wildlife at every turn – well yeah I guess we do have poisonous snakes and spiders but we also have serums and vaccinations for the poison, lets think about it for a moment how does 22 million people live among dangerous wildlife if there was no way to cure or help mobilize the situations, we have learned to coexist with these creatures.
If you go swimming at the beaches or camping in the bush-lands there are going to be signs if the area has dangerous animals for example:
- Camping on Fraser Island is allowed however it has the largest colony of wild dingoes the government and tourism industry alert all travelers about this however it is one of the top destinations, so do take precautions after all they are wild animals and they can have a tendency of getting aggressive if they feel threatened, that is why there are signs “Don’t feed the Dingoes” or “Don’t touch the Dingoes”.
- If you go to the beach there are going to be signs if there are known dangers such as “Beware of the Jelly Fish” (vinegar or urine will help stop the stingers from entangling around you while can call 000 – emergency number in Australia) however there are seasons for this, at public and popular beaches there will be a life guard on duty so if there are sightings of sharks all the people will be notified and the beaches will be closed.
- The north of Australia is home to the world’s largest species of crocodile, the salt water crocodile. Males can occasionally grow to lengths of over 6 metres, big enough to swallow anyone whole! Each year one or two people are eaten by crocodiles in Australia. You can greatly reduce your risk of being eaten by not camping next to an enclosed riverbank that has a sign saying, ‘Warning: Crocodiles’.
Fun Facts about Aussies
- Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a world record for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. The average Aussie drinks 96 litres of beer per year. – not foster that’s for sure.
- Australia is home to the longest fence in the world. It is 5,614 km long, and was originally built to keep dingoes away from fertile land.
- Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backwards one of the reasons that they’re on the Australian coat of arms. Speaking of, Australia is one of the only countries where we eat the animals on our coat of arms.
- Australia is the proud inventor of the word and world craze “selfie” since 2013
- Fosters beer – no matter what the critics say, do not make the mistake by bringing fosters to a BBQ
- BBQ’s – they are so advanced they look like outdoor kitchens, BBQ on the beach at Xmas is an Aussie past time.
- In 1880 Melbourne was the richest city in the world
- Australia’s first police force was made up of the countries most well behaved convicts
- The Australian Alps receive more snow than Switzerland
- Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world
- There has been no deaths by a spider bite since 1979.
- Chinese explorers traveled to Australia long before Europeans arrived. As early as the 1400’s, sailors and fisherman came to Australia for sea-cucumbers and to trade with Indigenous people.
- The first European to visit Australia was a Dutch explorer, in 1606. More Dutch explorers visited the country over the next hundred years, plotting maps and naming it ‘New Holland’ but we all know what happened there!!
- Captain James Cook first landed on Australia’s east coast in 1770. In 1788, the British returned with eleven ships to establish a penal colony. Within days of arrival and the raising of the British flag, two French ships arrived, just too late to claim Australia for France.
If your travelling to Australia you might want to brush up on the lingo! I know we speak English but sometimes it can be hard to understand from our fast speech to our slang words.
We have a tendency to shorten peoples names – Sharon = Shaz, Barry = Baz.
As well as shorten words e.g. words that end in ¨er¨ are pronounced like an ¨a¨. Water = Wata, Paper = Papa
- Ankle biter – small child
- Arvo – afternoon
- Avo’s – avocados
- Beauty – great, fantastic
- Bloke – man / guy
- Bloody – used to emphasis a word e.g bloody hell or bloody beautiful
- Bludger – lazy person
- Bonnet – hood of car
- Boot – trunk of car
- Bottle shop – liquor store
- Chook – chicken
- Chuck a sickie – call in sick
- Crikey – OMG
- Crook – feeling sick
- Dag – funny, goofy person
- Fair dink-um – is that true
- Five finger discount – shop lifting / stealing
- G’day – universal greeting means hello
- Goon – boxed wine very cheap and nasty
- Grog – booze / alcohol
- Jumper – sweater
- Lollies – sweets or candy
- Pommie or pom – person from England
- Reckon – think as in ¨ you reckon¨
- Ripper – pronounced rip-pa
- Sheila – Australian woman
- Shout – you buy the next round
- Smoko – smoke or coffee break
- Snag – a sausage
- Sticky-beak – nosy person
- Thongs – flip flops
- Tinny – can of beer
- Tomato sauce – ketchup
- True blue – honestly
- Tucker – food
- Ute – pickup truck
- Walk about – aboriginal word meaning to wander around
- Whinge – Rhymes with hinge means to complain
- Whoop whoop – middle of nowhere
- XXXX- pronounced four x – Queensland famous beer
- Yabba – talk a lot
- Yakka – work a lot
- Yobbo – (Sterotypical aussies) – beer in one hand, meat pie in the other wearing flannelette shirts e.g. bludging all day
Aussie food and snacks
If you plan on travelling to Australia why not try some Aussie made food or snacks for the real Aussie experience.
- Vegemite – very acquired taste use sparingly on hot toast with melted butter for best results.
- Laming-tons – chocolate covered sponge cake with coconut sprinkles
- Meat pies – Sausage rolls – minced meat sometimes with vegetables wrapped in pastry and cooked to taste
- Biscuits and Chips: Cheezels – cheese rings, Shapes – flavored crackers: my sister sent a gift to my boyfriend which was Mexican flavored Shapes – the best of both worlds.
- Fairy bread – butter and sprinkles on bread
- Pavlova – sweet sugar cake with fruit on top
- Anzac biscuits – homemade biscuits with spices.
I had some fun researching and writing about Australia, there are some fun facts that I didn’t know about. Needless to say the world is a magical place and my aim is to learn, grow and absorb from it in a peaceful and graceful manner. Australia is my home but the world is my stage awaiting my arrival to act out my own story. I hope you guys like what I wrote stay tuned for more articles if you have any request on countries that you would like some information on, If I’ve been there I will do my very best to deliver.