Being Australian Part 1

In English class we’d started the topic “Being Australian” and to get our ‘butts into gear’ Ms E- gave us some sheets with different questions on them, such as:

“How Are Australians Represented?”

“What Does It Mean To Be Australian?”

And, my personal favourite: “Are We A Clone Of America?”

Those three questions actually (I’d previously thought them inane and predictable) really started making me think about Australianism which in turn led me to realise that it is nearly impossible to define what it is to be Australian. Some of the people in our class listed the ways that other countries saw us: meat pies, footy, beaches, sunnies, etc. Some completely disagreed, saying that they may live in Australia, but it doesn’t mean they embrace the stereotypical Australian lifestyle; in fact their upbringing is still strongly influenced by their own culture. Then, there was the general consensus that Australia offered what some other countries don’t: freedom.

So, how are Australians represented?

Sure, there are the stereotypes – the kangaroos, the beaches – which in their own right do exist; Australia should be proud of its native fauna and such. But there is just so much more to it.

A quick look around About Australia confirmed what I thought. Most of the advertising were for locations that only strengthened what the tourists believed; Bondi Beach, Great Ocean Road, Uluru, Kakadu National Park. But that’s only what Australia has, not what Australia is. To understand what being Australian is, one would have to live in Australia. And even though I’ve lived here for a bit over eight years, I still can’t quite concisely describe to an “outsider” what Australia is.

In general, I’d say Australians represent themselves in the way that has been proven popular to the rest of the world, and in turn the rest of the world further pursues this “larrikin” image of Australia. Like a vicious cycle, the small, less romantic but real aspects of Australia is lost and discarded. Small independent movies such as “Strictly Ballroom” and “Beneath Clouds” show some of what the “real Australia” is like, yet it still does not completely encompass what Australia really is. Perhaps there is no real correct way to represent Australia, just like no one could really explain what life is – many have come up with romantic quotes and intelligent outlooks, but I’m sure none of them could totally sum of what life is.

Until next time,

De Fluffe. Out.