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Top 10 incorrect Australian stereotypes

August 4, 2011 - Travel Wire Asia

By Kritika Seksaria

Some stereotypes do exist. For instance, in Australia, most of us are platonic ‘mates’ to each other. The men here are definitely tall, beefy and brawny, thanks to their love for footy and AFL. Melbourne does have unpredictable weather, just as it has the best coffee.

In spite of that, there are some age-old perceptions that pop culture convinces people to believe about the Aussies and their land. Here’s a list of myths that have been exaggerated and blown largely out of proportion.

1)   Kangaroos: Nobody rides to school on a Kangaroo. The kids don’t wait at the Kangaroo stop and people do not struggle to find a good spot to park their Kangaroos. Australians, walk (not hop) – they hop on to trams though, and they use trains and taxis as well. Some Aussies own a Swift or a Honda and some of them have Audis and Ferraris. However, nobody has a Kangaroo, in fact we never even get to see one in the city.

Pic: AP

2)   Barbecue: There is no denying the fact that Aussies relish a good BBQ. It’s a feature on housewarmings, birthdays, or sometimes just on a Sunday. However, no matter what Paul Hogan said in the 1980s, ‘shrimp is not the only thing that is put on the Barbie’. Sausages, steaks, fillets, burgers, you name it and I can assure you that it has been barbecued somewhere in Australia. But there is no particular fascination for shrimp or prawn above the others.

3)   Fosters Beer: It is one of the least popular beers in Australia and god knows Aussies love their beer. Fosters has gained popularity largely through exports thus leading to the false notion that Australians survive on Fosters. After five years of living in Melbourne, I tried Fosters for the first time in India, not even knowing that it was an Australian brand.

4) Crocodile Wrestling: Steve Irwin was really brave to do it, Paul Hogan was really talented to show it, but most Australians don’t know squat about it. Yes, there have been some significant crocodile and alligator references to Australia on an international level; nevertheless, this is not a sport kids learn at age 4 or at any age as a matter of fact.

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5)   Fashion: People do not wear singlets, thongs, bikinis and hats with corks dangling from it. They might wear it to the beach, but no one wears it to work, parties or the mall (yes we have malls, but more on that later). Melbourne and Sydney have established themselves as fashion and shopping hotspots with various brands of clothes, handbags and shoes that are not just Quicksilver, Billabong or Rip Curl. The fashion standard is easily comparable to New York and London.

6) Desert: Yes, a large portion of the Australian land is a desert, however, those are not places where Aussies live or most travellers would visit. Australian cities and beaches are developed enough to be a highlight of the country besides the dry barren land.

 

 

7) Sparsely populated: Australia undoubtedly has a low population and yes the outback and suburban areas might be scanty. However, the developed cities and tourist spots are far from it. Try going to the Opera House on New Year’s Eve and you will know what I am talking about.

 

8) Vegemite: It is not the staple diet after barbecue. Vegemite is available everywhere and is probably in the pantry of every household, however, it is by far not the most popular spread. Jams, butter, cheese, dips are more commonly consumed by kids and adults.

 

9) Self-Absorbed: In spite of their unique history, Australians are not as self-absorbed as expressed by the media. The cities celebrate Indian, Chinese, Malaysian and American holidays. Halloween is increasingly popular and the Chinese New Year celebration in Melbourne is extravagant.

Pic: AP

 

10) Life by the beach: All Australians don’t live by the beach and go surfing at 11 AM on a Monday morning. Going to the beach is indeed a luxury and an activity to be done on a holiday or a free weekend that people find difficult to arrange because of demanding work schedules.

Stereotypes certainly have some truth or history to it, but globalisation and development of cities have hazed these features over time. Nevertheless, they are often fun to use as cultural connotation and play around with.

Kritika is a Regional Representative for Asian Correspondent based in Melbourne, Australia. She can be followed on Twitter @kritsontweet

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  • Docelot

    Who THE FUCK wrote this? Half of this is wildly inaccurate. It seems like it has been written by a tourist who who hasn’t left Sydney and/or Melbourne. Fair enough we don’t ride Kangaroos but if you leave the city there are absolutely shitloads of the them around. Also, I wear thongs and singlets, eat vegemite, go to the beach, surf and eat BBQ shrimp as often as I can get away with it.

  • Barry Mundi

    Bah! All of this is false, I drink Fosters all the time! Especially while driving me kangaroo to the beach to wrestle a few crocs or surf at 11 AM, heck I have it when I’m bloody cooking up prawns on the barbie! I don’t have much mates to share this with though since the population of my town is 27, but I like being alone at the end of the day, I take off my crocodile toothed hat make meself some vegemite on toast and think of whats gonna happen tomorrow. I hear the yanks are havin a get together called ‘Christmas’ soon, sounds stupid to me. Anyway night mates.

  • Fox-Boy72

    one problem with Vegemite. It is much worse than marmite, and hardly anybody even likes it

  • aussiemate

    AMERICANS are bloody fags same with bloody pomeys stuck up as hell

  • WTF?!

    As for numbers 5 & 10: you’ve obviously never been to the Gold Coast. Number 9… Aussies are probably one if the most racist bunch of people In the Western world who have practically zero tolerance for immigrants or people of more ethnic backgrounds. We constantly ‘steal’ ideas, brands & even words and try to make them our own. Stereo types exist for a reason. And I’ve never actually met a foreigner over the age of 8 that thinks we actually ride kangaroos to school.

    • Shiela

      WHAT? Since when did we ‘steal’ ideas and try to make them our own? And how are we racist? We celebrate many different traditions from around the world. Just shut up.

      • Jack

        Yeah, Shiela is right.

  • Gracey

    This includes many stereotypes of Australian culture, although you might find that some of them are more common in the rural areas. :)

  • SPK

    I can’t wait to move out of Australia so bad! Australians are horrible creatures. No wonder they can’t wait to get out of here to be somebody in another country, especially America. People are just so damn rude and arrogant here. How do I know? I’m suffering here until I have enough funds to fly the hell out of here, FOREVER!

    • Lisa

      You don’t have to be so rude. You just stereo-typed the whole of Australian’s population as rude and arrogant and I don’t think everyone in Australia acts the same. And I don’t know any people that want to move to America from Australia and I have lived all over Australia! Though I know someone that wants to move to Canada.

  • iampieman

    Number 5 is totally wrong, I see people wearing everything you listed all the time in their every day life!

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  • Fox-Boy72

    Fosters is the company that makes VB, or Victoria Bitter

  • AdZ

    True, Vegemite definitely is the most popular spread, far more popular than jam and honey and peanut butter.

  • Fliggywiggy

    Vegemite sucks! I know about 5 people who like it.

  • me, myself, i

    I have met people from other countries who actually believe these stereotypes

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