BANER3z_nowe_perspektywy perspektywy2019

Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

Australian Basics


Time Zones
Three different time zones stretch across this vast country.
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST (UTC +10)) covers New South Wales (NSW),
Queensland (QLD), Victoria (VIC), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Tasmania (TAS).
Australian Central Standard Time (ACST (UTC +9.5)) covers South Australia (SA) and the
Northern Territory (NT).
Australian Western Standard Time (AWST (UTC +8)) covers Australia’s largest state, Western
Australia (WA).
Daylight saving (moving clocks forward one hour) occurs during summer months (Oct-Apr) in
the ACT, SA, NSW, TAS and VIC.
Australia is an extremely large and diverse country with no singular climate. It is, however,
predominantly warm, particularly in the main population bases along the country’s east
There are four distinct seasons in most of Australia; a warm to hot Summer, varying Spring,
cool to cold Winter and mild Autumn.
In the tropical northern cities of Darwin, Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton, there are two
seasons: hot, wet summers and warm, dry winters.
Australia uses a 240VAC power supply with three flat pin plugs on appliances.
Visitors from most of Asia, Africa, Europe and South America should have appliances that
work on the same voltage as Australia. They will only need a power adaptor for their
appliances to work.

Tourists from North America and Japan will need to use a voltage converter as their
appliances use a different voltage.
New Zealand uses the same plugs and voltage as Australia so no adaptors are required for
their appliances.
Australian currency uses the decimal system of dollar and cents.
The Australian dollar ($) is a national currency and accepted across all states and territories.
If you plan to transfer funds to Australia, then make sure to take notice of exchange rates
and any associated fees.
Academic Standards
On the whole, Australia demonstrates high educational standards leading to well-qualified
graduates who are aware of modern challenges.
For generations, Australian researchers have had a profound impact in various fields and
contributed significantly on the world stage.



Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

How To Make Friends With Locals

acg 10 18 1

When you are in Australia it’s time to make friends with the locals. This is a great way to really experience your town from a local perspective and enrich your cultural understanding during your time there.

There are many ways to meet locals – from exploring websites and apps such as MeetUp, Bumble BFF and SportsHosts, to attending popular art exhibitions and cafes, or joining student groups networks and even group assignments.

Finding where the locals spend time is one thing, but building up a genuine friendship can take some effort. We recommend choosing an ongoing activity that you are interested in and attending on a weekly basis so you can build your friendship over time.


Most institutions have clubs and societies. There are many clubs made up of others that share your particular interest in Harry Potter, badminton, Clash of Clans, singing, getting fit, robots, fashion and beauty, debating, juggling, Kpop, movies, Mahjong or your political, religious and cultural group. The list of options is endless! 


Meetup is a website that allows you to find all different kinds of sporting events and groups. From casual soccer matches on Saturdays to Dragon boating teams, this is a great way to be active and meet new people.


Bumble BFF is the place where you can meet your new best friend, partner in crime, wing woman, workout partner, or anything else that strikes your fancy!


acg 10 18 2

Melbourne locals love their sport! Groups of fans go together each week to watch games, meaning an instant community of people you can connect with.

SportsHosts is a simple, easy way to find real people to watch live sports together. This is your opportunity to meet locals, come together over sports and build your community.

The SportsHosts website allows you to find local sports fans, who you then can connect up with as your buddy to attend a sports match and enjoy typical Melbourne GameDay activities such food before the game, drinks afterward.

Sport is a great event to connect through, as you can easily understand it and it’s an important part of the local culture. Following a team’s progress each week means you’ll always have something to talk about with your new friends.

( by Portia)


Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

A Beginner’s Guide to Aussie Humour

acg 18 9 1

Welcome to the quirky world of Australian humour – situated somewhere in the middle of British and American sensibilities, with a dash of modesty and anti-authoritarianism thrown in.

Australian’s unique strain of humour (combined with the accent and the slang), has been bewildering visitors for decades. Here are a few pointers to help you navigate the murky waters.


"Nice haircut, did you get run over by a lawnmower?" – An Australian talking to a friend.

There aren’t many cultures where making fun of someone is a sign of friendship, but Australia is one of them.

In some cultures, the idea of ‘saving face’, that is, preserving the dignity of others is priority no. 1, and you wouldn’t dream of making fun of a friend or family member.

But it can’t be said that the same holds true in Australia. Australians might make fun of someone’s bad habits, like being late or being messy, they might even play a few practical jokes on really good friends. It’s all a part of building rapport and showing trust.

In some ways, being comfortable enough with someone to make a joke at their expense is in itself, a signal of mutual respect, equality and closeness.

For examples check out:

The Project (TV show)

Hamish and Andy (Comedians)

acg 18 9 2


Self-depreciation is a staple of Australian humour. They’ll call themselves all kinds of names, tell embarrassing stories and even act out impressions of their own worst selves. Australians are wary of ‘showing off’ and so this self-depreciation is a tactic to disarm others and prove that we don’t think a lot of ourselves.

Don’t be fooled, though. Just because they have a tendency to mock themselves, doesn’t mean that Australians actually think little of themselves. It’s simply a way of letting people know that they don’t think they’re extra special and that everyone is on the same level.

For examples, check out:

Josh Thomas (Comedian)

Anh Do (Comedian)


Australians use sarcasm like it’s going out of fashion but, our particular style of sarcasm can really fly under the radar. Sometimes it will be said with such a straight face that it can go completely unnoticed.

Detecting sarcasm (and whether or not you find it funny) has been found to be influenced heavily by where we’re from. If you’re ever stuck, pay close attention to context and what you already know about the person. A wry smile, tone and pitch might also tip you off.

For examples, check out:

Dave Hughes (Comedian)

John Safran VS God (TV Show)

Charlie Pickering (Comedian)


Psychologists think that dark humour is probably a way of dealing with adversity.

So, just imagine you’re from a country that’s incredibly hot, prone to floods and bushfires and home to some of the most frightening animals on earth….After some time spent in Australia, you might find yourself indulging in a little black humour as well…

Australians joke about all kinds of things that might be considered in bad taste in other countries including death, illness, accidents, sex, bodily functions, the list goes on. If you’re ever feeling confronted by an Aussie’s dark humour, remember that it’s probably just an effort to relieve the tension surrounding a subject and to look on the brighter side of things.

For examples, check out:

Judith Lucy (Comedian)

Two Hands (Movie)

Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell (TV show)

acg 18 9 3


Australian’s anti-authoritarian strain of humour can be traced right back to its history as a penal colony.

Occasionally, Australia’s convict origins might be thrown around as if it’s some kind of insult. But Australians know well that many convicts were just people trying to keep themselves and their families alive at a time when Europe’s Industrial Revolution was forcing people out of farms and into cities. So, many Australians are proud of their country’s convict heritage and their endurance in the face of imprisonment and hard labour under the watchful eye of guards and masters. This is where the ‘stick-it-to-authority’ attitude so prevalent in Australian is derived from.

Australians have no qualms making fun of politicians, royalty, moguls or celebrities. While it may seem disrespectful, it’s really another way that they bolster the egalitarianism ideal that they hold dear. No-one is allowed to escape derision in Australia, no matter who they are.

For example, check out:

The Chaser’s War on Everything (TV show)

acg 18 9 4


Once you’ve been here for a while, you’ll notice that Australian’s aren’t all blonde haired surfers, but that in fact, Australian society is a real melting pot of cultures and that there are also definite ‘classes’ (though they can be hard to spot at first).

Australians love to exaggerate and fondly satirise all the different types of Australians which is why stereotypes are the bread and butter of many popular Australian TV shows.

For examples, check out:

Kath and Kim (TV show)

Crocodile Dundee (Movie)

The Wog Boy (Movie)

Summer Heights High (TV show)

acg 18 9 5

( by Belinda)


Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

Top Aussie Myths Debunked

Long before Australia was colonised by the British, people in the northern hemisphere believed that there was a great and mysterious land on the other side of the world – they called it Terra Australis Incognita – the ‘unknown land of the south.’

acg8 18 1

Even now in the 21st century, perhaps because of its daunting size, or its isolation or its remarkable natural wonders, there’s something about Australia that captures people’s imaginations and also kindles plenty of myths and misconceptions.

There are some of the most common myths you might hear about Australia. Here they are, in no particular order.


acg8 18 2

Not quite true. Australia is a BIG place, and so the climate varies a lot across the continent. While there are large swathes of Australia that are hot and dry for many months of the year, the southern and eastern parts of Australia (where the majority of people live) don’t always have perfect beach weather.

Most capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth) have temperate climates, which means they get moderately cool in winter and moderately hot in summer. You’re unlikely to see snow. The city of Melbourne is especially famous for its unpredictable weather, as popularized in the Crowded House song ‘Four Seasons in One Day.” Hoods and layers of clothing are recommended.

You’ll find the tropical weather in northern parts of Australia (in Brisbane and Darwin). Those wanting to see the stereotypically Australian dry, red, hot desert will have to trek out to central and western Australia.


OK, a lot of Australians are descended from convicts, but not all. The consensus is that about 20% of the 23 million or so Aussies do have a convict ancestry (that’s about 4.6 million people).

Since British settlement in 1788, Australian demographics have changed a fair bit. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that as of 2011, 24.6% of the population was born overseas. The four most common of those overseas birthplaces are: the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, and India.


acg8 18 3

No, not everything here will kill you. Australia actually has a surprising lack of apex predators compared to other continents. Crocodiles and dingoes are the only two major predators, and both are restricted to certain areas of Australia.

We do play home to some very venomous creatures including the Irukandji jellyfish (believed to be the world’s most venomous animal), the Sydney funnel-web spider (maybe the most deadly spider in the world) and the Inland taipan (which has the most toxic venom of any snake). Ok, all of that sounds pretty bad when you put it all together, but the chances of actually meeting any of these creatures are so small, that it’s safe to say that this myth is false…unless you believe in drop bears of course?


acg8 18 4

No, Sydney isn’t the capital, and neither is Melbourne. The honour actually goes to a city right in the middle of the two – Canberra. Often maligned by residents of other cities, bewildered by its status as capital, Canberra is a very beautiful, clean and quirky little city. Australian politicians come to Canberra to meet at Parliament House, one of the largest buildings in the southern hemisphere. Canberra is also home to the Prime Minister’s official residence, which is called, ‘The Lodge’.


acg8 18 5

Actually, the world famous ‘g’day mate’ (short for ‘good day’) is starting to go out of fashion, especially with younger, city dwellers. You’ll still hear it occasionally, but you’re also just as likely to hear a ‘How’s it goin?’, ‘Hey mate’ or just ‘Hi.’ So don’t feel any pressure to greet Aussies with a ‘G’day.’

If you do happen to hear some good old fashioned Aussie slang, savour the moment, as research suggests that Australians are slowly abandoning their old accents and slang for more a standard sounding English.



Australian Culture Guide

: Janusz Siwiorek .

Multicultural Society

Australia’s cultural influences are as vast and varied as the continent itself. The earliest “immigrants” came from Asia to Australia between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago, followed some time later by James Cook, who is credited with Australia’s European discovery in 1770.

acg 7 1


In present day Australia, one in four residents were born outside of Australia, and many more are first or second generation Australians. This wide variety of backgrounds, together with the culture of Indigenous Australians who have lived on the continent for more than 50,000 years, have helped to create a uniquely Australian identity and spirit.


Australia’s diversity is evident in the colloquial language which combines many long lost cockney (London Street) and Irish sayings of the early European settlers with words from Aboriginal languages. Words are often abbreviated and end with an ‘o’ or ‘ie’, with flattened vowels and the prominent use of upward inflections at the end sentences.


While English is the official language of Australia, there are over 260 languages spoken, about 50 of which are Australian Indigenous languages.


The central value that binds Australian society is the spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play, and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good.

In fact, this is so important that when applying for a Visa one must sign an Australian Values Statement.

As a nation, Australia embraces diverse religious beliefs and promoting racial and religious tolerance is part of the law of the land. Although 42.4% of the Australian population identifies as Christian, you’ll find that religious tolerance is widely upheld.

acg 7 2


More than 40% of Australians identify as being of mixed cultural origin, and this is seen in the wonderful blend of foods where European flavours are just as commonplace as the exotic and fragrant tastes of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. With 11 million square kilometres of coastline, it makes sense that seafood is predominant in many recipes.


With an art tradition ranging from the prehistoric to Australia’s vibrant contemporary art scene reflects both the nation’s Indigenous cultural traditions and its mix of cultures.

While Melbourne and Sydney often compete for the title of Australia’s arts capital, art is a vital part of Australian society as a whole.

acg 7 3

With 22 million people and the lowest population density in the world, Australia is a multicultural and multiracial melting pot that is reflected in the country’s food, lifestyle and cultural practices and experience.



Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

A Guide to Australian Etiquette

Ever wondered what is and isn’t good etiquette in Australia?

Well, fear not, you have a little leeway here in the land of Oz.

At least, we don’t have many rigid and unbreakable rules of etiquette.

acg 6 0


…there are certain behaviours that may give off the wrong impression.

Some may seem obvious, some may surprise, it really depends on where you’re from!  Rudeness is after all, relative.

Here’s what you need to know.

acg 6 1

To the left, to the left…

Australians drive on the left-hand side on the road, and this convention carries over to other parts of our streets as well.

When stopping on an escalator, or walking up stairs, always stick to the left and don’t block other people from passing you by resting your hand on the right-side railing.

Equally, when walking on the sidewalk, try to stick to the left where possible.

Pay special attention when walking on bike-paths where it’s not just a matter of politeness but also a matter of safety to stick to the left side.

Personal space

Australia is the 9th least densely populated country in the world. Perhaps this is why, even in our busy cities, people like to have a fairly large circle of personal space.

It’s considered rude to brush up against someone unless it’s absolutely necessary (like on crowded public transport). When there is space available, try to stay at an arm’s length away from people. If you have to invade that space for some reason, an ‘excuse me’ or ‘sorry’ is appropriate.

Unless there’s assigned seating, or a theatre is completely full, give strangers a couple of chair spaces between you and them.


Tipping wait staff, hotel staff, and cab drivers is not necessary in Australia as it is in the USA and some other places. It is slightly more common to tip in upscale restaurants, but you always have the option of tipping and won’t be frowned upon if you don’t.


Australians call them both elevators and lifts (just to mix it up) but the rules are simple.

It’s polite to hold elevator doors for people who are approaching the elevator. It’s also polite to ask them which floor they would like if you are standing closest to the buttons, especially if it’s crowded and they may find it hard to reach over.

Saying hello

Don’t feel as though you should say ‘G’day’ or use the word ‘mate’ a lot. Australians are aware of this stereotype and it can feel a little patronizing coming from a visitor. Just saying hello and making good eye contact is fine. A handshake may be appropriate if you’re meeting someone with whom you expect to have an ongoing relationship, like a new work colleague.

Even in formal situations, Australians tend to prefer first names. Calling someone (even your boss) Mr or Miss, Sir or Ma’am can sound a bit stiff.

Boarding Trains

If you’re waiting to board public transport, be sure to wait for everyone exiting to get out before you try to get on. Not waiting for people to exit first is something that will definitely irritate other travellers…especially early on a Monday morning.

In Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and a few other capital cities, peak hour traffic on public transport is under strain, and it’s not exactly difficult to get on other people’s nerves.

In Business

In Australian business settings, punctuality, friendliness and straightforwardness are valued.  Handshakes are an appropriate way of greeting males and females, and clothes are conservative (with colours tending to be darker).

Be sure to respect Australia’s 9 am to 5 pm business hours (this includes emails and messages, unless it’s a matter of urgency).

Business cards are becoming less common so if someone doesn’t offer you a business card, don’t worry, it’s not an insult, they probably just don’t use them.


If someone is within five steps of a door when you’re walking through it, don’t let it slam in their faces, hold it open for them. Of course, this will vary a little depending on the situation – use your best judgment. There are no special rules for males or females, simply hold doors for people who are near and maybe make an extra allowance for someone carrying something.


In some cultures, queuing is optional or just not-a-thing. In Australia the queue is sacred. ‘Pushing-in’ in any situation – at a bar, a service desk or a cashier is considered the height of rudeness. Most of the time, it’s pretty obvious where a queue begins and ends, but if you’re in doubt, simply ask ‘excuse me, is this the end of the line?’

If you’re in a crowded place, like a nightclub, pay special attention to who was waiting at the bar to be served before you. If a bar attendant approaches you instead of someone who was there before you, it’s polite to signal that the other person was there first.

Coughing, sneezing and all the rest

After the Swine flu panic, like many places in the world, Aussies have become more conscious of proper respiratory hygiene. The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council spells out the rules nicely; if you’re coughing or sneezing, use a disposable tissue and if there’s none available, ‘cough or sneeze into the inner elbow rather than the hand’. Why the inner elbow? It’s all science based.

Spitting in public places is a big no-no and (perhaps we need to tell you this, perhaps we don’t) public urination is considered an offense everywhere in Australia. Best not to do it.


In 1979 when NASA’s Skylab space station came crashing down in Western Australia, the sleepy town of Esperance issued NASA a $400 fine for littering.

Australians take a lot of pride in the state of their environment and while we’re not as clean as Singapore, littering is not just an affront but is illegal.  A concerted ‘anti-litter’ movement began in the late 1960’s and most Australians have grown up with the slogan, ‘Do the right thing – put it in the bin.’

The taboo extends to indoors as well as outdoors. When eating in a food hall, or anywhere where tables and chairs are shared, take rubbish to the bin when you’re finished. In fact, if you can see bins, it’s a sign that you’re expected to use them.

Even in places like cinemas, where people are paid to clean up after you, it’s polite to drop your empty popcorn boxes in the bin on the way out.


Rubbish dropped on the street eventually ends up in Australia’s waterways causing pollution and poisoning fish, birds and animals.

Interacting with service staff

Australians have a strong culture of egalitarianism that they don’t like to see violated.  No matter their job, treat people with equal respect and use ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’ with everyone.  Never snap your fingers, whistle or yell at service staff to get their attention. As well as being considered rude, the standard of service you receive may drop a little…

At the table

Table manners in Australia are Continental, meaning that the fork goes in the left hand and the knife goes in the right.

In some cultures, it is considered polite to leave a little food on your plate, but Australia is not one of those cultures.  Feel free to finish your meal.


Different cultures have different relationships with time.

Common concepts of time include; linear, multi-active or cyclical.  Like many Anglo-Saxon cultures, Australians have a linear relationship with time.

That simply means that time is measured by the clock, (not by what someone achieves within a certain amount of time). It is important to arrive at appointments at the actual time specified (and even be a few minutes early) especially in business situations.

However, when invited to someone’s home for a social event, it’s best not to arrive exactly on time, but a little later.

Making Conversation

There aren’t many taboo topics in Australia, although if you’ve just met someone, you might want to avoid topics of race, religion, politics and sex until you know them better.

If you’re looking for sure and safe conversation starters, try the weather or sports (especially football).

( by Belinda)


Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

Conversation Starters With Locals

Studying in another country can be intimidating and making friends can be even more so. With so many different social and cultural norms, it can be a bit overwhelming and confusing. Here are a few tips on how to start a conversation with local Aussie students that will hopefully lead to the start of an awesome friendship.

acg 5 1


While daunting, university is a great place to make friends and provides plenty of opportunities to talk to other students. There are many clubs on campus – writing, music, reading, acting, and sports to name a few. These are a great opportunity to chat to local students. Starting a conversation in these environments can be easy. Many students are eager to talk about their interest in the class or club they’re attending and may ask the same of you. It’s great to start out where you have something in common.

Tutorials are also a great opportunity. Although group projects might seem like a bit of a bore, they are a good way to get to know the students in your group. Australians appreciate honesty, so if you like a classmate’s outfit or the way they write their notes, speak up! Your classmate will most likely return the compliment and start up a conversation. Study groups can also be a good way to reach friends, building on what you have in common.

acg 5 0


There are plenty of topics to talk about when first speaking to a local student. Sport is a massive deal in Australia. Many students participate in sporting leagues, and watching professional sport is a huge part of Aussie culture. Local students will also be likely to engage in conversation about the latest movies, music, and tv shows, and will be interested to know what sort of media you watch or listen to back home. You might also like to ask about the latest events happening at the university, or in the city, which can not only help introduce you to local students but also help you get to know the area you are in.


Australians are generally quite relaxed and laid-back and are open to discussing all kinds of subjects. However, there are a few conversation topics you might want to avoid when first talking to a local student – perhaps not that different to back home. Religion and sex are probably not the best conversation starters due to their personal nature.

You may also want to treat the topic of politics with caution. Although many Australians may mention politics or recent news in passing, some political topics are sensitive and may lead to a heated discussion, especially concerning Australian politics. So, it’s best to avoid talking about politics when first talking to a local student.

acg 5 2


Aussie humour can be a bit difficult to understand. Humour in Australia can be dry, self-deprecating, and sarcastic and filled with good-natured insults. You might find that your Aussie friends will make fun of each other, or themselves, but don’t worry; they’re not being rude or mean, they’re just having a laugh. So next time your Australian friend says ‘great job’ after you fail to walk up the stairs or you drop a book, laugh it off in true Aussie fashion and try again. Nicknames are also a part of Australian humour. Australians might shorten (or lengthen) your name or give you a new one based on your personality or features. For example, someone with red hair might ironically be given the nickname ‘blue’.


acg 5 3

( by Matilda Gerrans)


Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

Essential Aussie Slang for Students

acg 4 1

International students say that one of the most confounding aspects of Australian culture is the constant use of slang.

acg 4 2

This isn’t surprising as Australians use slang, in particular, ‘diminutives’ (shortened words) more than any other English speakers.

In 2013 Australian’s use of ‘Maccas‘ instead of ‘McDonald’s’ was so common that the restaurant chain officially changed the name of some of its stores making Australia the only country in the world where McDonald’s sometimes goes under a different name.

Australians also really like to shorten words by adding an ‘ie’ or an ‘o’ sound such as in ‘postie‘ for a postal worker and ‘ambo’ for an ambulance.

All this chopping and changing is particularly challenging for students for whom English is a second language.

While there are plenty of ‘Aussie slang dictionaries’ around, they tend to focus on older slang that most Australians don’t use anymore (unless they’re being sarcastic). And some of it’s just a plain myth. An Australian would never say, for example, “throw a shrimp on the barbie” – because here we call shrimp ‘prawns’.

So here is a list of slang/phrases and acronyms used in Australia that international students actually need.

acg 4 3

Expressing Yourself

Aggro: Angry

Full on: Intense/Wild

Heaps: A lot or very i.e. ‘heaps good’

No worries: Don’t worry about it/It’s OK

Ordinary/Average: These two words can mean what they’re supposed to, but they can also be a mild insult, indicating that something is of poor quality

She’ll be right: It will be fine

Try hard: Someone annoyingly enthusiastic or who tries too much to please others

______ as: Almost anything could go here; Busy as, awesome as, tired as. To understand the speaker, just cut off the ‘as’ and add ‘very’ to the front and you’ll get what they mean

Totes: Totally

Jelly: Jealous

Play it by ear: Decide as you go

At School

Biro: pen

Dodgy: Poor quality/Not reliable/Suspicious

How ya going/How’s it going?: How are you?

How good is that?: This is a rhetorical question so you don’t have to answer. It just means ‘that’s good’

Mobile/Mobes: Cell phone

Rubber: Eraser

Pacer: Mechanical/refillable pencil

Reckon: Think/Figure,/Assume

Uni: University

Wag: To skip class

Zed: The letter ‘Z’

Going/eating out

Arvo: The afternoon

ATM: Teller Machine/Electronic banking outlet. Stands for Automatic Teller Machine

Avo: Avocado

Barbie: BBQ

Bikkie: A biscuit

Bottle-o: Liquor store

Brekie: Breakfast

Bucks: Dollars

Budgie Smuggler: A pair of Speedos

Cuppa: A hot beverage

Chemist: Drug store/pharmacy

Dunny: Toilet

Durry: Cigarette

EFTPOS: Machine for electronic (card) payments. Stands for Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale

Esky: Ice cooler

Flat White: Coffee with milk or cream

Footy: Football (the game or the ball)

Goon: Cheap wine in a bag.

Grog run: A trip to go and buy alcohol

HJs/Hungry Jacks: Burger King. When Burger King wanted to open stores in Australia, their name had already been trademarked by a small takeaway shop in South Australia, so they became, Hungry Jack’s.

Jelly: Jell-O

Kiwi: A New Zealander (but also a fruit and a bird)

Knock: To criticize something

Macca’s: McDonald’s

Mate: Friend (this can be used passive-aggressively though, so pay attention to the situation)

Mozzie: Mosquito

Petrol: Gas

Pokies: Poker Machine

Sanga: Sandwich

Servo: Service station/gas station

Shout: A round of drinks paid for by a particular person. If it’s your ‘shout’, then it’s your turn to buy everyone drinks.

Skull: To drink something quickly in one go

Straya: Australia

Stubbie: A bottle of beer

Snag: Sausage

Spud: A potato

Vegies: Vegetables

Woop woop: The name of an imaginary town, used to indicate a place far away/ in the country

In The Workplace

ASAP: As soon as possible

Bludger: A lazy person

Call it a day: Finish what you’re doing

Fair go: A fair chance

FYI: For Your Information

Give someone a bell/a holler: Call someone on the phone

Lift: Elevator

Moving forward: Thinking about the future/Moving on to the next thing

Reach out: Get into contact with

Sickie: A day off work due to illness (related: Chuck a sickie: To pretend to be sick to get a day off work)

Whinger: Someone who complains a lot.

 ( by Belinda)


Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

Christmas Traditions in Australia

Australians live on the world's largest island, which is also the world's smallest continent. Most of Australia's immigrants came from England and Ireland, bringing their Christmas customs with them.

acg 3 1

Australia is the Land Down Under, where the seasons are opposite to ours. When Australians celebrate Christmas on December 25, it is during summer vacation. Most of Australia is a hot, dry desert, known as the Outback. The grassy or marshy savannas are called the Bush. But most people in Australia live in the green coastal areas of the southwest.

acg 3 2

The most popular event of the Christmas season is called Carols by Candlelight. People come together at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols outside. The stars shining above add to the sights and sounds of this wonderful outdoor concert.

acg 3 4

Australian families love to do things outside. They love to swim, surf, sail, and ride bicycles. They like to grill meals outdoors on the barbecue, which they call the "barbie".

Families decorate their homes with ferns, palm leaves, and evergreens, along with the colorful flowers that bloom in summer called Christmas bush and Christmas bellflower. Some families put up a Christmas tree. Outdoors, nasturtiums, wisteria, and honeysuckle bloom.

Christmas festivities begin in late November, when schools and church groups present Nativity plays. They sing carols throughout the month of December.

On Christmas Eve, families attend church together. Some children expect Father Christmas to leave gifts, and others wait for Santa Claus to visit and deliver gifts.

After opening presents on Christmas morning, the family sits down to a breakfast of ham and eggs. Then the family goes to church again.

On Christmas Eve in families that observe Irish traditions, the father sets a large candle in a front window of the home to welcome Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus. The youngest child in the family lights the candle. The family goes to midnight mass and attends church on Christmas Day, as well. Afterwards there are parties and festive visits.

Christmas Day is when families and close friends gather together from all over Australia. The highlight of the day is the holiday midday dinner. Some families enjoy a traditional British Christmas dinner of roast turkey or ham and rich plum pudding doused in brandy and set aflame before it is brought to the table. The person who gets the favor baked inside will enjoy good luck all year round.

Other families head for the backyard barbie to grill their Christmas dinner in the sunshine. Many families even go to the beach or to the countryside and enjoy a picnic of cold turkey or ham and a salad. Father Christmas has been known to show up in shorts to greet children at the beach on Christmas!

acg 3 3

The day after Christmas, December 26, is Boxing Day. Australians with British and Irish backgrounds leave tips for the grocer, postman, newspaper carrier, and others to thank them for their help in the past year.

New Year's Eve is always a special time, with dinners, dances, and parties. On Twelfth Night, January 6, there is one last party to end the Christmas season.



Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

A Brief Guide to the History of Australia

Australia is a diverse and fascinating country, with an Indigenous population dating back many thousands of years.

acg 17 21

acg 17 22


Australia’s Indigenous population have lived in the nation for at least 50,000 years. This means they have the oldest living cultural history in the world. When the British arrived in 1788, as many as 250 different languages were spoken across the nation. Barani, an Aboriginal word of the Sydney language that means ‘yesterday’, is a project detailing the Aboriginal history of the Sydney area.

Prior to the arrival of the British, there were between 300,000 and 1 Million Aboriginal people living in Australia. 

acg 17 23


The Dutch first sighted Australia in 1606 before Captain Cook claimed the land for Great Britain in 1770. The First Fleet of 11 boats arrived at Botany Bay in 1788 to establish New South Wales as a Penal Colony (receiving convicts until 1848). Convicts were subsequently sent to the other states, with the exception of South Australia that was established as a free colony in 1836.

Over 162,000 convicts were transported to Australia from Great Britain, the majority to New South Wales and Tasmania.

acg 17 24


The discovery of gold in Australia (in Bathurst first, then Ballarat in 1851) kickstarted the economy and created the idea of Australia as a desirable location. 1854 saw the Eureka Stockade at Ballarat, a rebellion against taxation that some see as a crucial event in the evolution of Australia’s democracy. This is also the first period of Chinese immigration with 50,000 Chinese arriving and the establishment of many Chinatowns.

acg 17 25


The Commonwealth of Australia was created in 1901 with the federation of all the states. It was agreed that the capital could be in NSW but no closer than 100 kms from Sydney. This led to the creation of Canberra, with a temporary parliament set up in Melbourne for 27 years. 

Both New Zealand and Fiji were invited to join the federation of the states but declined the invitations.

acg 17 26

1915 – WORLD WAR 1

In April 1915 the Australian and New Zealand Anzac Corps (ANZACs) took part in the World War One Gallipoli Campaign. Despite the defeat, this battle has great relevance in defining the characteristics of Australians. April 25, the date of the first landing at Gallipoli, is ANZAC Day – the date Australians remember and pay respects for the sacrifice of their Armed Forces, both past and present, in conflicts around the world.

Almost 39% of Australia’s male population between 18 and 44 enlisted to fight in World War One. 

acg 17 27


The end of World War Two, and then subsequently the Vietnam War, led to an influx of migrants to Australia. The Snowy Mountains Scheme (1949 – 1974) employed 100,000 people with 70% being migrants from 30 different nations. Steady Asian migration began
in the 1970s, and now people from all over the world call Australia home. This is reflected
in many aspects of Australian life, with Australian society known for its equality and lack of clear class distinctions.