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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.’

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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.

MYTH NO. 1. IT’S HOT EVERYWHERE…ALL THE TIME

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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.

MYTH NO. 2. AUSTRALIANS ARE ALL DESCENDED FROM CONVICTS

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.

MYTH NO. 3. AUSTRALIA IS FULL OF INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS ANIMALS

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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?

MYTH NO. 4. SYDNEY IS THE CAPITAL

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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’.

MYTH NO. 5. EVERYONE SAYS ‘G’DAY’

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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.

(www.insiderguides.com.au)

Drukuj

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.

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AUSTRALIA IS RECOGNISED AS ONE OF THE MOST ETHNICALLY DIVERSE SOCIETIES IN THE WORLD.

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.

DIVERSE INFLUENCES IN AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH

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.

MANY LANGUAGES, MANY CULTURES

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

WITH SO MUCH DIVERSITY, WHAT BINDS THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE?

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.

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A MIX OF FOOD FLAVOURS

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.

THE ARTS

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.

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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.

(www.insiderguides.com.au)

Drukuj

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.

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BUT

…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.

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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

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.

Elevators

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.

Doors

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.

Queues

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.

Littering

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.

NEVER EVER DROP LITTER OR CIGGERETTE BUTTS OUTSIDE!!!

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.

Time

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).

(www.insiderguides.com.au by Belinda)

Drukuj

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.

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HOW TO APPROACH LOCAL STUDENTS

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.

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WHAT TO TALK ABOUT

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.

WHAT NOT TO TALK ABOUT

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.

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AUSTRALIAN HUMOUR

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’.

 

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(www.insiderguides.com.au by Matilda Gerrans)

Drukuj

Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

Essential Aussie Slang for Students

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

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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.

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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.

 (www.insiderguides.com.au by Belinda)

Drukuj

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

(www.people.howstuffworks.com)

Drukuj

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.

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ABORIGINAL ORIGINS

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. 

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1788 – FIRST FLEET & CONVICTS

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.

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THE 1850S – GOLD RUSHES

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.

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1901 – FEDERATION

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.

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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. 

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1945 – NEW ARRIVALS AND MULTICULTURALISM

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.

(www.insiderguides.com.au)

Drukuj

Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

Australian Hospitality

Sharing a drink or a meal is an important bonding experience in most cultures to show friendship- or mateship, if you’re in Australia! But sometimes, this can differ across cultures. When it comes to eating and drinking, there are some things that are entirely Australian, so below is a guide to Australian hospitality.

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Disclaimer: while some of what is discussed here centres around alcohol, it’s not necessary to drink alcohol to have fun at events, and no one should pressure you into it.

AUSTRALIAN SLANG

Australians are notorious for shortening words, which creates a more laid-back, less formal way of speaking. Here are some common examples of terms and acronyms that may appear confusing at first:

BYO: This stands for ‘Bring Your Own’, which is usually related to alcohol. If this appears in an invitation received to an event, it tends to mean that if you’re planning on drinking, it’s best to bring your own beverages, while the food will usually be provided by the host. Sometimes you might need to bring your own contribution for a BBQ, but check with the host.

“Bring a plate”: Similar to BYO, “bring a plate” is usually mentioned to guests to encourage them to bring a plate of food to an event. This is often to make the host’s job easier, and also to ensure that everyone’s dietary requirements are catered to. Traditionally, bringing a plate means bringing something you’ve cooked yourself, but we all understand that students are time-poor, so something store-bought won’t seem out of place at all!

Grog, goon and tucker: These are other words for food (tucker) and alcohol (grog and goon).

Barbie: This refers to a BBQ, which is an outdoor apparatus used for cooking or grilling food such as sausages, hamburgers, or skewered meat or vegetables. Commonly found at gatherings held during the summer, the barbie is loved by many Australians as a way to grill ‘tucker’ out in the beautiful sunshine, without heating up the inside of the house.

BEFORE AN EVENT

Sometimes an event will begin with what is called pre-drinking, which is a way that university students are able to save money by drinking at home before heading out. It can also be a form of ‘social lubrication’ AKA drinking as a way to be less shy at events. If this isn’t for you though, you’re completely welcome to show up to an event without having done so. In Australia, it’s generally better to be a little late to an event rather than early unless you know the host well, which gives you time beforehand to pick up some food or drink if you’ve been asked to ‘BYO’.

AT AN EVENT

When you arrive at an event, whether that be a house party, restaurant dinner, picnic, or pub crawl, it’s generally polite to find the host and thank them for the invitation first. This can also be very helpful if you don’t know many people there, as the host can introduce you to others around you. From there, don’t be afraid to talk to anyone - most people want to be your friend!

AFTER AN EVENT

As the event comes to a close, it can be really nice to help the host clean up a little bit, as this is often an overwhelming task! After an event, it can be a great opportunity to thank your host for having you whether that be in person or through social media. This is also the perfect time to connect with any people you may have met by simply adding them on Facebook or accepting any friend requests you may have received.

Feeling comfortable at Australian events is really all about being friendly, approachable and helpful. Australians really value having a sense of comradery, which can be achieved by offering a hand where needed, or by having a laugh together over something you may have in common.

(www.insiderguides.com.au by Jesse Thomas)

Drukuj

Australian Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

Australian Indigenous Cultures

While visiting Australia, you may hear someone say at the beginning of a speech or a meeting, “we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of this land”.

This is called and Acknowledgement of Country and it’s a way of showing respect to the people who have lived in Australia for 50,000 years. They are one of the oldest living populations in the world.

Many international students visiting Australia are incredibly curious about Indigenous peoples and their culture but find it difficult to learn more about them.

Here’s a few facts to get you started.

THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT INDIGENOUS CULTURES

Australia has two Indigenous peoples. They are Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people.  Aboriginal Peoples inhabited the whole of Australia, and Torres Strait Islanders lived in the islands between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Once there were over 500 different Aboriginal Nations – so there’s no single ‘Aboriginal culture,’ there are many.

Their cultures do have some common themes, though, such as the Dreaming and a deep connection to the land.

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This is the Aboriginal Flag, adopted in 1972. The red symbolises the red earth and ochre used by Aboriginal people in ceremonies. The yellow symbolises the sun and the black symbolises the Aboriginal people.

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This is the Torres Strait Islander flag adopted in 1992. The green panels represent the land, the blue symbolises the waters of the Torres Strait, the white object in the middle is a dancer’s headdress (called a dhari) and symbolises the Torres Strait Islander people.  The star is a symbol for navigation.

THEY ALSO HAVE MANY DIFFERENT LANGUAGES

It’s estimated that there were around 250 different languages spoken in Australia before the British arrived in 1788.

Up until the 1970’s, policies implemented by the Australian Government prohibited or discouraged Indigenous Australians from speaking their own languages.  Because Indigenous Australian’s dominant form of record keeping was by passing down their traditions and language through word of mouth, these policies resulted in the loss of many Indigenous languages and cultural history.

The National Indigenous Languages Survey Report 2005 found that only about 145 Indigenous languages are still spoken and that many of those were also in danger of disappearing.

In 2016 the Australian National Dictionary listed around 500 words which were in common usage coming from 100 different Aboriginal languages.  Many of them are the names of plants, animals and places, so you probably already know a few like:

Kangaroo

Wallaby

Canberra (which means meeting place)

THEIR SPIRITUALITY IS HIGHLY COMPLEX

The Dreaming or, the Dreamtime, is a similarity that runs through different Indigenous belief systems and is a concept that is often not easily understood by non-Indigenous people. The phrases Dreaming and The Dreamtime are English translations that don’t capture the true meaning.

There is no afterlife in Indigenous Australian religions, no heaven or hell, which sets them apart from many other world religions.  The Dreaming is the source of life philosophy and morality and while it’s intertwined with Indigenous stories of creation, is also a constant state where both the past and the present exist together. In attempting to explain the Dreaming, anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner used the term ‘everywhen’.

THERE ARE MANY PLACES YOU CAN VISIT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT INDIGENOUS CULTURE.

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There are still many places in Australian where you can get in touch with Indigenous culture.  Some of them are hard to get to but well worth the visit.

Probably the most well-known place is Uluru or Ayers Rock.  The ancient monolith is sacred to the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people.  It’s visited by thousands of people every year. 

The Flinders Ranges in South Australia have ancient rock paintings that are accessible to the public, as does Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in NSW and The Grampians National Park in Victoria.

(www.insiderguides.com.au)

Drukuj

British Culture Guide

Janusz Siwiorek .

British Royal Family Tree

Here you can find the family tree of the current British royalty to help make sense of what can often seem very complicated.

Most members of the royal family have their own title that you can see in the picture.

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(www.pinterest.com)

As you can see from the family tree above, Queen Elizabeth II is married to Prince Philip (also known as the Duke of Edinburgh), and they have four children. They are Prince Charles (the Prince of Wales), Princess Anne (the Princess Royal), Prince Andrew (the Duke of York) and Prince Edward (the Earl of Wessex).

Each of Queen’s children has two children of their own. Her eldest, Prince Charles, is now married to Camilla Parker-Bowles, but had two children with Princess Diana before she died. They are Prince William (now married to Kate Middleton) and Prince Harry.

(www.foreignstudents.com)