Australian Identity

Opinions on Australian culture is a varied as there are people living in Australia. What people view as 'Australian,' however, are different and influenced by things such as the news, social media, emotional and physical health, level of education, housing situation, religion, race and family or personal history.

When Australia was declared as terra nullius (meaning 'land belonging to no one) in 1770, English law and customs was soon to follow. These practices replaced the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions, which had been in use for thousands of years and were often considered to be sacred to the tribes. When the English encountered the native peoples, the relations quickly turned sour, and British law was put into effect across Australia. With the first British convicts arriving at Sydney Cove in 1788, this pattern only grew in number and support.

The effect the United Kingdom had on a young Australia is impossible to deny. Even in the twenty first century, many cultural traditions, views and laws remain similar to modern day England. Like Australian law and several public holidays, Australian's social classes (albeit to a lesser extent) are littered with similarities with England.

As Australia moved into the late twentieth century, technology begun to evolve. With the first (telephone) links between Melbourne and Adelaide laid, and then between Melbourne and Sydney activated in 1858, Australian culture begun to shift into a more solid idea; this process was only developed faster when more of the larger cities begun to be connected, as late as 1872. In addition to allowing an Australia that was more connected, it eventually allowed for Australia to be connected to countries overseas.

''Let them see that their words can cut you, and you'll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own. Then they can't hurt you with it anymore.'' - A Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister [Jon (III)] by George R. R. Martin

Through the above quote is from a book, it can also be applied to Australia's increasing desire to be seen as something separate from England and other nations of the Commonwealth during , a desire to have something of their own. For a country that is  - on a stereotypical level - comprised of the underdog, it was a heady thing to rally behind.

The nineteenth century saw the collapse of the British Empire, and the beginning of other influences on Australia. Until that point Britain had remained the largest influence on Australian culture - simply through its presence when Australia was first colonized - but when it was removed, it allowed other cultures to integrate into Australian culture. These influences include Asian countries and culture, as well as elements from New Zealand.

However, even as Australia begun to set itself apart from other countries and begin forming its own culture, several cultural assumptions begun to arise, both in Australia and overseas - exemplified by the works of C. J. Dennis, Barry Humphries and Paul Hogan - and included egalitarianism, informality and an irreverent sense of human, along with a fascination with the outback.

Challenging Australian Identity

  1. Reflect on what is discussed in the Podcast. Do you agree with any of the comments made about.
  2. What events can you remember that you feel ashamed about happening in Australia?
  3. Why do you feel ashamed about this event? OR If you cannot think of an event, why do feel there is nothing to be ashamed of?
  4. Use information from the PodCast, images, links to YouTube and other media, diagrams, infographics, songs, articles etc.

''White Australia has a black history.'' - Unknown

While a large faction of Australian's view Australian culture as fair and relaxed, there is a growing number of people that view Australia's history as something to be ashamed of. With events such as the Crunella Riots (based in racism) showing that ...