Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: twiggy on April 21, 2013, 09:46:26 PM

Title: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: twiggy on April 21, 2013, 09:46:26 PM
I know that we have a lot of Australian ehellions, so I figured this is as good a resource as any for an assignment. I need to write a paper on Australian culture. So, what interesting things are there that are different in Australia vs. United States?

How are holidays celebrated?
In the US we stay up all night on New Year's Eve, then ring in the New Year at midnight. There are fireworks and drinking associated with the holiday. Is it different in Australia?
Christmas, Easter...are there any Australian specific traditions?
What do you do for Australia Day?

What stereotypes about Australia make Australians roll their eyes?

What is more commonly accepted/expected, cohabitation or marriage?

What wedding traditions are there? I seem to recall that showers are not as common, and that in lieu of bachelor/bachelorette parties there are hen/stag nights where everyone that honestly sound similar to the US counterparts.

anything else that should be included?

Thanks to all, I would much rather talk to actual people than google everything. It gives a better picture :)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Baxter on April 21, 2013, 10:41:31 PM
We (as in Aussies) don't seem to "do" holidays the same way Americans do.  We don't decorate our houses for Australia Day or Easter but we do for Christmas (which we call Chrissie).

Yes its a big party on NYE - usually fireworks somewhere, always drinking.
Christmas is Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  Christmas Day involves people getting together and eating, drinking and swapping presents.  The shops are shut for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Australia Day, (I'm in Western Australia) there is a big fireworks display in the city centre (Perth) and many people go there, make a day of it, picnics, barbeques and of course drinking.

I can't think of any stereotypes of Aussies that make me roll my eyes, most are pretty accurate!  Though I must admit that the episode The Simpsons did of Australia annoyed me, everything about that was wrong except the accents.

People both cohabit and marry, neither are questioned as far I know.

We don't go to church like Americans seem to.

Weddings seem very different here to me (but it may be regional).  When I read the wedding threads here, sometimes I think my head is going to explode.  There are no enormous costs entailed that the bridal party has to pay for.  Showers are around and it isn't unusual to have one or not - they aren't huge costly things, with favours and decorations etc.  Usually just a get together with food and small gift exchanges.

The hen and stag nights usually involve just dinner and a nightclub, people pay their own way.

We chat to strangers in supermarkets, pubs and parks.  There is very definitely a drinking culture, I'd like to say just among young people, but really amongst all age levels.  Its one of the most expensive places to live and that stresses people out, but most people are really easy-going.  We have a large Asian influence, as we are in the Asian part of the world, with food and culture.  Chinese New Year gets a pretty big celebration, as in a party in the city and fireworks around the place. 

High school is compulsory until age 18 or until a trade is undertaken.  Most people are pretty well educated, our universities are fantastic and whilst we have to pay for them, the costs are reasonable. 

There is a thing called "the tall poppy syndrome" wherein, if someone becomes successful and too boastful (or full of themselves as we say) then they must be "brought down", but I don't know if that's as prevalent as it used to be.

We can discuss politics without an enormous fight breaking out as we all hate our politicians equally  ;)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 21, 2013, 11:01:39 PM
Note - this is a big country, all answers from the point of view of a relatively urban New South Welshperson.

New Year's Eve is the same - fireworks and staying up until (at least) midnight. It is worth noting that fireworks are banned for personal use in many states so fireworks are usually big, public displays. The Sydney Harbour fireworks are quite well known (and heaps of fun if you don't mind the transport nightmare) but there are smaller versions all around. There are usually earlier (around 9pm) fireworks so families with children can go home early if they choose and then bigger ones at midnight.

Christmas is in the middle of summer so more and more people are doing without the roast or having it cold and eating outside. We usually get together with family on Christmas day. There are a few Australian Christmas Carols (I've never known a kid that didn't love 6 White Boomers) but mostly it's basically a traditional European Christmas adapted for the heat.

Easter is fairly standard.

Australia Day most people have bbqs with friends. It's been harder to have picnics etc in the last few years because it's gaining popularity among bogans as a chance to drink themselves stupid and make nuisance of themselves  ::). There are often fireworks as well.

I don't think you'd find an Australian stereotype that doesn't make SOMEONE roll their eyes, but it may be true for someone else. It's a big country and there are all types, from the broooooaaad accent RM Williams wearing country farmer to the have-never-been-outside-a-capital-city types. Important facts: there are no kangaroos in cities and drop bears aren't real  ;)

Cohabiting or marriage is fine, no-one cares much. Our current prime minister is a cohabiting atheist and hardly anyone cares.

Most migrants settle in the capital cities, often Sydney, which I think is actually really sad because it a) allows a certain section of society to remain what I have heard described as 'comfortably racist' and b) it means that I have a limited choice in quality ethnic foods except for when I am down in Sydney, although both situations are slowly improving.

The only big difference that I think I have noticed with weddings is that it is quite acceptable here with church weddings to 'go and see' the wedding. I've heard ehellions describing rude people turning up at the church uninvited whereas here that is perfectly okay. One friend of mine whose father was the organist at our local church provided champagne and light snacks in the church ground after the wedding because they (correctly) knew ALL the parishioners would want to see the organist's daughter get married. This is not at all considered A or B list etc and was in reality considered a nice touch.

I'm sure there's more but that's probably a good start. Feel free to ask other questions.

Oops, MsMarjorie posted while I was typing. Sorry for any repetitions. I disagree with the politics though. The current federal election is getting fairly heated around here and the way most people discuss it politely is to change the subject :) In the past though I would have agreed.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: CakeEater on April 21, 2013, 11:09:27 PM
I know that we have a lot of Australian ehellions, so I figured this is as good a resource as any for an assignment. I need to write a paper on Australian culture. So, what interesting things are there that are different in Australia vs. United States?

How are holidays celebrated?
In the US we stay up all night on New Year's Eve, then ring in the New Year at midnight. There are fireworks and drinking associated with the holiday. Is it different in Australia? Same deal
Christmas, Easter...are there any Australian specific traditions? Christmas is in the middle of summer, so outdoors celebrations, often a BBQ or seafood are common. It's also in the middle of the big school holiday for the year, so many families are away for holidays either before or after Christmas. No-one I know calls it Chrissie.
What do you do for Australia Day?Go to the beach, local coucils often have breakfast BBQs at local parks, naturalisation ceremonies for new Australians, a youth radio station has a top 100 countdown that many of the younger generation listen to.

We don't celebrate as many holidays, or as much, it seems. It's very rare to decorate for halloween, or to encounter trick or treaters. Valentine's Day is for romantic partners only, and it's less of a huge deal.

What stereotypes about Australia make Australians roll their eyes?Kangaroos in the main street, mostly.

What is more commonly accepted/expected, cohabitation or marriage?Both are very common and widely accepted.

Australians do go to church, but as a whole, I believe society is generally much more secular than in many regions of the US. It would be very unusual for people to discuss church-going as a conversational opener like I've seen described here.

What wedding traditions are there? I seem to recall that showers are not as common, and that in lieu of bachelor/bachelorette parties there are hen/stag nights where everyone that honestly sound similar to the US counterparts. Weddings are similar, but don't seem to have all the layers of parties that you guys have, although they're catching on. Rehearsal dinners are not as common, or as formal. We don't have a choice of meals at receptions. 

anything else that should be included? Probably the love/hate relationship that Australia has with US culture. There are stacks of US content on TV and in movies, so trends tend to move here. Australian slang has been more and more replaced with American slang. I suspect that more school children would be able to tell you who Barack Obama is than know who the premier of their own state is. I probably know more about the geography of New York, than about most Australian cities. And the more we are saturated in it, the more some love it, some hate it and some resent that fact that they love it.

Politics is less polarizing, and Australians are a lot less demonstrative about their politicians than we see on TV coverage of US politics.

Tertiary education isn't as much of a 'rite of passage' thing that it seems to be in the US. High school granduations are practically non-events, and parents don't start saving at conception to send their children 'to college'. You can attend university and defer your tuition costs until you're working and earning money. Universities are mainly seen as a step toward getting a job rather than just 'being at college.'



Thanks to all, I would much rather talk to actual people than google everything. It gives a better picture :)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 21, 2013, 11:23:13 PM
Australia has a much lower conservative religious population.  I'd say over 50% still identify as religious, but more than half of those would be non-practising regardless of the religion.
There is no social stigma in any area with respect to being Athiest.
The above mean that there is no stimga regarding church attendance or non-attendance, or pre-wedlock cohabitation or procreation.

NYE:  Sydney is the first major city to celebrate NYE in the world (sorry NZ, you don't spend enough).  We have a HUGE fireworks display (Harbour Bridge fireworks are super impressive) and it often make international news.  You can probably find past footage on You Tube. 

Otherwise holidays are much less celebrated than in the States.

Christmas and Easter are both quite family-centric but its not necessarily expected that peopel living interstate will all travel to be together.  Certainly not every year.

Halloween and St Patrick's Day are pretty much non-events (unless you host a party or are going to be in an Irish pub).  Valentine's is tokenistic.  People might do dinner or small gifts but its not any big deal.

We mark Rememberance Day on 11 November along with everyone else, but we also have ANZAC Day on 25 April which we share with NZ and is our own persoanl military rememberance day.  There are services all over the country.  You can read more info about it here: http://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac/anzac_tradition.asp
ANZAV Day is a public holiday, Rememberance Day is not.

We also have a public holiday for the Queen's Birthday in June, but noone cares about ceklebrating the Queen, its just a day off work.

The fianl national holiday is Australia Day on 26 January which you can read about here: http://www.australiaday.org.au/australia-day/history.aspx 
It is most often celebrated with friends around a BBQ.

Australia is also generally less patriotic than the USA.  We like our country just fine, but we don't feel the need to shout about it.  And we don't think we're the best at everything - because we aren't, and can't be.  We just strive to be better.  Tall-Poppy syndrome comes into this.  And it is totally still prevalent, despite being nonsensical to a degree.  But how it plays out is that basically anyone who becomes successful must remain modest.  WE can think you're great, but as soon as YOU think you're great, we don't like you any more.

We also have ludicrously high expectations of our sportspersons in arenas where we have come to expect the best - ie. swimming.  When our men's 4x100 relay came second, the first journalist question to the final leg swimmer was "Are you dissapointed with silver?"
That's something I'd like to see change.

People generally move interstate less.  America is bigger and has more cities and people seem to move a lot further away from home.  Travelling interstate for college is not the norm here.  And while people certainly do move interstate, it seems far less prevalent.  I think generally there are less national companies with offices in each major city to warrant people needing to move for work.  Most national companies are based in Sydney or Melbourne.

Australis generally doesn't have a lot of "traditions".  We're quite multicultural so  there's not much that is done by people across the board.

Weddings will usually have a  kitchen tea (like a bridal shower but only small gifts), hens and bucks nights (same as bachelor/bachelorette parties) but how big these are varies.  Some are whole weekends, some are nights out.  They're more activity based than just hitting clubs these days.  Not gifts at these.
Actual weddings are usually only a day event.  We don't have rehearsal dinners (or if there is something, its only for the people actually at the rehearsal and its casual.  IE.  My in-laws had my parents and the bridal party and partners over for drinks and nibbles afterwards.)  Bridal parties are generally smaller.  More than 4 on each side is unusual.  2-3 is common.  There might be a casual BBQ the next day for immediate family to open gifts.

Sterotypes - generally that we're backwards, uncultured, lawless, drunken uneducated farmers.  But that perception is changing.  And the drinking is probably not unwarranted.

I must say, I think the binge drinking aspect of our drinking culture is shifting.  While it is common to celebrate (or socialise) with alcohol, that doesn't translate to getting maggoted.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Baxter on April 21, 2013, 11:25:45 PM

Christmas, Easter...are there any Australian specific traditions? Christmas is in the middle of summer, so outdoors celebrations, often a BBQ or seafood are common. It's also in the middle of the big school holiday for the year, so many families are away for holidays either before or after Christmas. No-one I know calls it Chrissie.



I'm shocked CakeEater, shocked I tell you!  :)  Have you never had a checkout operator asked you "Whatcha doing for Chrissie?"

A couple of youtube video's that you might like to watch twiggy are;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhGETRI81DE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdihHnaOQsk

The book by Anh Do "The Happiest Refugee" is an amazing and insightful read also.

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: twiggy on April 21, 2013, 11:29:24 PM
Oh, I forgot that the seasons are opposite of what I'm used to. Guess you're not really dreaming of a white Christmas then :)

Thank you so much, I really appreciate the insight :) talking to real, live people is a lot more enlightening than the Google. I meant to ask my BIL about his experiences since he's currently living in Frankston (?) on the coast, serving a mission for our church, but he doesn't have much time at the computer to respond to email.

Would people in Melbourne agree with his assessment that many seem to be atheists? Or is his view colored since virtually all of his interactions are focused on religion?
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 21, 2013, 11:32:34 PM
Oh, I forgot that the seasons are opposite of what I'm used to. Guess you're not really dreaming of a white Christmas then :)

Thank you so much, I really appreciate the insight :) talking to real, live people is a lot more enlightening than the Google. I meant to ask my BIL about his experiences since he's currently living in Frankston (?) on the coast, serving a mission for our church, but he doesn't have much time at the computer to respond to email.

Would people in Melbourne agree with his assessment that many seem to be atheists? Or is his view colored since virtually all of his interactions are focused on religion?

I'm not in Melbourne, but the answer is yes.  Though you'll find more Agnostics than outright Athiests.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: figee on April 21, 2013, 11:40:51 PM
I know that we have a lot of Australian ehellions, so I figured this is as good a resource as any for an assignment. I need to write a paper on Australian culture. So, what interesting things are there that are different in Australia vs. United States?

1.  How are holidays celebrated?

2.  What stereotypes about Australia make Australians roll their eyes?

3.  anything else that should be included?


1.  Remember everything is reversed - Christmas is in summer, our long school break is over summer.  BBQs or cold meats are more accepted by some for Christmas.  The Easter Bilby anyone????

ANZAC Day is the other big national event.  It's on this Thursday and is worth investigating.

2.  We do speak English, not Australian, Austrian or anything else.  We have electricity.  We don't see kangaroos everywhere.  We don't all carry knives.  We don't always throw a shrimp on the barbie.

3.  We aren't as religious as Americans are and have a very distinctive history.  We are different from Americans.  Vegemite is important.  Our sense of humour is quite different - we are a little more sarcastic and laconic and find that Americans are sometimes very over the top and over friendly - that tends to make us suspicious.  We also have a lot of poisonous and deadly animals.  We don't have the attachment to guns that Americans do, and we don't have the 'right to bear arms'.  We find the insistence and attachment of some Americans to this bewildering, terrifying and somewhat tragic.  Our political system is dramatically different, as is our healthcare, education and social welfare system.  We are not a little country - we are a land of vast and open spaces.  Perth is closer to South Africa than to other capital cities in Australia.  We were recently described as being a people who are 'comfortably racist' and I think its a fair description.

Thongs are worn on the feet - they are not an item of underwear.  A rubber is an eraser.  Trackie dacks and ugg boots are important with a flanno (flannelette shirt) and driving a ute (utility vehicle, your pick-ups). 

On preview, its kind of nice to see that we Aussies are hitting off the same things.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Bluenomi on April 21, 2013, 11:48:23 PM
Important facts: there are no kangaroos in cities and drop bears aren't real  ;)

Actually there are kangaroos in cities, you've just got to be in the right ones. We had kangaroos on campus at my uni in Canberra, always fun when stumbling back to ressies after a night at the uni bar  ;D

New Years is usually about drinking, fireworks and bringing the New Year. Easter is mostly about eating chocolate and enjoying the long weekend since we get public holidays on Good Friday and Easter Monday. Christmas isn't aa big a deal as it is in the US and very hot so more about seafood than hot turkeys. We don't bother much about Halloween.
Australia Day is all about bbqs and enjoying the day off and sunshine.

Cohabitation before or instead of marriage is common

Hen/stage nights are pretty much the same as the US versions and some people have bridal showers but they are usually small (mine was a Tpperware party!) Rehersal dinners are pretty unheard of. The actually wedding day usually has the ceremony followed (often a few hours later) by the reception. Non religious, outside of a church weddings are as common as church weddings.

I've never heard of anyone having a graduation party for either school or university, it's not seen as such a big deal, maybe because uni isn't as costly!

Religion isn't a big a thing to most people as it is in the US (or appears to be). Yes there are groups of devout people of various religions about but mostly you find the more casual only go at Christmas and Easter types. I know in my age group (30s) there are more and more athesists/agnostics popping up.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Cuddlepie on April 21, 2013, 11:50:17 PM
Yes, Chrissy (that I spell it) is widely used in my circle rather than Christmas.  My family tends to enjoy a typically English Christmas lunch with the turkey, ham, roast vegetables and plum pudding no matter how hot it is !!! 

Australia Day is usally a BBQ with friends and a game of backyard cricket or football (not American but Aussie footy).

Easter is when a lot of Aussies go camping over the long week-end before the weather turns cooler.

I would say the most Australians are not religous but are not heathens either.  Guess you could say that we believe in the Christian 10 Commandments as by following them, the world just runs better, YKWIM?

Most Aussies I know will stop to help a stranger, talk any stranger's ear off and definitely enjoy a good laugh, even at themselves. 
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 21, 2013, 11:50:48 PM
1.  Remember everything is reversed - Christmas is in summer, our long school break is over summer.  BBQs or cold meats are more accepted by some for Christmas.  The Easter Bilby anyone????

My Dad is ALL ABOUT the Easter Bilby.

We don't always throw a shrimp on the barbie.

We don't even call them shirmp!  They're always prawns!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: twiggy on April 21, 2013, 11:52:47 PM
1.  Remember everything is reversed - Christmas is in summer, our long school break is over summer.  BBQs or cold meats are more accepted by some for Christmas.  The Easter Bilby anyone????

My Dad is ALL ABOUT the Easter Bilby.

We don't always throw a shrimp on the barbie.

We don't even call them shirmp!  They're always prawns!

What's an Easter Bilby? Is that like the bunny?
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 21, 2013, 11:53:40 PM
Trackie dacks and ugg boots are important with a flanno (flannelette shirt) and driving a ute (utility vehicle, your pick-ups). 

Actually I'd say this falls into the sterotype category...  moreso if you added a pack of winnie red rolled into the sleeve...

Flannies, uggs and trackies are all, IMO, inside wear.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 21, 2013, 11:55:54 PM
1.  Remember everything is reversed - Christmas is in summer, our long school break is over summer.  BBQs or cold meats are more accepted by some for Christmas.  The Easter Bilby anyone????

My Dad is ALL ABOUT the Easter Bilby.

We don't always throw a shrimp on the barbie.

We don't even call them shirmp!  They're always prawns!

What's an Easter Bilby? Is that like the bunny?

A Bilby is a small Australia marsupial.  While we have the Easter Bunny here, Darrell Lea and Cadbury make a chocolate Easter Bilby for the diehard Aussies.  Outside of the chocolate, its not really a thing.

(http://members.optusnet.com.au/bilbies/images/easter_bilby_DL_1.jpg)

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3313/3426195322_ac3bff3383.jpg)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 22, 2013, 12:00:14 AM
Oh, I forgot that the seasons are opposite of what I'm used to. Guess you're not really dreaming of a white Christmas then :)

Thank you so much, I really appreciate the insight :) talking to real, live people is a lot more enlightening than the Google. I meant to ask my BIL about his experiences since he's currently living in Frankston (?) on the coast, serving a mission for our church, but he doesn't have much time at the computer to respond to email.

Would people in Melbourne agree with his assessment that many seem to be atheists? Or is his view colored since virtually all of his interactions are focused on religion?


His view may be coloured because we *really* don't enjoy being bothered by religious people. If you want to believe in the Flying Spaghetti monster or whatever then that's fine and we support your right to do so, but if you knock on our door to tell us about it or even try and strike up a conversation about it in public we will want you to go away very quickly indeed. This goes both ways - we don't want to be bothered by militant atheists either. "Believe what you want and leave me alone" could be a summary of many, many people's attitude to religion.

Active evangilising (or whatever the correct word is) is roughly viewed on the same level as telemarketing by many people.


Trackie dacks and ugg boots are important with a flanno (flannelette shirt) and driving a ute (utility vehicle, your pick-ups). 

Actually I'd say this falls into the sterotype category...  moreso if you added a pack of winnie red rolled into the sleeve...

Flannies, uggs and trackies are all, IMO, inside wear.

Nobody I know owns a flanno. And trackie dacks are for walking the dog in winter and ugg boots are slippers. The only people I know who drive utes are either tradies or foolish young men who drive way too fast. Easily distinguishable because the foolish young men *polish* their ute.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: dawnfire on April 22, 2013, 12:24:27 AM
1.  Remember everything is reversed - Christmas is in summer, our long school break is over summer.  BBQs or cold meats are more accepted by some for Christmas.  The Easter Bilby anyone????

My Dad is ALL ABOUT the Easter Bilby.

We don't always throw a shrimp on the barbie.

We don't even call them shirmp!  They're always prawns!

What's an Easter Bilby? Is that like the bunny?

A bilby  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrotis)is a native marsupial. It is kinda mouse like with long ears. In recent years at Easter time there will be for sale chocolate bilbys  (http://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.chocablog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/pink-lady-bilby.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.chocablog.com/reviews/pink-lady-chocolate-bilby/&h=548&w=600&sz=129&tbnid=3KIijM55y5T6wM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=99&zoom=1&usg=__aIoulvcsJWZha9Vu6HjyqHpCkYM=&docid=kfE9zrfpDwoV3M&sa=X&ei=y8h0UdT4Hu-SiQeLyoCoBw&ved=0CEAQ9QEwAw&dur=2605 ) with part of the sale going to a fund to help save them.  This is because some people see rabbits as pests (you can't keep rabbits as pets in one state) and in the past we've has rabbit plagues which decimate agriculture.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: kareng57 on April 22, 2013, 12:28:53 AM
Note - this is a big country, all answers from the point of view of a relatively urban New South Welshperson.

New Year's Eve is the same - fireworks and staying up until (at least) midnight. It is worth noting that fireworks are banned for personal use in many states so fireworks are usually big, public displays. The Sydney Harbour fireworks are quite well known (and heaps of fun if you don't mind the transport nightmare) but there are smaller versions all around. There are usually earlier (around 9pm) fireworks so families with children can go home early if they choose and then bigger ones at midnight.

Christmas is in the middle of summer so more and more people are doing without the roast or having it cold and eating outside. We usually get together with family on Christmas day. There are a few Australian Christmas Carols (I've never known a kid that didn't love 6 White Boomers) but mostly it's basically a traditional European Christmas adapted for the heat.

Easter is fairly standard.

Australia Day most people have bbqs with friends. It's been harder to have picnics etc in the last few years because it's gaining popularity among bogans as a chance to drink themselves stupid and make nuisance of themselves  ::). There are often fireworks as well.

I don't think you'd find an Australian stereotype that doesn't make SOMEONE roll their eyes, but it may be true for someone else. It's a big country and there are all types, from the broooooaaad accent RM Williams wearing country farmer to the have-never-been-outside-a-capital-city types. Important facts: there are no kangaroos in cities and drop bears aren't real  ;)

Cohabiting or marriage is fine, no-one cares much. Our current prime minister is a cohabiting atheist and hardly anyone cares.

Most migrants settle in the capital cities, often Sydney, which I think is actually really sad because it a) allows a certain section of society to remain what I have heard described as 'comfortably racist' and b) it means that I have a limited choice in quality ethnic foods except for when I am down in Sydney, although both situations are slowly improving.

The only big difference that I think I have noticed with weddings is that it is quite acceptable here with church weddings to 'go and see' the wedding. I've heard ehellions describing rude people turning up at the church uninvited whereas here that is perfectly okay. One friend of mine whose father was the organist at our local church provided champagne and light snacks in the church ground after the wedding because they (correctly) knew ALL the parishioners would want to see the organist's daughter get married. This is not at all considered A or B list etc and was in reality considered a nice touch.

I'm sure there's more but that's probably a good start. Feel free to ask other questions.

Oops, MsMarjorie posted while I was typing. Sorry for any repetitions. I disagree with the politics though. The current federal election is getting fairly heated around here and the way most people discuss it politely is to change the subject :) In the past though I would have agreed.


A bit of an aside - I once had a co-worker who had grown up in Australia with British immigrant-parents. Every Christmas, her mom would be toiling in the hot kitchen with a goose or turkey.  And all of her friends would have been having a great barbeque.

Her mom would call every few minutes "why isn't anyone helping me?" - well, they did, every few minutes, but they wondered why they couldn't have a nice barbeque instead.

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Pen^2 on April 22, 2013, 12:30:32 AM
Oh, I forgot that the seasons are opposite of what I'm used to. Guess you're not really dreaming of a white Christmas then :)

Thank you so much, I really appreciate the insight :) talking to real, live people is a lot more enlightening than the Google. I meant to ask my BIL about his experiences since he's currently living in Frankston (?) on the coast, serving a mission for our church, but he doesn't have much time at the computer to respond to email.

Would people in Melbourne agree with his assessment that many seem to be atheists? Or is his view colored since virtually all of his interactions are focused on religion?


His view may be coloured because we *really* don't enjoy being bothered by religious people. If you want to believe in the Flying Spaghetti monster or whatever then that's fine and we support your right to do so, but if you knock on our door to tell us about it or even try and strike up a conversation about it in public we will want you to go away very quickly indeed. This goes both ways - we don't want to be bothered by militant atheists either. "Believe what you want and leave me alone" could be a summary of many, many people's attitude to religion.

Active evangilising (or whatever the correct word is) is roughly viewed on the same level as telemarketing by many people.

This is exactly right. Most people just have no strong feelings about it at all. In the US, for example, people might mention their church in passing, but this would be a conversational point of interest in Australia, since it is quite uncommon to go to church or really be affiliated with one at all. According to the Bureau of Stats, under 15% of Australians go to church once a week or more. A lot of people say they're Christian, but don't adhere to many or any of the teachings specifically and never go to church, and just vaguely think there might be a god up there somewhere. It's just not a very religious place. We're too laid-back to take many things seriously.

Maybe the closest thing in other countries is politics: it's very rude to knock on someone's door, approach a stranger, or even meet with a friend and start talking to them about why voting for so-and-so is the best idea. Australians feel the same way about religion. Few people feel strongly about it, but like anyone else, it's perceived as very rude to have someone tell you all about why you should think or act in a certain way.

Growing up, I always found it a bit odd that on American sit-coms and the like, there was a noticeable (to an Australian) undercurrent of religion: "bless you for helping us", Christmas miracles, it being normal to go to church all the time, and so on. When I travelled in America a few years ago, I also found it odd that people just assumed I was christian, would mention their church in normal conversation (like politics, this is generally too private for Australians to talk about to most others), and would state matter-of-factly that god had helped them do various things. I've always found it the strongest point of difference between Australian and American culture, but maybe that's just me.

Oh, and shrimp on the barbie? That's a huge no-no. We don't call them shrimp. I've had a lot of people say this to me expecting me to laugh or something. That and compliments on how good my English is  ::)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 22, 2013, 12:45:38 AM

This is exactly right. Most people just have no strong feelings about it at all. In the US, for example, people might mention their church in passing, but this would be a conversational point of interest in Australia, since it is quite uncommon to go to church or really be affiliated with one at all. According to the Bureau of Stats, under 15% of Australians go to church once a week or more. A lot of people say they're Christian, but don't adhere to many or any of the teachings specifically and never go to church, and just vaguely think there might be a god up there somewhere. It's just not a very religious place. We're too laid-back to take many things seriously.

Maybe the closest thing in other countries is politics: it's very rude to knock on someone's door, approach a stranger, or even meet with a friend and start talking to them about why voting for so-and-so is the best idea. Australians feel the same way about religion. Few people feel strongly about it, but like anyone else, it's perceived as very rude to have someone tell you all about why you should think or act in a certain way.

Growing up, I always found it a bit odd that on American sit-coms and the like, there was a noticeable (to an Australian) undercurrent of religion: "bless you for helping us", Christmas miracles, it being normal to go to church all the time, and so on. When I travelled in America a few years ago, I also found it odd that people just assumed I was christian, would mention their church in normal conversation (like politics, this is generally too private for Australians to talk about to most others), and would state matter-of-factly that god had helped them do various things. I've always found it the strongest point of difference between Australian and American culture, but maybe that's just me.

Hmm, I don't quite agree.  Re bolding:

1. That statistic is probably correct, but I think that the number of currently practising religious persons is higher.  More like 30%.  I am Christian and teach Sunday School, and I still don't get to church every week.  And i never go more than once. 

2. I don't think its too private for discussion at all - providing its just discussion, and there's no sales pitch attached.

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Maude on April 22, 2013, 12:46:25 AM
As a PP mentioned,there is a HUGE drinking culture.When guests arrive you do not offer coffee or tea,you simply hand them a "stubbie"(a beer).
Men rarely do housework or if they do they expect payment later that night!
A large percentage of the population is overweight or obese.
There are VERY MANY old people(aged 80 -90yrs).
Reality shows are VERY popular.Almost any verb you can think of has its own reality show...cooking dancing singing.
Tradespeople earn more than teachers or politicians or some doctors.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: figee on April 22, 2013, 12:53:09 AM

Trackie dacks and ugg boots are important with a flanno (flannelette shirt) and driving a ute (utility vehicle, your pick-ups). 

Actually I'd say this falls into the sterotype category...  moreso if you added a pack of winnie red rolled into the sleeve...

Flannies, uggs and trackies are all, IMO, inside wear.




Nobody I know owns a flanno. And trackie dacks are for walking the dog in winter and ugg boots are slippers. The only people I know who drive utes are either tradies or foolish young men who drive way too fast. Easily distinguishable because the foolish young men *polish* their ute.

I know people who do all of the above, and who also polish their utes.......  And I own all of the above and have worn them all in public.  It's also more about the whole shortening or lengthening of words and names:

Davo
Deano
Mick
Sammy
Bluey
Simmo
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Bluenomi on April 22, 2013, 12:55:15 AM
As a PP mentioned,there is a HUGE drinking culture.When guests arrive you do not offer coffee or tea,you simply hand them a "stubbie"(a beer).
Men rarely do housework or if they do they expect payment later that night!
A large percentage of the population is overweight or obese.
There are VERY MANY old people(aged 80 -90yrs).
Reality shows are VERY popular.Almost any verb you can think of has its own reality show...cooking dancing singing.
Tradespeople earn more than teachers or politicians or some doctors.

I disagree with pretty much all of those, talk about stereotypes!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 22, 2013, 12:57:18 AM
As a PP mentioned,there is a HUGE drinking culture.When guests arrive you do not offer coffee or tea,you simply hand them a "stubbie"(a beer). I disagree with this.  It depends on numerous things - nature of guests and event, time of day ...  personally I offer 'a drink' and list a few options.  Alcohol beverages may or may not be included.  Also, for the USAians, a stubbie isn't just any old beer.  Its a 375ml bottle or a shortneck.
Men rarely do housework or if they do they expect payment later that night! I must defend my own husband here.  I think this is a generational thing which is steadily changing.  Particularly as the number of dual income households increases.
A large percentage of the population is overweight or obese.
There are VERY MANY old people(aged 80 -90yrs).  You think?  More than anywhere else first world?
Reality shows are VERY popular.Almost any verb you can think of has its own reality show...cooking dancing singing.
Tradespeople earn more than teachers or politicians or some doctors. Potentially, but most certainly not definitely.  the construction industry as a whole is in very dire straits right now.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: kitkatswing on April 22, 2013, 01:24:04 AM
Adding my 2c in (victorian here)

How are holidays celebrated?
Christmas: With our family its usually a big Christmas lunch, followed by snoozing on the couch!
Boxing day is either oone of the following, SHOPPING!! Boxing day sales are freakin awesome and a madhouse usually... Or having a BBQ withing the Boxing Day Test start (Cricket!!!)
Easter: 4 day weekend, no real celebration as such.
...are there any Australian specific traditions?

What do you do for Australia Day? : Most of the time have friends around for a BBQ.

What stereotypes about Australia make Australians roll their eyes? I would say Kangaroos/koalas in the backyard but this actually happens at my parents place!!

What is more commonly accepted/expected, cohabitation or marriage? To be honest, both are excepted these days.

What wedding traditions are there? Hens/bucks nights definitly.,


anything else that should be included? Not that I can think of right at this moment..

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 22, 2013, 01:30:00 AM
Boxing day is either oone of the following, SHOPPING!! Boxing day sales are freakin awesome and a madhouse usually... Or having a BBQ withing the Boxing Day Test start (Cricket!!!)

Every year I forget that its only the big inner city department stores.  Everything else is closed!  Even supermarkets are closed!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 22, 2013, 01:32:41 AM
As a PP mentioned,there is a HUGE drinking culture.When guests arrive you do not offer coffee or tea,you simply hand them a "stubbie"(a beer).
Men rarely do housework or if they do they expect payment later that night!
A large percentage of the population is overweight or obese.
There are VERY MANY old people(aged 80 -90yrs).
Reality shows are VERY popular.Almost any verb you can think of has its own reality show...cooking dancing singing.
Tradespeople earn more than teachers or politicians or some doctors.

I disagree with pretty much all of those, talk about stereotypes!

Me too. When I lived in a country town with mostly single income families it was certainly a case of more traditional gender roles, but everywhere else I've lived housework is shared a bit more evenly - not completely evenly because this is still changing but more and more so.

I tend not to offer people alcohol unless its specifically a party or after about 6-7ish in the evening. That's why it's called beer (or wine) o'clock  :) I do think my social group at least tends to associate socialising with drinking a bit too much so for example you can get a drink at the movies now if you pay for gold class, ten pin bowling alleys usually have a bar these days etc so it is a bit pervasive sometimes.

There are too many overweight people sadly. As we've moved to more sedentary lifestyles our eating habits haven't kept up.

I don't actually know what tradies earn since it would be rude to ask, but my neighbourhood (so roughly similar property values etc) is populated largely by teachers, nurses, shiftworkers and tradies so I would have assumed roughly similar incomes.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: AnnaT on April 22, 2013, 02:00:33 AM
I know that we have a lot of Australian ehellions, so I figured this is as good a resource as any for an assignment. I need to write a paper on Australian culture. So, what interesting things are there that are different in Australia vs. United States?

*  We do tend to follow the US - a lot of our tv is from the States.
*  Security is not quite so strict as it is in the States - you don't get fingerprinted just to come into the country.
*  We do centimetres/kilometers rather than inches/miles
*  People tend to have a 'gap year' between High School and University.  A lot of those people tender to do an "O/E" (overseas experience - that's what NZ'ers call it but both countries do it) where the younger generation go overseas (normally to England or Europe) for a year or two (on a working visa) to see the world.  We are very far from everywhere here - its 24 hours to Europe and 14 to the West Coast of America so if you make the effort - you see as much of it as you can!
*  Australia is very white, at least on television - I think Neighbours has finally got a non-white family on the show but its been on for the past 25 years or so.  We do pride ourselves on being multi-cultural and I for one love the diversity of our population - it just doesn't show up in our mainstream media.


How are holidays celebrated?
In the US we stay up all night on New Year's Eve, then ring in the New Year at midnight. There are fireworks and drinking associated with the holiday. Is it different in Australia?
Christmas, Easter...are there any Australian specific traditions?
* Christmas in my family is a seafood breakfast (scallops, oysters, prawns, fish) with champagne followed by a bbq style lunch around 3-ish (steaks, cold ham, salads, sausages, prawns, etc followed by a full on dessert buffet - berries, pavlova, trifle, ice cream, brandy snaps, etc).
*  NYE we come and hang out by the Sydney Harbour for the day to watch the 9pm and midnight fireworks (over $6m dollars worth of fireworks go up in "ooo aaah" prettiness)
*  NYD is not such a big deal - most people sleep off the night before

What do you do for Australia Day?
*  Australia Day tends to be the day you see most patriotism (not that we have a lot) - sometimes its not very nice patriotism (we can get the "go back where you came from" element happening).  Lots of swimming, bbq's and beer.

What stereotypes about Australia make Australians roll their eyes?
*  There is no bridge between Australia and New Zealand
*  "Yes I live in Sydney, no I don't know Tim Smith.  You do know Sydney has over 6 million people in it don't you?"  Australia reached a milestone of 23 million people this week.  It is a large country but we mainly live on the fringes (the centre is pretty inhospitable if you're not prepared).
*  I don't drink beer or wear corks on my hat
*  Cockatoos are very pretty but get a mob of them together and the sound is horrendous (so no, its not that lucky to live next to such beautiful wildlife)

What is more commonly accepted/expected, cohabitation or marriage?

Either is accepted - it tends to be more cohabitation when you're younger and marriage as you get more mature.

What wedding traditions are there? I seem to recall that showers are not as common, and that in lieu of bachelor/bachelorette parties there are hen/stag nights where everyone that honestly sound similar to the US counterparts.

Seems similar but not so over the top.  Unless you come from a traditional European background, most couples pay for their own weddings (with help from both sets of parents).


anything else that should be included?

*  We drive on the opposite side of the road to you
*  Seasons are opposite so our school year runs February to early December (instead of June-July or however it is in the States)
*  It does snow here but only in the Alpine regions
*  Melbourne is very cosmopolitan
*  Our nation's capital is a man-made construct - it was designed to be our capital when it was first built
*  I think we feel the same for our military as you do for yours (ie, not sure if the war is right but will defend our military men and women very strongly)
*  We have a female prime minister
*  We do not have gay marriage (although NZ just passed a bill so hopefully soon)
*  "I love a sunburnt country" is a great poem which is very evocative of Australia: http://www.dorotheamackellar.com.au/archive/mycountry.htm

"I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!



Thanks to all, I would much rather talk to actual people than google everything. It gives a better picture 
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: amandaelizabeth on April 22, 2013, 02:40:03 AM
Twiggy they are pulling your leg, drop bears are not a myth they really exist.   And in the middle of the city too.  Why else would the ozzie cricketers put toothpaste on their noses if it wasn't for their fear of drop bears.  I noticed that they were so scared that they kept it on over here too. 

The reason we don't do large fireworks on New Years Eve,  even though We are first in the world, that it usually they signal the start of a rain storm of drought breaking proportions.  As Australia seems to have cornered the local market in droughts we let them have the fireworks too.  We are nice like that. 
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: StarFaerie on April 22, 2013, 03:14:00 AM
I'm going to address a few things. These are my opinion only and other Aussies will differ greatly regarding these.

Flannies, ugg boots, trackie daks, Commodore or Falcon utes? It's the uniform of the Bogan and can be seen at the shops in my boyfriend's suburb on any day.

Kangaroos down the main street. Depends on where you live. I live in Canberra, the capital city which has 350,000 inhabitants, and about 10 years ago friends and I saw a roo hopping down Northbourne Ave (our main street). We yelled out the car window at it to stop being such a stereotype and then rang the rangers to come rescue it. My house is near an open space and there are roos there all the time and I have to drive carefully on my morning commute just in case one decides to hope across the road. I live 10 minutes from the city centre.

I don't think we have as many dangerous creatures as some seem to think or as we like to spruik. I haven't seen a venomous snake for about 15 years and I see about 5 redbacks a year, but a quick spray of insect killer and they're taken care of. I think any big mostly empty country will have a lot of dangerous wild animals. After all the US has Rattlesnakes and bears! (How can you not be terrified of bears?)

Our capital city is actually based on Washington DC and was designed by American Architects Walter and Marion Burley-Griffin.

Our constitution was based on the US constitution, with some substantial differences.

Atheism doesn't have the stigma here that it seems to have in the States. And religion isn't a big thing. People really don't care about what religion you are or are not. I don't know the religious beliefs of any of my coworkers.

Racism is accepted to a point but when it becomes overt you'll find people speaking out against it.

Picking an Australian culture or traditions can be quite difficult as we are quite a young country with a large number of new immigrants, so the traditions for different events and holidays differs depending on your family, where you live and your cultural origins. My Christmas is more of a Dutch Christmas migrated to Summer as my Mum is Dutch. The ex husband's family had a traditional English Christmas and my BF's Christmas is just a big family gathering with no set food traditions.

And for alcohol, personally, I drink beer but not VB or Fosters and I quite enjoy your Sierra Nevada beers. The US certainly knows how to bring the hops. Our generic beers are higher in alcohol than the US ones.

One thing I hadn't noticed mentioned is swearing. Swearing is quite a casual thing here IMHO and pretty much the occasional swear word in conversation is barely noticed. I work in a very conservative office and I've heard just about everyone come out with the F-word when something has gone wrong or they got hurt. They find me very quaint because I tend to say darn, gosh and bother.

We are a rich country, especially comparatively after the GFC as we rode it out very well due to our mining sector.

We have a more socialist outlook than the US. Our healthcare is government subsidised, we have a strong welfare safety net and tertiary education is cheap and the student contribution paid through low interest loans once we start working. (And I hate that the spell check thinks subsidised is spelled with a z)

We also don't have quite the military culture that the US seems to. Speaking bad about the military or the wars we are in is not a big thing in my circle or workplace or even in the press, except around Anzac day.

We also don't seem to have an Australian version of "American exceptionalism". It's OK for us and even our politicians to believe Australia is not the best country on earth.

The Southern Cross is often seen as the symbol of the country (Sorry NZ and all other Southern Hemisphere countries. Somehow we coopted it). If you have it tattooed on you though, you may be a bogan.

And this makes my hair stand on end for love of my beautiful country

"I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!"

(Quoted from AnnaT)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: IslandMama on April 22, 2013, 03:27:12 AM
I don't need to keep rehashing the same things, but I will add these:

We get more holidays than you.  :)  It's pretty standard that anyone employed gets four weeks off with holiday leave loading on top of their normal wage. 

If we're sick we don't need to worry, we just go to the Doctor.  Most GPs will bulk bill for anyone under 16 or on a pension, quite a few will bulk bill all their patients.  That means we pay absolutely nothing.  Our hospitals (unless you opt for a private one, of course) are free... all treatment and care is free.

Nobody relies on tips to have an adequate wage.

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: CakeEater on April 22, 2013, 03:34:16 AM

The Southern Cross is often seen as the symbol of the country (Sorry NZ and all other Southern Hemisphere countries. Somehow we coopted it). If you have it tattooed on you though, you may be a bogan.


Yes!

I don't need to keep rehashing the same things, but I will add these:

We get more holidays than you.  :)  It's pretty standard that anyone employed gets four weeks off with holiday leave loading on top of their normal wage. 

If we're sick we don't need to worry, we just go to the Doctor.  Most GPs will bulk bill for anyone under 16 or on a pension, quite a few will bulk bill all their patients.  That means we pay absolutely nothing.  Our hospitals (unless you opt for a private one, of course) are free... all treatment and care is free.

Nobody relies on tips to have an adequate wage.



I was going to add some of this, as well. Although for some treatments, you may have to wait for quite a long time, it will eventually be free.

I had my first baby in our local hospital, was transferred by ambulance to a larger one for some surgery, spent the day there, and a subsequent 7 days back in our local hospital and paid not a cent.

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 22, 2013, 04:09:58 AM


Our constitution was based on the US constitution, with some substantial differences.

Factually speaking I don't think we can say our constitution is *based* on the US constitution. To me, that would imply some sort of causative link. I don't think there's any way that the good monarchists who wrote the constitution would have received inspiration from *gasp* revolutionaries. Against Mother England no less! Looking at the US constitution (the little that I have) it is fairly easy to see that it was written by people escaping from a repressive regime whereas ours reflects that it was more a mutual breakup.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: fiveofclubs on April 22, 2013, 05:35:35 AM
Some of the main differences.

-"socialised" healthcare. People mostly buy health insurance to avoid wait times and because there's a tax benefit. Nobody goes bankrupt from medical bills.
-welfare. If you are unemployed in Australia, you are entitled to welfare in which you get money from the government. While you have to prove that your looking for work (unless your on the disability pension) you don't need to have previously had a job to get it.
-Australia has compulsory superannuation. Your employer is legally obliged to pay 9% (it's supposed to be on top of but some companies try to bend the rules) of your pay into a super account (similar to your 401k?) You can't touch this money until you turn 55. It's going to go up to 12% by 2015.
-our female prime minster was born in Wales. The opposition leader was born in London. Nobody makes a big deal about this.
-She's also atheist and unmarried. Nobody really cares.
-abortion is legal, the death penalty is illegal and hasn't been used since 1967 in any state or territory.
-guns laws are pretty strict. And most Australians are happy that that's the case. You basically need a reason to have a gun, you can't get assault weapons legally, the gun has to be kept in a locked safe and the ammo needs to be locked up separately.
-we have compulsory voting. If you're a citizen, or even a permanent resident, you have to vote, or you'll be fined. Our elections are always on a Saturday. So there doesn't tend to be the same deal over elections that I see when the US elections come up. And the difference between our parties is nowhere near what is it in the states. Both our main parties would be considered to be moderates.
-the minimum wage is around $21 an hour. Nobody tips in Australia, unless it's rounding up the bill so you don't have to deal with change. This is why Aussies have a bad rep for not tipping, because we just don't understand it.


Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: StarFaerie on April 22, 2013, 06:06:15 AM


Our constitution was based on the US constitution, with some substantial differences.

Factually speaking I don't think we can say our constitution is *based* on the US constitution. To me, that would imply some sort of causative link. I don't think there's any way that the good monarchists who wrote the constitution would have received inspiration from *gasp* revolutionaries. Against Mother England no less! Looking at the US constitution (the little that I have) it is fairly easy to see that it was written by people escaping from a repressive regime whereas ours reflects that it was more a mutual breakup.

Andrew Inglis Clarke, the primary writer of our Constitution based it very closely on the US Constitution within the constraints of retaining the Monarchy. Our federal system was specifically based on the US system rather than the other possible option, the Canadian one. Our founding fathers agonised over whether the US Civil War was caused by deficiencies in the US Constitution or whether it was just about slavery (they decided slavery and hence went ahead, also adding the word indissoluble to avoid states succeeding in the way they had tried to in the US). Many of them spent quite a bit of time talking to people from the US to find out what were the good and bad parts of the US system and constitution.

The UK didn't have a written constitution and hence they needed something to base it on and the US was the one. They of course just used it as their jumping off point, changed it, used parts from others, rewrote extensively and so on, but many of the initial ideas and work came from the US one.

Remember that the American revolutionary War had ended 120 earlier and the US was no longer an enemy of the Empire. The Civil War was more in people's memories by then. So they absolutely received inspiration from "revolutionaries" who really no longer were but were friends.

http://www.mulr.com.au/issues/33_3/33_3_4.pdf
http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/publications/papers-and-podcasts/australian-constitution/professor-helen-irving.aspx
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Jape on April 22, 2013, 06:56:05 AM
Haven't finished reading yet so I don't know if it's been brought up already, but I got to this
Quote
We don't always throw a shrimp on the barbie.
  and thought it worth mentioning that we also don't tend to call them shrimp.  They're prawns.  And it's more likely to be steak and snags (sausages) on the barbie.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 22, 2013, 08:06:49 AM
-abortion is legal, the death penalty is illegal and hasn't been used since 1967 in any state or territory.

Not quite.  In NSW at least its illegal unless the health (physical or mental) of the mother is threatened.  THat of course presents a pretty easy loophole, but still...
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: JadeGirl on April 22, 2013, 08:41:16 AM
I live in the depths of Australian suburbia and have to avoid kangaroos if I'm doing an early morning practice at the archery range. Also, I recently evicted a dugite from my back yard:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dugite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dugite)

Most Aussies are deeply cynical about politics and there doesn't seem to be as much razzamataz associated with our elections.

The legal drinking age is 18 and many of us enjoy an alcoholic beverage with our coworkers on a Friday afterwork.

I've noticed that American cultural traditions like showers are creeping in here. One Aussie tradition I love is "Christmas in July".  It's a great excuse to have turkey and all the trimmings without dying of heat stroke.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Thipu1 on April 22, 2013, 09:07:58 AM
This is a wonderful and very educational thread.

I would like to know how Australians regard Bill Bryson's books about their country. 

On a cruise, we were table-mates with natives of Sydney and the topic came up.  They thought the books were totally inaccurate.  What do other Australians think? 

Enquiring minds want to know. 

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 22, 2013, 03:37:55 PM
This is a wonderful and very educational thread.

I would like to know how Australians regard Bill Bryson's books about their country. 

On a cruise, we were table-mates with natives of Sydney and the topic came up.  They thought the books were totally inaccurate.  What do other Australians think? 

Enquiring minds want to know.

I haven't read any of them
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: StarFaerie on April 22, 2013, 04:37:38 PM
This is a wonderful and very educational thread.

I would like to know how Australians regard Bill Bryson's books about their country. 

On a cruise, we were table-mates with natives of Sydney and the topic came up.  They thought the books were totally inaccurate.  What do other Australians think? 

Enquiring minds want to know.

I haven't read any of them

Nor I.

My ex-inlaws liked them though.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 22, 2013, 05:51:41 PM
I've read Downunder and At Home, but it's been a while since I read the former.

Us Aussies are generally laid back and have a tendency to not take ourselves too seriously. For instance, among males the words "old bastard" are usually a term of affection. And we do like poking fun at authority. We are only human, and it is nice to be reminded of that remind others of that.

We aren't very political, our last election had vote counting that lasted about a week and the prevailing attitude was "get on with it".

Boxing Day is when a lot of Aussie males, and some females, go into a cricket induced coma with the Boxing Day test. And we always win, even when we don't.

We don't have a lot of wedding traditions, they follow US and UK a bit but with a bit more of a laid back approach. It's perfectly fine to include registry info with an invite, just ON the invite is a bit too much. The couple will pay for it themselves, with sometimes contributions from family and friends. Who pays for BM dresses can go either way or halfway in our case, as long as you are upfront about it.

And we do have more public holidays here. Easter is typically a four day weekend.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 22, 2013, 05:55:54 PM
This is a wonderful and very educational thread.

I would like to know how Australians regard Bill Bryson's books about their country. 

On a cruise, we were table-mates with natives of Sydney and the topic came up.  They thought the books were totally inaccurate.  What do other Australians think? 

Enquiring minds want to know.

I haven't read any of them

Nor I.

My ex-inlaws liked them though.

I read one years ago. I couldn't give a detailed critique because it was so long ago, but I remember it as being an amusing tourist book. Then again, I wasn't looking for accuracy because really is ANY visitor to ANY country really going to get a true picture of what it's like?

Also, as a nation I think that although we are not overtly patriotic we do take critisism poorly from outsiders so that's going to be a minefield for anyone writing about Australia. It's a bit like I'll say what I like about my family, but if YOU say something...
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 22, 2013, 05:57:26 PM
Us Aussies are generally laid back and have a tendency to not take ourselves too seriously. For instance, among males the words "old bastard" are usually a term of affection.

I wuold just clarify this with: its the tone in which it is said, more than the words.  Pretty much any sentence can be uttered in affection as well as in dispute.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 22, 2013, 06:11:48 PM
Us Aussies are generally laid back and have a tendency to not take ourselves too seriously. For instance, among males the words "old bastard" are usually a term of affection.

I wuold just clarify this with: its the tone in which it is said, more than the words.  Pretty much any sentence can be uttered in affection as well as in dispute.

Yes, tone is everything as is context. Such as using the phrase "Happy birthday, you old bastard" is perfectly acceptable among friends.

Other terms for your amusement:

Cheers = thanks, when used I'm the context of thanking someone. Usually informal,y thanking a friend or colleague.
Bloke =  older male, though the equivalent for females (Sheila) is generally not used except maybe in rural areas.
She'll be right/she'll be apples = all is well or all is going to be well. Similar is "no worries" which is the problem you have is nor worth worrying about.
Fair go = shorthand for "you're not being fair to me and/or someone else and you should be"
Too right = an expression of agreement
Shout = to buy someone a drink and/or meal. It's both a verb "I'll shout you dinner" and a noun "it's your shout"
And my favourite, which is hardly used anymore "flat out like a lizard drinking" which means extremely busy.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Julian on April 22, 2013, 07:51:31 PM
There is (or used to be) an official Order of Old Bastards!   :D

In addition to what everyone else has said, much of which can be fairly regional...

Another Boxing Day tradition is the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.  Living near Hobart, this is huge - many people pour into Hobart and crowd around the waterfront area, as boats trickle in.

We do take our sports seriously, but mostly professional sports types as opposed to high school / college teams.  There are, for example, several forms of football played here - Australian Rules, Rugby Union, Rugby Leage and soccer.  There are national, state and local area competitions.

Holidays tend to be fairly laid back affairs, particularly if the weather is good.  When possible, many of us love to spend time outdoors.  Barbecues are wonderful. 

I tend to find us Aussies are friendly but a little reserved compared to some of our US counterparts - when I was in the US it was not uncommon for total strangers to approach and talk to me, which isn't always the norm here.  I've had the same experience in Aus when on long motorcycle tours but generally it doesn't seem common.  I admit, I'm reserved with strangers, but I can also quite happily chat with strangers without any problem at all.  I must have an approachable face, I'm always the one that people ask for directions...  even in a strange US city (and I could help too!)   

Some of us like to exaggerate a bit too, and tell tall tales, particularly to visitors.  Hence the tales of hoop snakes, drop bears and fangaroos.  But conversely, if you fly to Sydney and think you can bicycle to Uluru in a day, we will try to correct you - it's one thing to make a joke but we don't want anyone to come to grief because of it. 

Distance here is very different - our continental land mass is nearly the same as the USA but we only have 6 states and 2 territories.  So driving from state capital to state capital is a big, big trip.  And if you want to visit Tasmania, it's fly or ferry. 

Food is very different.  Lots of Asian flavours and ingredients have become the norm over the past years.  And our supermarket brands are very different to what's available in the USA.  (I nearly had a conniption in a Walmart - wow, so much stuff, so different, what the heck am I buying??   :o)

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: KB on April 22, 2013, 10:23:12 PM
I would like to add to the importance of sport in this country - how many other places do you know that have an official public holiday for a horse-race? Yes, the Melbourne Cup means we in Melbourne get the first Tuesday in November off to watch horses go round a track. Needless to state, there is also much drinking...
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Pen^2 on April 22, 2013, 10:26:55 PM
I would like to add to the importance of sport in this country - how many other places do you know that have an official public holiday for a horse-race? Yes, the Melbourne Cup means we in Melbourne get the first Tuesday in November off to watch horses go round a track. Needless to state, there is also much drinking...

Ooh, yes! I didn't grow up in Melbourne so I didn't have a day off, but we still finished the last lesson early at school so they could wheel out the TV trolley and we'd all sit and watch the horses. I don't even like horse racing, but still enjoyed getting an early finish to the day and hearing all the silly horse names.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 22, 2013, 10:48:11 PM
I would like to add to the importance of sport in this country - how many other places do you know that have an official public holiday for a horse-race? Yes, the Melbourne Cup means we in Melbourne get the first Tuesday in November off to watch horses go round a track. Needless to state, there is also much drinking...

Yes, but its only the actual place of the event that gets the day off.  The rest of us are lucky if we get a long lunch.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: gemma156 on April 23, 2013, 01:14:50 AM
Being surrounded by water, swimming is an essential part of childhood development.  Too many visitors or newly settlers come to our country, and get into trouble around the water.

In Sydney Bondi beach is a favourite of many overseas visitors, who get themselves into trouble in the surf.  some don't pull through at all.  then there the visitors who get so excited to get a sun tan, they don't apply any sunscreen and end up in hospital with full burns from the sun.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 23, 2013, 03:17:20 AM
Being surrounded by water, swimming is an essential part of childhood development.  Too many visitors or newly settlers come to our country, and get into trouble around the water.

In Sydney Bondi beach is a favourite of many overseas visitors, who get themselves into trouble in the surf.  some don't pull through at all.  then there the visitors who get so excited to get a sun tan, they don't apply any sunscreen and end up in hospital with full burns from the sun.

I must say I was watching a US reality show once and there was a woman who couldn't swim. At all. Not even dog paddle. She just got into the water and sunk without the faintest notion of what to do about it. I don't think I've seen that in Australia in a child above about 7. Even kids from isolated areas can usually at least splash about a dam IME. Maybe Tasmania?
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 23, 2013, 03:19:14 AM
Don't be so sure, it can get hot down there in summer. And dry.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Craftyone on April 23, 2013, 04:54:34 AM
On road things. We drive on the left hand side of the road. Manual (stick shift) cars are still common, when buying a car most of the low to mid range cars are sold as manuals unless you order an automatic. My Honda Jazz that I bought in 2011 was manual by default, and it wasn't the base model. If I wanted an automatic I would have had to ask specifically for it.

Roundabouts are common here. We drove around the  Hamilton area in Ontario and the Ocean Shores/Aberdeen/Westport areas in Washington State in mid 2011 and we didn't come across many roundabouts. Friends we were visiting in those areas said they weren't common and unpopular.

We seem to have more footpaths (sidewalks) too. That was something we noticed missing. Cul de sacs here won't necessarily have a footpath but it would be unusual not to have one on normal streets/roads.

Public transport is pretty well used (in cities). I've just moved from Perth to Canberra and both places I've used public transport to get to/from work, but both places I've worked in the CBD. Managers above certain levels tend to get car bays and they'll drive. My husband drives but his workplace is just outside the CBD and it's easier for him to drive than catch public transport and there's free staff parking. People will drive into the CBD for work and pay for parking but it tends to be quite dear, which turns people to public transport.

Can't think of anything else to do with transport.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 23, 2013, 06:49:32 AM
I'll touch on a couple of points no one has raised yet:

1) Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world. 89% of our population live in urban areas (thanks Wikipedia). So forget about the stereotype of the sunburnt Aussie who lives on a station in the outback and wrestles crocodiles in his spare time; it's just not  true. 

On a similar note, Australia is overall, quite a homogeneous country. We don't have distinct cultures that relate to a particular region (like America has the Deep South, New England, the Mid West, etc).

Strangely enough though, many Australians spend their entire lives in the same city they were born in. They go to school, university, and work all in the same area. I've heard of Australian adults who don't see any need to make new friends. Why would they? They already have their family, their high school friends, and their uni friends. Who needs any more?! (note: I don't agree with this mindset, but I have heard it several times, from Australians who have never lived anywhere but their home city).


2) Another interesting aspect of Australian culture is the lack of a proper dating culture. In my experience, no one really "casually dates". Asking someone "Would you like to go on a date with me?" is practically unheard of.

What often happens is - two people will like each other, but hedge around each other, too shy (or proud) to make the first move. They might hang out as "friends" for awhile, and drop a bunch of hints and compliments, but they won't actually "date". Until one (or both) finally confess their feelings and BANG! They are now an exclusive couple!

In other words, you're either single (and just friends) or you're in a full-on, committed relationship. There doesn't seem to be any in-between.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Redsoil on April 23, 2013, 09:00:34 AM
*coughs*

Um, some of us "outback Aussies" might disagree with that, Life on Pluto.

Just because you mob o' galahs are urbanites, doesn't mean all Aussies are!

Signed:  the Flanno-wearing, jeans encased, Akubra'd, knife-wielding, rodeo attending, ute driving (and yes, my main ute is a shiny one) cattle-breeding Aussie!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Bijou on April 23, 2013, 10:37:44 AM
What an interesting thread!  We should have some of these about other places.  Maybe we could just start some with the name of the country. 
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: gemma156 on April 23, 2013, 04:25:54 PM
Don't forget being surrounded by water, swimming is not just considered an enjoyable past time of childhood, but a necessity for all.  Swimming is also incorporated into every year at Primary school to catch the kids falling through the cracks. 

In Sydney the first beach many oversea visitors get access to is Bondi Beach.  Many visitors who get into trouble in the surf can't actually swim and more than a few don't survive. 
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Julian on April 23, 2013, 09:42:18 PM
Iris, there is plenty of swimming here in Tasmania.  Even tiny little towns have heated public pools.  The local creeks and rivers also get a lot of use over summer.  Some days when the weather is right people actually surf in the Derwent River - it is quite wide through the Sandy Bay / Hobart area and gets a very impressive swell up.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: MerryCat on April 23, 2013, 09:49:21 PM
The more I read this thread the more I'm having an urge to head to Australia. It sounds pretty awesome and quirky!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 23, 2013, 10:06:47 PM
*coughs*

Um, some of us "outback Aussies" might disagree with that, Life on Pluto.

Just because you mob o' galahs are urbanites, doesn't mean all Aussies are!

Signed:  the Flanno-wearing, jeans encased, Akubra'd, knife-wielding, rodeo attending, ute driving (and yes, my main ute is a shiny one) cattle-breeding Aussie!

Redsoil - yes, but do you wrestle crocodiles?  :)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 23, 2013, 10:49:29 PM
Iris, there is plenty of swimming here in Tasmania.  Even tiny little towns have heated public pools.  The local creeks and rivers also get a lot of use over summer.  Some days when the weather is right people actually surf in the Derwent River - it is quite wide through the Sandy Bay / Hobart area and gets a very impressive swell up.

I didn't mean to imply that there wasn't, sorry. I just meant to say that I, personally, don't know anyone who can't swim at all past age 7, and was wildly throwing in Tasmania as a hypothetical, ironically because I didn't want people to feel as though I was being smug and saying "EVERYONE can swim" and then reply "Actually, in X area...". Clearly that backfired!

I will say that I have found that people in isolated areas (such as the small town I lived in for a while) are not necessarily *strong* swimmers as they don't always get a chance to practice. It was the total lack of the ability to do anything at ALL that really struck me about this woman.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: dawnfire on April 23, 2013, 11:18:07 PM
Iris, there is plenty of swimming here in Tasmania.  Even tiny little towns have heated public pools.  The local creeks and rivers also get a lot of use over summer.  Some days when the weather is right people actually surf in the Derwent River - it is quite wide through the Sandy Bay / Hobart area and gets a very impressive swell up.

I didn't mean to imply that there wasn't, sorry. I just meant to say that I, personally, don't know anyone who can't swim at all past age 7, and was wildly throwing in Tasmania as a hypothetical, ironically because I didn't want people to feel as though I was being smug and saying "EVERYONE can swim" and then reply "Actually, in X area...". Clearly that backfired!

I will say that I have found that people in isolated areas (such as the small town I lived in for a while) are not necessarily *strong* swimmers as they don't always get a chance to practice. It was the total lack of the ability to do anything at ALL that really struck me about this woman.

I can't swim and I'm nearly 40. I can float and dog paddle but that's it. Swimming in primary school wasn't compulsory and in high school when we did it, it was impossible to do as we shared the pool with about 3 other schools at the same time. My middle son learned to swim at the age of 10 (he's now 13)not with the school but with private lessons. I don't know what they taught him in those previous years but having the lessons in only a 2 week block make what they learn easy to forget
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Julian on April 24, 2013, 12:02:35 AM
Iris, there is plenty of swimming here in Tasmania.  Even tiny little towns have heated public pools.  The local creeks and rivers also get a lot of use over summer.  Some days when the weather is right people actually surf in the Derwent River - it is quite wide through the Sandy Bay / Hobart area and gets a very impressive swell up.

I didn't mean to imply that there wasn't, sorry. I just meant to say that I, personally, don't know anyone who can't swim at all past age 7, and was wildly throwing in Tasmania as a hypothetical, ironically because I didn't want people to feel as though I was being smug and saying "EVERYONE can swim" and then reply "Actually, in X area...". Clearly that backfired!

I will say that I have found that people in isolated areas (such as the small town I lived in for a while) are not necessarily *strong* swimmers as they don't always get a chance to practice. It was the total lack of the ability to do anything at ALL that really struck me about this woman.

Quite all right, I read it as you weren't sure.   :D 
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Redsoil on April 24, 2013, 06:51:35 AM
*coughs*

Um, some of us "outback Aussies" might disagree with that, Life on Pluto.

Just because you mob o' galahs are urbanites, doesn't mean all Aussies are!

Signed:  the Flanno-wearing, jeans encased, Akubra'd, knife-wielding, rodeo attending, ute driving (and yes, my main ute is a shiny one) cattle-breeding Aussie!

Redsoil - yes, but do you wrestle crocodiles?  :)

Only in leap years.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Fliss on April 25, 2013, 02:19:33 AM

No-one has mentioned that Oz is also one of the most dangerous countries in terms of the widlife.

7 of the top ten snakes; a jellyfish the size of a matchbox that can kill you in 10 minutes; birds taller than a man that will disembowel you; kangaroos that cam outrun cars and kick you to death; rockfish and octipii that are the deadliest in the world; the largest crocodiles in the world who actively hunt Humans, along with the razorbacks (wild pigs); wild camels who try and eat you, along with the horses and goats; sharks that lurk along the beaches waiting for those tasty crunchy Humans to go swimming.

Really, the only non-lethal animals in Oz are some of the sheep. Almost everything else is happy to try and have you for lunch.

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Pen^2 on April 25, 2013, 02:42:49 AM

No-one has mentioned that Oz is also one of the most dangerous countries in terms of the widlife.

7 of the top ten snakes; a jellyfish the size of a matchbox that can kill you in 10 minutes; birds taller than a man that will disembowel you; kangaroos that cam outrun cars and kick you to death; rockfish and octipii that are the deadliest in the world; the largest crocodiles in the world who actively hunt Humans, along with the razorbacks (wild pigs); wild camels who try and eat you, along with the horses and goats; sharks that lurk along the beaches waiting for those tasty crunchy Humans to go swimming.

Really, the only non-lethal animals in Oz are some of the sheep. Almost everything else is happy to try and have you for lunch.

Actually, it does annoy me how Australia is marketed overseas. They show beautiful beaches and nature scenes, and people get the idea that you can just walk into the water anywhere and start swimming, or that a walk in the bush is a walk in the park. All the locals know to swim between the flags, to be noisy to scare off snakes, what to do in the case of a spider bite, and how to avoid blue ring octopuses. A tremendous number of tourists don't and suffer the consequences. I feel the tourism ads they cook up are dangerously misleading. It's not the straight-forward eden they protray.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 25, 2013, 03:09:35 AM

No-one has mentioned that Oz is also one of the most dangerous countries in terms of the widlife.

7 of the top ten snakes; a jellyfish the size of a matchbox that can kill you in 10 minutes; birds taller than a man that will disembowel you; kangaroos that cam outrun cars and kick you to death; rockfish and octipii that are the deadliest in the world; the largest crocodiles in the world who actively hunt Humans, along with the razorbacks (wild pigs); wild camels who try and eat you, along with the horses and goats; sharks that lurk along the beaches waiting for those tasty crunchy Humans to go swimming.

Really, the only non-lethal animals in Oz are some of the sheep. Almost everything else is happy to try and have you for lunch.

Actually, it does annoy me how Australia is marketed overseas. They show beautiful beaches and nature scenes, and people get the idea that you can just walk into the water anywhere and start swimming, or that a walk in the bush is a walk in the park. All the locals know to swim between the flags, to be noisy to scare off snakes, what to do in the case of a spider bite, and how to avoid blue ring octopuses. A tremendous number of tourists don't and suffer the consequences. I feel the tourism ads they cook up are dangerously misleading. It's not the straight-forward eden they protray.

I don't know, I think you could say that about any country really. When people travel OS it makes sense to do a little bit of homework. Also given the way some Aussies (I'm looking at you, Fliss  ;)) like to massively exaggerate the dangers I actually have met more tourists filled with unreasonable fears than I have met unwise ones.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: sarahj21 on April 25, 2013, 05:38:20 AM
Not having read the middle pages of this thread I'm gonna keep this short. :)

For information on travelling through the outback, there is a wonderful DVD series called Russell Coight's All Aussie Adventures. It's actually a comedy series and the advice is good but things tend to go wrong for poor Russell. The actor who plays Russell is Glenn Robbins and he's hilarious. He lives in my neighbourhood and I've told him I tell foreigners to watch his DVDs. :D Type "Russell Coight" into Youtube and I promise you will laugh and also learn something about the outback.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 25, 2013, 06:36:17 AM

No-one has mentioned that Oz is also one of the most dangerous countries in terms of the widlife.

7 of the top ten snakes; a jellyfish the size of a matchbox that can kill you in 10 minutes; birds taller than a man that will disembowel you; kangaroos that cam outrun cars and kick you to death; rockfish and octipii that are the deadliest in the world; the largest crocodiles in the world who actively hunt Humans, along with the razorbacks (wild pigs); wild camels who try and eat you, along with the horses and goats; sharks that lurk along the beaches waiting for those tasty crunchy Humans to go swimming.

Really, the only non-lethal animals in Oz are some of the sheep. Almost everything else is happy to try and have you for lunch.

Actually, it does annoy me how Australia is marketed overseas. They show beautiful beaches and nature scenes, and people get the idea that you can just walk into the water anywhere and start swimming, or that a walk in the bush is a walk in the park. All the locals know to swim between the flags, to be noisy to scare off snakes, what to do in the case of a spider bite, and how to avoid blue ring octopuses. A tremendous number of tourists don't and suffer the consequences. I feel the tourism ads they cook up are dangerously misleading. It's not the straight-forward eden they protray.

I don't know, I think you could say that about any country really. When people travel OS it makes sense to do a little bit of homework. Also given the way some Aussies (I'm looking at you, Fliss  ;)) like to massively exaggerate the dangers I actually have met more tourists filled with unreasonable fears than I have met unwise ones.

No, I'd have no idea was to do with a spider bite or how to avoid a blue ringed octopus.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Carotte on April 25, 2013, 06:48:16 AM
Really, the only non-lethal animals in Oz are some of the sheep. Almost everything else is happy to try and have you for lunch.

Even that I have my doubt since I saw a movie about zombie sheeps :).

I'm not sure I saw it mentioned, but isn't there some place up high that also gets snow?
I have a vague recollection of the lady who presented the Camberra university (to my school in France) mentioning it. She also said that yes, they did get kangaroos on the campus sometimes :).
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Pen^2 on April 25, 2013, 07:02:13 AM
Really, the only non-lethal animals in Oz are some of the sheep. Almost everything else is happy to try and have you for lunch.

Even that I have my doubt since I saw a movie about zombie sheeps :).

I'm not sure I saw it mentioned, but isn't there some place up high that also gets snow?
I have a vague recollection of the lady who presented the Camberra university (to my school in France) mentioning it. She also said that yes, they did get kangaroos on the campus sometimes :).

Thredbo gets snow quite a lot (it being next to Mt Kosciuszko, the highest peak on continental Australia), but plenty of other places also snow during the colder months of the year. Lots of towns in Tasmania, the most southern (and therefore, coldest) state, get a light layer of snow a few times a year. They have ski fields and everything. Even the capital Hobart snows (not just on Mt Wellington, the often snow-covered mountain that overlooks the city, either) every couple of years right down in the city, but admittedly not much. Touch-the-ground-and-melt kind of stuff.

Oh, and a second vote for Russell Coight. He always has me in stitches.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 25, 2013, 04:55:32 PM

No-one has mentioned that Oz is also one of the most dangerous countries in terms of the widlife.

7 of the top ten snakes; a jellyfish the size of a matchbox that can kill you in 10 minutes; birds taller than a man that will disembowel you; kangaroos that cam outrun cars and kick you to death; rockfish and octipii that are the deadliest in the world; the largest crocodiles in the world who actively hunt Humans, along with the razorbacks (wild pigs); wild camels who try and eat you, along with the horses and goats; sharks that lurk along the beaches waiting for those tasty crunchy Humans to go swimming.

Really, the only non-lethal animals in Oz are some of the sheep. Almost everything else is happy to try and have you for lunch.

Actually, it does annoy me how Australia is marketed overseas. They show beautiful beaches and nature scenes, and people get the idea that you can just walk into the water anywhere and start swimming, or that a walk in the bush is a walk in the park. All the locals know to swim between the flags, to be noisy to scare off snakes, what to do in the case of a spider bite, and how to avoid blue ring octopuses. A tremendous number of tourists don't and suffer the consequences. I feel the tourism ads they cook up are dangerously misleading. It's not the straight-forward eden they protray.

I don't know, I think you could say that about any country really. When people travel OS it makes sense to do a little bit of homework. Also given the way some Aussies (I'm looking at you, Fliss  ;)) like to massively exaggerate the dangers I actually have met more tourists filled with unreasonable fears than I have met unwise ones.

No, I'd have no idea was to do with a spider bite or how to avoid a blue ringed octopus.

That may well be, but a camel still won't eat you, nor will a kangaroo actively chase you down, although both of them are certainly capable of hurting you if you annoy them too much.

Oh, and just so you know snake and spider bites get a pressure bandage and a trip to hospital asap, except feedbacks which get ice and a trip to the hospital...To paraphrase one of our leading snake and spider experts "just don't get bitten. There's no reason why you should"

A really good rule of thumb for Australian wildlife is that if it has  a big warning mark it's because it really doesn't want to bite you but it will if you poke it. So blue ringed octopusses just want to be left alone I.e. don't poke your hand willynilly into rock pools. For redbacks if you see one just leave it alone, and don't poke your fingers into dark nooks and crannies. I like to think of them as Darwin's little helpers.

In all of Australia there's only one animal that actually wants to eat you and that's a crocodile. When I visited northern Queensland I was struck by the way that every single body of water that could possibly house a croc had signs in multiple languages saying "don't swim here. No really, we're not kidding. Just don't" so it's not like people don't get warned...
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 25, 2013, 05:15:00 PM
Kangaroos will beat you up if you bother them too much, but they do generally just hop away if they see humans.

Oh, and if you go to Fraser Island don't feed the dingoes. They do look like cute puppies, but they aren't.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Micah on April 25, 2013, 06:44:48 PM
The only time a kangaroo will beat you up in the wild is if you corner it, which is unlikely,  because they're FAST. The majority of problems with kangaroos is at wildlife parks where they get fed by tourists. They're quiet (which is not the same as tame) & if you run out of food, or do something they don't like, Wham!

I find it quite amusing that people think Australia is SOOO DANGEROUS! I've like here all my life & lived in every state and territory at one time or another. The rules are basically, don't be stupid. In the top end, don't swim in water holes. Everywhere, don't play with spiders, poke your hands into little dark holes, or crawl under houses & verandahs. If you go bushwalking, wear long pants and boots, keep your eyes peeled and carry a first aid kit. Yes we have LOTS of venemous snakes, but they're not aggressive unless cornered or hassled. Generally they try to get away from you as fast as possible.

Koalas on the other hand are grumpy, stinky creatures with claws like wolverine. I really don't see the appeal....
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Bluenomi on April 25, 2013, 07:09:35 PM
The thing with dangerous Australian animals is that the average person don't see them day to day. Most of them I've only ever seen at the zoo. Red Back spiders are the only ones I see in the 'wild' often and a shoe and/or good amount of fly spary takes care of them.

Stay out of their way and they will stay out of yours.

I wouldn't worry about zombie sheep, they are in New Zealand  ;D
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 25, 2013, 07:13:58 PM
Some Australian animals are useful. Like huntsmen spiders to kill the pesky American cockroaches. The worst encounter with spiders you probably will have involves swimming pools. Funnel webs do like pools so you need to check before you go in, and they can run fast.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: KB on April 25, 2013, 07:34:11 PM
I would like to add to the importance of sport in this country - how many other places do you know that have an official public holiday for a horse-race? Yes, the Melbourne Cup means we in Melbourne get the first Tuesday in November off to watch horses go round a track. Needless to state, there is also much drinking...

Yes, but its only the actual place of the event that gets the day off.  The rest of us are lucky if we get a long lunch.

As I said in my original post 'we in Melbourne'.  ;D
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Fliss on April 29, 2013, 04:21:16 AM
Quote
I don't know, I think you could say that about any country really. When people travel OS it makes sense to do a little bit of homework. Also given the way some Aussies (I'm looking at you, Fliss  ;)) like to massively exaggerate the dangers I actually have met more tourists filled with unreasonable fears than I have met unwise ones.

(swells with indignation) Are you implying that my tales of riding wallabies to school while dodging vicious dropbears, attack cockatoos, and herds of savage wild brumbies might be less than completely truthful?!

My honour has been impugned!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: gemma156 on April 29, 2013, 04:57:20 PM
You are more likely to get hurt by a kangaroo as it jumps onto the road directly into your car's path, between dawn and dusk are the watch out times when driving through countryside, when they are at their most active.  During times of drought the kangaroo's can get aggressive by coming onto farmer's properties or houses on the fringes of towns, looking for pet food left out - they will fight for food when hungry.   

When out biking one hopped into our path on the bike track, it froze while it considered it's fight or flight response and we stopped quickly to be non threatening, then had to wave our hands and shoo it off, when it looked like it would fight.  Didn't want to be ripped open by a frightened kangaroo, it happily took off.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 29, 2013, 05:01:02 PM
They will wreck your car if you hit one. My dad recently wrote off his new car because of a kangaroo.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on April 29, 2013, 05:19:34 PM
They will wreck your car if you hit one. My dad recently wrote off his new car because of a kangaroo.

Trivia fact: a wombat can take out a train.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Julian on April 29, 2013, 06:08:45 PM
One of my colleagues saw a large 4x4 get airborne after hitting a wombat.  Those things are like tanks.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: dawnfire on April 29, 2013, 07:46:55 PM
They will wreck your car if you hit one. My dad recently wrote off his new car because of a kangaroo.

As with anything it depends on the size of the car. hubby hit a roo with a suzuki with no real damage to the car.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: JadeGirl on April 29, 2013, 11:22:26 PM
I hit a wedge-tailed eagle and wrote off my FIL's brand new company sedan  :-[.  It was at the tail end of the rainy season in northern Western Australia, and there were heaps of dead kangaroos on the road (victims of trucks).  The wedgies and crows were out in force, cleaning up the roadkill.  Unfortunately, mature wedgies have a very large wing span (up to 8 feet!) so they don't take off very quickly.  The poor chap ended up hitting the car bonnet, then took out the windscreen and A pillar on the passenger side.  Surprisingly, he was only a bit stunned and hopped off indignantly while we shakily got out of the car to inspect the damage.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: kareng57 on April 29, 2013, 11:52:16 PM
They will wreck your car if you hit one. My dad recently wrote off his new car because of a kangaroo.


I wonder whether beloved A.A. Milne had anything to do with the idea that kangaroos are sweet, placid animals...

Of course every corner of the world has animals who are capable of suddenly attacking.  I remember reading, a number of years ago, of a motorist in Australia who hit a kangaroo and survived the initial impact.  But the kangaroo came through the windshield and beat him to death...

Please do not misunderstand, I would love to visit Australia someday.  Canada also has its share of dangerous wildlife.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Fliss on April 30, 2013, 12:05:37 AM
Quote
Please do not misunderstand, I would love to visit Australia someday.  Canada also has its share of dangerous wildlife.

Yes, but your dangerous animals look it! Bears are all fang and claw, moose have those antlers things happening, annoy a beaver and it'll probably precision-drop a tree on your tent. Seals, walrus, wolves, killer whales, etc, none of these are animals I'd tackle.

Ours look harmless and slightly bumptious -- right up until the moment they get frisky. And then there's nothing to do but run for the trees.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: dawnfire on April 30, 2013, 12:17:41 AM
Quote
Please do not misunderstand, I would love to visit Australia someday.  Canada also has its share of dangerous wildlife.

Yes, but your dangerous animals look it! Bears are all fang and claw, moose have those antlers things happening, annoy a beaver and it'll probably precision-drop a tree on your tent. Seals, walrus, wolves, killer whales, etc, none of these are animals I'd tackle.

Ours look harmless and slightly bumptious -- right up until the moment they get frisky. And then there's nothing to do but run for the trees.

I always say that the Australian wildlife should best be admired from afar.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 30, 2013, 02:52:16 AM
(https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/931286_277839262353379_839026040_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: amandaelizabeth on April 30, 2013, 03:32:50 AM
Just in defnce of our australian cuzzies, I would like to add that I go to Australia a couple of times a year, and not just the main centres.  I Have been to Wallumbula in Queensland, and Condobolin, Narrowmine and West Wylong in NSW.  To my regret I have seen neither kangaroo, wombat, snake or spider.  Drop bears though that is another story.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Fliss on April 30, 2013, 03:45:42 AM
Just in defnce of our australian cuzzies, I would like to add that I go to Australia a couple of times a year, and not just the main centres.  I Have been to Wallumbula in Queensland, and Condobolin, Narrowmine and West Wylong in NSW.  To my regret I have seen neither kangaroo, wombat, snake or spider.  Drop bears though that is another story.

Really? (rubs hands gleefully) Next time you're over, drop in to Perth, and I'll give you the special tour . . . .

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: StarFaerie on April 30, 2013, 04:26:55 AM
Just in defnce of our australian cuzzies, I would like to add that I go to Australia a couple of times a year, and not just the main centres.  I Have been to Wallumbula in Queensland, and Condobolin, Narrowmine and West Wylong in NSW.  To my regret I have seen neither kangaroo, wombat, snake or spider.  Drop bears though that is another story.

Really? (rubs hands gleefully) Next time you're over, drop in to Perth, and I'll give you the special tour . . . .

Never seen a roo? Come visit me. I'll take you for a quick walk to see a field of wild ones.

Did you drive all the way to West Wyalong and not see a roo? Were you only driving in the dark or middle of the day?
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Craftyone on April 30, 2013, 05:22:20 AM
And talking about our animals.  You don't get wombats, kookaburras and koalas (and I'm sure there's other 'generic'* ones I can't think of at this moment) in Western Australia.  Those critters didn't make it across the deserts in the middle of Australia (from top to toe).  We do get kookaburras in the wild but they were introduced by pioneers (in 1898 according to Wiki), from memory, who thought they'd eat the snakes, they do but they don't eat that many and I've got a feeling they've got a taste for things like our native mice but I can't find it on the 'net.  We do have wombats and koalas but only in the Perth Zoo and wildlife parks. 

I've just moved from Perth to Canberra (west to east) and my work friends can't believe that Western Australia doesn't have the above animals naturally.

We lived in a suburb which had quite a bit of bush nearby and we had a big gum tree in the back yard.  We used to get the red tailed black cockatoos (cockies) go through in a mob.  These birds are big! and so beautiful.  They were also destructive.  They would sit in a gum tree and shred all the gum nuts off the tree, looking for just the right nut to eat, and make a #$(*@ mess on the ground.  Then fly off to the next tree in a black cloud, making a racket as they went.  I miss those birds.  We get the pink and grey galahs and the sulphur crested cockatoos here but they're not as majestic as the blacks cockies.

* by generic I mean not ones specifically named after an area like Sydney funnel web spider or Tasmanian Devil. 
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Redsoil on April 30, 2013, 07:44:14 AM
Amandaelizabeth - that'd be "Narromine".  Just up the road from where I used to live, and the reason for my nic here, from the red soil.  So how did you like the area, and what on earth took you to Narromine???  Not exactly a tourist destination!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 30, 2013, 11:11:30 AM
-we have compulsory voting. If you're a citizen, or even a permanent resident, you have to vote, or you'll be fined.

Have just discovered this thread. I've always found Australia's compulsory voting (if I'm right, the only democratic state on Earth, where this rule obtains), surprising. Especially because of a distinct impression I get: that it's a very big national trait of Aussies -- more strongly than with most peoples in the world -- to hate and detest (beyond the very basics) anyone ordering them around as to what they may or may not do. I think that if I lived there, I'd rather resent being obliged by law, to vote.

(Presumably it's the standard set-up with a secret ballot; so if you really, truly did not want to vote -- you could show up at the polling station, get your name ticked off, go into the booth, and spoil your paper by writing something or other nonsensical on it...)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 30, 2013, 04:13:35 PM
No, we're born the only ones. There's one other country, Switzerland, I think.

We also don't take away the right to vote. They set up polling in jails, for instance.

As for being told what to do...well, it has the trade off of being able to put your vote in and tell who you don't like to **** off. Elections are held on weekends, so there's no excuse. But, we're not very political. We'd like our pollies to get on with governing and not grandstand or waffle on. You'd never see filibustering in Australian parliament, they'd be told to shut up and sit down.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: fiveofclubs on April 30, 2013, 05:27:04 PM
There are 10 countries which enforce compulsory voting and 13 which have it on their books but don't enforce

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_voting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_voting)

It's a secret ballot, so no one knows if you donkey vote (don't vote correctly and thus have an invalid vote - writing a different name in, scribbling, or a blank vote), you can pre vote the week before, either at a ballot station or fill in a form at the post office, or you can provide an reasonable explanation for not voting (e.g. sick, not in the country).

And I think more Aussies have an attitude of "she'll be right" or "do what you gotta do" and since voting is something that you have to do, most people just shrug, vote, and get on with their day. Our elections really are designed to allow as many people as possible to vote as easily as possible.

I personally, like the compulsory voting system. It gives a more accurate reflection of what the average person wants. It guarantees that the core issues (health, education, police) are always addressed. It means that you don't need to spend millions to get elected to the highest office. And at the end of the day, it means that people are voting in based on their policies and if you don't like the party, don't vote for them.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: WestAussieGirl on April 30, 2013, 06:13:18 PM
I haven't had a chance to read the whole thread so hopefully not a repeat, but I found Easter to be quite different. While the part of the US I was in was very expressively Christian (something you don't really see here in Oz) everything was open on Good Friday and I had to work. Here on Good Friday NOTHING opens. It seems even more strict than Christmas Day. Also, we give chocolate not candy or painted eggs. We will have a whole supermarket aisle filled with chocolate eggs/bunnies. You might get a half a dozen non-chocolate choices for those with allergies. 
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: CakeEater on April 30, 2013, 06:25:59 PM
-we have compulsory voting. If you're a citizen, or even a permanent resident, you have to vote, or you'll be fined.

Have just discovered this thread. I've always found Australia's compulsory voting (if I'm right, the only democratic state on Earth, where this rule obtains), surprising. Especially because of a distinct impression I get: that it's a very big national trait of Aussies -- more strongly than with most peoples in the world -- to hate and detest (beyond the very basics) anyone ordering them around as to what they may or may not do. I think that if I lived there, I'd rather resent being obliged by law, to vote.

(Presumably it's the standard set-up with a secret ballot; so if you really, truly did not want to vote -- you could show up at the polling station, get your name ticked off, go into the booth, and spoil your paper by writing something or other nonsensical on it...)

You certainly could. It's called an 'informal' vote. The fine is only $20 - so more of a formality than a deterrent, really. I don't think hating being ordered around is really a particular trait of Australians. In fact, we have a lot of laws that I think people from the US would fine confining - random breath testing, for example.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: CakeEater on April 30, 2013, 06:29:39 PM

It's a secret ballot, so no one knows if you donkey vote (don't vote correctly and thus have an invalid vote - writing a different name in, scribbling, or a blank vote), you can pre vote the week before, either at a ballot station or fill in a form at the post office, or you can provide an reasonable explanation for not voting (e.g. sick, not in the country).

No, a donkey vote is numbering the candidates from top to bottom in the order they appear on the ballot.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: amandaelizabeth on April 30, 2013, 07:14:11 PM
Hi Starfaerie and Redsoil.

I was there on behalf of a National Organisation who wanted me to go and visit small centres and explain how we had coped with similar legislation over here.  It was just before GST was introduced and we had it for about 10 years at that point.  I had some IT solutions that were very specific to a niche industry.  Anyway it became a bit o a joke that I just could not see a kangaroo  Everyone had suggestions for a road or area that was guaranteed to swarming with them.  Nope not a glimpse of them.  The children back here were agog for pictures of me and Australian wildlife but nothing.  A couple of years later, I was doing the same sort of thing only traveling between Brisbane and Roma.  The Queenslanders had heard about the failure of their NSW colleagues to show me a 'roo and were determinded to show me one.  I did manage to see (and smell) several dead ones, but nothing.  One farmer heard about this and offered, jokingly I think, me lots of money to drive through his paddocks and solve his pasture problems.

The third time I went to the Zoo and saw them there.

I did enjoy my trips and thought the people were great, and the scenery very different from ours.  The thing that made the most impression on me thought, was the avenues of trees in the small rural towns that were planted in memory of those fallen in the two wars.  I am not sure if they were also planted for the  Korean and Vietnam fallen, but in some places they just went on and on.  Heartbreaking.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 30, 2013, 07:32:46 PM
-we have compulsory voting. If you're a citizen, or even a permanent resident, you have to vote, or you'll be fined.

Have just discovered this thread. I've always found Australia's compulsory voting (if I'm right, the only democratic state on Earth, where this rule obtains), surprising. Especially because of a distinct impression I get: that it's a very big national trait of Aussies -- more strongly than with most peoples in the world -- to hate and detest (beyond the very basics) anyone ordering them around as to what they may or may not do. I think that if I lived there, I'd rather resent being obliged by law, to vote.

(Presumably it's the standard set-up with a secret ballot; so if you really, truly did not want to vote -- you could show up at the polling station, get your name ticked off, go into the booth, and spoil your paper by writing something or other nonsensical on it...)

It is, and people do.  Why on earth would you NOT want to vote?

IMO if you don't vote (or donkey vote) you don't get to whings about anything going on in government.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 30, 2013, 07:36:06 PM
-we have compulsory voting. If you're a citizen, or even a permanent resident, you have to vote, or you'll be fined.

Have just discovered this thread. I've always found Australia's compulsory voting (if I'm right, the only democratic state on Earth, where this rule obtains), surprising. Especially because of a distinct impression I get: that it's a very big national trait of Aussies -- more strongly than with most peoples in the world -- to hate and detest (beyond the very basics) anyone ordering them around as to what they may or may not do. I think that if I lived there, I'd rather resent being obliged by law, to vote.

(Presumably it's the standard set-up with a secret ballot; so if you really, truly did not want to vote -- you could show up at the polling station, get your name ticked off, go into the booth, and spoil your paper by writing something or other nonsensical on it...)

You certainly could. It's called an 'informal' vote. The fine is only $20 - so more of a formality than a deterrent, really. I don't think hating being ordered around is really a particular trait of Australians. In fact, we have a lot of laws that I think people from the US would fine confining - random breath testing, for example.

If you don't pay the fine though, you may find your driver's licence suspended.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: katycoo on April 30, 2013, 07:37:04 PM
I haven't had a chance to read the whole thread so hopefully not a repeat, but I found Easter to be quite different. While the part of the US I was in was very expressively Christian (something you don't really see here in Oz) everything was open on Good Friday and I had to work. Here on Good Friday NOTHING opens. It seems even more strict than Christmas Day. Also, we give chocolate not candy or painted eggs. We will have a whole supermarket aisle filled with chocolate eggs/bunnies. You might get a half a dozen non-chocolate choices for those with allergies.

Not QUITE true.  Petrol stations, fast food resturants (Maccas sells more Filet of Fish on Good Friday than any other day of the year) and some other eateries, and emergency services (obviously).
There's no retail trading though.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Bluenomi on April 30, 2013, 08:47:41 PM
Compulsory voting was brought in because of our small population. Now we've grown we probably don't need it but it's easier to keep the rule. If you don't vote it's a $50 fine unless you've got a good excuse (I didn't vote once because I was on an international flight coming back to Oz after being away for almost a year so that got me off)

It can be annoying at times. Last local election there really wasn't anyone I wanted to vote for so I spend a bit of time staring at the piece of paper!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: StarFaerie on April 30, 2013, 09:46:40 PM
I love voting. You go to your local school on the Saturday, spend 5 minutes or so marking some boxes on a piece of paper (I've never had to line up) and then you get to go out th exit door and buy a sausage from the sausage sizzle and a cake from the cake stall. I call it sausage sizzle and cake day. I look forward to it as a treat. It's like a mini school fete without the crowds or children. Bring on September 14!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Julian on May 01, 2013, 12:53:51 AM
Where I live the local polling booth is around 200m from my house.  A gentle stroll, and there you are.  Alas, very little usually on the cake and sausage sizzle front though.  And apparently voting for local government here isn't compulsory either.   ??? 

Re not seeing the critters - lots of our natives are nocturnal, so they'll be curled up in burrows or hollow trees or branches all day.  The only time I've seen a possum out in daylight hours was in FN Queensland, and it was a blind one.

I've only seen two or three wallabies here (Tasmania) during daylight hours, but at night...  wow.  One night a few months ago I counted 27 in a 15km stretch of road.  Poor things were crossing to get to the river on the other side, and there was a bush fire up in the hills behind them.  Pademelons come out in shadier forested areas sometimes, if you want a native animal to squee over, these are it.  Tiny little fat kangaroo-like things, about half the size of the average house cat.  If you're very quiet and still, they'll come right up to you. 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ron-alenka/2048205518/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ron-alenka/2048205518/)

I've seen one wild wombat, at night right next to the road.  They look so much like rocks sometimes, it's hard to tell.   I do see a few echidnas about, they're adorable things.  The Tassie ones tend to be more furry and less prickly than the mainland ones.  And you can still occasionally see platypus in the local rivers on overcast days.

We also get flocks of yellow-tailed black cockatoos here - they sit in the top of my pine trees and rob the cones.  Noisy as heck, but they're spectacular in flight.  Flocks of sulphur crested cockies and pink and grey galahs are common, and in the rural areas I often see other small parrots such as green lorrikeets feeding on grass seed.

The best place to see Tasmanian Devils now, unfortunately, is in one of the wildlife parks.  The facial tumour disease has really knocked the population badly - they estimate around 90% of wild devils have been affected and died.  It's tragic.  Devils are gorgeous, awkward, dopey looking things about the size of a small dog - they sort of wander around, blinking a lot at the light, staggering slightly as if they're drunk.  They can open their mouths incredibly wide, and they really do turn into Taz at feeding time!
http://tasmanpeninsula.com.au/wp/attractions/tasmanian-devil/ (http://tasmanpeninsula.com.au/wp/attractions/tasmanian-devil/)
http://www.animalpictureplace.com/tasmanian-devil-pictures/tasmanian-devil-growling.jpg.php (http://www.animalpictureplace.com/tasmanian-devil-pictures/tasmanian-devil-growling.jpg.php)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Iris on May 01, 2013, 01:28:40 AM
Where I live the local polling booth is around 200m from my house.  A gentle stroll, and there you are.  Alas, very little usually on the cake and sausage sizzle front though.  And apparently voting for local government here isn't compulsory either.   ??? 

I got a 'please explain or pay a fine' letter after the last local government election, so I'm guessing in my state at least it's compulsory. I'm a fan of compulsory voting. You are quite free to write "get nicked" across your ballot paper so I don't see it as compulsory voting, I see it as compulsory turning up and getting your name marked off.

Quote
Re not seeing the critters - lots of our natives are nocturnal, so they'll be curled up in burrows or hollow trees or branches all day.  The only time I've seen a possum out in daylight hours was in FN Queensland, and it was a blind one.

I have a fond memory of being on a bus all day with a group of US tourists going around our local vineyards. At the end of the day after the last vineyard, one of them asked me where would be the best place to travel to to see kangaroos. I replied "They're all around, it's just got to be the right time of day, when the sun is going down. About now would be right. See, there they are" and pointed to the 'roos hopping through the vines on the hill across the road. It's the most perfect timing of anything in my life.  :)

We saw dozens on the drive home, after not seeing a single one all day.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: cabbageweevil on May 01, 2013, 01:58:53 AM
No, we're born the only ones. There's one other country, Switzerland, I think.

We also don't take away the right to vote. They set up polling in jails, for instance.

As for being told what to do...well, it has the trade off of being able to put your vote in and tell who you don't like to **** off. Elections are held on weekends, so there's no excuse. But, we're not very political. We'd like our pollies to get on with governing and not grandstand or waffle on. You'd never see filibustering in Australian parliament, they'd be told to shut up and sit down.

Thanks KG, and everyone else, for information about voting matters. I imagined its being compulsory nowhere but in Australia, but learn that "definitely no so".

I've had perhaps an exaggerated notion of the Australian loathing of being rule-constrained and ordered about. Comes partly perhaps, from what I've read about the amazement felt by the British armed forces in the World Wars, at how "democratic" their Australian counterparts seemed -- privates arguing, and disputing things, with captains, etc. -- and at what highly effective fighters the Aussies were, notwithstanding.

To a question from another PP: various reasons imaginable, for not wanting to vote. I personally feel that to be allowed to vote, one should have a certain minimal level of knowledge and interest about politics and current affairs, which not everyone has. Having almost zero such knowledge and interest myself, I abstain from exercising my right to vote.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: cabbageweevil on May 01, 2013, 02:05:39 AM
Re not seeing the critters - lots of our natives are nocturnal, so they'll be curled up in burrows or hollow trees or branches all day.  The only time I've seen a possum out in daylight hours was in FN Queensland, and it was a blind one.

I've only seen two or three wallabies here (Tasmania) during daylight hours, but at night...  wow.  One night a few months ago I counted 27 in a 15km stretch of road.  Poor things were crossing to get to the river on the other side, and there was a bush fire up in the hills behind them.  Pademelons come out in shadier forested areas sometimes, if you want a native animal to squee over, these are it.  Tiny little fat kangaroo-like things, about half the size of the average house cat.  If you're very quiet and still, they'll come right up to you. 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ron-alenka/2048205518/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ron-alenka/2048205518/)

I've seen one wild wombat, at night right next to the road.  They look so much like rocks sometimes, it's hard to tell.   I do see a few echidnas about, they're adorable things.  The Tassie ones tend to be more furry and less prickly than the mainland ones.  And you can still occasionally see platypus in the local rivers on overcast days.

We also get flocks of yellow-tailed black cockatoos here - they sit in the top of my pine trees and rob the cones.  Noisy as heck, but they're spectacular in flight.  Flocks of sulphur crested cockies and pink and grey galahs are common, and in the rural areas I often see other small parrots such as green lorrikeets feeding on grass seed.

The best place to see Tasmanian Devils now, unfortunately, is in one of the wildlife parks.  The facial tumour disease has really knocked the population badly - they estimate around 90% of wild devils have been affected and died.  It's tragic.  Devils are gorgeous, awkward, dopey looking things about the size of a small dog - they sort of wander around, blinking a lot at the light, staggering slightly as if they're drunk.  They can open their mouths incredibly wide, and they really do turn into Taz at feeding time!
http://tasmanpeninsula.com.au/wp/attractions/tasmanian-devil/ (http://tasmanpeninsula.com.au/wp/attractions/tasmanian-devil/)
http://www.animalpictureplace.com/tasmanian-devil-pictures/tasmanian-devil-growling.jpg.php (http://www.animalpictureplace.com/tasmanian-devil-pictures/tasmanian-devil-growling.jpg.php)

Thanks. Fascinating stuff -- I definitely want to visit Tasmania !

I'd read elsewhere about the Tasmanian Devil being in bad trouble -- heartbreaking. What I'd really love to see -- and greatly regret -- is the thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger: by all accounts a splendid, and splendidly weird, animal. Last seen for certain, in 1936 -- one gathers that there's thought to be a tiny possibility that a very few might survive, undetected, in remote locations; but not many people are holding their breath over that.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: StarFaerie on May 01, 2013, 02:28:23 AM
Re not seeing the critters - lots of our natives are nocturnal, so they'll be curled up in burrows or hollow trees or branches all day.  The only time I've seen a possum out in daylight hours was in FN Queensland, and it was a blind one.

I've only seen two or three wallabies here (Tasmania) during daylight hours, but at night...  wow.  One night a few months ago I counted 27 in a 15km stretch of road.  Poor things were crossing to get to the river on the other side, and there was a bush fire up in the hills behind them.  Pademelons come out in shadier forested areas sometimes, if you want a native animal to squee over, these are it.  Tiny little fat kangaroo-like things, about half the size of the average house cat.  If you're very quiet and still, they'll come right up to you. 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ron-alenka/2048205518/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ron-alenka/2048205518/)

I've seen one wild wombat, at night right next to the road.  They look so much like rocks sometimes, it's hard to tell.   I do see a few echidnas about, they're adorable things.  The Tassie ones tend to be more furry and less prickly than the mainland ones.  And you can still occasionally see platypus in the local rivers on overcast days.

We also get flocks of yellow-tailed black cockatoos here - they sit in the top of my pine trees and rob the cones.  Noisy as heck, but they're spectacular in flight.  Flocks of sulphur crested cockies and pink and grey galahs are common, and in the rural areas I often see other small parrots such as green lorrikeets feeding on grass seed.

The best place to see Tasmanian Devils now, unfortunately, is in one of the wildlife parks.  The facial tumour disease has really knocked the population badly - they estimate around 90% of wild devils have been affected and died.  It's tragic.  Devils are gorgeous, awkward, dopey looking things about the size of a small dog - they sort of wander around, blinking a lot at the light, staggering slightly as if they're drunk.  They can open their mouths incredibly wide, and they really do turn into Taz at feeding time!
http://tasmanpeninsula.com.au/wp/attractions/tasmanian-devil/ (http://tasmanpeninsula.com.au/wp/attractions/tasmanian-devil/)
http://www.animalpictureplace.com/tasmanian-devil-pictures/tasmanian-devil-growling.jpg.php (http://www.animalpictureplace.com/tasmanian-devil-pictures/tasmanian-devil-growling.jpg.php)

Thanks. Fascinating stuff -- I definitely want to visit Tasmania !

I'd read elsewhere about the Tasmanian Devil being in bad trouble -- heartbreaking. What I'd really love to see -- and greatly regret -- is the thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger: by all accounts a splendid, and splendidly weird, animal. Last seen for certain, in 1936 -- one gathers that there's thought to be a tiny possibility that a very few might survive, undetected, in remote locations; but not many people are holding their breath over that.

Tassie animals are nuts.

We stopped the car in a car park on the Freycinet Peninsula and the car was mobbed by wallabies. We couldn't get out without smacking one with the door. Stop moving and you may become wallaby food (may be exaggerating but only due to them not eating meat).

And those pademelons are brazen thieves. Be quiet and still and they'll approach nothing! I have a photo of one of them trying to break into our Esky at Cradle Mountain in broad daylight and it didn't move even when we tried to shoo it. Apparently they can open the latches on eskies to get to the bread and other goodies within (mutters about crazy Tassie animals)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Julian on May 01, 2013, 02:37:04 AM
Bwahahahaha!!!  Crazy indeed!  Sorry you got mobbed and robbed, you must have run into the ones we train to rob the tourists!   ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Katana_Geldar on May 01, 2013, 02:47:29 AM
No, we're born the only ones. There's one other country, Switzerland, I think.

We also don't take away the right to vote. They set up polling in jails, for instance.

As for being told what to do...well, it has the trade off of being able to put your vote in and tell who you don't like to **** off. Elections are held on weekends, so there's no excuse. But, we're not very political. We'd like our pollies to get on with governing and not grandstand or waffle on. You'd never see filibustering in Australian parliament, they'd be told to shut up and sit down.

Thanks KG, and everyone else, for information about voting matters. I imagined its being compulsory nowhere but in Australia, but learn that "definitely no so".

I've had perhaps an exaggerated notion of the Australian loathing of being rule-constrained and ordered about. Comes partly perhaps, from what I've read about the amazement felt by the British armed forces in the World Wars, at how "democratic" their Australian counterparts seemed -- privates arguing, and disputing things, with captains, etc. -- and at what highly effective fighters the Aussies were, notwithstanding.

To a question from another PP: various reasons imaginable, for not wanting to vote. I personally feel that to be allowed to vote, one should have a certain minimal level of knowledge and interest about politics and current affairs, which not everyone has. Having almost zero such knowledge and interest myself, I abstain from exercising my right to vote.

Remember, in Australia you are not constrained by party. You can vote for a minor party or independent on any government level.

And we deplore voting machines and all their works! Paper was good enough for our grandfathers, it's good enough for us!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: StarFaerie on May 01, 2013, 03:26:17 AM
No, we're born the only ones. There's one other country, Switzerland, I think.

We also don't take away the right to vote. They set up polling in jails, for instance.

As for being told what to do...well, it has the trade off of being able to put your vote in and tell who you don't like to **** off. Elections are held on weekends, so there's no excuse. But, we're not very political. We'd like our pollies to get on with governing and not grandstand or waffle on. You'd never see filibustering in Australian parliament, they'd be told to shut up and sit down.

Thanks KG, and everyone else, for information about voting matters. I imagined its being compulsory nowhere but in Australia, but learn that "definitely no so".

I've had perhaps an exaggerated notion of the Australian loathing of being rule-constrained and ordered about. Comes partly perhaps, from what I've read about the amazement felt by the British armed forces in the World Wars, at how "democratic" their Australian counterparts seemed -- privates arguing, and disputing things, with captains, etc. -- and at what highly effective fighters the Aussies were, notwithstanding.

To a question from another PP: various reasons imaginable, for not wanting to vote. I personally feel that to be allowed to vote, one should have a certain minimal level of knowledge and interest about politics and current affairs, which not everyone has. Having almost zero such knowledge and interest myself, I abstain from exercising my right to vote.

Remember, in Australia you are not constrained by party. You can vote for a minor party or independent on any government level.

And we deplore voting machines and all their works! Paper was good enough for our grandfathers, it's good enough for us!

I think Australia is very open about politics. Almost everyone has an opinion on how the government is doing and I have had political discussions with near strangers (and I'm not that political and didn't bring it up with them). It's not really polite to ask directly who someone voted for but it is just fine to discuss political topics at the dinner table and to argue it with your friends who have differing views. I think because everyone has to vote, they at least have a vague idea of what's going on and who they are annoyed at currently and what for.

Also politics is high up in our news broadcasts. If I go to CNN.com, I have to look to find US political news (maybe because it is night there, you aren't currently in election mode and have a lot more news to fill the space). But on abc.net.au and news.com.au the top stories are currently political stories and it is regularly like that.

Edited to say, BTW Blooming Onions are not Australian. I only just heard of them and found out some people think they are from here.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: dawnfire on May 02, 2013, 08:07:17 PM
No, we're born the only ones. There's one other country, Switzerland, I think.

We also don't take away the right to vote. They set up polling in jails, for instance.

As for being told what to do...well, it has the trade off of being able to put your vote in and tell who you don't like to **** off. Elections are held on weekends, so there's no excuse. But, we're not very political. We'd like our pollies to get on with governing and not grandstand or waffle on. You'd never see filibustering in Australian parliament, they'd be told to shut up and sit down.

Thanks KG, and everyone else, for information about voting matters. I imagined its being compulsory nowhere but in Australia, but learn that "definitely no so".

I've had perhaps an exaggerated notion of the Australian loathing of being rule-constrained and ordered about. Comes partly perhaps, from what I've read about the amazement felt by the British armed forces in the World Wars, at how "democratic" their Australian counterparts seemed -- privates arguing, and disputing things, with captains, etc. -- and at what highly effective fighters the Aussies were, notwithstanding.

To a question from another PP: various reasons imaginable, for not wanting to vote. I personally feel that to be allowed to vote, one should have a certain minimal level of knowledge and interest about politics and current affairs, which not everyone has. Having almost zero such knowledge and interest myself, I abstain from exercising my right to vote.

Remember, in Australia you are not constrained by party. You can vote for a minor party or independent on any government level.

And we deplore voting machines and all their works! Paper was good enough for our grandfathers, it's good enough for us!

I think Australia is very open about politics. Almost everyone has an opinion on how the government is doing and I have had political discussions with near strangers (and I'm not that political and didn't bring it up with them). It's not really polite to ask directly who someone voted for but it is just fine to discuss political topics at the dinner table and to argue it with your friends who have differing views. I think because everyone has to vote, they at least have a vague idea of what's going on and who they are annoyed at currently and what for.

Also politics is high up in our news broadcasts. If I go to CNN.com, I have to look to find US political news (maybe because it is night there, you aren't currently in election mode and have a lot more news to fill the space). But on abc.net.au and news.com.au the top stories are currently political stories and it is regularly like that.

Edited to say, BTW Blooming Onions are not Australian. I only just heard of them and found out some people think they are from here.

most of the things in outback steak house aren't traditionally Australian. (we had a chain called lonestar steakhouse and saloon with almost exactly the same menu). There isn't even a pavlova or a lamington in sight.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Julian on May 02, 2013, 09:20:47 PM
Where I live the local polling booth is around 200m from my house.  A gentle stroll, and there you are.  Alas, very little usually on the cake and sausage sizzle front though.  And apparently voting for local government here isn't compulsory either.   ??? 

I got a 'please explain or pay a fine' letter after the last local government election, so I'm guessing in my state at least it's compulsory. I'm a fan of compulsory voting. You are quite free to write "get nicked" across your ballot paper so I don't see it as compulsory voting, I see it as compulsory turning up and getting your name marked off.

I have a fond memory of being on a bus all day with a group of US tourists going around our local vineyards. At the end of the day after the last vineyard, one of them asked me where would be the best place to travel to to see kangaroos. I replied "They're all around, it's just got to be the right time of day, when the sun is going down. About now would be right. See, there they are" and pointed to the 'roos hopping through the vines on the hill across the road. It's the most perfect timing of anything in my life.  :)

We saw dozens on the drive home, after not seeing a single one all day.

Nice timing on the roos!   ;D

Non-compulsory local government voting seems to be a Tasmanian thing.  I honestly didn't know until I heard on the news a few weeks ago that they want to make it compulsory.  I've been here four years, and it's the first I knew about it!
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: twiggy on May 02, 2013, 09:24:23 PM
new question real quick:


most of the things in outback steak house aren't traditionally Australian. (we had a chain called lonestar steakhouse and saloon with almost exactly the same menu). There isn't even a pavlova or a lamington in sight.

what is traditional Australian food? Do you have a recipe that calls for things I could easily get in the US? Culture class is done, and we're having our party on Wed. (Pretty sure I aced the paper, thanks for all the insights!) I'd love to bring in some food from Australia since that was my country.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: StarFaerie on May 02, 2013, 09:34:02 PM
new question real quick:


most of the things in outback steak house aren't traditionally Australian. (we had a chain called lonestar steakhouse and saloon with almost exactly the same menu). There isn't even a pavlova or a lamington in sight.

what is traditional Australian food? Do you have a recipe that calls for things I could easily get in the US? Culture class is done, and we're having our party on Wed. (Pretty sure I aced the paper, thanks for all the insights!) I'd love to bring in some food from Australia since that was my country.

Pavlova would be good.It's basically a meringue cake topped with cream and sliced fruits. Or lamingtons are also awesome - sponge cakes dipped in a chocolate sauce then coated in desiccated coconut. For savoury stuff, sausage rolls and meat pies with tomato sauce would go down a treat.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Katana_Geldar on May 02, 2013, 10:26:38 PM
ANZAC biscuits (NOT COOKIES) are also easy to make. Rolled oats, self raising flour, butter, sugar, coconut, bi-carb soda, butter and golden syrup. Make sure it's actually golden syrup from sugar, not corn syrup. Golden syrup has a distinctive toasty flavour quite unlike corn syrup.

Interesting fact: prior to ANZAC Day Woolworths had run out of coconut, golden syrup and rolled oats. Had to go to another supermarket so I could make them.
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: dawnfire on May 02, 2013, 11:40:09 PM
new question real quick:


most of the things in outback steak house aren't traditionally Australian. (we had a chain called lonestar steakhouse and saloon with almost exactly the same menu). There isn't even a pavlova or a lamington in sight.

what is traditional Australian food? Do you have a recipe that calls for things I could easily get in the US? Culture class is done, and we're having our party on Wed. (Pretty sure I aced the paper, thanks for all the insights!) I'd love to bring in some food from Australia since that was my country.

you could always bring some macadamia nuts , they are a native Australian nut, though Hawaii  grows a lot it these days.

you could bring ANZAC  biscuits,  pavlova (basically a meringue) , lamingtons (a sponges cake coated in a chocolate icing rolled in dessicated coconut). if it is an adult class you could always bring some Aussie wine or beer :)
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Bluenomi on May 02, 2013, 11:55:51 PM
new question real quick:


most of the things in outback steak house aren't traditionally Australian. (we had a chain called lonestar steakhouse and saloon with almost exactly the same menu). There isn't even a pavlova or a lamington in sight.

what is traditional Australian food? Do you have a recipe that calls for things I could easily get in the US? Culture class is done, and we're having our party on Wed. (Pretty sure I aced the paper, thanks for all the insights!) I'd love to bring in some food from Australia since that was my country.

Vegemite! Use with caution though, spread thinly.

When my Dad had to take traditional food to a work bbq he took emu sasuages and kangaroo steaks. We are the only country in the world where you can eat the National Emblem animals  ;D
Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: Craftyone on May 03, 2013, 04:37:35 AM
Here's a blog entry from the Australian War Memorial about ANZAC biscuits
http://www.awm.gov.au/blog/2008/04/22/anzac-biscuits/

and here's a great recipe from the Australian War Memorial
http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/anzac/biscuit/recipe/

I make this one every year and it's always popular.

Title: Re: Homework help, Australian culture
Post by: IslandMama on May 03, 2013, 05:04:08 AM
Tim Tams... and then you can all do the Tim Tam Slam.   :)  I know that some of my friends in Canada can get them in their local grocery store so you may be able to get them at a store near you in the international foods section - or wherever they keep the chocolate biscuits.  :)