Culture and Lifestyle In Australia

Australia’s aboriginal population first arrived around 50,000 years ago and continue to have a strong influence on Australian culture. The British began their colonisation in 1788 and this has led to the development of Australia’s highly westernised contemporary culture.

 

The original British occupation of Australia as a penal colony was followed by many subsequent waves of migration, including the Australian Gold Rush of the 1850s and significantly the arrival of migrants from over 200 countries after World War II.

The Commonwealth of Australia was founded in 1901 following a series of referenda in favour of independence. The British impact is evident in the predominance of the English language and in the continuance of the constitutional monarchy and parliamentary tradition following the British model. However, Australia has its own culture with an increasing recognition of its proximity to Asia, a focus on outdoor activity and an independent spirit fed by its remote location from Europe and North America.

The prospect of an affluent Australian lifestyle with high levels of home ownership, outdoor life and attractive climate means that Australia remains the leading destination for British migrants as well as from other countries in Europe and Asia. The population of Australia has more than quadrupled since the end of the Second World War.

Australians can be hard-working and conscientious, but ‘work hard play hard’ is a common attitude reflecting the availability of wide ranging leisure opportunities.  Australians have a reputation for being very open and relaxed with a low tolerance of affectation and snobbishness. They are seen as ‘matey’ with a have-a-go attitude. This means that they are open to new arrivals with new migrants constantly adding to the population.

Although there is a wide range of expat clubs and groups in most cities, expats and new migrants tend to integrate into the local community rather than live a separate life.  Participation in local clubs and sports as well as the school gate provide opportunities to meet people with similar interests. Australians like to entertain, particularly barbecues and outdoor dining. Dining out is also popular and the unique BYO restaurants (bring your own wine and other drinks) can keep the costs down.

The prospect of an affluent Australian lifestyle with high levels of home ownership, outdoor life and attractive climate means that Australia remains the leading destination for British migrants as well as from other countries in Europe and Asia. The population of Australia has more than quadrupled since the end of the Second World War.

 

Language

English is not the official language of Australia but is the dominant language and all government business is carried out in English.  80% of households speak only English at home with Mandarin, Italian and Arabic being the most common of the other languages spoken at home.

There were believed to be over 200 Aboriginal languages in use before the arrival of the British and only 20 survive today (all of which are endangered) and only 0.25% of the population have an indigenous language as their first language.

 

Religion

Australia’s constitution ensures complete religious freedom. Around 60% of Australians identify themselves as Christians and around 22% say they have no religion.

 

Cuisine

Australian cuisine takes its traditions from a combination of British, Mediterranean and Asian influences. Meat is a big part of the diet in Australia and the climate lends itself to the great Australian barbecue. ‘Bush tucker’ is popular making use of indigenous plants and animals. Bush fruits, fish and seafood from Australia’s saltwater rivers and bush meats, such as crocodile and kangaroo are all part of this uniquely Australian cuisine. Australia is surrounded by a vast area of seas and oceans giving it one of the largest fishing areas of any country, and fish and seafood are another important element of the Australian diet.

 

Beverages

Australian have a reputation for heavy drinking, but in fact consumption of alcohol is lower than Britain, France and Russia and many other nations. Beer is popular, and Australia has an excellent reputation for the production of wine.  Australia is the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine and has moved from producing low cost wines to producing many excellent vintage wines. Wine is produced in all states in Australia. The best-known areas are the Hunter Region and Barossa Valley.

 

Sport

Sport is central to the Australian way of life, both as spectators and participants. Cricket is the main summer sport and Australian Rules Football, Rugby League and Rugby Union as well as soccer are the main sports in winter.  Australia achieves high levels of success in international sport relative to its population size with particular success in cricket, swimming and other water sports.

The popularity of surfing, swimming and other water sports reflects the enormous coastline available to Australians as well as the favourable climate.