Ask anyone who’s lived overseas and they can confirm Australians have a reputation for being loud and relaxed – as compared to Americans being loud and rude – despite living in a fairly scary environment. But life in Australia isn’t anything like Home and Away‘s Summer Bay or Neighbours’ Ramsay St, probably our two most famous cultural exports. Here is a breakdown of 11 common stereotypes about the way Australians live.
1. Everyone lives by the beach
It is true that around 80 per cent of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast line. But beachfront real estate is very expensive so tourists might be disappointed to find out we’re not all tanned, blond-haired surfers.
2. It’s hotter than hell
OK, we do get snow sometimes but, yes, it is disgustingly hot here. Most primary school kids try to convince their teachers there’s a rule that if it is over 40 degrees you can go home, though I’ve never heard of this being successful. It gets hot enough to brand yourself with a seat-belt and every year people try and cook eggs on the cement.
3. Australian are all rowdy
It probably doesn’t help our international reputation when Australians keep getting arrested overseas for doing “shoeys” and stripping down to their speedos – also referred to as budgie-smugglers. In the last year alone, the number of Australians arrested overseas increased by 23 per cent and the number of Aussie larrikins hospitalised increased by 15 per cent. Maybe part of the reason Australians party so hard when they go overseas is because nights out are expensive here and we have lockouts in New South Wales and Queensland, so travellers take too much advantage of freedom overseas. No, that’s bullshit, Australians just love a good time wherever they are – especially in Bali! Another reason people think we’re a nation of hard party goers is we sell wine in enormous plastic bags, known as goon sacks.
4. All Australians have pet kangaroos
We ride them to school. They are also found in the main street of large towns, including Sydney. We also have dingoes as guard dogs and wombats as house pets. Not koalas though; those things may look cute but they won’t hesitate to rip you to shreds. Then there are the vicious native drop bears!
5. We’re surrounded by dangerous animals
I was going to say this isn’t true but there were two venomous spiders in my house this week. It’s not only enormous spiders that seem like they’re trying to kill us, there are sharks, stingrays, crocodiles, insects, snakes, wasps, octopi and even killer birds, always waiting for unsuspecting victims.
6. We’re always eating brunch
Guilty – and if you agree with The Australian’s columnist Bernard Salt, our obsession with smashed avo is preventing us from buying houses. Sorry Bernard, but there are many other reasons why first-home buyers find it hard to break into the housing market and it’s unfair to lay the blame on the humble avocado.
7. We always cook meat outside
We love doing a BBQ, but no Australian has ever said “put a shrimp on the barbie”. They’re prawns, mate.
8. We don’t wear shirts or shoes often enough
On any given day there is an Australian in a public place like an airport or shopping centre, wandering around barefoot without a care in the world. We don’t even get dressed properly when we vote.
Shorts, singlets and pluggers, mate! That’s the go.
Australians voting at Bondi. Photo: Edwina Pickles.
9. We don’t heat our houses properly
Or any other buildings really. Australians would prefer to put on an extra three layers and whinge about the cold than turn the heater on. Architects seem to forget that it does actually get cold here for three months of the year when they design huge, improperly insulated houses.
10. We abbreviate too many words
Once you start shortening all words, it’s totes difficult to stop. Arvo, brekkie, avo (smashed or not), Maccas, barbie, sanga, bickie, chuck a sickie, rego, bowlo, are all words that may not make sense outside the Great Southern Land.
11. We constantly change prime ministers
We do, it’s very exciting for political tragics but can also be confusing, and frustrating that we keep having unelected leaders. Unfortunately, we all too often give them a second try at it too! Traditionally, hospitals ask a patient who the current prime minister is after they’ve come to, but in Australia that test doesn’t help to prove there’s anything wrong with you – it’s too hard a question. We haven’t had a leadership spill for a year now so we may be due for another one…
Source: Madeleine Wedesweiler,