Monday, January 26, 2009

The Quintessential Australian

I adapted this from a comment I received last Australia day and added a few of my own touches. I have no idea who wrote it but it is true.

When I think of a 'typical Aussie' I get an image of a bronzed man or woman, who have Milo and Weet-Bix for breakfast, Vegemite for lunch, and a BBQ and beer for dinner. Tim-Tams are the national snack, beating the Poms or Kiwis at anything, the national sport . It's getting in there and having a go. It's calling your best mate a total bastard or a silly bugger, and your worst enemy a bit of a bastard. It's the Hills Hoist, the Holden Ute, coldies in an Esky

Gum Trees and Simpson washing machines. It's dusty kids with big smiles. It's verandahss large as the rest of the house and fly screen doors that always slam. It's lizards in the loungeroom and dead flies on the sill and that whining drone of mosquitoes just as you're about to nod off to sleep.

It's Victa mowers cutting foot long grass that was only mowed two weeks ago. It's having a laugh with your mates. It's cocky's joy and sheep stations the size of European countries. It's being girt by sea and pissed by lunchtime. It's about being so lustful for international recognition we celebrate winning against the poms in Darts. It's about a highway which circumnavigates the country and kills more people each year than die by murder. It's taking a criminal and making him a hero. It's "no worries mate", "she'll be right mate", and "Waltzing Matilda" all rolled into one. It's shielas, blokes, wankers, boguns, pooftas, dancing queens, wowzers, Jumbucks, Jackaroos, Jillaroos, Walleroos, Potaroos, Kangaroos, Koalas and an animal that is so strange that when it was first discovered, people thought it was a joke.

It's the population of New York occupying a country the size of Europe. It's about standing by your mate, no matter what stupid thing he's done now. It's about a tennis star who is called a brat with one breath, and a bloody legend the next. It's about flying over the centerpiece of our nation on the way to Bali or Thailand. It's Melbourne and Sydney competing with each other as to who is the best city in the country, while the rest of us know they're both rubbish. It's our distrust of politicians and moral elitists. It's having the world record for the single largest mass shooting, which the Yanks can't seem to beat no matter how often they try.

It's women in unfeasably small gold bikinis putting coins into your parking meter while you're off getting pissed.

It's immigrants from the 50's saying they don't want any more immigrants. It's making a feature film about a bunch of traveling queers and calling it a national triumph. It's taking our greatest military defeat and turning it into the birth of a nation, while simultaneously ignoring Black Sunday against the Germans.

It's footy in the office, betting on the Finals, supporting your local team (even if half of them come from Melbourne) and code wars in the Pub. It's massive bronzed Aussie blokes with arms like powerpoles meeting you at Customs with a smile and a G'Day. It's calling out to the man on the boundry for thirty minutes to turn and wave, and when he does, give a cheer and start all over again. It's having 9 of the 10 most deadly land animals on the face of the planet in our backyards. It's surf lifesavers who are the envy of the world.

It's meat pies with sauce, calling French Fries chips, and buying wine by the cask. It's hating the French, beating the English, and laughing at the Americans, who think 'World Series' means only two countries are allowed to participate. It's playing a code of football so tough and without padding, overseas visitors think we're mad.

It's about arguing whether it's Cabanossi or Kabana. It's the Blue Heeler, the Kelpie, and the Tuckerbox. It's making cars so good that we export them to every Continent except Antarctica.

It's inventing a sporting catch-cry in three seconds, while other teams supporters plan for months. It's chasing fish poachers halfway around the world just so we can confiscate their boat and sell their catch. It's cricket in the backyard, over-and-out, batter fetches, one-hand-one-bounce, electric wickets, and tipsy-runs. It's having some of the brightest coloured birds in the world, that you can't see in the trees no matter how hard you look.

It's the incessant cheep of miner birds and Magpies calling in the morning, Crows cawing in the afternoon, and Possums climbing in your window after dark.

It's about calling sports people heroes and heroes tall poppies. It's getting a Kiddy Pool and suddenly finding your children have a lot of new friends. It's wearing thongs on your feet, not up your arse. It's walking into the shopping center bare-chested for the guys and shorts and bikini top for the girls, and no one gives you a second glance. It's budgie-smugglers on the beach, and tackle out at home. It's Hoop Snakes and Drop Bears.

It's calling our fellow Australians poms, wogs, spicks, septic tanks, chinks and boongs and adding the word 'mate' which seems to temper the blow of any insult and rarely causes offense. It's living here for 40 years and still referring to your country of origin as 'home' when you're here but Australia as 'home' when you 'go back' for a holiday. It's having a halal butcher next to a kosher bakery, a vietnamese restaurant across the road from an Italian Trattoria.

It's leaning over the fence to have a yarn with the neighbours. It's knowing your great, great, grandad was a murdering bastard that no other civilisation on earth actually wanted. It's not knowing for sure what half the words to the National Anthem are, but still singing what they might be with pride. And it's a sports flag and team colours which have nothing to do with the national flag.

It's Christmas in the sunshine and Christmas again in July

Recent research by the University of Queensland found that the quintessential aspects of being Australian included: Citizenship, care for the environment, tolerance, humour and a friendly, optimistic demeanour. Still, democracy, education and cultural diversity were rated among the top ten aspects of being Australian--ahead of other aspects such as sport, outdoor lifestyle activities and drinking beer.

So there you have it. . . frankly, when all else fails . . .when disaster strikes, personal problems overwhelm, finances are tight and life closes in . . .the sun shines . . the miner birds chirp incessantly and you're reminded that you actually do live on one of the greatest islands on earth . . .but that's our secret and we're quite happy that the rest of the world barely knows we exist.

Happy Australia Day . . .


Miles McClagan said...

It's also completely embracing someone you completely and utterly hate just because they won 4our games of tennis...

Anonymous said...

Nice one!

Happy Australia Day to you and yours Baino.

Kath Lockett said...

Aw, me eyes are slightly moist now.

We've having Italian for lunch and then off to dinner to celebrate Chinese New Year and Australia Day: think spring rolls with sauce, and BBQed duck washed down with beer and you'll be right there.

Anonymous said...

G'Day mate!

That's some transition from Pom to Possum!

Have a good day, Baino

Ces Adorio said...

There you have it. Aussies are fun especially the men. Come over, I have awards for you. Can't linger, still sick. it's contagious.

Moon said...

Well, I get my 'typical' Aussie from Paul Hogan's show back in the 80's, when he is having a beer with his footie mad mate .... but I do have the experince of apending a year in your wonderful country, and I have some classic memories... Meat raffles, strip clubs, Footie at the MCG,Pie Floaters in Adelaide... I could go on .. I loved the life of an adopted Aussie, and I cannot wait to be back ... and in your neck of the woods, thats a promise, it won't be until late 2010, but I can promise you, Mrs M and I will be back once again ....

Moon said...

Ps, one of the funniest books I have ever read is Bill Brysons notes from a Sunburnt Isle .... I love his writing, and the tears flowed when he describes all the thinghs that can kill you, his first swin on Bondi, and his description of Cricket ..

Anonymous said...

Happy Australia Day Baino! You said it brilliantly. I still go "home" for a visit but when I am there, I miss "home".
The sun shines, and life is good.

Anonymous said...

Surely, it's also definitely about scoring more points than New Zealand in the A1GP race that's taking place in their country :)

Bimbimbie said...


Land of contrast and confusion

cheers and 'ooroo fer now.

Megan said...

Happy Australia Day!

It sure is a lot of things.

But it won't let me come and live there. :(

Anonymous said...

Do you know what Australia looks like from this very unsettled corner of the world?


Anonymous said...

Hi Baino - yes all so true - your post made me smile - youve captured our idiosynchrasies well!

Anonymous said...

Well, now I know even more about Oz! I'm fully acquainted with Jumbucks, Jackaroos, Jillaroos, budgie smugglers (and is there a similar term for the camel foot variety?)....

Mmmm, Tim Tams! Couldn't get enough of them, utterly delicious....

Glad I didn't meet any of those nine deadly animals though. Or meet a possum in my bedroom.

Jenny just posted a comparison of four Oz cities, btw.

Anonymous said...

"It's not knowing for sure what half the words to the National Anthem are, but still singing what they might be with pride."

I love that one! LOL!

Some of those are the same as ours. ;)

laughingwolf said...

happy oz day, one and all! :D

Unknown said...

Funny, in some ways it sounds a lot like home...
Good on ya, Sheila and Happy Australia Day - hope the barbie is good and the beer and the chardy even better!

Unknown said...

On my blog I just showed a test of a stereotypical Hungarian. What a strange coinscidence.

Miladysa said...

Happy Australia Day Baino xxx

They may be able to take the POM out of you but by 'eck lass the Lanky's staying ;D

Gledwood said...

What an amazing parrot!... What an amazing country...

... did you know I was nearly BORN an Aussie (as a £10 pom)... some hitch went off with the forms so my parents stayed in the old country (typo: I just put the cold country what a freudian slip!!!)... yeah but were it not for that visa prob, I might well still be living in Adelaide to this day...

Baino said...

True that Miley . . .we're big on sporty hugs.

Thanks GM it was quiet but very enjoyable

Haha Multiculturalism in practice Kath. Hope you had a good one.

Well I think the Pom has long gone now Steph, and I have a certificate to prove it!

Oooh thanks Ces. Hope you're on the mend!

Aw Moon, I forgot about the ubiquitous 'meat tray' with it's crappy chops. I must read Bill Bryson, I've heard nothing but good about his Aussie tales. And you pop over and see me anytime!

You too Gaye. It's true tho isn't it? Home seems to be where you're 'not'

Perhaps Chris, but we have the F1GP here . . .cop that Kiwis

Ooroo yerself Bimbimbie *Tsup!*

Aww, we wont? You could try smuggling yourself on a boat. We'd stick you in detention for a while but the food's free.

Ian, I think for now we are. It's not perfect but it's better than most.
G'day Winterwood, welcome aboard the nut bus. Good to have some Aussie patronage on the blog!

Hey, Nick, I'll wonder over, I'd be interested in her impression of Oz. Frankly, we like to keep it on the quiet, the less people know about us the better.

I bet Jay . . well we were a nation of convicts before immigrants. Big English heritage.

Thanks Wuffa, twas a goodie! Back on the wagon now tho

Actually AV the barbie was gourmet, scallops and salmon washed down with a nice little bubbly . .or two . .or . . six

Ropi, we have a deep psychic connection hehehe

You think so Miladysa? I've been told I still have an English Accent!

Wow Gleds, weird to wonder what might have been eh? We were ten pound poms as well.

Melissa said...

Happy Australia Day, Baino!! This was another great post and I wish I knew what half of it meant. :D I can't wait to get down there sometime. Those birds -- I could spend days looking at them. And it wouldn't hurt if Hugh Jackman were to stroll by. He needs an Oscar so he can get on a stamp, by God.

TCL said...

Happy Australia Day Baino!

Never been to Oz but all your word painting make it very attractive. Now I've a good friend working in Hunter Valley it's all the more likely for a visit.

But first I must conquer South America and meet Quickroute for a pint if he ever comes back.

Just got back from some lovely Uruguayan beaches. More on it later when I sort out my thoughts.


Anonymous said...


The pride that you so rightly have in your country shines through every word of your brilliant post.

I read and enjoyed every word you wrote about Australia and congratulate you for being so articulate.

You are a talented writer, living in a wonderful country...

Happy Australia Day, Baino......

Baino said...

Thanks Melissa. It's true that the birds are so colourful yet only obvious by their 'noise'. And believe me, parrots make a racket! I'd happily swap places right now!

Ha! Ted if you do venture over here, don't forget to take me to the wineries with you! God knows where that lad is . .you haven't met up yet?

Thanks Nancy, kind words indeed but I plagiarised a lot of it. I'm not sure who the original author is. Just added a few of my touches and the bit about the Queensland research. . but I'm very happy to be an Australian I must say.

a. said...

Fly screens that always slam, I love it.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert was a great movie! :)

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) said...

Happy Oz Day - it's true that sunshine overcomes all gloom n'doom!

Baino said...

I added that bit . .my neighbours are flyscreenslammers

Quickie we're in for it. six days of 35 plus . . by my reckoning I should be hysterical by the weekend