These are our top 5 facts about Australian culture. If you’re keen to visit the Land Down Under, you need to read this article.
If you’ve never been to Australia, it’s possible the only interactions you’ve had with Aussie culture are stereotypes and rumours.
Before you come and visit us, it’s probably a good idea to familiarise yourself with these 5 facts about Australian culture. Even if you’re from somewhere like America, an Aussie holiday can induce serious culture shock, so read up, get educated and prepare yourself.
By the time you’ve finished this article, you’ll be chowing down on a pie from the servo as you scream support for your favourite AFL team. Let’s get into it.
1. We swear (a lot)
This probably won’t come as a shock to you if you’ve met an Aussie before, but we are known for our profanity. In fact, we embrace it.
To foreigners, it’s probably shocking that certain words are tossed about in conversational and even professional settings, but, for us, it’s perfectly normal.
When you come and visit us, don’t be offended if you’re exposed to torrents of bad language, because it’s just who we are – we’re relaxed and pretty thick-skinned, so we just say how we’re feeling.
By the same token, we don’t appreciate insults that have connotations – calling someone dishonest or a liar is just as rude as it would be in any other country.
The whole swearing thing ties in pretty well with our famous love of slang. If you haven’t experienced authentic Aussie colloquialisms, try these sentences on for size:
Australian: “Oath mate, there was this mad prang at the lights near the Maccas there.”
English: “Correct, friend, there was a fairly serious traffic incident near the Macdonald’s restaurant.”
Australian: “Yeah nah, I don’t reckon ay, old mate likes to get on the piss.”
English: “No, I don’t think so, the gentlemen we were just discussing has an overfondness for alcohol.”
Australian: “Ay bro, just chuck a uey up here, we need to grab some fuel from the servo.”
English: “Friend, perform a U-turn manoeuvre here, we need to fill up our vehicle with gas from the service station.”
Check out this link for a thorough list of Australian slang.
2. We hate it when people cut in line
You might have heard that Australians dislike arrogance and boastfulness. If you’re someone who thinks highly of yourself, we’re liable to deflate your ego pretty fast.
We also believe in everyone getting a fair suck of the sauce bottle. If you aren’t familiar with this very Aussie expression, it basically means we think everyone deserves a fair go. We’re all equal, and nobody’s better than anybody else.
How does this translate to everyday life? Well, something you might notice is that we hate it when people cut in line.
What line? Any line. Lines at the club, lines in the supermarket, lines at the ATM, lines in a traffic jam. If it’s not your turn, you don’t just get to push in.
To those who come from a big city, this might seem surprising, but many Australians will get upset if you act in a pushy or over-entitled manner. Just sit back, wait your turn, and everything will be okay.
3. We love a drink
No, we’re not all rowdy alcoholics who hit the pubs at 10am on a weekday, but, yes, Australia does have a drinking culture. Non-drinkers are becoming more common, but it’s still quite normal to bond with new-found mates over a schooner of XXXX Gold or a can of Fosters.
We don’t have the same pub culture as places like the UK (mostly because we prefer relaxing on our porches or in our mates’ backyards) so don’t be surprised if ‘having a beer’ involves being invited over to someone’s house.
That said, there are still plenty of great pubs and clubs for tourists to explore, and hanging out in the local tavern can be a fun way to meet new people. If you’re visiting the Gold Coast, check out our guide to the top Gold Coast drinking spots.
4. We don’t actually ride kangaroos – we eat them!
Are we barbarians for eating our national icon? Maybe.
If you hold the misguided idea that Australia is a place populated by Akubra-wearing, kangaroo-riding cowboys, think again. Nobody rides kangaroos – they’re more likely to try to box with you than let you sit on them!
We do, however, love a tasty kangaroo steak. This delicious food has a slightly gamey taste, with a stronger flavour than meats like beef or lamb.
It is a lean meat (less than 2% fat), but generally not tough, and is high in protein, iron, zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids, making it one of the healthiest meats on the market. Best of all, there are no kangaroo farms – all animals are free-range, with the meat being sustainably harvested, so you don’t need to worry about growth hormones or animal cruelty.
Just kick back with a cold one, enjoy that juicy steak, and thank the Southern Cross that we don’t hold our national icon sacred.
5. We dislike ‘shrimps on the barbie’
Surprise! Nobody in Australia eats shrimps on the barbie.
Despite this being a famous saying that’s become heavily associated with Australia throughout the world, ‘shrimp’ is actually an American word.
Over here, we call them ‘prawns’, and if you ask an Aussie about having a barbie that involves shrimp, chances are you’ll be met with a scornful laugh and a “get outta here, mate”.
What are your experiences with Aussie culture? Got any surprising Australian culture facts we didn’t mention? Tell us about them on our Facebook or Instagram!