5 biggest myths about Australia
It's bloody hot in Australia at the moment. In fact, as I write this I'm sitting out on my front porch, taking in the breeze, drinking a cold beer, smiling at those passing by, and watching a storm roll in.
While in Perth, I got to thinking about Australian identity. I mean, when you really think about it, our country is very young! As of the past 10 or 20 years we've stepped into a new stage of our countries life, where we're no longer associate with our past. Once we were squinting in the outback, swatting the flies away, attempting to make a buck on the harsh land we lived upon. But these days, we're becoming a far more civilised country, despite what our Prime Minister may have you believe.
The fact of the matter is, we don't even understand ourselves what it is to be Australian. Technically situated in Asia, with citizens from just about every single country, add in the fact our roots come from Britain, it's difficult to tell where we stand together. The thing about Australia is, we're still clinging onto what once was, even though that's far from the truth. Thankfully we are no longer a country of slack-jawed, drunkards, playing knify-spoony. Once we were convicts sent to live off the land as a punishment. Now we are a multi-cultural country full of opportunity and prosperity. Or so it seems.
To be Australian, that is the question.
In order to understand my national identity, I've taken it upon myself to bust the 5 biggest myths about Australia.
Throw a Shrimp on the Barbie
First of all, shrimps are tiny crustaceans. What you're actually referring to are prawns, and no, we don't barbecue them. I have to say, we do like a good barbecue though! Most of the time living in Australia, you're living with a sizeable backyard or balcony, half of our country lives in continual summer, and let's face it, like the Brits we like a bev or two (alcoholic beverage).
Koalas and Kangaroos are Everywhere
Okay, I have to get this off my chest first, Koalas are not bears. Please stop calling them Koala bears. They're actually marsupials. And, you're lucky to spot one! Unless you're a country local and can smell their urine, or know what areas they gravitate towards. Even then, they're pretty high up in the tree tops. If you're sleeping in the country and hear a terrifying monster-like grumble at night, never fear, that's a koala. As for kangaroos, they're far too scared to be hanging about with humans, and rightly so.
Australia is a Really Dangerous Place Because of the Wildlife
It's true, our wildlife aren't the friendliest. We've got deadly snakes, spiders, jellyfish, sharks and birds. But honestly you're not likely to run into any of them. If you're bushwalking in summer, just keep your wits about you. In fact, overall wildlife attacks accumulate only about 5 deaths per year, compared to around 300 deaths a day from drowning in Australia. But if you do ever run into a cassowary, good luck to you, those things are the definition of evil!
Australians Live in the Outback
Yeah, nah. That means 'no'. No no no no no. Majority of us, believe it or not, live around the edge of Australia, where we've surprisingly built cities! Shock horror! Yep, that means we're no longer a colony of drunken convicts shipped over to spread white supremacy throughout the land of natives. Well, some of that is surprisingly still true... common Australia, isn't it about time we respect our Indigenous people? But really, less than 10 per cent of Australian's live in the outback.
Vegemite is Hell
Seriously guys, you're doing it wrong! There is a simple art to vegemite. Here is my step-by-step guide to vegemite bliss. Let me know if you want to give it a go, and I'll send you a jar of it!
1. Toast bread to perfection. Preferably white or wholemeal bread, without seeds or nuts. 2. While toast is hot, slather on the butter. Be generous, you only live once y'know! 3. Lightly spread on vegemite over the butter. By lightly, I mean do not treat this like peanut butter! You want the flavour to be subtle and delicate. 4. Eat that toast like it's your last meal*.
*Tip: vegemite toast serves as THE perfect hangover cure. Fact!
One last thing that really gets me about Australia, is the fact that the only art that is ever recognised (particularly film, tv, and literature), must illustrate old Australia. If it doesn't include typical Australian themes and motifs, it usually isn't funded. I'd love to see this change in the coming decade or two. One can dream.
Anyway, I must jump on my kangaroo to pick up a slab of VB for a barbie at a mates place. Seeyalada.
Do you have any questions about Australia? Or do you not identify with how your home country is perceived internationally? Share your stories in the comments below!