Australian Flag

I have heard that Australia is a great place to live and that the people are way more relaxed. I heard that people don’t worry about their job every second of the day, because they are too busy enjoying life.

I also heard that the women are ungodly beautiful.  I guess they ride kangaroos to go to school/work, but I don’t know where they park them. (#don’tbemad)

Australian Stereotypes
Australian Stereotypes

 

So let’s check the  Top 10 incorrect Australian stereotypes (or not) .

Some stereotypes do exist. For instance, in Australia, most of us are platonic ‘mates’ to each other. The men here are definitely tall, beefy and brawny, thanks to their love for footy and AFL. Melbourne does have unpredictable weather, just as it has the best coffee.

Council of Australians for Uneducated Americans  "Also, please note that the problem with the second one isn’t the kangaroo in the house, nor the cigarette in its mouth, nor the over-sized stubby, nor the fact that a child has it, nor the fact that he’s drinking beer with a straw (I saw somebody do that in a pub yesterday).  The reason it’s wrong is that no-one in Australia drinks Fosters.”  i need to make one of these up for Oregon
Council of Australians for Uneducated Americans
“Also, please note that the problem with the second one isn’t the kangaroo in the house, nor the cigarette in its mouth, nor the over-sized stubby, nor the fact that a child has it, nor the fact that he’s drinking beer with a straw (I saw somebody do that in a pub yesterday).
The reason it’s wrong is that no-one in Australia drinks Fosters.”
i need to make one of these up for Oregon

In spite of that, there are some age-old perceptions that pop culture convinces people to believe about the Aussies and their land. Here’s a list of myths that have been exaggerated and blown largely out of proportion.

1) Kangaroos

Kangaroos
Kangaroos

Nobody rides to school on a Kangaroo. The kids don’t wait at the Kangaroo stop and people do not struggle to find a good spot to park their Kangaroos. Australians, walk (not hop) – they hop on to trams though, and they use trains and taxis as well. Some Aussies own a Swift or a Honda and some of them have Audis and Ferraris. However, nobody has a Kangaroo, in fact we never even get to see one in the city.

2) Barbecue

Steoreotypical Aussie
Steoreotypical Aussie

There is no denying the fact that Aussies relish a good BBQ. It’s a feature on housewarmings, birthdays, or sometimes just on a Sunday. However, no matter what Paul Hogan said in the 1980s, ‘shrimp is not the only thing that is put on the Barbie’. Sausages, steaks, fillets, burgers, you name it and I can assure you that it has been barbecued somewhere in Australia. But there is no particular fascination for shrimp or prawn above the others.

3) Fosters Beer

Foster Beer - Australian Stereotype
Foster Beer – Australian Stereotype

It is one of the least popular beers in Australia and god knows Aussies love their beer. Fosters has gained popularity largely through exports thus leading to the false notion that Australians survive on Fosters. After five years of living in Melbourne, I tried Fosters for the first time in India, not even knowing that it was an Australian brand.

4) Crocodile Wrestling

Crocodile Wrestling
Crocodile Wrestling

Steve Irwin was really brave to do it, Paul Hogan was really talented to show it, but most Australians don’t know squat about it. Yes, there have been some significant crocodile and alligator references to Australia on an international level; nevertheless, this is not a sport kids learn at age 4 or at any age as a matter of fact.

5) Fashion

Sydney Fashion Week: Street Style
Sydney Fashion Week: Street Style

People do not wear singlets, thongs, bikinis and hats with corks dangling from it. They might wear it to the beach, but no one wears it to work, parties or the mall (yes we have malls, but more on that later).

Melbourne and Sydney have established themselves as fashion and shopping hotspots with various brands of clothes, handbags and shoes that are not just Quicksilver, Billabong or Rip Curl. The fashion standard is easily comparable to New York and London.

6) Desert

Emu Running Through the Pinnacles, Pinnacles Desert, Australia
Emu Running Through the Pinnacles, Pinnacles Desert, Australia

Yes, a large portion of the Australian land is a desert, however, those are not places where Aussies live or most travellers would visit. Australian cities and beaches are developed enough to be a highlight of the country besides the dry barren land.

7) Sparsely populated

Australia’s population density is less than three people per square mile. Only Namibia and Mongolia are more sparsely populated
Australia’s population density is less than three people per square mile. Only Namibia and Mongolia are more sparsely populated

Australia undoubtedly has a low population and yes the outback and suburban areas might be scanty. However, the developed cities and tourist spots are far from it. Try going to the Opera House on New Year’s Eve and you will know what I am talking about.

8) Vegemite

Vegemite is probably the most iconic Australian product.  Wiki describes it as “a dark brown Australian food paste made from yeast extract.  […]  Vegemite is made from used brewers’ yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, various vegetables, wheat and spice additives. It is salty, slightly bitter, and umami or malty – similar to beef bouillon.”
Vegemite is probably the most iconic Australian product. Wiki describes it as “a dark brown Australian food paste made from yeast extract. […] Vegemite is made from used brewers’ yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, various vegetables, wheat and spice additives. It is salty, slightly bitter, and umami or malty – similar to beef bouillon.”
It is not the staple diet after barbecue. Vegemite is available everywhere and is probably in the pantry of every household, however, it is by far not the most popular spread. Jams, butter, cheese, dips are more commonly consumed by kids and adults.

9) Self-Absorbed

In spite of their unique history, Australians are not as self-absorbed as expressed by the media. The cities celebrate Indian, Chinese, Malaysian and American holidays. Halloween is increasingly popular and the Chinese New Year celebration in Melbourne is extravagant.

10) Life by the beach

Australian Beach
Australian Beach

All Australians don’t live by the beach and go surfing at 11 AM on a Monday morning. Going to the beach is indeed a luxury and an activity to be done on a holiday or a free weekend that people find difficult to arrange because of demanding work schedules.

Stereotypes certainly have some truth or history to it, but globalisation and development of cities have hazed these features over time. Nevertheless, they are often fun to use as cultural connotation and play around with.

Aussies speak Australian, NOT English

To help you learn to copy (or simply understand) the Australian Accent better, we suggest you watch this video:

How to Speak Australian

31 COMMENTS

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  2. Thanks for writing this, when my friend said that Americans thought we ride kangaroos I honestly thought she was joking.
    The ‘mate’ thing is pretty true, men especially seem to say it all the time. It annoys me, though, when American tourists come around and say ‘mate’ two or three times each sentence, people don’t really do that.
    You should probably put a note in about thongs though, or Americans will think you mean the underwear. For Americans, it’s most likely referring to what you call ‘flip-flops’.
    And a note on the video at the end, phrases like ‘struth’ and ‘unreal banana peel’ aren’t really used, not in the cities or the bush. If you are visiting, it would probably be a bad idea to try and use some of those phrases to ‘fit in’, because it might offend some people.

    • nope – they are things – the American’s will learn. It is fine for me if any one from another country want to say mate all the time – they are just getting into the groove f things – no biggy. Struth is definitely used!! In the bush and in the city. Also, unreal banana peel is not as rare as you might think. I can not see how any of these phrases would offend someone.

  3. I don’t agree with number 5 and 10. I have seen and have myself worn singlets, thongs etc to many places that foreigners would not see as normal. Also, but this could be because I live in a ”holiday town”, I go to the beach nearly everyday with friends and so does everyone I know.

    • Lola, I’m lucky if I get to go to the beach once a year. Just because you live near the beach, doesn’t mean we all do. Also, I hate singlets, though I do wear thongs everywhere. I live in a rural Victorian town and virtually no one here wears singlets.

  4. Uhh. I ride a Kanga to school everyday! Emus. That’s just cruel.

    We are not all bogans! We can speak proper English. As a matter of fact, our language is closer to the forever evolving English language than Americas. Diaper? Where did that come from! I think it’s called a nappy.
    Funnily enough. America is a MAJOR influence to Australia. Then we go on a holiday to Disneyland for example. Then bang. We realise that America isn’t all that great. And we feel bad in the fact that in those shoes where the kid is studing geography then claims it’s so boring. We. Australians feel like the Americans should be audience thier geography better.

    Sincerely. Youse Mate

  5. It’s funny how in Australia we don’t really know what everybody thinks about us. I’m almost the complete opposite of all of these stereotypes. let me list my differences. I: don’t eat meat, hate Vegemite, don’t like beaches, am geeky and introverted and I hate the heat.

    • Me too! Everything you just listed applies to me… For example:
      I’m vegan.
      Vegemite’s gross… and I don’t even own a toaster.
      At beaches sand gets everywhere, too many people, you often get burnt, I don’t like swimming or wearing revealing clothes… seaweed and salty water… aching ears and cold wind etc.
      I am a geeky, introverted fangirl.
      Winter’s my favourite season. Rain’s my favourite weather. In Summer it’s stiflingly hot, humid, too many people around, can’t wear sweaters or comfy clothes, once again: sunburn, etc….

    • I live in California and it gets super hot here, I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove the cold, I love the rain we get in February(my birthday month), and stay inside most of the time, and am geeky.

  6. I don’t live in Australia, but trust me, lots of Canadians and Americans aren’t dumb enough to think Aussies ride kangaroos. That’s like a foreigner saying that all Canadians live in igloos. Okay, maybe some people actually think that, but LOTS of us do not obviously. So many stereotypes are over-exaggerated, that it’s ridiculous they exist haha, but come’on, (judging from google images of different Australian cities) I do want to live in a city there that’s close to the beach! It looks so beautiful in every place there that I search up!:)

    • Wait you dont live in igloos… jkjk i love Canadians there accent and there general mannerisms im from new Zealand and the mannerisms here are slightly less than par …

      although i did hear the school children are quite cruel

  7. the video at the end really pissed me off because of what she was saying some things were true but the rest is stereotypes and i should know im Aussie

  8. You know, Once an american friend asked me if I rode a roo to school. My reaction was
    “Yeah Sure, he fits about 40 kids on and his name is Action” She was really confused until she realised I was joking and talking about buses.

  9. Everything was going alright until I read: “The fashion standard is easily comparable to New York and London”. You just made me question the validity of the rest of the article 😀 😀

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