From the Archives: Dispelling Australian Myths

As the time for my flight back to the States get closer (nine days to go!) I wanted to share my seven favorite posts written this year about the Australian culture…ending with my favorite post of all time next Friday September 8.

Hope You Enjoy Them,

May 11, 2012

8:08 Am, approximately 19 degrees Celsius outside

Dear Friends,

As an American living in Australia I view myself as a liaison between the Aussie and US cultures.  This role has included explaining the things that make Australia unique , the importance of community, how Australians show they like a person through ridicule Differences in their spiritual need, and what to expect before coming to visit.  But today I would like to take a few moments and dispel some common misconceptions about Australians.

1.  Hey come here, I am going to let you in on a little secret…no closer…a little closer (whispering) “shrimp are called prawns in Australia.”  So telling us to throw another shrimp on the barbie is like telling every Texan they talk like Yosemite Sam.

2.  Ready for another bombshell?  I can count the amount of people who have greeted me with the “authentic Australian greeting” gday during the 2011 and 2012 year on one hand.  The real authentic Aussie greeting is “hey how ya going” but it doesn’t sound as cool

3.  Regardless of the massive marketing campaign there is nothing…I repeat nothing Australian about Outback Steakhouse.  For one thing most Aussies don’t even know what a blooming onion is, and surprisingly we don’t enjoy eating steak on the beach as much as you may think.

4.  Though I have covered this subject before it bears repeating, none of us have kangaroos named Skippy living in the backyard tied to a tree.  Don’t worry you can still catch one though; they come right to you if you’re driving a car at 100 kilometers an hour with the bright lights on and the horn blaring.

5.  I really feel bad about saying this because it will burst the bubble of countless Americans, but it needs to be said.  You know that beautiful Australian accent everyone wishes they could speak with?  Most of us don’ t have it since we are originally from different Countries.  Please don’t expect me to speak Australian once I get home..that is unless you want to hear the worst Steve Irwin impersonation in the world.

6.  We are home to some of the worlds most dangerous animals but almost all of them are in the upper area of Melbourne we refer to as the bush.  So I don’t have to fight of three kinds of poisonous snakes on the way to the MacDonald’s for my egg mcmuffin.

7.  I know the Australian hats look cool; you know the kind I am talking about the big brown ones made of kangaroo leather that people think all Aussies wear.  (Motioning for you to step closer) shhh..don’t tell anybody but we don’t wear them, in fact we make fun of people who wear those hats.

8.  Not only that but I haven’t seen one person throw a boomerang during my five years of living in Australia!  Beginning to think it’s just a grand scheme by the Government to make thousands of dollars selling boomerangs to unsuspecting tourists.  ”Yea mate I killed a kangaroo named Skippy in my backyard with this thing just yesterday.”

Well think that’s it for the common Australian misconceptions.  Hope to share some more next week…that is if Immigration doesn’t have me deported for sharing Aussie secrets.

Published by

John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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