Australians are often described as fun-loving people with a passion for sports
, the beach
and beer. These descriptions are generally true, but, of course, there is more to the people Down Under. What follows is a lighthearted look at the Australian people.
Today Australia is a diverse country. Its residents come from over 160 different nations and more than 70 languages are spoken, not including hundreds of different Aboriginal
dialects. There are also many cultural and regional differences between people in different areas of Australia.
"Australia is huge, like Canada," says Tanya Marissen, a Canadian who spent a year traveling and working in Australia. "Australians and Canadians understand geographic greatness. They both understand that it takes a plane to get from one side of the country to the other and they understand regional and cultural separation."
She says the similarity to Canada is more than geographic. "Australians have the same sense of distance and regional dissociation. Western ranchers hate the fact that the decisions are made in the east."
Despite these regional differences, a few general descriptions of Australians are common.
The Tall Poppy Syndrome
Australians are generally informal people and they hate pretentiousness and snobbery. Some people speculate that this originated from the country's history
as a penal colony since early settlers were outsiders to the English social system. Australians call pretentiousness the "tall poppy syndrome."
Marissen describes it like this. "Tall poppies' are over-achievers. They're people whose heads stick out above the crowd." She says people in Australia commonly refer to their desire to "cut the head off a tall poppy." They enjoy discrediting someone who takes excessive pride in their own achievements. But Australians are also apparently a forgiving bunch and will let a person off the hook if they're honest about their errors.