Tuesday, 24 January 2012

What does it mean to be Australian?

"I am Australian."

I don't say that very often. Mainly because I don't feel like it's true and partly because I'm not sure if it even is true. I was going to say I usually only say it when I am overseas, but that's not true either. I say, "I am from Australia" and to me, there is a difference.

I am from Australia, that much is true. I was born in... a place that is in Queensland. I don't often say where. I don't remember it at all & I grew up in Brisbane. I spent under a year of my life there. But that's neither here nor there. I was born in Australia.

I live in Australia. When I visit a foreign country, I say "I came from Australia" because that is where I live, that is where my passport is from & when I go home, it will be to Australia.

But am I Australian? One of my closest friends has a little brother. He had to do an assignment on someone he knows who was born in England. My friend suggested me. I laughed because I found it amusing that in all the time she's known me (over ten years) she had mistakenly assumed I was from England. She thought the small bit of time I had spent in the town I don't name was actually spent in England. Now how could she possibly have come to that conclusion?

Well let's see.
Am I English?
  • I watch a lot of football. And I call football "football", not "soccer". I am a huge Liverpool FC fan. I play on two football teams.
  • I have friends in England that I talk about.
  • I collect things with the union jack on them. A weird quirk of mine, but still. When my friend went to England, I asked her to bring me back a union jack umbrella - to replace my old broken union jack umbrella.
  • I've been overseas twice. Both times to England. I saw other countries too, but both times I was based in England.
  • My dad was born in England.
  • When I am drunk, I slip into an English accent.
  • Some of my favourite shows and movies are English as I really enjoy the British sense of humour.
  • My brother is currently in England - has been for nearly four years. I will be going to England at the end of the year to attend my brother's wedding where he will be marrying the most beautiful English girl imaginable.
  • I love The Beatles, Herman's Hermits, The Rolling Stones & other awesome English bands.
  • The only news I read every day is Daily Mail - A UK paper.
  • One of the biggest criteria I have for a guy is he must like football. This often means I find myself interested in English guys. My first real boyfriend was born in England and upon describing him I would always say, "Well, he's only just moved here from England".
  • I love Minis. My first car was a Mini Moke & my third car was a Mini Clubman S.
  • My family celebrates a very traditional English Christmas with a huge tree, lots of presents, lots of family, a huge feast & games - it's an occasion that goes for about a week but with a whole month of preparation.
  • I support England in the World Cup.
But I don't think I can say I am English. Because I was born in Australia and I live in Australia. Thus I am Australian. Right?

But what about my life, other than the aforementioned facts, makes me Australian?
Am I Australian?
  • Barbecues are a food to me, not a celebration or anything like that. It's a style of cooking, just like stir fry. I enjoy both.
  • I don't actually own an Australian flag.
  • My favourite Australian band is AC/DC and most of them were from Scotland!
  • I like beer - but I like Carlsberg, an English beer. a Danish beer that I first tried because they sponsored Liverpool.
  • I would like to go to the beach more but I have pale English skin. I burn, I stay burnt for days, I freckle, I go back to being pale. I also hate sand.
  • I cringe when I hear people using Australian vernacular. "Mate", "G'day", "sheila", "true blue"... they all grate on me! But I happily say "brilliant", "rubbish", "prat" and "cracker".
  • I don't really wear thongs. My thongs are G2B sandals. But I do call them "thongs", not "flip flops", so score one for being Australian, I guess.
  • I do own a Socceroos jersey! Of course, their name annoys me and I also own three or four English jerseys, not to mention all my Liverpool jerseys. But... no, I probably can't count that.
  • I don't watch a single Australian show. Never have. In fact, I walked out of an English class and refused to participate because our unit that term was 'soap operas' and our lesson was to watch an episode of Home & Away or Neighbours, or something. I flat out refused.
So what am I? Do I even have to be anything?

I suppose I'll spend Australia Day this year, like I have every year. I won't go to work. That's about it.

My brother and my friend are both in England right now. They will be celebrating by going to a Walkabout pub and getting drunk together. Why? Because 16,532km away, it's Australia Day. And they're both from Australia. Thus many beers must be consumed. And as far as I'm concerned, that's about as Australian as it gets.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

  • What nationality do you identify as?
  • Are you, by default, the nationality of the country you were born in?
  • Why do you identify with your nationality? (Or why don't you!)


  1. Ah, true! Thanks, Oz! Amended accordingly! Still, definitely not an Australian beer!
    Miss SAMawdsley xx