The History Of Australian Culture
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Australians are great people to be with. They are friendly and they have a great sense of humor. At the same time they are not very open to everybody as far as personal matters are concerned. The people of Australia believe in living their life to the fullest. It is this motivation which makes Australians a fun loving, courageous, talented, and devoted and an adventurous nation. The Australians are also known for their patriotism. Australian people are born to compete. It is known to be one of the most competitive nations in the world. This attitude of theirs is not only limited till sports but they have a competitive atmosphere at the workplace as well.
Australians are compulsive buyers. They shop a lot and it is very hard for people to find parking before festivals or rainy days. There are also suburban small shopping centers to look after the locals. They are pretty close together and almost always have a bakery, a Pharmacy, Medical center, a small supermarket, dentist, Fish and Chips shop, Pizza Shop and small eatery. It is difficult to see something unusual or unique in these shops.
Sports and shopping both have an important place in an Australians' life. On weekends they like going to the beach for water sports and the also go to different places for exercising. Most of them like living near the beach where they can a have a bigger backyard. Australia is sunny throughout the year this provides an excellent alternative of relaxation all year round, but because of the thinning of the ozone layer sun rays can be dangerous as well. The sun here is very strong and burns the skin really fast. Australia is has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world; so if you go to the beach, take hats and sun block.
Australians' dress up in a very casual way until there is some formal occasion. The fashion in Australia is pretty casual and laidback. Australians are very informal when it comes to clothes, despite the fact that some work places require a good standard of dressing. "Casual Smart" is required for companies where presentation and image are important. It consists of a long sleeve one-color shirt, with sleeves folded to just below the elbow, long pants of a good fabric, and leather shoes. No tie is necessary. Jacket and tie are usually only worn during business meetings. Australians vary in their style of clothing, some loving colorful clothes and stamps, some hating it. At the beach it is more common to wear shorts than Speedos or bikinis, for both, males and females. Melbourne is the top fashion place in Australia.
Preservation of the environment is ten out of ten for Australia. It is amazing; how much care conscientious Australians dedicate to preserving the environment. It doesn't only cover nature conservation such as mountains, rivers, forests and oceans, it spans into the cities as well. Australians love Australia and are very proud of having a clean and beautiful land. The majority of the population is very concerned about ecological and preservation matters, involving themselves as much as possible to keep it that way. Not only will normal people report damage to the environment, but the authorities will also give you heavy fines for dumping anything you are not allowed to. Streets and locations are very clean. I have been to beaches where you have to walk on a wooden path so as not to disturb the sand and native grass that is underneath. There are selective rubbish collections for most homes with recycling bins separated from bins containing other materials
Due to its eating habits it is one of the most obese countries when it comes to food. Though the trend is changing and people are becoming more diet conscious but still the majority of them still likes greasy and unhealthy Fish and Chips, Pizza Deliveries, Giant Burgers, Fried Sausage Rolls, Meat Pies, Carved fat-rich Roasts. But for those fortunate enough to take care of their eating, there are plenty of excellent options in the Supermarkets and Local Corner Markets to satisfy any need, including organic food and natural food shops. Since it is a multi cultured country so every country has brought a new dish an exciting taste with it which makes the Australia rich in food. The biggest influence of all is Asian, followed by the Greek and Italian cuisines, with pasta and seafood Mediterranean Style. Older Australians still preserve the British Style eating Menu, with the traditional Pork in Apple sauce, and Lamb with mint sauce, all served with 3 vegetables, usually, carrots, peas and potatoes. Talking about potatoes, 10 in 10 Australian love it. It is a must in any Australian home at least once a week. Another Australian passion is for sauces.
Eating Style depends on the cultural background of the family For example: Australian families with European background will serve mainly European style food, and Asian families, Asian food. But due the globalization, and the multiculturalism in Australia, don't be surprised to eat European food in an Asian home, and Asian food in a European home. Another thing is the habits of each culture. European prefers to eat in silence. Australian families sit to eat in group, and talk about the day and any problems they had or have to solve. The breakfast is constituted of cereal, toast, fruit and a fruit juice. Lunch usually is a sandwich of something, a cake, or the beloved Australia meat pie. Australians simply love the barbeque.
The speed people drink alcohol beverages in Australia is amazing. This is a remain from the period when bars and pubs in Australia had to close down by 6 pm. Because most people works till 5 pm, there was only one hour left to have a few beers, so, you had to be fast. Nowadays, the speed had slow down a little bit, but not that much. Beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in Australia, and it must be very cold. Due the increasing quality of Australian wines and consequent drop in prices, the wine became also a very popular beverage. Every State in Australia has different laws about drinking and in Queensland for example, supermarkets and others cannot sell alcohol, only "Bottle Shops" found in almost every corner. They are open most days from 10 am to 10 pm, 7 days a week. Restaurants, bars, pubs and some cafes can sell alcohol as soon as they have a license to do so. Some not licensed, are allowed to deal as BYO (bring your own), so it means they don't sell alcohol, but if you bring yours from home, it is OK. The law all over Australia is very rigid for drinking and driving offences with severe penalties and even prison. Drink in public places (parks, beach, etc.) also can attract fines depending on the State you are.
Sports in Australia: The Australian is a hard competitor, considered one of the most competitive people in the world in any area, and also in relation to work. Surfing for instance, they broke the long year's hegemony of Hawaiian and Californian surfers and they brought several world titles to Australia. Still in Surf, companies as Billabong and Rip Curl defeated other big ones, making brands that turn dictators of the young fashion worldwide. Many types of sports are practiced in Australia, and most of them are outdoor sports due to favorable climate.
Rugby is one of the most popular sports in Australia, existing 3 divisions: Rugby Union, Australian Rules and Rugby League. Actually despite they look alike, each one has many different rules. The great majority of the Australians calls Rugby of "Footy", that means, all of them are Footy. Rugby has the same importance for an Australian than the Soccer has for a Brazilian.
Cricket is maybe the second most popular practised sport, with long and endless departures being transmitted by television on the weekends. The Australian youths in the school practice it in the breaks, and it is also very common to see whole families playing at parks and beaches.
Golf is the third sport more practised, and the number of fields of Golf in each Australian city is of crooking the stick. They are several clubs to be associated with, and they also accept paying players. Those clubs are true companies, with inside stores offering all gear and materials for players, besides specific areas for training or game. Golf in Australia is practised by people of all social classes.
Soccer it is a secondary sport in Australia, maybe for the fact of never to have earnings championships it to elevate the sport to a category of larger popularity, as it is the case of Rugby. However, several clubs as Italian Club, Spanish Club, and many others, he/she came on Saturday's trainings with promising young players creating conditions for a larger popularity of the sport. Several technicians (with Australian license) teach in those Clubs. The Socceroos, as the selection of Australia is called, has been presenting better results in international tournaments, and the television channel SBS shows exclusive programming for international Soccer. Those factors together, with certainty will increase the popularity of Soccer in Australia.
Rowing is very popular and is practiced involving different types of modern fiber of carbon boats with different styles and sizes. On the Gold Coast canals and in some other Australian cities with this kind of canals, is possible to see rowing been practiced in all age groups and gender.
Sailing is a sport little practiced being compared with other nautical sports. The financial situation allows most of the population to practice that sport, but motor boats have absolute popular preference. Even so, there are some cities that sailing is quite significant such as it is the case of Sydney, Melbourne and in the Whitsunday's Islands.
Cycling is another sport that captures the attention of the Australians and it is practiced in any city. The amount of people practicing is quite big, and it is difficult one morning that doesn't see the cyclists, individually or in groups of up to 200 at the same time. It is practiced in the streets and for both sexes and ages. There are so many Bike stores only losing in quantity for Surfing and Fishing shops.
Martial Arts are quite practiced and there are several academies with all styles of fights including the Capoeira of Brazil. The popularity of those academies has increased lately in response of the search for professionals able to perform personal defense in day by day work such as in government departments, Immigration, police, and private security of commercial establishments. However, it is not very published nor in TV nor in the newspapers, and to say the truth, I never saw a calendar of competitions. One of the most affordable courses for international students is exactly one of martial arts called Wing Chun.
Bowls is a game whose objective is to position a ball as close as possible of a white smaller ball from some meters of distance. Bowling is practiced by an enormous amount of people in dispersed clubs for all and any city size. This game is one of the favorite pastimes of the retired people, and every day they are in the clubs in the period of the morning for practicing.
Volley Ball and Basket Ball, are other games very a little practiced by the Australians and in the schools they prefer to practice Netball (specially the girls). In Sydney, there are volleyball nets on the Beaches of Bondi & Manly; even so the game doesn't attract a lot of attention, except during international championships.
Swimming in compensation is largely practiced and very popular. It is generally organizes and in Clubs (life saving and sports clubs), and the main important fact of increasing popularity is in the last years, is the world championships which Australians have beating and maintained several world records. City halls of several cities still maintain public swimming pools for the practice of the sport, and the swimming pools of colder cities in the winter, like Melbourne and Sydney, are heated.
Spear Fishing, many people don't consider as a sport, and in Australia it is also practiced for few people. Mainly by the fact that where the climate is hot and favorable (as it is the case of Queensland), most of the coast is protected by shark nets. Even with many other favorable places, it is not very popular among the Australians.
The two more popular sports in Australia are Surf and the amateur Fishing. The impression you may have is that the whole Australian population is already born knowing how to speak the two words, Fish & Surfboard. Maybe one of the factors is that those sports' gear doesn't cost a lot. The Australians seem to have longs for salty in the blood, and all the nautical and linked sports are quite popular. For many bridge fishermen, the first thing that do when having a financial rest, it is to buy a powerboat. The result is that, maybe in nowhere in the world, you could see so many motorized boats as in Australia. Each area may differ in preference mainly in relation to the climate. Other sports as Water Skiing, Snow Ski, Jet Ski, Parasailing, Mountaineering, also has space in the sun depending on the time and season.
Australia has a vibrant arts scene that reflects both the nation's Indigenous cultural traditions and its rich mosaic of migrant cultures. All forms of the visual and performing arts have strong followings, including film, art, theatre, dance and music.
According to one survey, almost 13 million or 88 per cent of adult Australians attend at least one cultural event or performance every year. The most popular art form is film, attended by about 70 per cent of the population each year. More than 26 per cent attend a popular music concert; 25 per cent go to an art gallery or museum; 19 per cent see an opera or musical; 18 per cent attend live theatre; 11 per cent attend a dance performance; and 9 per cent attend a classical music concert.
Visual artists have played an important role in shaping and reflecting Australia's image. They range from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to the nationalist painters of the Heidelberg School in Victoria, symbolic surrealists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Albert Tucker and modern artists reflecting issues confronting contemporary Australia. Other notable Australian artists include John Brack, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Margaret Olley, John Olsen, Margaret Preston, Clifton Pugh, Jeffrey Smart, Brett Whiteley and Fred Williams.
Australia has a strong literary tradition, which started with the storytelling of Indigenous Australians and continued with the oral stories of convicts arriving in Australia in the late 18th century. Australia has one Nobel Prize for Literature to its credit, with novelist Patrick White receiving the award in 1973. Other recent Australian novelists whose work has a particularly Australian flavour include Peter Carey, Bryce Courtenay, Kate Grenville, Elizabeth Jolley, Thomas Keneally, Christopher Koch, David Malouf, Colleen McCullough, Christina Stead, Morris West and Tim Winton.
The defining feature of today's Australia is not only the cultural diversity of its people, but the extent to which they are united by an overriding and unifying commitment to Australia.
Within the framework of Australia's laws, all Australians have the right to express their culture and beliefs and to participate freely in Australia's national life.
At the same time, everyone is expected to uphold the principles and shared values that support Australia's way of life. These include:
- respect for equal worth, dignity and freedom of the individual
- freedom of speech and association
- freedom of religion and a secular government
- support for parliamentary democracy and the rule of law
- equality under the law
- equality of men and women
- equality of opportunity
And a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces tolerance, mutual respect, and compassion for those in need. Australia also holds firmly to the belief that no one should be disadvantaged on the basis of their country of birth, cultural heritage, language, gender or religious belief.
An Egalitarian society
In most practical ways, Australia is an egalitarian society. This does not mean that everyone is the same or that everybody has equal wealth or property.
But it does mean that there are no formal or entrenched class distinctions in Australian society, as there are in some other countries. It also means that with hard work and commitment, people without high-level connections or influential patrons can realise their ambitions.
The unemployment rate is relatively low (in December 2007 it was 4.3 per cent) and the gross per capita income is around $39 000. All people are equal under the law in Australia and all Australians have the right to be respected and treated in a fair manner.
Doing Business with Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia, a united independent nation established in 1901, consists of six states and two territories. Aboriginal settlers were the first to migrate to the continent almost 50,000 years ago, until the seventeenth century when the first Europeans began to explore and Captain James Cook took possession under Great Britain in 1770. As a self-sufficient country, natural resources helped to rapidly develop the nation's agricultural and manufacturing industries. In recent years, Australia has increased its economic focus and has become one of the most dominant and advanced market economies in the world with increasing demands from its trading partners.
Working practices in Australia
- Punctuality is an essential part of Australian business practice. Lateness may create the impression that you are unreliable and careless in your business dealings.
- However, whilst arriving on time is expected of foreigners, it is not uncommon for Australians to bend these rules slightly.
- It is advisable to schedule business appointments approximately one month in advance. Generally, making appointments with executives is relatively easy and you will find most of them accessible and accommodating.
- Business hours in Australia tend to be 9.00 am to 5.00 p.m., Monday to Friday. You should avoid making business trips to the country around Christmas and Easter, as this is the time of the year when most business people are on holiday.
- Structure and hierarchy in Australian companies
Company structure in Australia is generally flat with little visible distinction between those of varying rank and status. The authority to make decisions is not always left in the hands of the high level executives. In Australia, lower level employees often have a considerable amount of power and authority within the company.
Working relationships in Australia
- Australians tend to initiate a first name basis with their fellow business associates quickly. This is an indication of mutual respect and equality.
- In Australia it is essential to establish personal relationships with those you are conducting business with. It is important to make connections with established representatives who are able to help build those relationships.
Business practices in Australia
- The use of titles is not an essential part of Australian business culture. Australians tend to be more informal in their business dealings and will move to a first name basis quite quickly. However, when initially introduced, you should address your Australian counterparts by their last names preceded by "Mr.", "Mrs.", or "Miss.", until they initiate this informality.
- When meeting your Australian associates for the first time, it is customary to shake hands, firmly but briefly, at the beginning and end of a meeting. This is the preferred gesture for both male and female colleagues, although men should allow a woman to offer their hand first.
- Following initial introductions, negotiations will proceed quickly. Australians will negotiate major issues in an open and direct manner, but always in accordance with company policy. It is fundamental to abide by established rules and laws rather than allow feelings to take precedence.
- Despite an overall results-orientated outlook towards business, the decision making process can be a slow and extended one, that should not be rushed or hurried. Australian business culture prefers a more collaborative approach to work and therefore managers and subordinates alike will give their input and consider the options before reaching a final decision.
Australian Business Etiquette (Do's and Don'ts)
DO partake in some initial "small talk" before a business meeting begins. Australians use this as a way of establishing rapport with their colleagues and is an important part of business etiquette.
DO keep a certain amount of distance when in conversation with your Australian counterparts. Personal space is highly valued in Australian culture.
DO maintain good, direct eye contact with your Australian colleagues during all business meetings and conversations as this helps to establish trust.
DON'T over exaggerate or boast about your company's abilities or build up business information. Self-importance is not a favoured quality in Australian culture; therefore you should remain modest and unassuming at all times.
DON'T discuss aspects of your personal life during business negotiations. Privacy is an important element of everyday life in Australia.
DON'T use aggressive sales techniques whilst negotiating. Your Australian business colleagues will dislike being pressured and may be put off by this approach.
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