As an American working for an Australian company I am in the unique position to see the differences and similarities of our two countries first hand. In the past few months I’ve picked up on small things from my Australian co-workers. I’m even starting to learn the slang. (Side Note: ‘Arvo’ being short for afternoon makes no sense.)
I don’t know everything about Australia, but I know enough to know that Vanity Fair saying “Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people,” is complete and utter bullshit.
That being said, there are some common misconceptions about Australia in the United States. Some are assumptions, some are ideas introduced by movies and television, some are completely out of left field, but all of them are complete and utter bullshit.
- All men in Australia look like Chris Hemsworth.
- The toilets flush counter-clockwise.
- Vegemite is gross but everyone likes it.
- Every animal in the entire country can and will kill you.
- If you’re holding a knife, someone will pull out a bigger knife and say “That’s not a knife. This is a knife.”
- The money looks like plastic monopoly money.
- Onions were meant to be bloomin’
- Everyone has a backyard full of koala’s and kangaroos.
- There’s a big baby eating dingo population.
- All Aussies are racist against Aboriginals.
- The ocean is filled with Nemo’s and sharks
- Everyone is a criminal.
- Sydney is the capital?
- Melbourne is the capital?
- The country basically looks like the set of Mad Max, or the beach.
- Every citizen knows how to surf.
- Australian Santa wears shorts.
- Shrimp is regularly thrown on the barbie.
- Fosters is Australian for beer.
Thankfully, this fat, dumb, racist, gun-toting American knows none of these are true. If I ever make it to Australia I know i’ll be eating prawns, drinking anything but Fosters and petting one of the hundreds of friendly koalas that roam the streets.