Australian culture, lifestyles and assumptions

Summary of topics covered

You can read the descriptive text which follows, or jump direct from the links in the table.
  • "Vegemite"
  • Nippers
  • bushfires
  • aboriginal rock engravings
  • tall tales

  • City to Surf race
  • Hawkesbury sandstone
  • We Australians understand the mainstream cultures of Britain and the USA, because our television is flooded with culturally-soaked material. But aside from lowest-common-denominator stuff like soapies, few foreigners realise that we have our own culture, our own cultural references, and our own assumptions.

    This set of pages will explore some of those aspects. We have to begin somewhere, so we will start with the Australian folk food, "Vegemite"

    Next, we will explore the world of the young Australian surfers, the Nippers

    Then there are the bushfires. They are a natural part of summer life in Australia, so sooner or later, you will read and hear about them. This offering features some JPEG files of fires and fire damage, and an account of the January 1994 fires that ravaged Sydney.

    One of my favourite activities is wandering around in the bush -- my excuse is that I am looking for aboriginal rock engravings which are common on the Sydney sandstone. You will find some information about them here, and also a number of illustrations, most of which are also available in a larger format by clicking on them.

    Australians have a major preoccupation with sport. One bizarre manifestation of this is the annual City to Surf race. Run over some 14 km of hilly terrain, huge crowds take part each year. Me, I sit on the rooftop of the Australian Museum, having breakfast with TAMS, The Australian Museum Society. My wife will be one of the "walkers" in the race again this year, I will have a better time of it.

    Sydney's life is largely ruled by the Hawkesbury sandstone, our predominant rock.

    There is a long Australian tradition of telling tall tales, and some of us keep that tradition alive, recalling the fabulous exploits of people like Crooked Mick of the Speewah. The stories are all true, of course . . .

    Future projects will deal with the sun, sand and surf side of life, Australian language, our strange animals and plants, and more. It will be a bit of a lucky dip for people, so stand by to start dipping.

    In 2006, I started a rather more serious look at Australian culture, directed at the cultural tourist. You can find this if you go to Nice Things Around Sydney.
    This file is
    It was last revised on March 7, 2006
    It was created by Peter Macinnis --
    All materials here are copyright, but permission will be readily granted for reproduction for educational or non-profit purposes. Personal copying is allowed without let or hindrance, encouraged even.