History - AustralianAustralian CultureCultural Comparisons Between Australia and other Countries

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Customs and Values

Australian quotes

Odd facts of Australia

Shouts and rounds

The fear of inferiority

Important social rules

Black and taboo

Australia Day
The true meaning

Anzac Day
Lest we forget

Red Earth Blue Sky





The Landlord
Australian wisdom

Although Australians may be descended from Convicts and other underclasses of the world, it seems the underclasses have some interesting things to say.

Quotes by Australians

Never complain, never explain (personal motto of Kerry Packer - billionaire)

A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop (Robert Hughes - art critic and author)

Winning needs no explanation, losing has no alibi (Greg Baum - journalist)

The bigger the hat, the smaller the property (Australian proverb)

A champion team will always beat a team of champions - (Early Collingwood Magpies teams)

Where there are Torres Strait Islanders there is a community - (Bill Stephens)

I like villains because there's something so attractive about a committed person -- they have a plan, an ideology, no matter how twisted. They're motivated. (Russel Crowe - actor)

It's Australian to do such things because, however uncivilised they may seem, it's human to do them. ( Hugh Mackay)

Unless you're willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won't happen ( Phillip Adams - journalist)

As a leader you must celebrate life, you must celebrate success and paradoxically, you must celebrate heroic failures (Lieutenant General D.M. Mueller)

All our best heroes are losers (Richard Glover - radio presenter)

There are people who wish to draw attention to themselves by attacking me ( Don Bradman - cricket player)

Always back the horse named self-interest, son. It'll be the only one trying ( Jack Lang - Labor premier)

As a work of art, it reminds me of a long conversation between two drunks (Clive James)

I've never seen anyone rehabilitated by punishment (Henry Lawson - poet)

The true Aussie battler and his wife thrust doggedly onwards: starting again, failing again, implacably thrusting towards success. For success, even if it is only the success of knowing that one has tried to the utmost and never surrendered, is the target of every battler (Michael Page & Robert Inapen - authors)

If the section cannot remain here alive, it will remain here dead, but in any case it will remain here. Should any man through shell-shock or other cause attempt to surrender, he will remain here dead. (Lieutenant F.P. Bethune -clergyman by trade)

It's dead easy to die; it's the keeping on living that's hard ( Douglas Mawson - Scientist and polar survivor)

You never want an Australian with his back against the wall. You put any 12 blokes together and you'll get a job done. Whether it's getting a bogged four-wheel-drive off the beach or standing in front of a cricket wicket and making sure we're in a dominant position. It's the same dog, different leg action, so to speak - (Matthew Hayden - cricket player)

Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

We are not so much as disillusioned but illusion free ( Miranda Devine - journalist)

May as well be here we are as where we are (Australian Aboriginal saying)

A Platypus is a duck designed by a committee ( anon)

Do you know why I have credibility? Because I don't exude morality (Bob Hawke - Prime Minister)

It's no good crying over spilt milk; all we can do is bail up another cow (Joseph Chiefley - Prime Minister)

The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy - Alex Carey

Nationalism is both a vital medicine and a dangerous drug (Geoffrey Blainey - Historian)

When you play test cricket, you don't give the Englishmen an inch. Play it tough, all the way. Grind them into the dust Don Bradman - Cricket player

It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies Arthur Calwell - Politician

If the guy next to you is swearing like a wharfie he's probably a billionaire. Or, just conceivably, a wharfie - (Australian observation)

A Man of Business is one who becomes possessed of other people's money, without bringing himself under the power of the law (Marcus Clarke - historian)

A man may be a tough, concentrated, successful money-maker and never contribute to his country anything more than a horrible example (Robert Menzies - Prime minister)

The best way to help the poor is not to become one of them (Lang Hancock - mining magnate)

Ordinary people need to lead and not sit there and think that governments are going to spoon feed them (Ian Kiernan - organiser of Clean up Australia Day)

A wowser...is a man who, being entirely destitute of the greater virtues, makes up for their lack by a continuous denunciation of little vices. ( William Holman MLA)

It is long accepted by the missionaries that morality is inversely proportional to the amount of clothing people wore - (Alex Carey)

A wowser is...a person who is more shocked at seeing two inches of underskirt than a mountain of misery ( John Scaddan, premier of Western Australia)

There is nothing so costly to the state as a ruined life (Catherine Spence - Social and political reformer, writer and teacher)

Shoot straight you bastards. Don't make a mess of it (Harry (Breaker) Morant - executed soldier and poet)

The most intense hatreds are not between political parties but within them (Phillip Adams - journalist)

The difference between a stupid man and a wise one is the stupid man's inability to calculate the consequences of the action. The same goes for government ( Brian Penton - journalist)

Encourage your people to be committed to a project rather than just involved in it. You know the difference between involvement and commitment don't you? In a meal of bacon and eggs, the chicken is involved, the pig is committed (Richard Pratt - billionaire)

Australians will never acquire a national identity until individual Australians acquire identities of their own (Patrick White - author)

Those who lose dreaming are lost - (Australian Aboriginal proverb)

It's like the axe that's had two new blades and three new handles but otherwise is just as it was when grandfather bought it - (Australian proverb)

The law locks up the man who steals the goose from the common, but leaves the greater criminal loose who steals the common from the goose (convict saying)

If I had a donkey What Wouldn't go, do you think I'd wallop him, oh dear no (convict saying)

Why are people so unkind? (Kamahl - singer)

One gets tired of the role critics are supposed to have in this culture: It's like being the piano player in a whorehouse; you don't have any control over the action going on upstairs (Robert Hughes - author and critic)

Nothing they design ever gets in the way of a work of art (Robert Hughes - author and critic)

We want to create a sort of linguistic Lourdes, where evil and misfortune are dispelled by a dip in the waters of euphemism (Robert Hughes - author and critic)

Dog must not steal from dog (convict saying)

Such is life (Ned Kelly - bushranger)

If my lips teach the public that men are made mad by bad treatment, and if the police are taught that they may exasperate to madness men they persecute and ill treat, my life will not be entirely thrown away (Ned Kelly - bushranger)

I do not pretend that I have led a blameless life, or that one fault justifies another, but the public in judging a case like mine should remember that the darkest life may now have a bright side (Ned Kelly - bushranger)

I have outlived that care that curries public favour or dreads the public frown...let the hand of law strike me down if it will, but I ask that my story be heard and considered (Ned Kelly - bushranger)

If you go out for a big night and by some misadventure you end up in a prison cell, you can count on your best friend to bail you out, but your best mate will be in there besides you (Australian observation)

Out in the bush, the tarred road always ends just after the house of the local mayor (Australian observation)

There is nothing more Australian than spending time in somebody else's country ( anon)

The wowser mistakes the world for a penitentiary and themselves as the warden (Australian observation)

The cricket bat is mightier than the pen and the sword combined (anon)

It may be that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others (anon)

We cultivated our land, but in a way different from the white man. We endeavoured to live with the land; they seemed to live off it (Tom Dystra - Aboriginal man)

Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once (anon)

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour (anon)

Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and have their shoes (anon)

The Australian nation is a nation of blow-ins and we've got the lot here – bog Irish, reffos, dagos, wogs, slopes, you name it (Bill Leak - cartoonist)

A fair go for all, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, except for Poms, Seppos and Kiwis ( anon)

They who came here in chains, who were lashed while they worked in convict gangs at Port Arthur. They who like many others were driven through starvation or oppression from their home-lands to the shores of this new country, Australia. They, who for a multitude of reasons that hopefully, I or my children will never witness or experience, decided not to harbour grudges or discontent but rather to look to the future. They who embraced this country as their own and said; "let's get on with it, this is a new land, this is our home. (Dennis O'Keeffe - Musician)

What rugby league teaches you is that everything is temporary. The dead-set certainty is that there's adversity coming as well as success. You may as well make the most of it while you can. (Matthew Elliott - football coach)

I say to the young blokes, when you get asked for an autograph, don't knock it back because there'll be a time where no one will ask you (Brett Kenny - footballer)

The wisdom of Errol Flynn

It isn't what they say about you, it's what they whisper

I am not biased against the rich because they are rich, but the most lively people are those without money who would like to have some

Someone, I don't know who- it might have even been me- said, 'Any man at the age of twenty-five who is not a Communist has no heart: any man who is still is at the age of thirty-five has no head.'

Man's indecency to man all over the world rules out the idea of humanity as an actuality. It is a dream of young idealists. In practice a misnomer

I crave the indulgence of my senses but this is countered by an interior desire that is even keener than my senses to know the meaning of things

I want faith; but I am faithless

I enter a whorehouse with the same interest as I do the British museum or the Metropolitan - in the same spirit of curiosity. Here are the works of man, here is an art of man, here is the eternal pursuit of gold and pleasure. I couldn't be more sincere. This doesn't mean that if I go to La Scala in Milan to hear Carmen I want to get up on the stage and participate. I do not. Neither do I always participate in a fine representative national whorehouse - but I must see it as a spectacle, an offering, a symptom of a nation.

I portray myself as wicked, hoping I will not be regarded as wicked. But I may be wicked in the biblical sense

I am on the side of the underdog except when I am on the side of the rich

It is habit for me to discount myself before somebody else does it for me. Better to get in the first lick

You can never trust a human being to behave as you would have expected in a given circumstance

Has every oyster a different taste?

If they say I am inconsistent let them say it, for it is true, because inconsistency is a part of living

I am convinced of the validity of contradiction. There are many worlds. Each is true, at its time, in its own fashion

It is a mistake to think you cant be hurt if you don't care

Flynn is not always in

Wisdom of a convict

To plunder is at first as natural as to eat. How readily children lay their little hands upon every tempting article they see, until taught that it is not proper to do so.

How clearly does the behaviour of that unlearned heathen prove that shame is an artificial sentiment resulting from education alone; and that different communities measure propriety, nay even right and wrong, by various standards established under the operation of dissimilar circumstances.

Whether the difficulty in disposing of criminals, and whether the production of so many denote an unsound condition in the mother country, must now be determined by the wiser heads now occupied with the subject. Nevertheless, one cannot help fancying that the necessity for cure, in a certain measure, be economically superseded by prevention.

Indeed I am not certain that every individual in the two English Houses of Parliament would be the worse for seven years, "lagging"; it would make practical men of them.

All the evil in his nature (and who is without any) had been developed and nourished by harsh and cruel treatment, kindling, perhaps, a revengeful feeling against all mankind - a feeling, often the cause, in Australia at a future period, of the barbarous murder of innocent individuals.




Innovation and Creativity

Thinking different

It could be described as post-Socialist but also as post Capitalist

Australian English reflects penal history and the influence of Aboriginal languages

Defying stoicism

Landscape and Identity

Creativity in the kitchen

Once were popular


""Shouting", or rather its meaning, is peculiarly Australian. The shortest and most comprehensive definition of "shouting" is to pay for the drink drunk by others." Drinking

"Australia has been hailed as a saviour of our soi-disant movie industry. So it could be, irrespective of its box office earnings, if it leads to recognition that we don't have a film industry, despite expenditure over 20 years of $1.5billion in subsidies and perhaps another half billion in tax concessions." Movies

"Australians are very difficult to impress; even if you do manage to impress them, they may not openly admit it." Social Rules

"a confused mix of landscape, animals, and Aboriginal culture, with a kind of Bible overtone." Painting

"A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop" Wisdom

"Gallipoli tends to seem strange to outsiders, as it appears to be a celebration of Australia's greatest defeat, but in essence it is rather a commemoration of those who died serving Australia in battle, be it warranted or not." Anzac

“We must be the only country in the world that marks its national day not by celebrating its identity, but by questioning it.” Australia Day

"He declared, confidently, that an immense number of women were dying for his diminutive highness, but became terribly angry, when an ugly, red-nosed publican with a hump-back, pretended to recognize him as an organ grinder strolling about with a monkey." Egalitarianism

"Yet there are some like me turn gladly home
From the lush jungle of modern thought, to find
The Arabian desert of the human mind,
Hoping, if still from the deserts the prophets come
" Poetry