The National Spirit of Australia

Every country has what you might call its own national spirit. Everyone from France to the US to the Aussies gets stereotyped around the world, of course: The French are rude, Americans are crass and Aussies are lazy dopes. But if you dig a little deeper and get to the truth behind those stereotypes, maybe it’s more like the French are proud, Americans are brutally honest and Aussies tend to be pretty laid back. Of course, there’s more to the Aussie spirit than simply knowing when and how to kick back, so what is being totally Australian or to be one Totally Australia?

walking the beach on the east coast of Australia

Enjoying the sound of the sea and the wind on the east coast of Australia.

Well that question can probably be answered, at least in part, by looking at the history of the Australian people.

It’s no big secret how this country got started: England kicked out its prisoners and ne’er do wells and sent them to the southern hemisphere to get them out of the way. It would be ridiculous to say that this history makes Australia a country of criminals, rather, we bring it up to point out that, to most Aussie people, this is nothing to be bothered by.

Sure, some of the biggest cult heroes of Australian culture are criminals, crazies like Chopper and brawlers like Bronson, but all cultures have their counter-culture idols. The point is, Aussies descend from English or Irish folk sent to rot on the underside of the world, and instead of being angry about it, they built monuments to great English leaders. Why? Because hey, Australia is pretty cool, and if they hadn’t sent us here, we’d never have seen it. So a big part of the Aussie spirit, you could say, would be the ability to take every day as a gift and every new challenge as an opportunity, a fun adventure.

Australians are unique in their ability to combine the arts with new technology. Something people tend to forget: The first feature film ever made came out of Australia. The Story of the Kelly Gang. This should (but doesn’t seem to) correct the common opinion worldwide that Aussies never made any movies besides Crocodile Dundee and Mad Max.
Although, speaking of Mad Max, that sort of represents an integral piece of Australian culture: The full throttle, pedal to the metal attitude that defines much of what Australia gives to the world.

It’s hard to find an Australian movie without a car chase or two in it, and when it comes to Rock and Roll, you don’t get much more aggressive, much more deliriously fun and wild than AC/DC.
You’ll find a similar spirit in, well, Australian spirits. Aussie wines and beers are some of the most popular for other countries to import, because when an Aussie does something, they do it to the best of their abilities. You don’t go down under to drink bottom shelf wine or flat beer, and if you do, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

We could go on for hundreds of pages, but we’ll try to wrap it up and sum it up as best we can in this short amount of time: A true Aussie is someone who’s laid back about stuff that doesn’t matter, full throttle about stuff that does matter, and someone who enjoys the finer things in life without pretension.

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