On January 26, we celebrate a national holiday called Australia Day. This is a day where we all come together during the summer and celebrate everything that makes our country great. You can think of is as an Australian Thanksgiving.
In recognition of Australia Day this year, my posts over the next couple of weeks will have an Aussie theme. I hope you will learn some new facts about the “Land Down Under!”
Here are some common questions people ask me:
Question: Can you see kangaroos in your backyard? Do you keep them as pets?
Kangaroos are not pets, they are wild animals that live in the bush. If you live on a large property in the country, it is possible to see one sometimes. Also if I go on long road trip across the countryside, I may see one hopping (jumping) across the road.
WARNING: The next part may shock you. Kangaroos are actually quite an aggressive animal and they are treated like beef or any other wild animal here – they are farmed for their meat! I eat it sometimes as it’s very healthy and although it is a bit tougher than beef, it has a lot of flavour! (Don’t hate me, everyone! Don’t worry, the koalas are safe.)
Question: What about crocodiles? I hear that you see them in your streets?
Sure, if the street is flooded with water…and the street has turned into a river…and a crocodile is lost from the bush rivers…and it then manages to find its way to a town. Honestly…the media can be so ridiculous sometimes! Crocodiles are inland bush animals that you rarely see unless you live in the far northern rural areas of Australia.
Question: Are Aussies all alcoholics?
I won’t lie – Aussies love their alcohol, especially beer on a hot summer’s day. The difference between us and other nationalities is that Australians don’t know when to stop and tend to get TOO drunk too early and end up behaving very badly. They get kicked out of clubs, get into fights and sometimes even wake up in someone else’s apartment!
Question: What is it like in the outback?
I have no idea – most Aussies haven’t been to the outback, either! Australia is a very diverse land with beaches, cities, rainforest, outback, mountains (some with snow) and small country towns. The majority of the population live in the cities on the east coast, which can be very metropolitan and culturally diverse. I have never ridden a camel, nor have I worn one of those hats to deflect flies.
Question: How can you live in a place with so many dangerous animals!?
The poor animals have such a bad reputation! Australians are raised with one simple ideal: animals won’t hurt you if you don’t make them angry. Spiders stay hidden in corners to catch insects and the biggest spiders are actually the most harmless. Snakes are afraid of anything bigger than them and slither away (this means running away for animals without feet to run) as soon as they detect movement that is not potential prey (food for predators). The main thing to remember is to keep your eyes open when walking in the garden or bush, so you don’t accidentally stand on something.
What questions do you have about Australia?
Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for more Australia-themed posts including slang and history!
The Cookie Chef