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The Learning Adventure of a Lifetime

Australian Culture

Australian People Driving Time Zones
Australian Music Electricity Tipping
Australian Film Food & Drink Transportation
Aussie Sports Measurements Wildlife

Australian People

Australia is a relatively new nation. Australians of European ancestry have developed a culture and attitudes that are distinct from those of their forebears. They are characterized as outgoing people, remarkably open in conversation, and amiable and easygoing. They are proud of the country they have created through hard work, and can be scathing about attitudes or behavior they consider to be lacking in toughness. They believe in rewards for people according to their abilities, and in putting disappointments to one side and getting on with the future. They put great value on friendship, and help friends whenever possible. As a result of their colonial past, they have a love-hate relationship with the English, whom they call "poms." Australians have a passion for sport and leisure.

About 22 percent of the population is under age 15 (and about one-third is under age 20), while the proportion of those over age 65 (12 percent) is low for the developed world. That means not very many oldies.

About 90 percent of the people are European. Approximately 60 percent of the white population have British or Irish roots, but other Australians are from a variety of nationalities, including Italian, Croatian, Chinese, Indian, South American, and Greek (Melbourne has the largest Greek population outside Greece). About one-fifth of the population was not born in Australia. Aborigines make up 1.5 percent of the population.

Australian Music

Australian's listen to a variety of music styles from the United States and England, however, the Aussie home grown sound is exceptional. Some of the Aussie bands and artists that you may know are Powder Finger, Natalie Imbruglia, Savage Garden, Men at Work, INXS, AC/DC, Midnight Oil, Little River Band, Air Supply, Yothu Yindi, Divynals, Keith Urban, Crowded House, Olivia Newton-John and Silverchair. However, there are loads of local Australian singers and bands that you haven't heard of that are superstars in Australia and who's music you are sure to like when you are down under. Australian's love rock, pop, metal, hip hop, rap and dance music.

Australian Film

Some movies made in Australia that you may know are Babe (Academy Award Winner), Shine (Academy Award Winner), Priscilla - Queen of the Desert (Academy Award Winner), Strictly Ballroom, Crocodile Dundee, The Matrix (Academy Award Winner), Mission Impossible 2, The Phantom, Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge, The Road Warrior series (Mad Max), Star Wars and Scooby Doo (filmed on location at Bond). Both Fox and Warner Bros. have large studios in Australia, with the Warner Bros. studio just a 15 minute drive from Bond University.

Some Australian actors you may know include Hugh Jackman, Mel Gibson (Academy Award Winner), Russell Crowe (Academy Award Winner), Nicole Kidman (Academy Award Winnder), Naomi Watts, Portia di Rossi, Heath Ledger, Sam Neil, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush (Academy Award Winner), Paul Hogan, Guy Pierce, Elle Macpherson, Rachel Griffiths, Judy Davis and Melissa George.

Aussie Sports

Australian's love sport and are amongst the most competitive in the world, which is even more amazing when you consider they only have 19 million people. On the international sports scene, Australian's are champion swimmers, tennis players, cricket players, rugby players, horse racers and motor racers.

Summer sports in Australia include cricket, beach volleyball and basketball. Winter sports include Australian Rules Football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, soccer and field hockey (no ice, just grass).

Food & Drink

Aussies refer to their home as the "Lucky Country," which is apt when it comes to Australia's abundance and variety of food. They are blessed with many exotic fruits, a huge variety of fish, some of the best lamb and beef in the world, and, thanks to the immigration rules, almost every sort of cuisine from around the world.

Apart from Italian, Greek, and Lebanese food, which is now firmly established in Australia, Asian cuisine is having a major effect. Thai and Chinese food is particularly popular.

Australia is also a serious coffee-drinking nation. The familiar Starbucks have stores in Australia, one of which is close to Bond University. However, the Australian coffee drinking tradition is quite different from the US and is more like Italy with most coffee being served in sidewalk cafés in china cups.

As for food served in bars, don't count on it. Many Australian pubs regard the consumption of food as an unnecessary distraction from solid beer drinking.

A short note about Australian beer: Reputed to have the highest per capita beer consumption in the world after the Germans, Australians drink an enormous range of beers, including lager, bitter, and stout. Each state has its own principal brewer. In NSW (New South Wales) it's Tooheys, in Victoria it's Carlton and United Breweries (brewer of Fosters), in Queensland, its' XXXX (pronounced 4X), and so on. A new generation of boutique brewers such as Red Back, Coopers, and Hahn have also sprung up.

Ordering beer at an Australian pub is complicated (but as a bright young college student, you are bound to learn to master it very quickly). Tap beer is served in glasses called schooners, ponies, pots, handles, midis, and even glasses. If in doubt, ask for a bottle of beer from the bar fridge. Most Australians drink straight from the bottle: you'll have to ask for a glass. Except in first-class hotels, never leave a tip.

Drink driving is considered a very serious offense by the Australian police and random breath testing is a common site on many Australian roads at night. Oh, and by the way, the legal drinking age in Australia is 18.


Tipping is not generally expected or practiced in Australia. At first-class restaurants, however, it is customary to tip food and drink servers up to 10 percent for particularly good service. That's a refreshing change, isn't it?


Check out the photo gallery for some of the pics of Aussie animals, like the Kangaroo, Koala, Crocodiles, Tasmanian Devil, Cassowary, Emu, Platypus Dingo to name but a few.


The metric system of weights and measures is standard throughout the country. Distance is measured in kilometers (speed is measured in km/h), meters (about 3.5 feet), centimeters (just over ¼ inch) and millimeters (really small). Weights are measured in kilograms and grams. A kilogram is about 2.2 pounds.


Electric current is 240/250 volts, 50 Hz. The three-pin outlet is different from that of other countries, so you may need an adapter and/or a voltage converter to use electrical devices from overseas.


Vehicles drive on the left-hand side of all roads and highways and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car (except in postal vans). The maximum speed limit in towns and cities is 60 km/h (35 mph), and 100 km/h (62 mph) to 110 km/h (68 mph) on highways. Seat belts are mandatory.


Getting around Australia is pretty much done the same way as in the US. You either fly, catch a bus or train, or drive. Australia has 2 main domestic airlines, Qantas and Virgin Blue. Public transport trains and buses are widely used and very effective and inexpensive for getting around town or going across the country.

Time Zones

To help with US time conversions, the Gold Coast (where Bond University is) is 7 hours behind Pacific Time, 8 hours behind Mountain Time, 9 hours behind Central Time and 10 hours behind Eastern time, but it is tomorrow already. How's that for a head spin. Therefore, if it's 4 pm on Tuesday in Los Angeles, it's 9 am on Wednesday on the Gold Coast (and all Eastern Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne).

There are three time zones across Australia. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns (all on the East Coast), for example, are 9 hours ahead of Greenwich mean time (GMT) while Perth (on the west coast) is only 7 hours ahead of GMT, and Adelaide (in the middle) is 8½ hours ahead of GMT.

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