There are many stereotypes about Australia that have been created by the media or have been over-exaggerated retellings of people’s experiences when travelling to Australia. This is how most stereotypes start; some of them can be quite accurate, while others have moved so far away from the truth that they just start to sound like full-blown lies. Today, I would like to talk to you about some of the commonly held stereotypes about my country and tell you whether they are facts or myths. Let’s get started.
Deadly Animals – FACT
Australia is full of many strange and wonderful animals, from cute and cuddly to extremely deadly and scary. While snakes, spiders, scorpions, crocodiles, sharks, and jellyfish are among the deadliest of animals on the planet, people almost never die or even get hurt from these animals. In fact, in the last 10 years in Australia, more people died from cows than spiders, snakes, crocodiles and sharks combined. While it is true that we have some very deadly animals, the chances of encountering one is slim, and then the chance of them hurting you is even lower. They tend to be more scared of you than you are of them. If you see something you think might hurt you, leave it alone. You are more likely to be killed by a farm animal.
Vegemite – MYTH
There is a myth that every Australian loves Vegemite and that we eat it during every meal. This is untrue! While Vegemite is very popular in Australia, only a handful of people eat it very regularly. What you probably would find though is that almost every Australian household has a jar of it in the pantry, and we eat it every once in a while. What most people get very wrong about it, and maybe why it has a bad reputation, is that people use too much of it. It has a strong flavor like dark soy sauce. You only need a little to get the salty taste. Any more and the flavor will be overwhelming, and you will likely not enjoy the experience.
Kangaroos are everywhere – MYTH
There is a myth that kangaroos are everywhere and that you can find them wandering the streets of our cities and towns. Stories are also told where we ride kangaroos as a form of transport, like a horse – I am guilty of spreading this myth because it is funny. However, the truth of it is that kangaroos are wild animals, there are a lot of them, and you can easily find them, but you will need to head out of town to do so. There are a few towns in Australia that are situated in very natural and pure landscapes and you may see kangaroos more easily while they are bouncing around a park or by a river, but to see them in the middle of town where lots of people are is almost impossible.
Fosters Beer – MYTH
Last, but not least, is a beer called Fosters. While it is originally an Australian made beer, it was made popular worldwide through the sponsoring of sports. It became known as the quintessential Australian beer and people assume that we love it and drink it all the time. The fact is that most people dislike Fosters a great deal. It is almost always only consumed overseas and is almost impossible to find in Australia. We love beer itself, we drink it regularly, and every state has their own beer. Actually, you are more likely to find Asahi or Kirin in Australia than Fosters – we love Japanese beer!!
full-blown (idiom) – complete, total
encounter (verb) – to find without searching
reputation (noun) – what people tend to think about something because of experiences with it
overwhelm (verb) – to be affected so strongly it becomes uncomfortable or intolerable
quintessential (adj.) – being the best example or representation of something; typical; normal