To many of my fellow Americans, Australia is a far away distant island country with accents kangaroos and a lot of sharks. Although all of these may be true, over the last few years I’ve come to know Australia in a more intimate way. That is why I’ve decided to put “Straya” on blast and debunk some common misconceptions. So here are 5 misconceptions about Australia and Australians directly from an American point of view.
1. Misconception: Australia is not very big and is smaller than the United States.
Australia is in fact huge! It is a country, a continent, and the world’s largest island. To put it in perspective, driving from Sydney (largest city in the East) to Perth (largest city in the West) would be about the same distance as driving from Los Angeles to New York City. The misconception of it being small could be from the population size. The population of Australia as a whole is about 23 million, which is less than the population size of Texas. With the US population pushing 319 million, it’s easy to see how this can be mistaken.
2. Misconception: All Australians drink Foster’s Beer
When my Australian boyfriend was visiting California, he was constantly being offered Fosters and asked if he drank it all the time. On the contrary, he had never even heard of Foster’s beer before visiting America. That’s because we as Americans have been the subjects of extremely clever marketing. We’ve all heard that famous slogan “Foster’s… Australian for beer.” Well, Foster’s is an Australian brand of beer but is actually brewed mostly in the UK. Australians love drinking beer but the most popular brand of Australian beer is actually Carlton Draught. So next time you see an Australian instead of offering them a Foster’s maybe go for a wine instead.
Fun Fact: Australia boasts more than 60 amazing wine regions across the country. Margaret River on the West Coast, Barossa Valley in the South and Hunter on the East to name a few. When it comes to wine, Australians know their stuff.
3. Misconception: They put Vegemite on everything!
Don’t get me wrong Australians love their Vegemite. They travel with it and I’ve even seen it as a chocolate flavor. However, they don’t put it on everything. It’s most commonly eaten on toast for breakfast the same way we use jam or peanut butter. Some Australians can’t live a day without it and others don’t like it at all. Personally, I’ve grown to like it. It has a salty taste and is really good with avocado.
4. Misconception: Tomato Sauce and Ketchup is the same thing.
In America we use Ketchup. In Australia they use Tomato sauce. No matter how many times Australians have tried to convince me it is the same, it is not the same. I repeat, it is not the same. After a bit of research, I’ve come to discover that Ketchup contains vinegar and sugar, which seem to be the missing component of Tomato sauce. Also, they make you pay extra for Tomato sauce, which is pretty much blasphemy in the US. So keep your change and get ready to be disappointed because Tomato Sauce is not the same as Ketchup.
5. Misconception: Australians love “throwin another shrimp on the barbie.”
If you didn’t already know, Barbie is short for Barbecue or BBQ. Australians, just like Americans, love to grill their meat. First off, Australians don’t call these delicious sea creatures shrimp. They are more commonly referred to as prawns. They are technically different, however, if you ask for shrimp in Australia you will be getting prawns. I relate the saying “throw another shrimp on the barbie,” to the movie Dumb and Dumber. However, it was originally said by actor Paul Hogan, otherwise known as Crocodile Dundee, in a series of Australian Tourism commercials marketed towards Americans from 1984-1990.
So there you go. Since moving to Australia in February of this year, I’ve encountered so many small things that make me miss the US. That being said, I am so happy I made the move to Australia and I’m starting to find a deeper appreciation for all things Australian.