With your fellow Aussie GaGer @Luci92 (myself, duh) and @pervertedjester who did an awesome job at coming up with all of these questions.
Let's get right into this!
1. The main question on every American's mind is: Just how dangerous is the local wildlife down there on a daily basis?
I get this so often, and the answer is, yes, I am constantly living in danger and fearing for my life. Only the toughest survive.
But seriously, the wildlife doesn’t bother us, especially not in the city. Spiders are rare (depends on how well you take care of your house though) and snakes are even rarer. The most annoying thing Aussies have to deal with are possums, which is practically an Australian version of squirrels (which for the record, are way too cute to be considered vermin).
Don't be fooled by their cute appearance, these are the most annoying little shits you'll ever encounter.
2. Speaking of cute animals, how common are kangaroos and koalas? Can you just run into them anywhere or is it easier to visit a zoo?
In the suburbs and city, you will almost never see kangaroos unless they're at a zoo. If you're going for a drive through the rural parts, you might come across one if you're lucky. They're definitely not as common as you might think. Sorry to disappoint all those people who I told I ride a kangaroo to school.... I catch the bus haha.
Koalas are a bit more common, but you'll only see them in gum trees, and if you see people looking up and taking a photo, 9 times out of 10, they're Aussie, and even not a tourist lol. Yes, I'm guilty of this too.
3. So who runs the show down there? Do you take orders from the Queen of England still or do you guys have your own set-up?
Well, we do very much have our own set-up, and we're practically independent apart from the State by State Governors (they're esteemed but don't hold that much power) and the Brits step in to do 'Royal Commissions' when they're investigating issues within the government or government run organizations.
There's a push to become a republic, but I don't see it happening any time soon. But if that were to happen, that would mean changing the flag as well (hopefully to something green and gold!)
4. How do Australians truly feel about Americans? I've heard they have a very short fuse when it comes to the US and its citizens.
Truthfully, there are some negative stereotypes about US citizens, some people dubbing you 'the Yanks' and not using it as a term of endearment. This election debacle hasn't helped, (I hate to break it to you, but our media likes to heavily promote the fact that you're all 'blind voters') but what many Australians fail to realise is that plenty of Americans dislike both candidates too.
It really varies person to person though, personally, I can't get enough of you guys! <3
5. If more Americans were to visit Australia are there any places or towns we should avoid, like maybe "The Shire?"
Hmm, not that I know of, although I'd definitely recommend visiting places other than just Sydney and Melbourne, Australia is so much more than just those two destinations. Oh, wait, don't bother with Darwin lol, the humidity is worse than Florida :P
6. What's the issue between Aussies and New Zealanders all about? And on that subject, what's the overall Aussie view on the Aboriginals down there?
We don't really have beef with New Zealanders per se, but we do get upset when we're grouped with them or called 'practically the same thing' because while geographically we might be close, we're very different countries.
And yes, there's a lot of stigma around Aboriginals unfortunately, a lot of the stereotypes around them are: that they’re drunks, are violent, live in the outback, are un-educated no hopers, are involved in too much crime, receive too much from welfare, get more than the whites, do not want to work and are lazy, live a traditional tribal/ancient lifestyle, and are like leeches and drain away each other’s resources. I can understand why these stereotypes exist, but regardless, they're still very unfair and negative generalizations.
We do have National Sorry Day, which is an annual event that has been held on the 26 May since
1998, to remember and commemorate the mistreatment of the country's indigenous population.
For those that aren't familiar of Australia's history, during the 20th century, Australian governments' policies resulted in a "Stolen Generation"—where Aboriginal were children separated, often forcibly, from their families in the interest of turning them into white Australians. The date 26 May carries great significance for the Stolen Generations, as well as for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and non-indigenous Australians.
On 13 February 2007, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd moved a motion of Apology to the Indigenous Australian "Stolen Generation". And while Kevin Rudd was the first Australian Prime Minister to publicly apologize to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian federal government, we still have a long way to go.
7. There are a handful of Australian actors/actresses and comedians that have achieved fame in the U.S. but who would you say best represents Australia today?
There are a few to choose from, but personally I’d have to say Hugh Jackman, because he makes a kickass Wolverine, and he hasn’t lost his Aussie accent either. I also have a lot of respect for Paul Hogan and he'll forever be a legend, but I don’t think he accurately depicts Australia in its current day.
8. American Heroes get a lot of press internationally but are there some Australian heroes that Americans, if not the world, should know more about?
I’m proud to say that we have many Aussie heroes, but not many are well publicized. Sir Howard Florey comes to mind; born in Adelaide in 1898, he went on to study medicine where he eventually developed penicillin, which was soon being used on wounded Allied soldiers in World War II, sparing the injured from amputations and saving countless lives. He was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work, and is one of only 14 Australians in history to do so. When Florey died in 1968, then Prime Minister Robert Menzies noted: "In terms of world well-being, Florey was the most important man ever born in Australia."
9. What would you say is the biggest mistake a tourist could make when visiting your country?
We’re generally a pretty easy-going bunch, but watch how many cracks you make about us. A few funny jokes are fine, but when those comments cross over into being just plain ignorant and offensive, be prepared to get roasted like a snag on a barbie (barbeque for those of you that don't know), and don’t say I didn’t warn you lol.
10. Lastly, are there any Aussie stereotypes that are true? (That maybe you wish weren't so true.)
Okay, so it's hard to subjectively list stereotypes about your own country, but I tried anyways, and decided to do a true/false response.
All Australians eat is Vegemite - FALSE, most Aussies do eat it, but we like our barbies too ;)
Australians are always drunk. – FALSE, but I can't deny there is a drinking culture, and we certainly like our beer too.
Every Australian can surf. – FALSE, sorry to disappoint, but I’ve only surfed a handful of times, and I’m shit lol. Most Aussies have never even been on a board though.
Also, all Australians live by the beach. – FALSE, no, just no.
All Australians have blonde hair, blue eyes, and are really tan. – FALSE, so many of us have mixed heritage, and we definitely don't all fit into this stereotype (I mean, look at my profile pic).
It never snows in Australia, it’s just ALWAYS HOT. – FALSE, there are some parts of Australia that snow, and we have 4 normal seasons thanks (apart from Darwin, it *is* always hot in Darwin year round).
Australians wear thongs all day, every day. – TRUE, and so many idiots wear them in winter and it looks terrible.
And finally, Aussies always say 'mate'. - TRUE, I say it all the time, on here and in real life too, as do most Aussies.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this cleared up some of your questions about Australia. If you have any more, feel free to ask in the opinions!
Hope to see you all down under soon ;)
- By Luci and Bill aka @pervertedjester