In previous blogs, I explored the topics of culture and education, but it is important to also to consider religion in Australia. The statistics seem to fluctuate widely depending on the source of information. One source reported that 94% of the population were Christians, but according to Wikki, “In the 2011 Census, 61.14% of the Australian population were recorded as adhering to Christianity. Historically the percentage has been far higher and the religious landscape of Australia is diversifying, along with multicultural immigration and 22.3% of people with no religious affiliation. 22.3% of Australians declared “no-religion” on the 2011 Census, and a further 8.55% did not answer the question. The remaining population is a diverse group which includes Buddhist (2.46%), Islamic (2.21%), Hindu (1.28%) and Jewish (0.45%) communities.”
The Catholic religion is predominate Christian denomination, followed by Anglican and then the Uniting Church of Australia.
Religious organizations have played a significant role in public life and Australia has a strong tradition of secular government.
Education in Australia is considered to be advanced and is broken down into basically three categories that includes primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary schools/high schools) and tertiary education (universities and/or Vocational Education and Training). There is another classification according to the sources of funding and administrative structures which includes government schools (public schools or state schools), Catholic schools, and independent schools (private schools).
Private schools usually have religious affiliations and public schools usually are secular but may offer optional religious affiliations. 64% of children in Australia attend public schools and 34% attend Catholic schools. Uniforms are customary.
Education in Australia is the responsibility of the states or territories. The Australian federal government helps fund the public universities, but does not set the curriculum. According to Wikipedia, “The Education Index, published with the UN‘s Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Australia as 0.993, among the highest in the world, tied for first with Denmark and Finland.”
As one of the seven continents of the world, Australia evokes visions of beautiful natural settings, kangaroos and kola bears, but I was interested to know more about their cultural traditions and customs.
One of the strong influences in Australian culture is the Aboriginese people and the history that surrounds them. According to Aboriginal belief, the earth descended from the sky to awaken a dark and silent world from which the totemic spirit ancestors emerged. This time in Australian history is referred to as Dreamtime. Many of the traditions and customs from this period can be found in the study of rock art, craft and bark painting. The songs have lyrics that have remained unchanged for thousands of years and are usually accompanied by clapsticks or the throbbing tone of the didgeridoo.
Australians are drawn to having a “fair go””, believe in mateship and have a strong affection for the underdog.Their language is described as “strine” which can be described as a combination or blend of a strong Irish accent with cockney words or phrases while also combining some words from the Aborigines languages. It is common place to add “ie” or “o” to the end of words and use reverse nicknames such as “Snowy” for someone with dark hair.
Sports and games and are very important to Australians and they have won many championships and trophies in competition. With a population of just over 21 million people, it’s estimated that six-and-a-half million people in Australia are registered sport participants. Football, rugby, and swimming are the most popular sports. Camel racing is also a popular sport which seems very unusual rather comical way to pass time.
The common sport of jumping rope is common for children and stems from an ancient Aborigines activity. The boomerang is also a popular activity for all ages.
Australians love food and especially love foods cooked on the barbie (barbecue). Alcohol is very popular with beer being the preferred beverage. It is easy to see why Australians have a reputation for being fun-loving and down to earth.