An Australian Lifestyle Seen From Different Perspectives Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you moved to the other side of the globe? We have been given the opportunity to meet the Williams - a quite ordinary family with two kids, living in a villa outside Canberra. We have asked them questions about almost everything concerning everyday life in the beautiful and exotic English-speaking country. How is it like living in Australia? Which are the advantages and disadvantages? John; I really love the country in my opinion it’s full of advantages. But as all countries, Australia has its disadvantages as well. As any world map can tell, Australia is far from any major countries in the western world. Australia’s size and geographic position does not only have an impact on exports and imports, it’s also plays a big part for Australia’s climate, as it affects Australia to become subjected to nature disasters such as storms and floods. The nature is unique and beautiful but on the other hand, the animals could be pretty tricky. As you may know the sea is full of sharks and different jellyfish and you must be careful while you, for example, go for a swim. You are not safe on the land either; getting bit by any Australian spiders and snakes are most likely venomous and the venom could be deadly. Besides all the risks, one of the absolutely best parts of living in Australia is without a doubt the terrific weather, it’s almost always sunny. Are there any complications living with the thin ozone sphere? Does it affect your everyday life? Elisabeth; Well, of course it does affect us in certain ways, we can’t stay in the sun for as long as we might want, and the consumption of sun cream is pretty high all year. But on a normal day we mostly seek the shade to protect us from the burning sun. Our carbon pollution may appear like a small proportion of the global total but considering Australia's
Elisabeth and John Williams with their two kids, Andy and Lisa. small population the number is very large and it puts us among the worlds top polluters. How does the school system work? Is the Australian school similar to any other English speaking country? Elisabeth; Actually, I work as a teacher and owing to that, I know most of the things about our school system. Schooling in Australia starts with a kindergarten or preparatory year followed by 12 years of primary and secondary school. In Australia, we have public schooling and the school is financed by the municipal. I believe our school system is pretty similar to the British and Canadian school system, we
aren’t so privatised as in America, the municipal school is accepted here which, you could say, it isn’t in the USA. Australia has a national curriculum framework to ensure high academic standards across the country. All schools provide subjects in eight key learning areas there English, Mathematics, Social studies and Science are clear subjects.The pupils are also studying technology, personal development, health and physical education. At secondary school level, choice and diversity are increased as both equipment and competences develops.
Lisa; We have to buy our own food every day, I think it’s fun because I can choose whatever I want in the cafeteria but since mom found out that I ate chips all days a week, she has forced be to bring a lunch box each day... I also know that all countries in the world don’t have to wear school uniforms, they are allowed to have their own clothes in school. My friend Sophie is from Norway, she moved her 2 years ago, and she told me that they could wear whatever they wanted. She prefers that, but I believe that school uniforms are really good; when you wear those, nobody has more or less pretty clothes than anybody else, everybody is equal. And how is the academic year? Andy; The school year is divided into four terms and runs from late January or early February until December. There is a short holiday between terms and a long summer holiday in December and January. Students attend school from Monday to Friday each week. School hours vary slightly across Australia but are generally from 9.00 am to 3.30 pm each school day. What do you do on your spare time? Do you do any sports? Andy; Beyond being with my friends and family, my biggest interest is to practise a sport; I play cricket 3 times a week and try to surf as much as possible. That are two typical sports just for Australia! I’m sure our readers are interested in both surfing and cricket, could you please tell us more about it? There is a great interest in surfing in Australia and we have some of the very best surfing spots in the whole world. When we are having vacation we always go surfing for a day or
two. Since Canberra isn’t located close to any coast I’m not spoiled with surfing occasions. Although, our grandparents live in Queensland and therefore dad and I always take our surfing stuff with us when we visit them, so there‘s usually a lot of visits during the summer. Many tourists are coming to Australia because of our surfing possibilities, but they aren’t sufficiently prudent and numerous accidents have taken place because of that. The waves must be treated by respect. Cricket is played in all former English colonies as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and it’s a traditional sport with many rules. The sport is very similar to the American baseball, but there are some differences. In cricket you have two teams, both with eleven players in each team, who takes turns batting and bowling. When one team is batting, they try to score as many runs as they can by hitting the ball around the oval field which has a rectangular pitch in the middle of it. In professional matches there are two batsmen. The team which is bowling have, very briefly summarised, only one assignment; to stop the batsmen scoring. Some define cricket as our national sport due to its popularity all over Australia in all ages. The cricket world cup is held every four years and we are proud to be the most successful country with 4 titles. In 2015 the cricket world cup, which is similar with the worlds championship, will be hold by Australia and New Zealand. I’m hoping to get tickets as a present on my birthday, otherwise I will just save my allowance for a couple of months; I really want to go, the atmosphere will probably be fantastic!
And you Lisa, what are your interested in? I love to read, that’s one of my biggest interest! Are there any famous Australian authors? Yes, of course! Thomas Keneally is one of them. He’s mostly famous for his book ”Schindler’s ark” which won a talked-about price, and afterwards also was made into film directed by Steven Spielberg. The book is based on a true story about the holocaust. An other famous author is John Flanagan who is well known for his work the ”Ranger’s Apprentice” which is a novel series about a boy named Will, an orphan who is taken as an apprentice Ranger to the grim and mysterious Halt. Eleven books have been released and during the books Will and Halt have been set out for many adventures. These books are my absolute favourite ones and I can truly recommend them to all who like fantasy novels! Do you do any sports as well? I also like to play tennis, I spend many hours on the tennis court. I’m dreaming about playing in Australian Open, that would be a dream come true. To all our readers who aren’t that concerned about tennis; what’s Australian Open? Australian Open is the first of four Grand Slams which are held every year. It takes place in January and therefore there is a terrible heat which, sometimes, could be difficult to handle; both for the players and for the audience. We were the first of the grand slams tournaments to feature indoor play and nowadays the centercourts are equipped with retractable roofs. Since a couple of years back the prestigious tournament is always held in Melbourne. My
idol Samantha Stosur, is nowadays one of the best woman tennis player in the world and she come's from Australia. She is excellent in both single and double, which is pretty rare among professional women tennis players. Do you celebrate any special Australian holidays? Elisabeth: Yes, we do. We celebrate the ANZAC day - a national day of remembrance to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army. We go to Anzac Parade here in Canberra, but you can also go to Sydney and watch it there. We eat our special Anzac Biscuits and spend time with the family. That seems like a peaceful day! But I have to ask you, what is in in those Anzac Biscuits? John: They are actually really easy to bake. They only consist of flour, sugar, rolled oats, butter, water, bicarbonate of soda and syrup. You can also add coconut if you want to, it gives them a really good taste. Elisabeth makes the most delicious ones!
The Australian food seems very varied and interesting. What do you eat, actually? Do you have the same food habits like they have in Europe?
Australian is vegemite - a brown sauce that you have on your toast. We also like to include macadamia nuts in food, they are really typical for us.
Our food is often inspired from Great Britain, since we have been a British colony. Australia is also very globalised with inhabitants from almost all around the world. That mix of cultures gives us our special food habits. We have the typical European dishes like fish and chips or beans and egg with bacon for breakfast. For dinner, we prefer to eat steak. The Aborigines eat steak from animals like kangaroo and emu as well. In our family we also eat a lot of Italian food, like pizza and pasta for example.
As we leave the Willams family we are pleased with our answers and we have reached a conclusion; the everyday life in Australia is not like the one we are used to back in Britain. Considering both culture, environment and the inhabitants, Australia is a quiet unique country to live in. We look forward visiting our foreign yet friendly country in the southeast again soon.
Oh, that sounds really tasty! What do you eat for dessert? Lisa: Pavlova, a cake with cream and fruits, is a typical Australian dessert. Another one is vanilla slice, which is very popular too and my personal favourite! Is there any national dish of Australia? I am not sure about it, but something very typical
Rudd Apologises to the Indigenous People of his Country CANBERRA The prime minister held a speech saying sorry to the exposed Aboriginals for affecting their lives in a negative and insulting way. "Blackfellas will get the words, the white fellas will keep the money" says Noel Pearson, an Aboriginal leader. Australian aboriginals have been living in Australia for around 40 000 years. The continent was greatly isolated for 37 800 years until the europeans moved in in the 1800s. Australia wasn't a paradise and the aboriginals fought for survival. In 1851, gold was discovered in Australia. People came from all over the world, they would leave everything behind for some gold. The aboriginal Australia was corrupted, ancient cultures were run over by the
Today, prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised to all Aboriginals for law and policies. The apology beamed live around the country and was met by applauds. Even so Brendal Nelson, leader of the liberal opposition, mentions that he strongly welcomed the apology and he hopes to see a tightened agenda between the white and the black population in Australia in the future. However, some aborigines state that it should have been accompanied with compensation for their suffering.
Previously Australia has announced a "National sorry day" that will be held every year on the 26th of may. This day is supposed to give people a chance to come together and share their future towards "healing" for the stolen generations, their families and communities. The stolen generations refer to indigenous Australians who were forced to move away from their families and communities.
"multi-national visitors". The aboriginalâ€™s land was taken away from them and a new level of civilisation was brought into the continent.
The first National sorry day was held on May 26 in 1998, and Australia plans to keep honouring "Sorry days" a long time to come.
Discovering the Diversity of the Great Barrier Reef
It is just an ordinary Tuesday for the inhabitants in the northeast of Australia, but for me, it is a brand new day in a country I have not discovered yet. I park my rental car close to the beach before I take my bag and head to the meeting place. Since I am not in a hurry, I take a slow walk close the waterside meanwhile I breathe the fresh air. The warm sun reflects itself in the very blue water and as usual it is extremely hot even though it is still just in the early morning. Due to that, I decide to put on some extra sun lotion on my skin just to be sure, since the ozone sphere here is extra thin. I am surrounded by other tourists and you can almost touch the overexcited atmosphere, it is obvious that we all have high expectations for the adventure which is in front of us, although I feel a small fear inside me. A light breeze sweeps over us, barely noticeable. Beside me stands a little boy who can’t stop jumping in highly-strung, although his father strictly states that he must calm down - otherwise they will turn home immediately. ”But papa, I have waited for this the whole summer, I want to see all the fishes and corals, I can not stand waiting no longer”, he says. At once, the mood becomes a bit more relaxing and we all started to socialise. The guide introduces himself as Mike and all the girls, including me, definitely take an extra notice of him. He is very handsome, and he seems to have a calm aura around him - as he arrives, my fear disappears. ”I am going to start with presenting some facts about the Great Barrier Reef” he says and continues with: ”The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s living masterpiece. The area is approximately 35 million hectares which is about 70 million football fields”. The little boy besides me made a loudly sound to show how impressed he was and he rolled his eyes in excitement ”70 million football fields, that’s much bigger than a castle!” he screamed. We all laughed, but stopped pretty fast since we wanted to hear more, and Mike went on; ”It begins near Papua New Guinea in the north, and continues south along the Queensland coast to the north of Brisbane. It is 24 km wide in
the north to over 240 km wide in the south”. I ask him how old it is. ”The Great Barrier Reef first began to grow about 18 million years ago. The reefs we see today have grown on top of older reef platforms during the last 8000 years, which is since the last Ice Age”. A couple next to me, a bit older than my own age asks about the sea animals; are there any we should be aware of because of their dangers? Are there some species that are rare to see which we should pay extra attention on? Mike scratched his beard stubble, furrowed his eyebros together and thought a while before answering; ”There are a great variation of marine life in the Barrier Reef. There are more different species of animals and plants in a cubic metre of the Great Barrier Reef than in any other environment in the world – including tropical rain forests, so you do not need to worry about not seeing different corals, fishes or other molluscs as turtles and whales”. He also mentions that it is so large that it is visible from the moon and he continues saying that astronauts have described it as a ”thin white line off the east coast of Australia”. The group seemed pleased with the answers, there were no questions left and instead, the group starts preparing for the main point of this day; the diving. As I put on my diving suite I notice the light blue heaven, there is not a single cloud, not even a clue of it. ”This is a perfect day for diving”, Mike says and smiles. I can not help myself smiling as well. The diving suit is tight however it feels cold against my body, a nice feeling - it is later on the day now and the sun keep breezes on. When all are settled and the equipment has been looked over by Mike, we leave and slowly approach forward. The majority of the group, including me, have a driving license yet some of us, like the little boy and his family, do not, and therefore they stay at the boat, looking at the marvellous fishes through a glazed floor. I take a deep breath and lie backwards, down in the Pacific ocean.
My first thought is that the Barrier Reef is like an underwater city whose buildings are alive with millions of small creatures, whose life is intimately connected. I see so many kinds of different colours and animas I can not count them all, I see animals I did not even know existed! The coral reef hides so many species and molluscs. I accidentally touch a coral, a beautiful pink one but signs from Mike makes me understand it is poisonous. Another one is purple with white spots on it, further more one is green. As I am swimming around I am thinking of how old the coral reef actually are, it has been there since the Ice Age! What would happened when the planet gets warmer and warmer? Will it remain the same? Probably not. The worlds’ pollution will sooner or later affect everything and the humans are destroying natural places like this during our time on earth, instead of saving it. I immediately get bad consciousness. Underneath me are a dozen of greens plants, some are black and some of them even look blue. Besides me comes furthermore shoal of fishes, this time a bit bigger, like the size of my arm. Suddenly, I notice a big turtle, reserved and hidden in the plants. A huge jellyfish swims towards me but I manage to move before it hurts me. Something which looks like a dolphin swims a couple of meters ahead of me. I stay still for a second, feeling the tension in my whole body, and indeed; three dolphins swim just ten meters from me. I must pinch myself, three dolphins! After a while, they are gone. I continue diving around, seeing fantastic animals and plants and I realise Mike was right; what a great diversity of marine life!
When I returned back to the boat, the little boy, apparently named Nathan, started sharing his experiences with us all. ”I have seen both sharks, a blue whale and lots and lots of fishes. But the coolest thing was the coral reef, it was huge”. He stretched his arms wide and tried to show us how enormously it had been. He continued to talk about what he had seen during the day as we were approaching shore again. Except Nathan’s voice, it is very quiet. I smelled a faint scent of salt and seaweed. Suddenly Mike tells us to put attention and he points at the horizon. Far away, we see a huge animal - a blue whale, the largest living animal on our planet. We only see it for a few seconds before it is gone, a few seconds of magic, none of us believe it is true and when we reach shore, we are all very satisfied with what we have experienced. It is around 2 pm when I say goodbye to Nathan, Mike and the rest of the group. I go back to my parking spot. In my bag I have got a wet bikini, some shells and lots of memories. The sun is in zenith, and the car is terribly warm. Before I drive away, I glance out over the Pacific one last time. Deep down there is a whole underwater city, full of diversity and surprises. I feel happy as I drive away towards my new goal - the Gold Coast.