Australia: The Enigma Down Under
Australia. The very idea evokes almost otherworldly imagery. The land down under continues to exert an enigmatic appeal to outsiders, and residents long for home if they find themselves away for too long. So what is it that makes this land so incredibly unique? Join us as Culture Kraze dives in!
To start with, Australia owes its special position in the world to geography. The landmass that we know as Australia today was in fact a part of the supercontinent of Gondwana, some 500 million years ago. For the next 400 million years or so, it flourished as part of a giant landmass, giving rise to the precursors of Australia's iconic flora and fauna. Almost a hundred million years ago, long before the dawn of humankind, the landmass of Oceania began to separate, drifting away to start the long period of isolation that it has since experienced.
Wear the Australian Outback!
It was between twenty three and five million years ago that the Australian megafauna evolved. When the first humans arrived in Australia roughly 50,000 years ago, they were greeted by the sight of uniquely terrifying creatures like the diprotodon, a three ton marsupial that is part of the same class of animals as today's beloved kangaroo. Human arrival transformed the landmass in many ways, but Australia continues to retain its distinct geography and ecosystems. Australia
The Sydney Opera House is now available as a multi-color LED table light!
Its sheer size and long isolation have resulted in a massive island that is largely empty in its hinterlands. Since European settlement, residents have broadly divided Australia into the coastal residential areas, the inland "bush", and the "outback", the vast hinterland that is further inland still. The outback is a harsh environment, and supports very small human populations, allowing it to retain a largely pristine natural world. This harsh natural environment is probably part of the reason behind the enterprising spirit that Australians embody. If fact, the resourceful nature of Australians originated 50000 years ago with the first aboriginal populations, who somehow managed to cross the vast waters of the pacific to get to the island.
Is there anything more quintessentially Australian than the Kangaroo?
For the European settlers, life in Australia has required a great degree of adaptability and ruggedness. Even today, nearly 20% of Australians are descendants of convicts who were shipped to the continent from the UK, learning to make their home in a harsh, unforgivable, yet beautiful landscape. In the centuries since, Australians have come a long way. The 20th century in particular has been a transformative period, which has seen Aussies forge a new identity, shifting from a remote, far-flung colony of the British Empire to their own proud nation in the Pacific, which today is a cornerstone of global trade and security networks.
This bean bag cover looks perfect to sink into!
In the 21st century, Australia is truly a melting pot. It has seen large scale immigration from all nations of the world, particularly the commonwealth and Asian nations. In addition, the tragic story of natives in Australia has taken a decidedly more hopeful turn, as Australian culture has begun to celebrate reconciliation and assimilation with the roots of its first people. Many of the icons of Australian culture, like the boomerang or the didgeridoo, have been aboriginal contributions. The late colonial era and start of federation inculcated a culture that has been the envy of many nations, highlighting physical activity and ruggedness, and placing an emphasis on comradeship, national identity, and egalitarianism.
A distinctively Australian brand of music, art, and literature has come about as a result. Australian impressionism, or the Heidelberg school of art, has lain a great emphasis on the unique landscape and bush culture of Australia, complemented by bush poetry and ballads that had already begun to celebrate the idea of Australia.
Australia shines in a lot of areas, running off a thriving tourism industry, where the nation shows off its considerable natural heritage and finely honed examples of Australian culture. The Sydney opera house is perhaps among the most recognizable structures in the world today, and travelers everywhere long for a sunny day at Bondi beach, or a trip across the outback. Australians also excel at sports. Perhaps a natural outcome of the Aussie affinity for the outdoors, Australian sports domination, as the English, Indians, South Africans and many others would bitterly attest, is to a great degree the result of successive governments' efforts to build a sports infrastructure that is world class in every way imaginable, which sees the Land Down Under steamroll opponents in major sports like cricket, field hockey, and soccer.
Unleash that outdoorsy Aussie spirit with this Flag and Map cycling jersey set.
And if sports and arts were not enough, the irreverent Australian sense of humor never disappoints. A combination of dry wit, anti-authoritarianism with its roots in penal colonies, and a certain capacity for self-depreciation have given rise to the archetype of the hilariously adventurous Crocodile Dundee, as much a treasure to the wider world as AC/DC or Steve Irwin. Australia is also defined by its high level of political participation, being one of the only nations in the world to employ a preferential voting system. A rich and vibrant economy, outdoorsy, diverse and unique multi-ethnic culture, and a pristine natural environment make Australia one of the most fascinating places on the planet, and, quite honestly, it is not difficult to see why!