Multicultural Australia

Introduction

This Global Village is the only one of the 11 dominant culture regions, which contains an entire continent, Australia, as one part of its land areas.

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Detailed Map
of Australia

 

The dominant culture of this culture region is definitely Western, though, as mentioned, its beginnings are not of Western cultural heritage.

Australia is a country with large urban areas on the east and southeast coasts, with smaller urban areas scattered around the edges of the continent.  The interior of this “down-under” country is a vast desert, but also has extensive grasslands, usually referred to as the outback, with flat terrain and a dry climate.  Approximately 30 per cent of the country is considered to be in the tropics, with fertile croplands, but it has some extreme topography such as snowfields and rainforests as well.

Australia has six states and two territories and is governed under the Crown of England as a constitutional monarchy (Queen Elizabeth II).  It has been an independent democracy since 1901; and has a population of more than 22 million people, many who raise sheep and cattle for a livelihood.

 Interesting Facts About Australia:

1) The Western dominant culture region began as a British colony

2) The smallest state of Australia is the southern island of Tasmania, whose geology indicates Australia was part of Antarctica millions of years ago!

3) It is geographically isolated by the Indian Ocean on the West, the Tasman Sea on the south and the Great Barrier Reef on the northeast coastal region.

4) One of the world’s largest cattle and sheep industries thrive here

5) Major urban centers are: Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra, which is the capital

6) The most common religion is Christianity

7) The national language is English

8) Aborigines have inhabited Australia for thousands of years, but most of the immigrant population arrived there over the last 200 years.  Today Australia is a multi-cultural country with many ethnicities, religions and languages.

9) The state of New South Wales was originally settled as a penal colony where the city of Sydney now lies

10) Known as the “festival state” because over 500 festivals take place there every year!

11)  May 26 is celebrated annually as the  National Sorry Day, when they have reconciliation walks.

Early Peoples

Australia’s aborigines, arrived 40-60,000 years ago by boat from Southeast Asia, but originating from the Horn of Africa.  They numbered a million inhabitants before Europeans arrived.  They survived as hunters and gatherers for thousands of years, making their homes in the deserts of the outback, the rainforests, and the mountains. At least 300 different clans, and hundreds of languages have been documented, yet they shared a common spiritual belief of the Dreamtime and how the world began.

New Zealand, on the other hand had boat people from Polynesia arrive around 1,000 AD.  The Maori’s exact origins and reasons for leaving their homeland of Hawaiki are not known.  Some scholars believe they may have traveled from Tahiti or the Marquesas.  No matter their origins, they had a stone-age culture, along with a well-developed canoe tradition.  They hunted and gathered, grew crops, and centered family life was around kinships.  Their artistic traditions included sculpturing with wood and New Zealand greenstone.  They were amazing tattoo artists as well, and used tattoos to designate status among their tribes.

Australian Aborigine Tribesman Below

Australian Aborigine

In 1770 the Australian aborigine cultures were interrupted by a  sailor named James Cook.  He changed their world forever when he claimed their land for Britain.  Among the first people the British sent to Australia were hundreds of convicted criminals, and such transports did not end until 1868  new  colonists demanded pasture and water for farmlands and livestock.  Added to aborigine cultural demise was the discovery of gold in New South Wales in 1851. As the aborigine populations declined due to, “guns, germs, and steel,” cities grew and Australia became divided into six states, becoming a nation on January 1, 1901.

 

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Map of Australia’s
Multicultural Population

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/multicultural/agenda/agenda89/australi.htm

The following article was taken from the above website of the Australian Government, where you may find more information about the [glossary id=’904′ slug=’ethnic-group’ /] composition of Australia, Australia’s languages, and the percentage of population by birthplace.

If your interest is sparked about this part of the Austral-European Global Village, and its celebrated “outback,” the website also has information on studying in Australia, working in Australia, and obtaining citizenship.

National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia

Australia Today

It is perhaps odd to describe Australia as a young society. After all, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures flourished on this continent for at least 40,000 years before the First Fleet arrived.

But Australia – like the USA, Canada and Argentina – is ‘modern’ in that the vast majority of its native-born population is descended from immigrants who arrived here in the last two hundred years, and it is their cultures also that form the basis of a nation that has existed for less than a century.

To that extent Australia is very different from most long-established European and Asian societies. It has a culture, which, while already distinctive, continues to develop.

Since 1788 diverse waves of immigrants have interacted with each other and with the first Australians. Out of that process has emerged a society of enormous and rare cultural variety.

From 1788, the proportion of the population who were of Aboriginal descent dropped rapidly. By the 1840s, 57% of the population was of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Manx and Cornish origin (rather artificially grouped together as ‘Anglo-Celt’), and by the 1860s that figure had increased to 78%.

From the middle of the nineteenth century appreciable numbers of Chinese, Pacific Islanders, Lebanese, Afghans, Indians and Europeans arrived. Many settled. Nevertheless by the early twentieth century the proportion of Anglo-Celts had risen to around 87%, and stayed at around that level until the Second World War due to a combination of increased British immigration, policies which discriminated against the entry of non-Europeans, and the decline of the Aboriginal population.

Since the middle of the twentieth century, with a progressive liberalization of our immigration program, there has been a dramatic shift in the ethnic composition of Australian society. The immigration of large numbers of people from Northern Europe and the Baltic nations, was followed by settlers from Southern Europe and, more recently, from the Middle East, Asia and South America.

Today the population balance is around 75 % solely or partly ‘Anglo-Celt’, 20% ‘other European’, 4.5% ‘Asian ‘origin’ and 1% Aboriginal. The face of Australia has been irrevocably changed and, with the continuation of intermarriage and of immigration at its present rate and composition, will continue to change.

The scale of immigration to Australia in the last forty years has been enormous, accounting for about half of our population growth. A remarkably high proportion of Australians are overseas born.

Many of these people live outside the capital cities and the main urban areas. Of those from non-English speaking backgrounds, 9.1% are scattered throughout towns and communities in every Australian state and territory.

There has been a strong pattern of intermarriage between these Australians of different backgrounds. Today less than half the population is of pure Anglo-Celtic descent. Over 60% of Australians have at least two different ethnic origins, and 20% have four or more.

The most rapidly growing group in Australian society are those of combined Anglo-Celtic and non Anglo-Celtic ancestry. About one-quarter of Australians have no Anglo-Celtic background.

The integration of successive waves of immigrants into our society and workforce with very little social friction is a remarkable achievement. The reality of everyday life in a multicultural Australia is that we all have as family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors people who come from extraordinarily diverse origins.

And although most of us – including immigrants – want to be accepted as Australians and have a firm commitment to the institutional framework of our political and legal system, there is a growing recognition that this does not preclude us from maintaining those aspects of our cultural heritage, which give meaning to our lives.

Indeed it is the vigor of our diversity, and the degree of interaction between different cultures, that contributes so much to the uniqueness of the Australian identity today.

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