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Australian Identity

What is Australian Identity? What events, people or concepts before World War I influenced Australia's identity?

Michael Nguyen

on 21 October 2012

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Transcript of Australian Identity

Australian Identity By Michael Nguyen Overview Australian Identity isn't something that can be defined through the actions of any one person, or any event. Australia is a very diverse and unique place with many cultures. Australians are generally thought of to be carefree and general good 'blokes' as well as having a love for sport.
There are particular people, events and concepts though that are instrumental in the identity of Australia and this presentation will be highlighting them.
In particular we will be looking at the main key events which had a part in shaping Australia's Identity. We will be looking at: - What Australian Identity is? What is a typical Australian?
- Which key events, people or concepts led to Australia's identity being shaped this way and by extension the development of Australian stereotypes?
- How do they all link together to create and develop Australia's identity? Definition Of Australian Identity Australian identity can be thought of as a label that people place upon Australians and to an extent the country itself. It defines what Australia is to others, the stereotypes of its people and its outlook as a country. The Gold Rush Gold in Australia is estimated to have been discovered as early as the 1830's. It was in 1851 that the gold rush started though. A man by the name of Edward Hargraves found a few specks of gold at Summerhill Creek and realized he could an enormous profit out of this. He told the government and the government declared it to the public. Thousands of people flocked to the gold field in the hope that they would strike it rich. Summerhill Creek is also called the 'Ophir' gold field and is where the first Australian gold rush occurred. The Eureka Stockade As more goldfields were discovered mainly in New South Wales and Victoria more people left their jobs to go to goldfields. The Australian economy changed dramatically as food prices began to increase. The news of the goldfields spread to other countries and immigrants from China, Europe and America came over. At one point in 1854 there were over 25,000 diggers on the Ballarat goldfields. Governor Hotham decided to introduce a mining license which made it mandatory for anyone on the goldfields to pay regardless of whether or not they had found gold. This was a ridiculous idea as it was too expensive for the people who were living on the goldfields but hadn't found anything. Eventually the miners had enough and on the 11th of November 1854, more than 10,000 diggers demanded that the license be abolished and to have the right to vote. They were rejected and the diggers were furious and on the 30th of November the 'Stockade' was built out of wooden barricades. Within this there were roughly 500 diggers who decided to make a stand and defend their enclosure until the government abolished the license. The government quickly overpowered them but leaving 22 diggers dead and 5 policemen dead. Finally in 1855 the diggers were given the right to vote and the license was replaced with an export fee. Ned Kelly Ned Kelly is an iconic figure of Australian history and the main reason for his fame is how his crimes enraptured the entire countries attention particularly the police as they tried to catch him. Even though he was a liar, a cheater, a murderer and a thief many Australians still thing of him as a hero due to his courageous actions. He had the utmost loyalty to his friends and family and fought for what he believed was right. This resistance to the oppression of the government made him amiable towards his fellow Australians. Ned Kelly often stole horses from the rich squatters yet he did this for his family. He hated the police and as he grew older his hatred turned him into a murderer. In Glenrowan he planned a sabotage mission to kill an entire train of police officers. This was where he and his gang were taken after an intense 9 and a half hour fight with the police. Kelly's gang was murdered and Kelly himself was arrested and sentenced to imprisonment and death. He was hung as a villain but nobody can deny the fact that he influenced Australia's identity greatly. Despite him being courageous, loyal and brave which are characteristics of a typical Australian he had a reputation for being a villain. Federation of Australia It was on January the 1st, 1901 that the commonwealth of Australia was formed as a constitutional monarchy. The federation united Australia together and formed a greater tolerance for multiculturalism and diversity.

Sport is something that helped bring Australians together. Australians would treat anyone the same on the sporting field regardless of any differences they may share. Sport is a major part of Australia's identity. Australians are generally very competitive and the concept of 'mateship' helps to make sports more fun. Also Australia's climate allows for sports like Aussie Rules and Cricket to prosper. Colonisation and Immigration In 1788 Australia was colonised by Britain when the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay. They were mainly convicts in the fleet and when the Secound Fleet came they brought much needed supplies. After the discovery of gold in Australia it wasn't just convicts who came to Australia. Between 1851 and 1861 over 600,000 people came to Australia, and decided to live here permanently. There were people from all over Europe, China, America and even the South Pacific. In 1901 when Australia was federated more than a quarter of the population was born overseas. The majority were British or Irish but there was also a large number of Chinese. The government initiated the White Australia Policy which banned migration of Asian people. White Australia Policy The White Australia Policy was the first law to be passed by the Parliament after the Federation. The policy restricted immigrants from different ethical background from entering Australia. This was mainly because the majority of Australians were British and white and as such believed that they were the superior race compared to others such as the Chinese. During the gold rush, the Chinese in particular showed outstanding dedication and diligence in searching for gold. After this act though, many people branded Australia as a racist country that discriminates against others. This went against the peoples beliefs of being generous and friendly to all. The Invention Of Aussie Rules Aussie Rules was invented by a group of cricketers who wanted a game to help them stay fit during the winter. On the 7th of August 1858 the Melbourne Football Club was formed and that same year the first ever recorded football match was played. The initial Aussie Rules had a total of 40 players on each team with a round ball and a match lasting over five hours. It was in 1866 that the rules were updated to something more similar to what we have today. Mateship The Eureka stockade was a brilliant example of the strong relationship that the men of Australia held with each other. The miners all fought together against the government in order to try and get rid of the mining license. Regardless of the fact that they failed initially they persisted and eventually succeeded. The bushrangers of Australia also showed how mates stuck through thick and thin and were always there for each other. They had to rely on each other in order to survive against the harsh Australian outback. Ned Kelly and his gang had complete faith in one another and this is one of the reasons why they evaded capture for so long. Even though Australia was initially colonised by Britain all Australians still loved Aussie Rules. Australia started to create its own identity and not just be another of Britain's colonies. Cricket allowed Australia to compete against Britain and the invention of Australian Football helped to demonstrate Australia's unique identity differentiate it from Britain. Racism In Australia Racism in Australia was particularly evident during Australia's history when the White Australia Policy came out. It limited the amount of migrants coming to Australia and particularly non-whites. This shows how the government wanted Australia's wealth to itself and to be homogenous like Britain. The act was selfish and for greed and takes a part in shaping Australia's identity. The Eureka Stockade is particularly important in Australia's history as it shows how Australians are courageous. The miners were outnumbered on a grand scale with no knowledge of weaponry and yet they still fought back. Many of the migrants that came to Australia were of German or Irish background. As such they often had strong drinking habits. When they came to Australia these habits were integrated into society and over time it has become a very important part of Australian identity. Multicultural Australia During the goldrush people of all nationalities came to Australia and many decided to stay permanently. They came from areas such as Europe, Asia and some areas of America. Throughout the colonisation of Australia though, British and Irish migrants came to Australia to settle. Eventually all these different nationalities spread all across Australia and developed Australia into what today is known as a multicultural country.
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