There are different views in concern to the subject of Australia’s culture and the relations to the government and history. Many claim that Australia’s blend of global influences-the cross-fertilisation of cultures by the dominant political powers of Great Britain, the United States, and emerging neighbours in Asia.
Others argue that separate and distinct Australian cultures have existed for a long time, as an example, Aborigines. Aboriginal cultures dating back thousands of years took many forms, with over 100 separate languages, and with widespread social networks making it necessary for Aboriginal people to be multilingual to communicate. A separate British-influenced Australian culture is also said to have existed since the mid-1800s.Commonly recognised examples of Australian culture include;
• Poets: Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, C.J. Dennis
• Authors: Miles Franklin, Mary Grant Bruce, Rolf Boldrewood
• Painters and artists: Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin, Sidney Nolan
• Architecture: Federation style, Queenslander style
• Music: Waltzing Matilda, Slim Dusty, The Seekers
• Heroes and heroines: Ned Kelly, Don Bradman, the ANZACs
• Australian way of life: Bush barbeques, Australian Rules Football, Surf Lifesaving Clubs
• Cultural icons: Vegemite, Akubra hats, gold prospectors, shearers, swagmen
• Entertainers and Characters: Ginger Meggs, Paul Hogan, Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson (Barry Humphries), Mick Molloy
It could be argued that both of the above views are valid-that there are unique Aboriginal and Australian cultures and that Australia has ongoing cultural links with other countries that have a significant impact on Australia and the rest of the world. It could further be argued that, despite the enduring nature of many of the images of Australian culture in the above examples, Australian culture is continuously evolving in response to external and internal cultural trends.
Australia’s Cultural Development
Australia has been influenced by migrant cultures from over 30 countries but of these the strongest cultural influences up until the Second World War were British and Irish, with the highest percentage of immigrants into Australia being of British or Irish origin.
Australia's earliest national and cultural identity developed from these British, Irish and other European origins. Its culture is argued to have grown from these origins and passed through the following 'stages' in Australian history:
• Colonial beginnings (1788 to 1800s): settlement of Australia, colonial dependence
• Gold rush era (1850s): increasing British and European migration, miners and other workers strikes against colonial authorities, greater self-government within the British Empire
• Rise of Australian nationalism (1880s to 1890s): colonial citizens and governments call for trade protectionism, 'white' isolation from Asia and for federation of colonies
• Federation (1901): colonies combine to...