Observations of the Australian culture by a Dutch immigrant

From wikipost
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In 2001 I immigrated from the Netherlands to Australia. Since then I have worked and lived in various places. During this time I noticed some interesting details of the Australian land and culture that were not be obvious at first. You may find these details useful when visiting Australia as a tourist.

This page further describes some of those details. Some if them are supposed to be funny, so have a chuckle! :-)


  • Most rent is charged per week or per fortnight
  • Many houses are not built with insulation in mind.
  • Be sure to find single-glasing, gaps around most doors and no hallway as a wind-buffer.
  • Most houses do not have central heating so a small electric heater or putting on an extra jumper are your options if a reverse-cycle air-conditioning system is not installed.
  • Door handles are often knobs, making them unusable for people that have poor grip strentgh.
  • Many mailboxes are too small to receive a straight A4 sheet mail pieces


  • Most salaries are paid weekly or fortnightly.
  • Staff birthdays are usually ignored.


  • Garbage is collected even on public holidays such as Christmas day and New Year's day.
  • Street names are not unique in a city (e.g. in Newcastle, there is a George Street in Mayfield East, Wallsend, North Lambton, Tighes Hill and Highfields)


  • Meat pies is a common food available in most road cafe's. It's a meat-filled pastry mini-pie, to be eaten hot, and can be served as-is or with a mushy peas/mash potato/gravy dressing.
  • Recycling of cans (glass, plastic or aluminium) and platic (bottle) crates is not available in most places. Only one state (South Australia) has implemented the system for empty bottles.


  • 240V AC @ 50Hz with a flush plate connection socket.
  • In 2011 a bill was passed to prevent the sale of any incandescent light bulbs. Regardless whether these are better or worse for the environment, you will not be able to buy any traditional light bulbs.
  • most household light sockets are B22d (bajonet) but you can still find E-27 (screw) fittings as well.


  • Cheap fares on the regular CityRail lines. A weekday return ticket from Newcastle to Sydney (160km) is around $16 for an adult (2012 prices).


  • Unleaded Regular Petrol costs about $1.45/l (premium $1.65, gas $.., diesel $..)
  • The Australian dollar was 'above parity' with the USD for most of 2011 and is now around 99 USD-cents (May 2012).


  • As per the British system, traffic keeps left.
  • Despite many signs indicating 'keep left unless overtaking', most drivers keep driving in the middle or right lanes.
  • Most Australians are never agressive or impatient until they drive a car.
  • Periodic road-safety tests for rego renewal do not check for engine emissions.


  • as on the road, keep left when walking. You'll cause awkward situations and bump into people if you dont'.


  • Slang: pluggers (flip flops, thongs), howyergoing (not too well, "I felt a bit howyergoing"), nail (cigarette), damage beers (drink beer).
  • Apart from the expected slang there are also some words that are used to 'culture up' some common day products: Medley (combination of various food products), Gourmet (special, in any form), rustic (rural), salsa (like Medley), Boutique (special)