There's little doubt that Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations on the planet. Our population is made up of people representing virtually every cultural background. Our society is a huge melting pot of colour, flavour and diversity.
Harmony Day, which is observed each year on March 21, celebrates this diversity, aiming to foster inclusiveness, respect and the idea that people of all different cultures can make a valuable contribution to society. We all have something interesting and authentic to bring to the table. And our society is stronger, richer and more interesting because of this.
Here are five areas in which Australia comes together to find some culturally common ground, every day of the year.
As great as the sausage sanga and meat pie are, where would Australia be without such mouthwatering multicultural staples like pizza, kebabs, dim sims, butter chicken, pad thai, gyros and chow mein. Go to any food court, in any shopping centre, in any city around Australia, and you’re bound to find at least three different regions from around the world represented by some form of food.
Many foreign ex-pats have, throughout the years, come to our country and established businesses and restaurants that provide the community with an array of great cultural cuisines – and Australia is more than happy to sit around the table with them and dig in to some of their traditional tucker.
Additionally, many modern chefs train with a variety of cooking styles and techniques directly influenced by foreign cuisines, using exotic ingredients to combine styles and create entirely new fusions of taste.
Since English colonisation, Australia has had a long and storied history revolving around beer, rum and tea. Thankfully, we now live in a country with a world of choice when it comes to drinks.
From Aussie favourites like Passiona, to America’s Dr Pepper, New Zealand’s L&P and Scotland’s Irn Bru, there’s a sparkling, sweet soft drink to cater to all tastes.
The traditional English cup of tea has long progressed past it’s fine china teapots and campfire billy brewing pasts. Available in a wide variety of strengths, colours and flavours infused with all manner of fruit and flowers, around 50% of all Australians drink tea in some form or another. And that doesn’t even begin to take into account the 1.3 million cups of coffee that are sold, on average, each day in Australia.
As a country, we tend to prefer a locally made drop, but when it comes to studying our nation’s love of diversity, one need look no further than the local bottle shop. Australians enjoy beer, spirits and wines sourced from every corner of the globe. Beyond the range of imported alcohol, Australians have also been importing international techniques and methods of farming ingredients, brewing, bottling, winemaking and distilling to create new and exciting versions of old favourites.
From the traditional didgeridoo music, to colonial folk music, classic Rock ‘n’ Roll, psychedelia, RnB, hard rock, punk, pop, classical, metal, rap, reggae, hip-hop and everything in between - the music made by Australians is as diverse as those who make it.
Australian musicians draw inspiration from genres from across the globe, and our talented home-grown musicians impress on an international scale, having topped charts in the UK and US, competed at Eurovision and sold out stadium tours everywhere.
With over 23 million Australians attending live events generating over $1.88 billion in ticket sales, we also listen to a wide range of music in a variety of ways.
As we’ve already established, Australians love their food, their drink and their music – so it only stands to reason that Aussies love when the three intersect for a festival or a celebration.
Regardless of whether it’s New Years’, Chinese New Years’, Australia Day, St Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest or any number of the locally based cultural festivals that occur each year, we all enjoy letting our hair down and kicking up our heels with a range of food, drink and music that encapsulates and celebrates all manner of national and global festivities.
Kostya Tzu, Tatiana Grigorieva, Majak Daw, Archie Thompson, Jelena Dokic, Usman Khawaja, Bernard Tomic, Thon Maker, and many other Aussie sporting champions weren’t actually born in Australia.
Nothing seems to unite Australians like their passion for sport and competition, and whether we’re cheering on the green and gold, or just barracking for the local team, we’ll proudly get behind anyone with a bit of talent who wants to dig in and have a go in the sporting arena.
And while Australia imports plenty of champions, but we also send some of our best to compete in the elite international arenas. From bull-riding, to volleyball, motorsport, basketball, gridiron, and soccer – Aussies are mixing it up with the best the world has to offer.