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Snapshot of Australia – Australia does not have an official language, though English is the de facto language. Australian English has its own unique accent and phrases. Chinese, Italian, and Arabic are also spoken by small groups. About 60% of Australia’s population is Christian, with the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches being the largest denominations. About 30% of the population does not practice any religion. Modern Australian culture has been greatly influenced by other English-speaking nations (particularly England as a result of early British colonization), though efforts have been made to preserve the Aboriginal culture as well. Immigration from other countries has made Australia into a “melting pot” nation. Australian culture tends to be very informal, and dry, ironic humor is a common theme. Loyalty to ones’ friends (“mates”) is considered an important part to Australian culture. The appeal of the Australian outback has influenced many art forms in the country, though other styles such as street art are popular in the cities. Australia has often contributed to international popular culture, through bands such as AC/DC and the Bee Gees or actors such as Hugh Jackman. Aboriginal traditions can still be seen in instruments such as the didgeridoo. Popular sports in Australia include Australian-rules football, cricket, rugby, and basketball. Cycling and skateboarding are also popular activities, especially among the youth. A wide variety of foods are available in Australia. Several varieties of fish and seafood dishes are common, and barbecuing meat is a popular practice. Popular dishes include fish and chips, hamburgers, meat pie, sausage rolls, and pavlova (a meringue dessert). Kangaroo meat is also used in some recipes. Vegemite is a popular spread in Australia.
In all of Australia, there are 136, 617 members and 290 congregations. There are 5 temples in Australia, one in Melbourne. The first missionary came to Australia in 1840, with the first chapel being built in 1904, and the first Temple in Sydney in 1984.
Australia has a very diverse cuisine because it has been heavily influenced by both Asia and Europe. Some common foods and dishes are:
Fish and chips
Fresh produce is plentiful, so missionaries in Melbourne will have easy access to common fruits and vegetables: apples, bananas, kiwis, mangoes, pears, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, etc.
Depending on what area a missionary is in, Melbourne missionaries use bikes, walking cars, and trains to get around.
Melbourne is a safe area, but you need to use common sense like you would anywhere else (lock up your bikes, don’t proselyte after dark, etc.)
Be careful of the wildlife, especially spiders and snakes.
Everyone has a favorite sports team.
Australians treat everyone as their equal. They don’t want to come off as being better than anyone else. This also means they’re not very formal.
People will often call one another by their first name, even in business.
G’day mate! – Hello
Fortnight – two weeks
Tah – Thanks/goodbye
fair dinkum – no kidding
Sunnies – Sun Glasses
Chook – Chicken
Doona – Comforter/Blanket
Mail to Australia is very reliable and will probably arrive in about 5-7 days.
76 Cathies Lane
Wantirna South VIC 3152
*What was the craziest thing you ate?
“I of course tried a Kangaroo Burger just because it’s the touristy thing to do but other than that you don’t usually eat anything too out of the ordinary in Melbourne. I did find one traditional snack odd, My first P-day we got together as a zone and on the hood of the car was a few loafs of bread, ketchup, and a huge bundle of chips (French Fries) I just grabbed some fries and ate them as you regularly would in the USA. I soon found out that I was supposed to take two slices of bread and fill the middle with the chips. I had never thought of using Fries as the substance inside a sandwich. I soon came to love chip sandwiches.”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“I love how welcoming Aussies are. Once you become friends with an Aussie you are pretty much a member of their family, when you come back to visit YEARS later they open their homes, feed you, chauffeur you to all the touristy spots. I love their kindness. They LOVE their sports. The whole place shuts down for major sporting events from Cricket to Horse Racing. As a culture they are laid back. They take 3 month vacations and no one bats an eye. The biggest shopping mall in the city closes at 5 and at noon on Saturdays. In America malls of that size NEVER close. “
*What advice would you give to someone going to your mission?
“Aussies have good lives and generally don’t feel they NEED religion so they may be happy to chat they seldom want to talk about the gospel of Christ. I found the best way to proselyte the gospel was to serve. Constantly look for ways to provide service. We mowed lawns, painted houses, ripped out tree stumps, volunteered at schools, ect. Once they saw we really practiced what we preached they were more willing to listen to our message. Make sure to get a chance to serve out Bush (In the country) some of my favorite areas were out in the small towns where we only had Branches.”
“There is a park in the Dandenong mountains where if you bring bird seeds flocks of exotic birds will fly down from the trees and eat right out of your hand. I’m talking Cockatoos, Galas, Ect. It was one of the more fun “Touristy” things we did. If you are afraid of birds you may want to skip this one. I love the Beauty of Australia. The wildlife, the Eucalyptus trees, and other plant life. It’s a wonderful country and I’m very privileged to have served there.”