So you’re Australian?

WELCOME TO THE BOOK’D OUT AUSTRALIA DAY BOOK GIVEAWAY BLOG HOP – a chance to win so many wonderful stories written by Australian authors as we celebrate our day.

Happy Australia Day, whatever that means to you!

In a recent blog post at Ausromtoday I was asked what was the best thing about being an Aussie. My answer was that we live in the most spectacular country and enjoy unparalleled privilege and freedom. But it made me contemplate the diversity of our country and the tolerance we show to each other. Wave after wave of migration has added to the existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia, starting with those English folk forced to sail a very long way to be here. (The NSW Migration Heritage Centre has a fascinating article on Australia’s migration history.)

Next time you’re out with friends consider how many of you were born in Australia. For me it’s not uncommon to realise there’s only one or two in the group who can claim Australia as a birth place. I was born in Canada (although Mum and Dad are Australian born themselves and I grew up in Australia), Capt G is English, and we have good friends born in the UK, Fiji, Thailand, USA, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland and Germany. We all consider ourselves to be Australian and it underscores the fact that Australia’s strength is in its diversity and in people’s willingness to accept others at face value, without the stereotypes.

Tragedies like the siege in Sydney could all so easily have turned into a hate filled war of recriminations. Instead it delivered something much more powerful and simple – the social media campaign ‘I’ll ride with you’. It’s easy to judge someone on their clothing yet I remember so many of the grandmothers of the kids I went to school with wearing scarves and being dressed head to toe in black. No one remarked on it and no one minded. It was their culture and that was that. And on that note, congratulations to Jamal Rifi on being named Australian of the Year by The Australian newspaper. He’s a tireless campaigner for cooperation and collaboration between his community and others.

So vive la difference, I say. Embrace the wonderful cuisines, the languages, the stories and the traditions of all the cultures that fill our wide brown land. We may see ourselves as sun bronzed Aussies comfortable on surfboards, horseback or scoring runs at cricket, but the reality is a whole lot more interesting than that!

I’d love to know where you’re from and if you identify most strongly with the country you live in, whether that’s Australia or not, or whether somewhere else on the planet is more important. Leave a comment here or email me via the contact form to go into the running for a signed copy of SAFE HARBOUR or an ebook if you live overseas. And check out the rest of the blogs on the BOOK’D OUT AUSTRALIA DAY BOOK GIVEAWAY BLOG HOP for more chances to win wonderful Australian stories!

(Entry for paperback is open to Australian residents only. The ebook voucher will be sent to the overseas winner. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday 27th January and the winner will be announced here on Wednesday 28th January.)


64 thoughts on “So you’re Australian?

  1. I think we are very fortunate to live in Australia, when we sit down and think about all the benefits we take for granted would you really want to live anywhere else – even if we do have deadly snakes and spiders! My favourite spot would be down at Apollo Bay where you get the best of the beach and the bush!

  2. Anna M, great to hear you were welcomed warmly. Queenslanders do pride themselves on being friendly and I miss walking in Trinity Beach near Cairns where ever one either said or nodded good morning!

    Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  3. Deborah, it’s lovely to see so many more people patriotic about their country. I remember growing up there was a cultural cringe that we couldn’t possibly be as good as our UK or USA country folk. We’ve moved a long way from that!!

    Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  4. I live in Queensland, Australia but I was not born here. I moved here 24 years ago and found that i made friends easily and was welcomed. ive never looked back and im very proud to call Australia home.

  5. I live in Australia and love the place. I’ve lived elsewhere though as well and I think I appreciate Australia all the more because of that.

    In fact I’ve actually never been more patriotic than when I lived o/s!


  6. Hi Helene,
    I love your blog. I’ve read all your books so not entering the comp. The migrant women wearing their black dresses brings back memories. Like you I went to school with a lot of different nationalities. Nth Qld is my home base but I’ve lived in Perth and have spent time working and holidaying in most parts of our great country.

  7. Lol, Barbara, funny how things can annoy us when we’re young and bring so much comfort as we grow older!

    I love the history in Europe but it’s always wonderful to touch down on Australian soil again 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Greg, I’m busy editing the next book at the moment – Northern Heat – and it will be out in June. I’m planning a launch in Cairns and Cooktown so maybe you’ll be able to come along if you’re not working.

    I miss flying, especially out of Cairns to Weipa and Horn Island. The colours of the country are spectacular in the north and the people so very friendly 🙂

    Happy Australia day to you and thanks for all your wonderful support.

  9. Ann-Marie, there’s that saying about you can’t take the country out of the kid and it sounds like you have your slice of the country with you every day!

    Thanks for dropping by and happy Australia day to you too!

  10. Tracey, thanks for visiting. The difference between the north and the south is one of the things I love as well. And then heading west is a completely different experience again!

    I love being able to show case some of those wonderful places in my stories 🙂

  11. Thanks for you stopping by, Jess, your support is wonderful!

    I know the three years I spent living in the UK and traveling through Europe really made me appreciate Australia and all that we take fore granted.

    I still love to travel, but I also treasure that moment when I’m heading home 🙂

  12. Hi Helene, I grew up in country NSW and could hardly stand the laid-back, drawling country Aussie accents we all had. I have since lived in Sydney, Canberra, Darwin, Toowoomba and these days we call Townsville home. I have traveled almost the length, breadth and through the depth of our wide-brown land and truly appreciate our Australian way of life no matter which part of the country I have found myself in – especially since traveling to parts of Asia as a 19 year old. Traveling to Europe in my 40’s made me feel incredibly proud and privileged to call Australia home by birthright… and that accent – is my favourite in the whole wide world. 🙂 Enjoy your Australia Day weekend!

  13. Hello again, I forgot to say that I have flown in the Dash 8 aircraft both 300 series and the 400 series and on more than once with you. Never had a better landing than when with you apparently a notioriously difficult plane to land softly.
    Have a very happy Australia Day
    Cheers Greg W

  14. Helene what a beautiful blog. I am not entering as I have read all ur books and loved them, hurry up with the next please.
    I am a second generation proud to be Australian born in atherton from grand parents who immigrated from Wales and England. I have spent all my adult life in the best part of Australia that being the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York ( now living in Weipa)
    I too have many friends from overseas and also indigenous Australians. We are so blessed to have shared other cultures and enriched as a nation from this influence.
    Keep up the good work. Cheers Greg

  15. I live in Adelaide now but grew up in a small country coastal town where there was the sea one side and behind was the farmers with their animals and crops.
    Australia is my home and the place I feel connected to and even though I’m a city girl now the country girl has never left and has now woven into my city life with the inclusion of a vegie garden and chickens.
    Hope you are having a lovely weekend Helene.

  16. I’ve lived in many parts of Australia and I’m always excited to travel and explore more of this country and its myriad experiences. I love the differences from North to South, tropics to alpine country, outback to city and bush to beach.

  17. Hey Helene,
    Great giveaway, I hope whoever wins it enjoys it as much as the read of us did! I’m not entering, as you know I already have a copy 🙂 but I wanted to stop and say that this is a beautiful post. Until almost two years ago I always wanted to live overseas (I still want to live in Ireland, but thats beside the point), but having travelled for a couple of months around Europe it really opened my eyes to the world and how great we have it back home in Australia. As much as I want to live in Ireland, I think Australia will always be home to me no matter as it still calls the loudest and theres just so much diveristy and new places to discover back here 🙂

    Happy Australia Day Long Weekend!

  18. Sandra, your Australia Day sounds like a lovely way to celebrate. We plan to be sailing on Moreton Bay with friends and then it will be a quiet night back in the marina for dinner.

    Thanks for being part of the blog hop 🙂

  19. Louise, love the analogy of Tasmania being safe harbour for Australia. A small slice left relatively untouched. Can’t wait to cruise around the coastline of Tassie and visit some it’s wild places. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  20. Marina S, those visits away always make me appreciate coming home. We have so much to be thankful living in this wonderful country. Thanks for visiting!

  21. I can’t think of a more wonderful place to live than Australia, and I’m hard at work enjoying the sunshine while gardening this weekend. Naturally I’ll be gathering a group of mates around the barbeque on Monday, flying a few flags and baking a pavlova for dessert. It’s these simple pleasures that make life worthwhile.

  22. Hi Helene
    I was born in Ballarat so am 100% golden and currently am happily living in Brisbane. Recently we visited Tasmania and I loved the feeling of being in places that felt so pristine. It would be tragic to allow these unique places to become commercialised and over populated. I felt Tasmania was the ‘safe harbour’ of Australia.

  23. I am a born and bred Sydney girl…living on the NSW Central Coast now…I love being an Aussie..especially when I have travelled and lived overseas, as the saying goes, there’s no place like home. The weather, the different cultures…our wildlife…food…all great!!!
    Thanks for the chance. Happy Australia Day!!

  24. Lol, Catherine, Capt G loves Melbourne and I would love to spend some more time down there – I could happily sit in Flinders Lane and dream up a new story.

    Your background sounds like many of the kids I went to school with. I was in the minority being Anglo saxon speaking English as my first (and only) language. So many of my class mates were the only one who spoke English in their home and it must have been difficult, especially for the women, when they first migrated here.

    Well done on wearing the scarf in solidarity. I’m sure you would have seen another side to the Australian psyche during that week.

    Thanks for being part of the conversation today 🙂

  25. Catherine G it’s great to visit other countries and it always makes me appreciate Australia – no matter how beautiful that other place is, it’s not home! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  26. Marcia, thanks for your support – without bloggers like yourself and Shelleyrae it would be even harder for authors and readers to connect.

    Dorothea Mackellar’s poem still resonates strongly doesn’t it. And I’m very glad you’ve been made to feel so very welcome 🙂

  27. Colleen, happy birthday for the 26th!! A most auspicious birthday 🙂 Sounds like you have an idyllic set up.

    Thanks for being part of the blog and enjoy your day!

  28. Michelle A it sounds like you’re doing on the land what we’re planning to do on the ocean! I’ve been very privileged to visit some amazing place with my flying and everyone is so welcoming.

    Thanks for visiting the blog hop 🙂

  29. I’m a Melbourne girl by birth and I love my city (and adore Melbourne weather, which I realise puts me in a minority!), but my parents and three of my grandparents were born overseas. My Dad’s family were economic migrants from southern Italy, and my maternal grandparents fled Vienna in the 1930s to escape the Holocaust.

    So I definitely think of myself as Australian, but my background means that I feel a lot of empathy for immigrants and refugees, as well as with anyone who is getting grief over their religious choices – I’m just so lucky that my family came here at a time when we were being a bit more generous about such things.

    (though I realise that there was no real golden era for this – it’s never been simple)

    Oh, and regarding your comment about friends whose mothers wore black and headscarves, you know, I’d completely forgotten that my Nonna used to wear a headscarf until I put on hijab for a week last year in solidarity with Muslim women in my suburb who were getting a lot of grief – and saw my Nonna looking out of the mirror at me! Bizarre – I never realised before how Italian I look.


  30. I have been born and raised in Australia. It’s such a beautiful country with interesting wildlife. I do love it here very much, however I would love to travel overseas one day and see what it’s like elsewhere too.

  31. Fabulous post Helene. No need to enter me into your great giveaway but, as a book blogger, I just wanted to show my support. As you know, I am an ex-South African, now a proud Australian Citizen, and I identify so strongly with this beautiful country that sometimes it brings tears to my eyes – to have been accepted with open arms and embraced so unconditionally. The poem I have used for my Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop post sums it up perfectly!

  32. I live in Regional Victoria..we have 2 acres in the middle of a town of 100,000 people. We can sit on the verandah overlooking our dam and ducks with a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other. Horses are in a paddock across the road and rabbits and possums can be spotted making themselves at home late at night. I’m an Australia Day baby so proudly fly the flag on my birthday…proud to be an Aussie

  33. Originally from Tassie, lived in a few other states and now living in a tiny rural village, loving the freedom of our caravan road trips, anywhere we hang our hats in Oz is where we call home as we’re made to feel welcome all over this lovely country of ours.

  34. And what a beautiful part of the world you live in, Kylie. We had an unexpected holiday in the south west a couple of years ago and had a wonderful time! Thanks for dropping by!

  35. Lol, Wendy, since I grew up in the shadow of the Gabba I’m a little biased towards Brisbane as well. The River City’s come a long way since I was a child 🙂

  36. I loved the three years I spent in the gorgeous Lake District in the UK, Claire. And I still love to visit but Capt G would never live there full time again. We’re all very lucky to call Australia home!

  37. I’m from England but have lived in Australia 30 years and definitely consider myself Australian. I am so lucky to live in this beautiful place

  38. I’m a Sydney girl born and bred. I love the Australian laid back style. Barbecues, picnics with friends and long hot days at the beach. I love the hustle and bustle of a busy city.

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