Australian Identity

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17 March 2016

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The Australian identity is a diverse concept that has developed overtime through significant events in our history. As a result of these events, it is has established Australia into a multicultural society that now includes numerous new lifestyles. However, it is an evolving concept that is still becoming, as further cultures are migrating to Australia and introducing unique traditions to the Australian life. This idea is further explored in the poem ’No more boomerang’ by Kath Walker, which exhibits how the Australian Aboriginals were forced into a westernized lifestyle by the British migrants. In ‘But I was born here, Miss’ by an unnamed migrant child, we venture into the life of an Australian migrant child who underwent difficulties at his school because of his ethnic background. In Tim Winton’s ‘Neighbours’, we witness how the juxtaposing lifestyles of the migrants and the Australians come together and live as one, peaceful community. Comprehending a new way of life is frequently a difficult task to undertake, especially if it is forced upon. The poem ‘No more boomerang’ is a prime example of how a significant event in Australia’s history, the Arrival of the First Fleet, impacted on Australia’s identity.

The Australian Aboriginals were the first migrants of Australia, and they lived and created the first Australian lifestyle.. The author, Kath Walker uses parallelism in the form of ‘No more’, which represents how much of the Aboriginal culture has been lost and has come to stop because of the new customs and traditions implemented by the Anglo-Saxons which entitles a new civilized culture. This notion is reinforced in the third stanza of the poem through repetition of ‘No more’ in the line, “No more sharing of food”. This stanza refers to how the Aboriginals are now no longer following their old customary lifestyles and instead are slowly familiarizing themselves to the new British way of life. It is unmistakable that the Aboriginal’s had a problematic period adapting to the new way of life installed by the British. However because of the British colonization we are now a country equal to Britain and one that provides all its citizens with a good life. Nevertheless a new wave of migrants arrived from southern Europe and thus cultural diversity started in schools around Australia. But this wasn’t always a good thing as a migrant child wrote in ‘But I was born here, Miss’.

Australian migrant children went through troublesome obstacles at school because of their ethnicities. In this poem the author has used the repetition of the motif, ‘’But I was born here, Miss’’ to emphasize how the child is still seen as a migrant even though he claims as being born in Australia. It further highlights how unaccepted a child was because of his or her cultural background which is supported by the rhetorical question “Where do I live?”. In addition, the rhetorical question gives further insights into how the migrant child did not feel like he belonged because of his differences between the other children. This intolerance led to a clash between the cultures which caused fights and misunderstandings at schools across Australia. It is therefore evident that Australian migrant children endured harsh circumstances at school because of their ethnicities and the intolerance of the Australian born children. Maybe due to the fact of this intolerance many migrant children didn’t regard themselves as an Australian. Maybe they simply did not want to be associated with a group of people that could not accept someone for whom he or she truly is. In time however the two cultures would learn to live with each other and create a tolerant society as apparent in Tim Winton’s ‘Neighbours’.

Countless of Australians and migrants were not accustomed to the lifestyles of each other and often wrongly misinterpreted each other’s actions. In the text, the author Tim Winton uses a hyperbole within the line, “Their neighbours were not murdering each other, merely talking”. He uses it to demonstrate how the new couple were not use to people casually talking to each other in that loud manner which had been influenced by the European culture of the neighbours. Australians and migrants wrongly misinterpreted each other’s actions which lead to one believing the other was crazy and vice versa. This exemplifies the different cultures each one lived by and the traditions that went along with them. The Australians were quiet and friendly people who are always respectful and knew their boundaries. Whereas the migrants were loud and critical people who always had an opinion and did not know what boundaries were. This is conveyed in the story when the new couple planted vegetables in their backyard which caught the attention of their neighbours, who were quick to give them advice on how to plant and maintain the vegetables.

The couple would then share their vegetables with their neighbours who in turn provided vegetables for them to plant. The gap between the Australian couple and their European neighbours was finally reduced as they learned to live together in harmony. Therefore it is seen that the Australians and migrants could learn to live with each other and create a society that accepts other cultures. In conclusion, it is clear that the Australian identity is a diverse concept that has changed over the course of Australia’s history. This is effectively highlighted in the texts, ‘No more boomerang’, ‘But I was born here, Miss’ and in, ‘Neighbours’, as they convey different aspects of the Australian identity which have been affected by events in our history. Simultaneously these events have created a multicultural society that positively interacts with each other and shares cultural traditions.

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Australian Identity. (17 March 2016). Retrieved from

"Australian Identity" StudyScroll, 17 March 2016,

StudyScroll. (2016). Australian Identity [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 26 September, 2023]

"Australian Identity" StudyScroll, Mar 17, 2016. Accessed Sep 26, 2023.

"Australian Identity" StudyScroll, Mar 17, 2016.

"Australian Identity" StudyScroll, 17-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 26-Sep-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). Australian Identity. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 26-Sep-2023]

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