There are many misconceptions that Americans, unfortunately, have about Australia. Influenced by pop culture, these stereotypes are convincing, but ultimately wrong. Here are a few of the most common.
Australia is the most dangerous place in the world.
Creatures like snakes, crocodiles, sharks, and spiders are definitely found in Australia, but the likely of dying because of one is pretty uncommon. On average, there are less than two snake deaths per year and nobody has died of spider bite since 1979. So while those dangerous creatures do exist, you are unlikely to come in contact with one unless seeking it out.
Koalas are in every tree and kangaroos roam in backyards.
Koalas are actually quite hard to find, not something that is just hanging around everywhere you look. And many Aussies report that they only place they’ve encountered kangaroos is at the zoo, just like in America.
Like the U.S., Australia has a Bill of Rights.
There are a limited number of civil liberties–like the rights to freedom of religion and the right to a trial by jury–that are contained in the Australia’s Constitution. There are also some protections in legislation and common law. Australia does not have a single document that protects human rights, however.
Australians live in the bush.
The Outback is an arid area that isn’t really suitable to habitation. In fact, only about one percent of Aussies live there. Most people are urban dwellers, with over half the population inhabiting the country’s five largest cities. A third of all Aussies call Sydney and Melbourne home.
Australia is a small country.
Based on its position on the map, it’s easy to incorrectly assume that Australia is a small place. It is, however, about the same size as the United States. Driving from Sydney to Perth is about the same distance as traveling from L.A. to New York. It is a country, a continent, and the world’s largest island.
The misconception could also be somewhat blamed on population. Australia is home to about 23 million people, which is less than the population of Texas. In contrast, the population of the United States is around 319 million.
Aussies love to drink Foster’s and throw shrimp on the barbie.
While it is true that Aussies do enjoy drinking, Foster’s is not considered “Australian for beer.” It is not a popular beer choice in the country and is actually brewed in the U.K.
The oft-repeated phrase about throwing shrimp on the barbie is also incorrect. Australians refer to shrimp as prawns. They also do not generally grill or barbecue shrimp.