"Mateship - At the heart of Australian Culture??"

Visit Australia and you will be sure to here the phrase "G'day Mate " more than once on your travels and view the local Aussies as being a pretty friendly bunch

The phrase, although probably used too loosely these days with total strangers, is certainly an important term and is closely linked to this idea of "friendship"

This page looks to answer the following questions:

What is it? Is it really a deep rooted part of the Australian Culture? It also looks of examples and whether it is just a bloke thing.

A Definition And Some History

If you think about the history of Australia and the first white settlers here in Australia, many suffered great hardship, peril and social injustice (many were shipped here for crimes as minor as stealing a loaf of bread!)

Consider life in the outback too, dry baron lands with few people to interact with. Think also about the Great Depression, 2 World Wars etc. There have been plenty of hardships and difficult times that make a concept like this very appealing.

It is from these difficult circumstances that Australian's have become to rely on each other as a support system. so a definition would come down to loyalty and friendship, particularly under times of adversity, giving others a fair go and helping them out when they need it.

At its core is integrity, humility fairness and perseverance.

Is it Still Prevalent In Australia Today?

What a positive concept to have at the heart of your culture. Is it therefore any wonder that many governments have tried to foster the concept?

But in reality does it really exist? Speak to many Australians and they will say that it has gone missing over the last decade - really since Sydney held the Olympic games back in 2000, which is still held as a time when Australia was at its very best. Many feel that the term "mate" is used way too often - to complete strangers in fact, and that Australians are less willing to help a fellow out these days.

I think it does still exist but I question whether it exists more than say in the UK or other countries. Every country has had its fair share of adversity and a culture of camaraderie and pitching in together is common in most cultures.

Or is that the newer generations don't really understand it or haven't really been brought up with it? Instead the global consumer lifestyle that we are all living means that our individual country cultures are being lost. Perhaps it will eventually fade

Is It Just a Bloke Thing?

Look back through the history books of when the term first starts to appear (around 1890's) you will notice that it is always about men helping each other out or enduring hardships together. This might be right for the time but many think that this has continued on into the present day. I.e. This concept is for men only.

Certainly there is a strong culture of sport and drinking here in Australia and both these past times have a strong bloke focus with many of the advertising campaigns even focusing on male friendships (VB and Tooheys springs to mind instantly.) So is this an exclusive club just for the boys?

Some have gone so far as to say that this specific culture has made it difficult for women to achieve equal rights here in Australia because there is "an old boys club" Personally I've never felt this and with the increase in global competitiion, companies these days just can't afford to have outdated views like this.

Examples of How To Be A Good Mate

Here are a few ways you can try to live the Aussie Culture:

  • Helping your mate move house (and letting him borrow your ute)
  • Not messing around behind his back with his girlfriend (or his Mum)
  • Fixing his computer for him (after he's poured beer on it)
  • Being stuck 1km deep down a mine for a few weeks waiting to be rescued and keeping each other warm and sane (Beaconsfield Mine Rescue May 2006)
  • Swimming every week with the same group of mates in the freezing cold waters of Port Phillip - They are even known as the "Iceburgers")
  • Rubbing sun screen into your mates back
  • Letting your mate pour his heart out to you when no-one else wants to listen to him
  • Missing your favourite Sporting game to help him fix his roof

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