Pom in Oz column: Weathering the cultural divide between Aussies and Pommies

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
A crowded scene at Cottesloe Beach.
Camera IconA crowded scene at Cottesloe Beach. Credit: Rod Taylor/WA News

We have been in the land Down Under nigh-on 11 years, and citizens for almost five of those.

Something I notice more and more is the similarities and differences between the Aussie and Pom cultures.

Let’s start with the differences — well, the weather.

Not that we can really call our vastly different climates part of our culture as such, it’s more how we react and use our different climates.

Australia is essentially an outdoor country full of sports, cafes, play areas — everything seems to be enjoyed more outdoors — even our evenings at home.

During my winter commutes from work to home I must pass at least a dozen families gathered around their outdoor fireplaces — it seems a matter of routine.

A man wearing a face mask walks through the snow in London.
Camera IconA man wearing a face mask walks through the snow in London. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Poms fare much differently in the colder weather, although it is sub-zero many days of the year over in the UK. It’s in the British summer you will see most of the people out trying to grab every ounce of sunshine they can. Whereas in the middle of the Australian summer, most of us retreat from the heat into our air-conditioned cars and houses, Poms flock to the beach, the river or the park.

As a teacher with a long experience in both countries, I can testify to the fundamental attitude differences between the two systems. Again, I believe a lot has to do with the weather (in a roundabout sort of way). Recess, lunch, sports — any opportunity the kids have to be outside, they take it.

That’s not to say British kids don’t enjoy the great outdoors, but the time frame for enjoying it is quite restricted in comparison.

Even the range of sports on offer and their uptake is hugely different in the two countries.

But just as our differences are obvious, so are our similarities. Thousands of kilometres may separate us, but it doesn’t separate us in our love of food, mateship, and especially our sense of humour.

Both the Pom and Aussie senses of humour are based on self-deprecation, having a good old laugh at ourselves and our loved ones.

You only have to look at the most popular comedians from both countries and how their popularity transcends both cultures so seamlessly. Adam Hills, Ricky Gervais, Dave Hughes, Sean Lock and Carl Barron — all equally popular on both sides of the cultural divide. But as with all things in an opinion column, this is just the viewpoint of a Pom in Oz.

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