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|The Fourth Test match between Australia and England in|
Brisbane 1933 during the height of the "Bodyline" scandal.
(Ok maybe that last point was a bit unfair).
But, readers might wonder, if there’s so much going for Australia - then why did I, among so many other Australians - determine to move to live and work in merry ol’ England for 2010? And how do you explain the army of young Aussies that descend upon London, year after year, rain, hail or shine? (It’s mostly rain by the way) Why also, is there a near permanent population of just-off-the-boat Aussies in west London suburbs such as Earl’s Court, Acton Town and Shepherd’s Bush?
|Image via Akseli Koskela|
Thistles, Poppies and Hedgerows in a Hertfordshire field.
“Sir? Do you have a King or Queen over in Australia?”
To which my response, “Yes, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second.” Elicited some surprise.
“You mean, the Queen of England is also the Queen of Australia?”
But other than being mutual subjects of Her Majesty the Queen, which by the way, doesn’t actually get you through passport control faster than a citizen of the Republic of Estonia, a lot of Australian culture comes from the United Kingdom as well. Most Australian celebrities are also British celebrities, and sometimes won’t become famous in Australia until first “making it” in England. Think of the Kylie and Dannii Minogue, Peter André and Rolf Harris for example, who all live in the UK, and watching BBC Morning in London, one wouldn’t be particularly surprised to see actor Ray Meagher chatting on the couch about doing a West-End Show (ok, maybe I was a little surprised trying to picture “strike-me”, “flamin’”, “pack of galas” Alf in “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”). But also most Australian intellectuals find themselves housed in London as well, if only to escape Australia’s oppressively ignorant “matey” culture: Germaine Greer for one, but also Barry Humphries and Geoffrey Robertson.
For me, the biggest tie to the British Isles was my upbringing in an essentially British, not just Anglo-Saxon, culture. Which may sound strange coming from a Finnish Australian, with a father born in the Keski-Suomi region of Finland and a Scottish mother who had few nice things to say about those “perfidious Albions”. Maybe it was Jo, Bessie and Fanny from Enid Blyton’s “Magic Faraway Tree”, or those Pevensie kids, or Badger, Rat, Mole and Toad of Toad Hall, but I think I have been imbibing English culture from before I was even old enough to know that I didn’t actually live in England.
|Image via Akseli Koskela|
A country path in southern England.