Mateship : National Identity
In gold rushes, Australia’s total population more than tripled from 430,000 in 1851 to 1.7 million in 1871. Australia first became a multicultural society during the gold rush period. What were born here? ‘The mateship‘ Mateship is a code of conduct and concept that can be traced back to early colonial times. The harsh environment in which new settlers found themselves meant that men and women closely relied on each other for all sorts of help. In Australia, a ‘mate‘ is more than just a friend and is a term that implies a sense of shared experience, mutual respect and unconditional assistance.(Wiki)
“The very success of ‘mateship‘ in Australia eroded individualism. In a sense mateship was a protection against individualism…it is probably one of the most characteristic folk beliefs of Australia. There is concern for the ordinariness in Australians. Consider Anzac Day again – men in their ordinary clothes, marching through the streets out of step, unpretentious; and then getting drunk in the most ordinary manner imaginable. It is a celebration of the essential ordinariness and the common human-ness of man.” – DONALD, HORNE – Southern Exposure
Tall poppy syndrome & Underdog
One result of the prevalence of the “mateship” culture is that Australian society is stringently anti-hierarchical. Australians are expected to behave with humility and not think of themselves as better than their peers. Any disloyalty to their “mates” is treated harshly, and is known as the tall poppy syndrome, where people who grow greater than their peers are harshly criticised as being narcissistic, or “up themselves”. Mirroring the tall poppy syndrome which brings back to ordinary, the egalitarian Australian society has a traditional Australian support for the “underdog.” Australians will show support for those who appear to be at a disadvantage even when the underdog is competing against fellow Australians, such as in sporting events.
“I love underdogs, people who have achieved extraordinary things against the odds.” – Phil Keoghan