An Australian Icon is defined as “an image or symbolic representation, which often holds great significance and importance to the Australian culture. ” Every country has icons that represent their culture and values; Nelson Mandela is an example of a South African icon but also an icon of the world, who represented statesmanship, courage, freedom and equality against apartheid. Australia also has many significant icons such as the Sydney Opera House, Uluru, vegemite, Ned Kelly, and the Koala to name a few. These have all played significant parts in Australia’s background, culture and values. Uniquely Australian.
Ultimately, the Kangaroo has to be Australia’s most famous and significant icon, it is known by the majority of people around the world and associated always with Australia. Due to the similarities it shares with the Australian character, it is recognised as the typical icon of Australia. The kangaroo represents Australia in many ways including: the logo for Qantas airlines, mascots for many sporting teams, and all products made in Australia are represented by the gold and green kangaroo trademark. Likewise it is represented on many television programs (e. g. Skippy the bush kangaroo), movies (e. g. kangaroo Jack), songs (e. g.Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport), toys and souvenirs.
Most significantly of all, the kangaroo appears on the Australian Coat of Arms. Being an animal exclusive to Australia as well as one that can’t move backwards, the kangaroo is symbolically appropriate in representing Australia and the countries progress forward. Historical, Social, Cultural Context The kangaroo holds a significant historical, cultural and social background to Australia. Before European settlement (around 1780’s), the kangaroo was an important animal to Aborigines for its meat, hide, bones and sinews. It was also used in Aboriginal dreaming stories (also an icon of Australia).
There is a well-known myth about kangaroo’s and how they got their name. When European settlers arrived, seeing such a strange animal they asked the Aboriginals what it was, and they replied with ‘kanguru’. In their language this meant ‘I don’t know’ which is supposedly how the kangaroo got its name. Aboriginal tribes have many different legends regarding the kangaroo and some see it as a reincarnation of their ancestors. Over the past 200 or so years, the kangaroo has broadened a lot in historical significance; it is one of the oldest icons of Australia and therefore should be kept that way.
By contributing the Kangaroo to a National Australian exhibition, it will help to keep the icon of the kangaroo alive and significant. The kangaroo represents Australia’s cultural and social background and is internationally recognisable. It represents the Australian character in many ways including: Its size, strength and speed, which make it a national logo/emblem for Australian organisations and especially sporting clubs. Kangaroo’s are also symbolic of another Australian trait; to stick up for your self and not back down.
With their large feet and long tail kangaroos find it hard to move backwards, indicating that Australians are people who are moving forward and growing as people of Australia. Discourse Discourses are the “social and cultural practices through which individuals and groups use language to establish their identities…they provide ways of being, thinking, acting and using language so that people can identify themselves in social and cultural networks” Discourses affect peoples views on all things, for example, two different discourses can be used about various guerrilla movements describing them either as “freedom fighters” or “terrorists”.
The Kangaroo is so well represented as Australian that it has come to support and embody the dominant Australian discourse of both indigenous and non-indigenous people of Australia. This is evident through strength, fighting spirit, individualism, attitude, and their tough/rough personalities. To conclude this proposal, the kangaroo should be contributed to the National Exhibition titled ‘Icons of Australia’ because it represents Australians in such a way that it is known by most people throughout the world. The Kangaroo is recognised culturally, socially and historically and symbolises Australian discourse through its many traits.
It is a unique animal to Australia and makes a huge contribution to Australia’s national identity. Representing Australia in so many ways, the kangaroo plays such a big part in Australia’s culture, history and even future, the National exhibit would be such a good way to show and help Australians understand how such an icon can play such a big part in the country of Australia. Bibliography Icon definition: icon ,2008, www. thefreedictionary. com/icon 20/05/08 Kangaroo Myth: Kangaroo, 2000, http://www. frogandtoad. com. au, 20/05/08 Discourse: M. Miller & R. Colwin, Queensland Senior English, Macmillan Education).
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