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The Australian identity

The Australian identity is a complex and ever altering image. It is impossible to define using one particular idea, event or symbol. The multicultural society Australia happily hosts makes it tough to establish and pin point an accurate and commonly accepted nationwide identity and idology. The 3 texts ‘Then and Now’ by Ooderoo of the tribe Noonuccal, ‘Eucalyptus’ by Murray Bail and ‘No One Calls me a Wog anymore’ by Kimninos, each reflect the different forces that have actually shaped and created the Australian identity into the broad principle it is today.

The poem ‘Then and Now’ by Ooderoo of the tirbe Noonuccal provides a native viewpoint of the Australian identity by highlighting the extreme modification in way of life because the early colonisation and English settlement. The contrast of the Aboriginal culture and their connectedness to the land is compared against the “traffic and trade of the hectic town”. The poem adds a contemporary Native response and outlook towards the emposed brand-new culture and society procedure.

Through making use of tone the theme and sensations of grief and dislocation are explored as the poet tells of the change in lifestyle over her life time.

The poem opens with a jubilant, nostalgic and reflective tone as the poet considers with her tribe, “I hear my people chuckling as they hunt and swim”. This emphasizes the vibrance and virtality of indigenous life while communicating the abundant sense of neighborhood and friendship as the core of the Aboriginal culture.

The opening is contrasted against a dull, sorrowful and isolated tone as the negative change in lifestyle for indigenous people is communicated, “I see say goodbye to people of old as i walk alone in this bristling town.

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” The contrast in tone continues throughout the text as the poem moves in between the past and present. It evokes compassion and saddness from the reader whilst producing a sorry state of mind.

First person as used in ‘Then and Now’ enables the reader to totally relate to the poets sorrow and loss. “I have actually seen corroboree where that factory belches smoke.” First individual offers a sense of intimacy, authenticity and personal hardship. Readers can’t help however feel accountable for the poets grief and disapointment.

The two techniques tone and first person naration together support the theme of indigenous dislocation while demonstrating a historical apect of the Australian identity in highlighting the forced sacrifices and change made to the rich traditions and culture of the Australian indigenous people.

‘Eucalyptus’ by Murray Bail is a romantic love story about Holland, a father who couldn’t come to a decision regarding the marriage of his beautiful daughter Ellen. They lived on a property in country New south Wales where holland develops a passion for eucalyptus trees and where successfully plants every known species. The man who could name every tree on the property would win the hand of his daughter.

Set in the Australian Outback the ‘love story of the year’ generates an aspect of identity through the intense description and inclusion of the unique Australian landscape, particularly the native Eucalyptus tree.

Through the use of characterisation the main character Holland is portrayed as a county loving bushman. This such characterisation reveals the outback farmer and agricultural driven perspective of the Australian identity.

Like the multiculturalism and diversity of the Australian society, the common ground that links our nation is that we are all equally Australian, similarily like the hundreds of eucalyptus species they each- regardless of their differences- are all equally beautifull Eucalyptus trees. The eucalyrtus trees mentioned in Bails novel represent a diverse togetherness, symbolic of our Australian multicultural identity. “A person could wonder amongst the many different species and pick up a lot of information, at the same time be enthralled by the clear examples of beauty.”

The poem ‘Nobody Calls me a Wog Anymore’ is a passionate, fiery and forceful view of the Australian identity written from the perspective of the Greek imigrant Kimninos. The poem presents a multicultural image to Australia’s identity in highlighting a man fighting for acceptance and an identity in a land now known for its cultural diversity.

The poet uses first person naration to express feelings of anger and frustration thourgh the use of emmotive language. “I stand up and scream it, point my finger accusingly and thump my fist demandingly.” First person allows the reader to connect with the poets point of view.

First person gives the poem a conversational and humerous style which adds to the emotional appeal. This technique supports the feelings of desperation, longing and passion to assert ones indentity as a socially accepted “Aussie”.

Through the use of first person and expressing emotive language, the poets perspective of Australians is negative and a discrimminiative, ignorant and naive attitude is portrayed.

The poet uses the technique tone very passionately and effectively. He conveys very clearly his feelings of anger and frustration. He creates mood and pulls a confronted response from readers, “wether you like it or not, I am one of you.” The tone aggresive, confronting and dominant. A change occurs in the tone towards the end suggesting the journey Kimninos has overcome to finally be a socially accepted Australian. The tone becomes one of relief and justification as he confidently states his identity as an Australian poet.

The journey and feelings conveyed by Kimninos is one shared by many ethnic Australians today.

Is it the bush, the beach or the city?Is he/she White Australian, ethnic or Indigenous?Is it agricultural, multicultural or native?It is all.

What make Australia so gloriously unique is our diversity and dependancy in landscape, nationality, history and culture. We are unique because we are harmoniously diverse and distinct and hold many different variations of identity.


Then and Now’ -poem. Written by Ooderoo of the tribe Noonuccal.

‘Eucalyptus’ -Novel. Written by Murray Bail.

‘Nobody Calls Me A Wog Anymore’ -poem. Written by Kimninos.

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The Australian identity. (2016, Jul 25). Retrieved from

The Australian identity
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