Despite bitter sporting rivalries Australia and the UK have strong bonds to one another. The extremely close ties are largely put down to the huge levels of emigration between the two countries. But what have we given each other and why do we love each other so much?
From soap operas to BBQs and sports to the Queen we are linked both culturally and genetically, not to mention the sharing of import and export agreements and a special sense of humour. The UK is home to over 400,000 Australians, while in Australia 1.2 million people were born on UK shores – that’s a lot of crossover.
For many people in the UK, their view of Australia was shaped in the most natural of ways, soaps. Neighbours, and to a lesser extent Home and Away, were an introduction into a world of blazing sunshine, ‘dags’ and communities that functioned like no others. Paradise.
You could stop the discussion right there with soaps, such is their impact on our psyche, yes we love Harold Bishop, but there is a lot more to our special relationship than one man.
The barbecue was in fact invented by an Australian and brought to the UK as a gift to the Queen. Okay, that’s not true but when we think of a spot of outdoor grilling, it’s the Australian penchant for BBQ that comes to mind. The country that perpetuated the popularity of outdoor meat eating and cold Fosters beer? You can begin to see how love blossomed.
Unless you are English or Australian it might be hard to understand the total hysteria that surrounds the Ashes. Even the symbolism of the urn is a dramatic reminder of something that feels like more than sport. Yet however high tensions fly, the gentle (or not so gentle) ribbing between fans reflects two countries that affectionately share a sense of humour.
Even the presence of Fosters adverts on our TVs hint at the special relationship of humour and heritage between the UK and Australia. Calling a Brad and Dan of our own isn’t a great stretch of the imagination, while the question and answer sessions that we witness are a stereotypical riff on two nations who seem to love ‘the banter’, hairy backs, cucumber sandwiches and all.
People to people links are one thing but the commonwealth is another. Sharing the same head of state is an important matter, whether you’re a monarchist or not. In a country that could not be further away from the UK there’s a reason that they still remain part of the commonwealth.
BBQs, trade, sporting rivalries, beer, humour and Neighbours each play their part in creating this love affair between two countries, with the Queen a symbolic figurehead linking the two.