Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Americans in Australia and Australians in America

I decided to do research on Americans living in Australia and Australians living in America.

When we were in Australia, I didn't encounter many Americans (outside the ones we already knew and visited).   I was with one American on the Bridge Climb.   When we were in Manly eating lunch, I heard American accents coming from the table next to ours.  In Port Stephens, one of the men working near the pool area talked to us with a Texas accent.   I didn't realize it until he walked away.  Then it hit me.   And it bothered me.   One of the reasons is we were leaving soon to go back to America.    I didn't want to be reminded of that.   Second, I was pretty anti-American at the time.

It's kind of funny being against a group you actually belong to.

Okay, let's say someone is homophobic.   They might say.   I hate gay people.  They're disgusting. Well, except for my aunt's friend that comes over for Thanksgiving sometimes.  She's okay.   I don't mind her.

When your have prejudices against your own group, it goes more like this:

 I don't like Americans.  Well, except for my husband and my son.  Oh and my parents.   My sisters. Yeah.  And my in-laws.   Okay, gotta add most of my relatives to that.   My best friend in college!  He was cool.   Oh and most of my teachers.   My friends.   My parent's friends.  My sister's friends.  Most of the actors on my favorite TV shows....

I didn't become anti-American overnight.   It was a gradual thing--came mostly from reading books over a period of time.   I read stuff about politics and family policy....September 11 stuff.   I became very angry at my country.    I did what a lot of a non-Americans do.    I didn't direct my anger at American Government and corrupt corporations.   I directed my anger at Americans in general.

I'm better now.   The interesting thing is what helped me was reading comments in a blog which had Australians defending Americans.   I think seeing Americans from the Australian point of view helped me put things in perspective.

I'm over being anti-American.   I love us now.   I think most of us are awesome--especially Stephen Colbert.  

I have a new prejudice though.   Sims 2 Townies.   I no longer like them.   They take my time away from playing with the Sims that I actually created myself.   I no longer let my Sims marry and/or breed with Townies.   Not only that, my Sims are not even allowed to talk to Townies.  If one of them invites a Townie home from work or school, I send them home immediately.

Yes, I'm awful.   A true bigot.  

Okay, back to what this post is supposed to be about.

I really ramble way too much.   I'd apologize, but an apology usually includes the assumption that I'm going to try and stop.   I doubt that's going to ever happen so I'll just skip the apology.

According to Lord Wiki, there were 71, 718 Australians counted on the census who said they were American born or descendants of Americans.   Sydney alone has sixteen thousand.   

There were 11,798 African-Americans counted in the Census.   I guess that would make them African-American-Australian.

Lord Wiki says this and it confuses me a bit:   African Americans had a noted presence in the earliest British outposts in Australia, usually after a period of service in the British Navy.

Why were African-Americans in the British army?   I'm so lost.

A lot of Americans came over in the 1850's because of the gold rush.  They left the American Gold Rush to find more gold in Australia.    Lord Wiki says some Americans participated in the Eureka Stockade.

Americans also had a part in the formation of the Labor Party.   Lord Wiki says this is why Labor is spelled the American way and not the Australian way of Labour.


Over a million American soldiers were stationed in Australia during World War II.   A lot of intermarriage occurred.  Twelve thousand Australian women went off to the United States to get married.  

Now for the other side of the story.   There are close to sixty-one thousand people in America who are Australian born, descendants of Australians, or hold Australian citizenship.  

Here, Lord Wiki says it was fifteen thousand war brides from Australia instead of twelve thousand.  

Lord Wiki, get your facts straight!   Make up your mind!

Out of the sixty-one thousand, only fifteen thousand are actually American Citizens.   I wonder how many of the Americans living in Australia are Australian citizens.

This gets mighty confusing.  

Lord Wiki is annoying me.   I'm going to go and look at other websites.

There is an American Society of Sydney.   The website itself isn't too exciting, but they have a cute newsletter you can download.   And I did!   At first I thought, if I lived in Australia, I'd want to use that time to do Australian stuff.   But I probably would enjoy participating in their Thanksgiving thing, and stuff like that.  

I am a little confused why Americans need an American school in Sydney.  I would think part of the benefits of living in a foreign country is having your children experience the different culture.   Wouldn't sending them to the schools, the locals go to, help with that?   Although we would probably homeschool if we moved to Australia so I should probably shut up.  BUT if we did that, we would join Australian homeschooling groups and not limit ourselves to joining American homeschooling groups.

I'm not trying to be judgmental.   I totally see the benefits of joining a club or organization where you could meet people from your own country.   I see how that could be a huge comfort--even for someone like me who really WANTS to live in Australia and live an Australian life.   But the school thing goes a bit too far for me.   The school does advertise itself as being international.   I guess that's cool.  
Although I'm sure there are also Australian schools that are international.  

If an American in Australia is missing the food from their homeland, they can come to this website.
Their Pop-Tarts are all out of stock though.   Damn them!

Tors, the lovely woman who comments on my blog sometimes, has her own website for Americans living in Australia.  I visit it sometimes, but not too often because it makes me incredibly jealous.   

Here we go.... from an Australian Government website:   It says the estimated rate for Australian citizenship for American-born in Australia is 69.3%.   The estimated rate for all overseas born is 75.6%.   So, Americans are less likely to get citizenship than average.


Now let's go to Australians in America.

America has the American Australian Association.    I don't think this is a social support group for homesick Australians.  Rather, I think its purpose is to foster good feelings about Australia in Americans.   They sponsor Australian-Week in January.   It looks pretty fun, but unfortunately takes place in only San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.   Maybe we'll go one year; not 2009 though since we'll be going to the REAL Australia in February.   

I had a bit of a time trying to find an actual support service for Australians living in America.   I finally found Advance. They actually have services and programs for Australians living everywhere, but they also have specific American groups.   Actually now that I look closer, it doesn't look like much of a support site either.  Well, maybe it does.   But perhaps on a more professional basis.    It seems less family oriented than the American group in Sydney.  

Homesick.com also provides some information about events and Aussie resources for the Australian Diaspora--in America and other places.

Nolita in NYC is becoming known as Little Australia--I guess a lot of Australians live there.  I remember it being in the news last January because Heath Ledger lived there. 

There's an upscale (read:expensive) restaurant called Eight Mile Creek.  

For something more casual and less expensive, there's The Tuck Shop in the Lower East Side.  You can get meat pies here (including Vegetarian versions!), Australian groceries, Australian beer, and other yummy food.   I'm definitely going here if we ever go back to New York.  

Here's something funny.   I remember from back in my Foodie days that there was an Australian ice-cream place in NYC.   I looked it up, and it turns out Australia Homemade is a company from the Netherlands.   Okay, but it has Australian origins and also some Australian ingredients in it.  

One last thing.   Since Lord Wiki was wicked with his statistics, I wanted to get a more accurate count of how many war brides there were.   I can't find that, but I did find The Southern Cross Group which has information for the war brides.   Apparently, there was some new Australian Citizenship law in 2007.   I think what it does is allow those who have lost their Australian citizenship to get it back again. 

ANYWAY, today is a HUGE day for Americans.    We already voted so now we're just going to sit around and see what happens.   I'm very hopeful, but trying not to count my chickens before they hatch.  


  1. I think Lord Wiki didn't want to put 'blacks' so it put 'African-American' instead, I think that is worse, not every Black person is 'African-American'.

  2. Cherryblossom,

    I agree with you. Not every black person is African-American.

    But I think in this case, they WERE referring to African-Americans. It was based on a census in Australia where people could mark of what country they originated from and also mark down their ethnicity. So some of these Americans in Australia marked down that they had African origins.

  3. I hope you get the result that you want. :)

    blog bling for you at my place

  4. I wonder if the American school in Sydney is aimed at those Americans who aren't going to be in Australia long term and want to keep their child's schooling the same throughout their education. There are vast differences apparently in the two education systems and I know from my families experience (my aunt and uncle lived in Washington DC for 10 years with their three children) and friends of ours from Tassie moved over to Maine...that both families struggled a little with the adjustment of where they were on theh academic grade scale compared to where they were at home. There are also very American things (lol..don't you love my technical jargon?) that are taught in US schools that they need to know to pass their high school certificate and they would not get that if they were in Aussie schools yet knew they were going back. Hope I'm making sense here. ;-)

  5. Tracey,

    That makes a LOT of sense--at least for kids in high school. I think it would be less neccessary for younger children.

    Do you know if there are any Australian schools in America???

  6. I've been to USAFoods once to buy a couple of cases of Dr. Pepper. Expensive stuff, but well worth the price for that sweet, sweet nectar.

    If you ever make it down to Melbourne there is Misty's Diner. Been there, and it's quite nice. Misty is real friendly too.

    It's strange that the American School in Sydney has a "com" instead of an "edu" domain in the url. Wonder why that is. My guess as to why the school exists in the first place is that it probably serves the children of people working in the US Consulate, as well as for others from other Consuls and Embassies. The school offers a US based curriculum, and there are probably other such schools in other countries, so the kiddies of those working in Embassies and such, who probably move around the world every few years, can get a consistent education.

    Watching the election coverage on tv at the mo. Obama's ahead at the mo (Yay!) with 102 Electoral College Votes.

  7. Stephen,

    I wonder if they sell the high fructose corn syrup Dr. Pepper or the cane sugar one.

    The Misty's Diner place looks cute. I wonder if I'd miss American food or not. I didn't miss it for the 4 weeks we were there, but I'm sure eventually something would come up. I DID miss American prices!!

    I do think it would be fun to go to Misty's Diner just for the fun of it.

    I think you have a point about getting a consistent education. I wonder what it's like for these kids in terms of a social/psychological standpoint.

    I moved four times during my school years. I thought that actually was a benefit in many ways. But I think it might be hard for kids who move from country to country on a more frequent basis. Meeting children from a new culture on a new land might just lose it's novelty after awhile.

    I'm having a great time watching the results. The crazy thing is this is the first time I truly understand the whole Electoral voting thing. It all makes perfect sense to me now. I'm not sure why. Maybe learning about Australian government helped me understand my own. Now it seems so obvious. I'm watching TV and thinking how could I have not understood this before. It seems so damn EASY.

  8. Dina ... explain it to me!!! I don't undertand - the whole results process. :-)

  9. Tracey,

    Yikes! I'll try.

    I THINK that each state has a certain number of points. I think this is based on population.

    Here's a pretty good map.


    States with large populations such as Texas and NY have a lot of points. (34 and (31).

    States like Idaho and Idaho have only 3 points.

    California has the most I think. 55.

    I THINK people vote and whoever gets the most votes in that state will get all the points from the state.

    So...let's take Texas. McCain is very likely to win. So he'll get 34 points.

    Right now Obama has 207 points and McCain has 135. They need 270 points to win.

    Obama is very likely to get California which would raise his score up to 262.

    I was watching CNN and they said it's pretty much impossible for McCain to win. He lost Ohio which is a HUGE deal. According to CNN, the Republican party has never won an election without Ohio.

    Does that make sense???

    It'll be sad if someone comes and says I got it all wrong. Oh well, I guess I can figure out by 2012!!! Hopefully.

  10. The Electoral College votes actually do refer to people in the Electoral College that actually vote in the President. The popular vote is to establish the number of votes each candidate gets in the College.

    The number of votes each state (inc. DC) gets is based on the population of the state. One for the number of Senators each state has in the Congress (which means a base of two electors, as each state has two Senators) plus the number of Representatives in the the US Congress. Texas has 34 electors: two the two Senators, plus 32 the 32 Representatives.

    DC is treated differently, getting the number of Electors equal to the least populous state, which is Wyoming, so it gets three Electors.

    A very, very, very (and I mean very) rough analogy would be the Oz PM. We the people don't vote for the PM: it's the party in Government (whom the PM is a member) that puts her or him there. Our collective votes put that party in power, but it is the party that chooses the leader.

    That is, in each case it is not the people directly who vote for the leader (PM or Pres.) but the people's vote nevertheless indirectly determines who becomes the leader.

    The Font of Knowledge, Lord Wiki, has more to say on the matter

    I think the Dr. Pepper sold here has HFCS. It's a direct import from the US, which is also why its reletively expensive. It used to be produced in Oz, but it only lasted a couple of years. Not a popular drink here, but it is my favourite.

  11. I stumbled over here from bettina's blog and absolutely love your blog :)

    Thanks for attempting to explain the US electoral system it had me baffled LOL..... thankfully ours seems so much simpler although I guess we have alot less states to deal with :)

    Look forward to reading your blog, I personally think Australia is the best best best country in the world, although I am very biased and have never left... hmmmm... we did buy tickets to the US before we had kids but sept 11 happened and everything was cancelled, we'll definately save up some cash and come and visit one day...

  12. Stephen,

    What I've heard about American elections vs. Australians is that our elections are more personal--about the individual running. And yours is more about the party. Or maybe it's that Americans have more say in who ends up being the candidate? Am I right about this or wrong?

    I guess what I'm saying is you guys are less likely to have what we had with Clinton and Obama.

    I talked to Tim about the electoral thing yesterday. I asked if the electoral college could NOT vote for who the people in the state voted for. If Texas has 50,000 votes for McCain and 40,000 for Obama, could the Electoral college say screw it. We're giving it to Obama. Or are they legally obligated to vote for the one who has the most votes? That's the part that confuses me. It's easier for me to think okay this state has 55 many points and this state has 4 points.

    So...what are the popular sodas in Australia?

  13. Prizetastic,

    Thank you!! I'm so glad you stopped by.

    I still don't think I have the electoral college thing 100% understood, but I think it makes much more sense to me. I hope!

    That really sucks that the one time you were going to travel overseas...September 11 happened.

    Brought up total random memory: When I was all into being Jewish, my mom and I were planning a trip to Israel. I think it was going to be just the two of us. We were working with some tour guide. And then he got into some horrible accident. We canceled our trip after that. I guess we took it as a bad omen.

    Australia is definitely my favorite country. Although now I think America is pretty cool too. Last night reminded me a lot of Sorry Day in Australia. It's like a nation taking a huge step to heal itself. A celebration filled with happy tears.

    I checked out your website. It's awesome!!! I'm going to have to keep checking back. Maybe I'll get into the contest-entering thing. I was telling my husband that maybe I should start googling "Win a trip to Australia" on a regular basis.

  14. Voting here in Oz does tend to be more about the party than the individual candidates. It's something I really dislike about the Westminster Parliamentary system we inherited from the UK.

    The degree to which party unity is enforced also bothers me. In the US, a Democrat Rep or Senator could go against party line and vote with the Republicans and there wouldn't be much said about it. Here in Oz, if a Labor Rep or Senator broke ranks and sided with the Liberals on a vote, that would be a story.

    "Oh noes! Teh parti can't keep kontrol! Disunity! Disunity!"

    Bleh! So much for representing one's constituency.

    The popular soft drinks here in Oz are Coke and Pepsi. There's also Solo, a lemon drink. And what we refer to as lemonade; drinks like Sprite or 7up. Actually, do they still sell 7up here? Don't think they do. Don't recall seeing it for quite a few years. Which makes me wonder what Pepsi's competitor to Coke's Sprite is. Anyhow, Schwepp's Lemonade is better than both of those by far.

  15. Stephen,

    That's funny because here we complain that it's too much about the individual candidates. It seems to become more about the person rather than what they stand for. It's like personality, charisma, charm, their sins of the past, physical looks, etc. over the issues.

    My husband and I thought Australia would be better--that you guys look at the issues more.

    I think here, it's also a story if someone changes sides. I think recent examples would be Jo Lieberman. He was a democrat and is now with the Republicans.

    Colin Powell also somewhat jumped ship. I mean not officially. But he's a Republican who announced that he endorses Obama.

    So I think yeah you can change political parties here. But it's definitely noticed. And I think there undercurrent of accusations about being a traitor.

    As for voting. I think it is noticed. But maybe it's noticed more in Australia. Maybe it's less accepted?

    But in your last PM election time, was their a lot of dirt pulled up about Kevin Rudd? I don't think you have the amount of mud-slinging that we do. Or maybe I'm wrong.

    I think we might have tried Solo. It sounds somewhat familiar.

    Maybe I should buy Schwepp's lemonade. I don't know if we have it. I know we have Schwepps. We probably do have some kind of lemon drink. We probably just don't call it lemonade.

    I remember drinking some kind of ginger beer there. At least I think it was there......

  16. I live in a smallish town in rural Victoria. Boo's teachers husband is African American. So it doesn't surprise me the number here. We also have an increasing number of families coming from the Sudan.

    And you totally cracked me up with your rant against Sims.

  17. Kelley,

    That's neat. I always have this image of small rural towns being all white. I guess it's a stereotype. Or something that used to be, but is getting less common.

    I'm wondering if we get black Australians in America. Or maybe there's too much spirituality connected to the land. I wonder if any Indigenous Australians emmigrate...and what the rate is.

  18. Ahh, yes... Ginger Beer is good and somewhat popular, too. The most popular and well recocnised brand is Bundaberg Ginger Beer, which is probably the one you drank, Dina (though I am guessing). They make a mighty fine sarsaparilla, too.

  19. Stephen,

    I bet it was Bundaberg.

    sarsaparilla always makes me think of the Simpsons Episode where Abe Simpson had his kidneys ruined.