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Sydney and Reputation

The View of Sydney Outside of Australia

Friday 30, August 2013

sun sets over Sydney CBD in AustraliaAustralia’s international reputation is undoubtedly one of excellence. The people of Australia are known as hardworking and friendly, and the same is true for the citizens of Sydney, known colloquially as “Sydneysiders.” While the people appear to be shown in a favourable light, it would seem not much is actually known about the city itself, as Sydney is sometimes confused by foreigners for Australia’s capital city, which is actually Canberra. All the usual clichés apply, in that many people across the world believe Sydney and the rest of Australia is simply crawling with Koala Bears, and that many people keep them as pets.

Another cliché perpetuated about Sydney and the rest of Australia, is that life is generally laid back with everyone barbecuing all day, every day. While many Australians may be easygoing, Sydney is one of the world’s leading financial centres and has a district that is much the same as those found in London and New York City. It would also appear that foreigners who have never been to Sydney may believe the locals have unusual customs and ways of doing things. This may be due to the popularity of Steve Irwin, famous for hunting crocodiles in his television series that explored the Australian wildlife. And speaking of crocodiles, the stereotype that all Australians live in the Outback and wrestle crocodiles is probably due to the one-time popularity of the wildly famous, Crocodile Dundee, played by Australian actor, Paul Hogan. While the Outback is no myth, a majority of Australians actually live in urbanized areas like Sydney.

A further hot topic of conversation among foreigners is what exactly qualifies as Australian food? Thanks, again, to Paul Hogan’s series of tourism adverts for Australia in the 1980s, many people are familiar with the phrase, “shrimp on the barbie,” but that is about the extent of their knowledge of Australian cuisine. Food in Sydney encompasses many things; while seafood is eaten, there are also many people who are fond of meat pies. There is an iconic pie cart in the Woolloomooloo district known as Harry's Café de Wheels, which is famous for its Tiger Pie. Vegemite is another famous food of Australia; while similar to Britain’s Marmite, the flavour is not quite as intense.

Many Australian visitors to the United States are often surprised at how little is known about Sydney. Sport, for instance, is a huge obsession for Australians, and when foreigners travel to Sydney the obsession becomes apparent when discussing football. The term football is used to describe four kinds of football, which include rugby league and Australian Rules, which is similar to rugby but has a variety of different rules. Traditional football is known as soccer in Australia, much like it is in the USA. The term “footy” usually describes Australian Rules football, and visitors, especially those from the United Kingdom, can get pretty confused by this. Other sports enjoyed in Sydney are cricket and swimming, which is not considered a sport so much as it is a pastime, by the rest of the world.

While not much seems to be known about the city of Sydney, foreigners usually seem to have a positive opinion about the place despite their lack of knowledge. And when visitors travel to Sydney, they go home with a much better appreciation for the city and an improved understanding of Australian culture.

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