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Culture of Australia

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**Historical Development of Australian Culture:**
– Oldest surviving cultural traditions of Indigenous Australians
– Arrival of British settlers in 1788 introducing Western civilization
– Impact of British colonization, including penal colonies and gold rushes
– Influence of World Wars on Australian identity and migration patterns
– Development of democratic institutions and cultural achievements

**Cultural Symbols and Evolution:**
– Official symbols like flags, Coat of Arms, and national colors
– Evolution of Australian culture from strong British influence to a unique identity
– Adoption of Hawaiian surfing culture and American pop culture
– Influence of global movements and advertising on Australian identity
– Intensified global corporate branding associated with Australian identity

**Language and Immigration:**
– English as the dominant language with unique Australian slang
– Significant multicultural influence on language diversity
– Post-war immigration program bringing over 6.5 million migrants
– Over 43% of Australians being born overseas or having foreign-born parents
– Contemporary immigration program including skilled, family, and humanitarian components

**Arts and Literature:**
– Recognition of Australian arts internationally
– Influence of Indigenous Australian arts on cultural tradition
– Evolution of Australian literature from bush themes to contemporary works
– Notable authors, poets, and literary awards in Australian literature
– Contribution of migrant communities to the Australian arts scene

**Contemporary Society and Entertainment:**
– Rooted in liberal democratic traditions with values of informality and egalitarianism
– Influence of multi-ethnic migration on all aspects of Australian life
– Role of comedy in shaping Australian identity, with iconic figures and shows
– Theatrical traditions in Australia, from European influences to modern developments
– Architectural heritage, including UNESCO World Heritage sites and iconic structures

The culture of Australia is primarily a Western culture, originally derived from Britain but also influenced by the unique geography of Australia and the cultural input of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other Australian people. The British colonisation of Australia began in 1788, and waves of multi-ethnic migration followed. Evidence of a significant Anglo-Celtic heritage includes the predominance of the English language, the existence of a democratic system of government drawing upon the British traditions of Westminster government, parliamentarianism and constitutional monarchy, American constitutionalist and federalist traditions, and Christianity as the dominant religion.

Aboriginal people are believed to have arrived as early as 60,000 years ago, and evidence of Aboriginal art in Australia dates back at least 30,000 years. Several states and territories had their origins as penal colonies, with the first British convicts arriving at Sydney Cove in 1788. Stories of outlaws like the bushranger Ned Kelly have endured in Australian music, cinema and literature. The Australian gold rushes from the 1850s brought wealth as well as new social tensions to Australia, including the miners' Eureka Stockade rebellion. The colonies established elected parliaments and rights for workers and women before most other Western nations.

Federation in 1901 was the culmination of a growing sense of national identity that had developed over the latter half of the 19th century, as seen in the works of the Heidelberg School painters and writers like Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson and Dorothea Mackellar. The World Wars profoundly impacted Australia's national identity, with World War I introducing the ANZAC legend, and World War II seeing a reorientation from Britain to the United States as the nation's foremost ally. After the second war, 6.5 million migrants from 200 nations brought immense new diversity. Over time, the diverse food, lifestyle and cultural practices of immigrants have been absorbed into mainstream Australian culture.

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