Despite its reputation as a homogenous white country, Australia is incredibly diverse. It has certainly become more diverse since the white Australia policy is thankfully no longer in force. Apparently white people like diversity and I suppose we’re no exception.
The immigration rate is greater than the natural population growth, meaning that the number of people relocating from overseas is more than the number of births minus the number of deaths. Rarely will you find Australians whose family has been here for more than 150 years. The exception, of course, being the Australian Aborigines who have been here for hundreds of generations. My great-great grandfather arrived from Glasgow, Scotland in the 1800’s aboard the Loch Marie. That makes my sister and me 5th generation Australian.
My workplace is amazingly diverse. I work with people who moved here from India, England, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, South Africa, Iraq, Croatia, Scotland, Hungary, Thailand, Lebanon, Burma, Ecuador and more. And that’s just a sample from one floor!
Fortunately, the Howard government’s insistence on assimilation hasn’t led people to abandon their culture. Opportunities to learn about other cultures are plentiful. You can go to a festival, try new food at a restaurant, watch a show on SBS, or chat with a friend.
Or, just grab a taxi. The fiance took a cab home from the airport earlier this week and his cab driver was Indian. [Side note: Another unique thing about Australia is that passengers usually sit in the front of the cab with the driver. The fiance tried getting in the front of a cab while we were visiting Boston and the cab driver nearly had a panic attack.] They got to chatting about cooking and throughout the course of the ride, the driver shared some of his Indian cooking secrets. The fiance jotted down a recipe and vowed to give it a try.
Last night he followed the cab driver’s instructions precisely. He made the most delicious authentic Indian curry ever! Thanks for your cooking wisdom random cab driver! I think we found our new favourite meal.