Australian Identity

"Brotherhood was never like it; friendship is not the word; but deep in that body of marching men the soul of a nation stirred" so wrote Banjo Paterson in his poem "Australia Today 1916". The word identity has a significant meaning in the contemporary world. It means more than being an independent nation or a geographical location. It is something deeper and more complex, which is concerned with the lifestyle, thoughts, faith, arts, sport, and how we respond cross-culturally to the values of heroes. Over the last few years Australian men and women have been acclaimed as world champions in many diverse sports. Australians have always acknowledged the significant role sport has played. Back in the old days, Australia (being isolated a million miles from anywhere) needed to find a way of amusing itself. Sport was a way out. And as a result of this Australia has used the nationís talent to advantage, developing not only elite athletes, but good sportspersons on and off the field.

ĎAustraliaís Sporting Success traces the development of Australian sport from the early 19th century, and discusses the rivalry between the white native-born Australians, many of convict stock, and the new settlers. This rivalry enabled qualities such as patriotism, social cohesion and tenacity to develop as distinctive traits of the Australian character says John Bloomfield, a former chairman of the Australian Institute of sport.

For a long, long time now, Australia and its people have revelled in everything associated with sport. There is no doubting Australia\'s passion for sport. As a nation, we have significantly more than our fair share of successful and inspirational sports stars. These athletes have reached the pinnacle of their sport and are seen as both role models and leaders in the Australian community, their success inspires other young Australians to strive for excellence. We don\'t care who is competing, or what they are competing in, if they are Australian, we love \'em.

Australia must be the only country in the world where the position of highest distinction is not the Prime Minister or President - rather the captain of the Wallabies team or the Cricket team. Our very own Prime Minister embodies our sport-obsessed society and freely admits this.

Aussies love a winner. Aussies love a loser. No matter what, everyone gets a fair go. Aussies also love battlers and underdogs. For some reason Australians love all sportspeople and sporting events. Perhaps it\'s a way of demonstrating our national pride. Perhaps it\'s our way of feeling like winners against the rest of the world. Or, perhaps it\'s just an opportunity to yell and dance around in green and gold, endlessly chanting, "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!"

Sure, the concept of sport may have started in Australia a long time ago, as a result of boredom Ė but there is no excuse for boredom anymore, we have such a great climate and lifestyle that sport is now both a job and leisure time pursuit. From the first Olympic Games of the modern era in 1896 in Athens, where Australia\'s Edwin Flack won the nation\'s first gold medal, Australia was destined to succeed in the sporting arena. This fact is reinforced by the degree of success experienced by Australian athletes in the international arena. Many experts believe that the climate and the healthy lifestyle generally enjoyed by the Australian population provides the perfect breeding ground for our athletes. Without a shadow of a doubt, our sporting success fuels the sport obsession of Australians

Internationally we are known through our sporting heroes like the legends Dawn Fraser, Betty Cuthbert, Evonne Goolagong and Sir Donald Bradman the greatest cricketer to ever play the game.

Nationally we are sports mad; Australian Rules football, cricket, tennis, surfing and recently the Formula One Grand Prix motor racing are all important to us. We must not forget one of the most significant dates on our sporting calendar and that is the first Tuesday in November, the wonderful Melbourne Cup, the horse race that stops a nation.

The extraordinary performances of Australian athletes, and an awareness of the system that fostered them, came to the world\'s attention during the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. The Sydney Games certainly contributed immensely to the increased influx of tourists. They learned about the many cultures that are now part