(Commonwealth of Australia)
Location: Southern Hemisphere between the Indian and Pacific Oceans
Language: English is the official language
Total Area: 7,682,300 sq km
Currency: Australian Dollar
Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 10.02 liters
Curious Alcohol Fact: In 1954 an Australian man made it into the Guinness Record Book by drinking 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. That man was Bob Hawke who later became the Prime Minister of Australia.
The most popular drink: For most of its history, Australia has been a beer drinking nation. But as of late, wine has become hugely popular, and many Australian wineries have won international awards.
Australia is the only country to occupy an entire continent, and that continent is the driest inhabited continent on Earth. In fact, when most people think of Australia, they picture the dry, red earth and jagged red rocks jutting up into a clear, blue sky. But the continent is actually one of extremes, with lush rainforests to the north, snowfields in the south, and fertile farming land in the east. Known to many as the land that convicts built - as the continent was heavily populated through penal transportation that began in the late 1700s - Australia’s population steadily grew until a campaign by settlers led to the end of convict transportation, and the last convict ship arrived in 1848.
Australia is one of the most uniquely diverse cultures in the world. Its original inhabitants – the aboriginal people – have been living on the continent for 50,000 and have kept their deep-rooted culture and ancient traditions alive to this day. The rest of the population consists of descendants of migrants from over 200 countries, who have found their way to this vast land since the first European settlement was established back in 1788. Because of the warm and temperate climate year round, many Australians can be found outdoors most days at one of Australia’s gorgeous beaches, exploring the countryside, or playing one of the many sports that Australians love, like soccer, rugby and tennis. Having traveled extensively around the country, I found Australians to be a friendly and informal group of people, who love to live large and have a good time.
No one thinks of Australia as being a powerhouse in fine cuisine. Those accolades are saved for France and Italy. But if you’re a foodie like me, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven when you discover the amazing cuisine Australia has to offer. For starters, they are one of the world’s most efficient agricultural nations producing high-quality vegetables, fruits and grains, meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products. And, because of its location and rich history of immigrants, there is a variety of world influences from Southern Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands to tease and tickle your taste buds. Feeling adventurous? Then head up north where you can find restaurants that serve exotic meats such as kangaroo, crocodile and emu.
Australia can boast of being one of the biggest drinking nations in the world. Its history is filled with stories of the people’s fondness for drink. It’s said, in fact, that during the time of convict transportation, the colony's inhabitants drank more alcohol per capita than at any other time in human history. Although Australians today are drinking far less than their predecessors, alcohol still plays a large role in society, and in the sharing of ideas and culture. If an Australian isn’t drinking beer, they’re most likely drinking one of their own very fine wines.
Australia celebrates a variety of national and state holidays every year, as well as some holidays that are only celebrated in certain parts of the country. One of Australia’s most beloved holidays is called Melbourne Cup Day, which occurs on the first Tuesday of November each year. The Melbourne Cup is a world-famous horse race that nearly brings Australia to a complete stop every year. No matter where people are, at work, school, or at home, most everyone in Australia will stop what they’re doing to watch the race on television.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Rebecca Dimyan, Danbury, CT, USA.