Questions and Answers
What is “down under”?
The Australians themselves say they live “down under”, that is, at the very bottom. What does that mean? If you look at the globe, you will see that from a European point of view, Australia lies between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, south of Papua New Guinea and northwest of New Zealand. So for us at the other end of the world: “Down Under”. It’s all a question of perspective.
Where is the largest classroom in the world?
On the edge of the Australian desert there is the largest classroom in the world. The children are 400 kilometers away from their school. The “Alice Springs School of the Air” has a little over 140 students and they are spread over an area that is more than three times the size of Germany. But what kind of school is that supposed to be?
The lessons are available online via the Internet. That’s why the children sit at the computer and follow the lessons. They study the rest of the day from material sent to them. Class tests are sent by post. There, children from primary and lower secondary levels are taught distance learning. The homework will be sent to the teachers via email.
The first school was founded in 1951. Back then there were no computers and lessons were carried out with the help of radios. So that the students get to know their classmates, they travel to schools in between. In addition to the Alice Springs School, there are other such schools. 15 out of 100 children who are educated there are Aborigines.
Who are the Flying Doctors?
Imagine living somewhere in the Australian desert and getting sick. The nearest doctor or even the nearest hospital are far away. That doesn’t sound good. But in Australia the idea of sending doctors to their patients on airplanes came up many years ago.
As early as 1928 an organization was founded, the Aerial Medical Service (AMS), which translated means something like “medical flight service”. In 1942 this service was renamed the Flying Doctor Service, most of them speak of the Flying Doctors, which means “flying doctors”. Doctors take care of emergencies, but also give advice by phone or radio in less severe cases. The base is now in the place Mount Isa.
What are the names of children in Australia?
If you were born in Australia, your name might be Jack, Joshua or Lachlan. Maybe William, Thomas, James or Cooper, because these are common first names for boys in Australia. As a girl you might have the first name Ella or Emily, maybe Mia, Isabella, Chloe or Charlotte. Especially the girls’ names aren’t that different from ours.
Most children then have an additional name, the middle name, which are often very traditional names from earlier times such as Ann, Jane, Rose, Marie or, for the boys, John, James, William or Michael. This is what men and women were called 200 years ago. A typical name in Australia for a girl would be Ella Rose and for boys Jack William, for example.
Why does the coat of arms of Australia show a kangaroo and an emu?
The coat of arms of Australia shows a kangaroo and an emu. Also fits, right? Both are typical animals of the country. But that’s not the only reason why they were chosen to be shown on the coat of arms. They have one more thing in common: both animals cannot walk backwards. This is to emphasize that Australia is a progressive country. It is always forward looking and not backward looking.
How do Australians celebrate Christmas?
In Australia, the seasons are the opposite of ours because the country is in the southern hemisphere. When it’s winter here, it’s midsummer in Australia. The Christian Christmas festival falls in midsummer.
But that doesn’t bother the Australians much. They just celebrate in the park or on the many beaches. There are picnics or barbecues and gifts for the children. In many families, a turkey or turkey roast is also on the table on December 24th. Plum pudding was also adopted by the English.
And Santa Claus?
Before the children go to bed, they put a carrot, glass of milk and cookies in front of the door. They are meant for Santa and his reindeer. Santa Claus is called Santa Claus in Australia and brings the presents. But he won’t do that until December 25th. Santa Claus usually wears shorts, which is understandable in the heat.
Anyone who appreciates European comfort, light candles – despite the heat -, put plastic fir trees and decorate everything for Christmas. Many people sing traditional Christmas carols. The cities are decorated for Christmas.
What happened on January 26, 1788?
Every year Australians celebrate their national holiday on January 26th. The day is also called Australia Day, ie “Australia Day”. This day is intended to commemorate the arrival of the first British, in this case all prisoners, on the new continent. A settlement was built in a bay, and later the largest city in the country – Sydney – was to be built here. But that took a while.
Everybody celebrates that day. There are festivals, sporting events, concerts and even a prize is awarded: “Australian of the year”. And of course there is also a barbecue, as always when there is something to celebrate. But this day was a black day for the Aborigines, as the oppression and exploitation began here. For them – and also for some critically thinking Australians – this day is Invasions Day, i.e. the day on which the European invasion began.