If you’re thinking about packing your bags and emigrating to Australia from the UK, then you’ll need to do barely any cultural re-adjustment.Life in Australia is, pretty much, the same as it is in western Europe.There’s a longstanding tradition of individual liberty and democracy, and every spends their weekends drinking with friends.
One thing that is ever-so-slightly different, however, is sports.While football, as we Britons know it, is a popular pastime, it’s nowhere near as popular as some of the other sports that dominate the Australian calendar.Let’s take a look at some of these sports, and see how new arrivals to the country might blag their way through a conversation about them.
Cricket is widely-considered the national sport of Australia, since, unlike the other sports popular in this part of the world, Cricket is both played and watched in every corner of the country – from the urban centres of New South Wales to the remotest parts of the Outback.It’s a sport that comes in many different varieties.Some of them have been around since the colonial era; others are more recent.In 2011, the country’s domestic Twenty20 cricket tournament, the aptly named ‘Big Bash League’, was established.It takes place over the summer months between December and January.
Each of the six states in Australia has a cricket team.The teams compete in two different competitions:a four-day tournament known as the ‘Sheffield Shield’, and a one-day tournament known as the ‘matador cup’.The former came to be in 1892, thanks to a donation provided by Lord Sheffield, after whom the tournament is named.The latter came to be much later, in the 1969-70 season.
Rugby is another popular colonial pastime to gain traction in Australia – and now the Australian national team is among the world’s best.Both the ‘league’ and ‘union’ variations of the sport are widely enjoyed in Australia.Union is most popular in New South Wales and Queensland, with the first club to be officially established being Sydney University, in 1864.Since then, the sport has exploded in popularity.
League is often viewed as a ‘working man’s’ sport, as opposed to union, which originated in public schools.It’s probably the more Australian version of the sport, and features heavily in popular culture down under.
Australian Rules Football
Thus far, we’ve looked at sports that are widely-known and popular in the UK.But Australian Rules Football is something entirely different and alien.It’s been around since the middle of the Victorian era, and has more than a million registered players today.The sport is contested on an oval-shaped pitch, where two teams of eighteen players compete to kick the ball between two end-goal posts.It might seem a little bit like rugby – expect that you’re allowed to kick the ball, and you’re not allowed to carry it without intermittently touching it against the ground.The game defies concise explanation – but spend a little bit of time watching it, and you’re sure to get the gist.If you’re considering a move to Australia, then you’ll find ample opportunity to do so – it’s played and watched everywhere, all the time.
In terms of participation, golf is probably the most popular sport in the country.And there’s good reason for this:Australia is home to a wealth of open countryside, ripe for exploration with aset of ceramic balls and a long metal pole or two.It’s also a great social event, and a way to ingratiate yourself with new friends and co-workers.
Tennis is another sport which, despite being only moderate popular with viewers, is extremely popular with participants.The country is home to the Australian Open, one of the four ‘grand slam’ tournaments on the tennis calendar.It’s also responsible for some of the biggest names in the sport, including Rod Laver, who remains the only tennis player to have twice completed a grand slam, winning all four tournaments in 1963 and 1969.
Moving to Australia is easier than one might expect, given the country’s somewhat harsh reputation as a tightly-controlled state.Jobs in Australia are relatively easy to come by, and navigating the famous points-based immigration system is straightforward, provided that you’re able to bring the right skills to the table.Once there, you’ll be able to enjoy a wealth of great scenery and culture – as well as a raft of great sport.So if you’re going to be making the switch, be sure to make the effort to involve yourself in one of them!