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Listed under:  Culture  >  Australian culture
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Diversity, identity and Australian culture

This teaching resource focuses on immigration and settlement patterns in Australia. It explores the migration experience, and the impact that immigrants from diverse cultural backgrounds have had on Australian society and its changing identity.

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Australian teen culture: birth of skateboarding

Since its creation in California in the 1950s, skateboarding, or 'skating', has been more than a sport. Beginning as an activity for surfers when they weren't in the water, it quickly came to represent a culture, and an attitude, all its own. In this clip from 1976, watch Australian teenagers skate the streets and an empty ...

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Symbols of Australia

This resource explores some of the symbols Australians have chosen to represent themselves and their nation. The website is based on an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia.

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'Carn a Saints': Aussie Rules and popular culture

How important is sport to Australians and how big a part of Australian popular culture is sport? This Four Corners program looks at the 1965 Victorian Football League (VFL) Grand Final between the St Kilda Saints and the Essendon Bombers. Discover the passion and excitement of the event and how much it meant to Australia ...

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Preparing for the Olympic Games, 1956

Discover why the 1956 Olympic Games were so significant for Australia. Australian Olympic officials hoped that the games would allow Australia to be seen as a modern, vibrant, and tolerant nation. This was a rare opportunity for a predominantly white nation to be exposed to greater cultural diversity. As preparations were ...

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Mobile society: 'mechanised sloth'

Do Australians depend too much on cars and get too little exercise? Many people like to think of Australia as being an active, sports-loving nation. What effect has the motor car had on this perception? This clip from the 1960s takes a look at the question of whether the popularity of driving was becoming a risk to the ...

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A new referendum

Today people are campaigning to hold a referendum that seeks to fully recognise Indigenous people in the Constitution. Why does Marcia Langton believe this is a crucial thing to do? What do you think? What makes Stan Grant Snr angry about the prospect of holding another referendum?

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A tour of the nation's capital

In the years following World War II, Australia sought to develop a new identity, one that honoured the past while embracing technological advances and increased political stability. As this clip shows, for many people during this period, Canberra - the nation's capital - served as a metaphor for the sort of place Australia ...

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Home of our own, still Aussie 'birthright'?

Discover the characteristics of the Australian dream house in the 1950s and the significance of home ownership during this period.

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What impacts has immigration had on Australia?

In this unit of work students investigate stories of immigration and the impact migrants have had on Australian society over time. This unit of work uses the objects and displays from the National Museum of Australia's previous Horizons gallery (now replaced by the Australian Journeys gallery) and other Museum exhibitions ...

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Surf story

Imagine riding a big wave on a surfboard back in the days when surfboard riding was the newest craze to hit Australia. At that time, many teenagers believed that surfing represented a whole new way of life. This Four Corners program from the early 1960s investigates the impact of the rise of the surfboard and surfing culture ...

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Dancing lions celebrate the Lunar New Year

Meet the Prosperous Mountain Lion Dance Troupe from Canberra and find out why lions play a special role in lunar new year celebrations. Why does the dancing lion bow three times at the beginning of its dance? What does it then do to bless the shop or business it’s visiting? Troupe leader David Wong says that there are two ...

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Holden, the 'all-Australian car'

What made Holden cars symbols of Australia during the 1950s, 60s and 70s? During this period, more than any other vehicle, the Holden came to reflect changing lifestyles in Australia, and helped to define for many what it meant to be 'Australian'. Find out the impact that generations of Holden vehicles have had on the lives ...

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Germaine Greer on rock culture

Does music have the power to change the world? From the 1950s rock 'n' roll to later popular music of the 60s and 70s, music encouraged teenagers to rebel against the ideas and beliefs of earlier generations and, in some instances, to change society for the better. In this clip, explore some of these changes from the perspective ...

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New arrivals to Australia

What is it like for refugees arriving in Australia today? Here we find out about the experience of the Williams family, who fled the African nation of Liberia to seek asylum (safe haven) in Australia. They now have access to a different lifestyle and opportunities. How are they finding their first three weeks in the new country?

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Designing the Sydney Opera House

What does it take to create a building that is famous the world over? In 1956, NSW Premier Joseph Cahill announced a competition for the design of an opera house for Sydney. The winner was architect Jorn Utzon with 'design 218'. In this 1950s clip, learn about Utzon's aims in designing the building, the challenges in realising ...

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ABC national TV service: opening night, 1956

Can you imagine life before television? How different would it have been? This clip is taken from the opening moments of the first ABC television broadcast in 1956. As you watch it, see how the presenter describes the event and try to imagine the impact such first broadcasts would have had on Australians more than half ...

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Johnson, Clift and Cohen meet Hydra's muse

The lives of Canadian poet Leonard Cohen and Australian writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston intertwined on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960. Cohen became one of the world's most celebrated singer-songwriters. Clift received more recognition for her writing overseas than in Australia while Johnston's novel 'My Brother ...

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Controversy surrounding the Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is considered the 'eighth wonder of the world'. Although recognised as a major landmark today, its construction was controversial. In 1966, the building's Danish designer and chief architect, Jorn Utzon, was forced to withdraw from his position. In this clip listen to Jorn Utzon and discover why he ...

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Australian family homes

After World War 2 the 'Australian Dream' was to own a home on a quarter-acre block, with a Hills Hoist in the backyard. What sort of home is the 'dream' now?