What do we know of Australia?

By | Category: Travel rumblings
From Madame Tussaud's in Sydney - Nicole Kidman

From Madame Tussaud’s in Sydney – Nicole Kidman

Never having been the slightest bit interested in soap operas, I was unaware that the Australian television programme, is 30 years old this year. But the tour operator, Austravel, is and it decided to commission a poll to see what Brits knew about Australia.

The answer is not much more than they know about our countries. One in six even say that their knowledge on the country is based on what they have seen on Australian soaps. If nothing else that shows that getting TV programmes made with destination backdrops to programmes is an influential way of encouraging interest in places witness the success of Poldark at the moment and the upsurge in interest in Cornwall.

Twenty per cent of those surveyed by the company thought that Australia was discovered by Christopher Columbus and a third weren’t able to name the capital of the country which is Canberra. Admittedly, Canberra isn’t at the top of everybody’s bucket list to visit and some cruel and unkind things have been said about the place such as the best way to see the city is from the back of a departing train but it is still the capital and came about because Sydney and Melbourne couldn’t decide amongst themselves which it should be.

The poll also saw Kylie Minogue voted Australia’s top cultural icon, followed by the character Crocodile Dundee played by Paul Hogan , and Dame Edna Everage. At least it wasn’t Les Patterson, the cultural attache as portrayed by Dame Edna’s alter ego, Barry Humphries. No artistic icons like Sydney Nolan or Albert Namatjira, Pro Hart or Hans Heysen! No actors like Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush or Errol Flynn and no literary figures like Norman Lindsay, Banjo Patterson or Clive James.

But then, of those interviewed, 70 per cent of people have watched Neighbours and 58 per cent of people Home and Away and, while not an Australian show, 50 per cent also say they’ve seen I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here. is it cynical to suggest that maybe that says more about those surveyed?

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