Monday, 7 March 2005

Four More Beers! Four More Beers!

Here's an essential article for Visitors to Australia : A Guide to Ordering Beers.

Australia is about the same size as the continental USA, but with the population of Texas. Or, for Europeans, it's about the same size as Europe from Gibraltar to the Urals, Sicily to Sweden, but with the population of Benelux.

Australia is also a Federation of states. States with quite different histories and climates, ranging from the former Penal Colony of NSW, to the Free Settlers in South Australia, the vast deserts of Western Australia through to the mountainous rainforests of Tasmania.

We all drive on the left - but until recently, road rules were as varied as they are in Europe (or the US), and we still have a variety of railway gauges, from Broad Gauge in Victoria, to Standard Gauge in New South Wales, to Narrow Gauge in much of Queensland.

Similarly, in Victoria and South Australia, "Football" means Aussie Rules. In NSW and Queensland, it means Rugby League. Nowhere does it mean Association Football - "Soccer".

Australia is highly urbanised - more so than Europe, and a lot more so than the US. Nearly 50% of the population lives in just 2 cities - which are a thousand kilometres apart, with not-a-lot in between. Each of the Australian States is basically a single capital city, perhaps 2 or 3 cities less than 1/10 of the size, and a hinterland whose population is best described as "sparse". These city-states treat each other with the same degree of rivalry as the city-states of Medieval Italy. Queenslanders are "Banana Benders", Victorians are "Mexicans" (South of the Border), and to South Australians, the only good thing to come out of Sydney is the Hume Highway.

So the Guide is essential reading, so you know how much you'll be getting. A "Schooner" in South Australia is not the same thing as a "Schooner" in NSW. And a WA "Pot" is a Pint, elsewhere it's half that (if they understand that measure at all).

Now as to which beer to drink... that's best left to another article.

1 comment:

Alan Kellogg said...

So Australia is a confederation of city states. Is it true that the main goal of Urban Aussies is to out Brit the Brits? :)