Review & notes for ‘Australia’ by the Culture Smart series

Narrated by: Peter Noble
Length: 3 hrs and 25 mins
Release date: 01-22-16


I got this book for a project that I’m working on, trying to see if it would be useful for Chinese people coming to Australia.

In reality this book would be helpful for anyone coming to Australia for a tourist or if you’re immigrating.

I really thought it would be a basic introduction kind of book, but it turned out to be very comprehensive book covering history, culture, values, food, wine and a whole bunch of things.

I’m recommending it to a friend that is in the process of immigrating here, and would recommend it to anyone else that is happy to spend 3 or so hours learning about a country before they come.  Honestly it was very comprehensive and actually full of a lot of useful information.

I will be trying to listen to some of these books for a bunch of other countries that I go to. It’s a shame that the one for Thailand is not available as an audio book though. (just print version)

Any information that is incorrect?

Almost all the information is factual and accurate, below are a few notes which I personally wrote down, even though I’m Australian.

The only big thing that is not accurate is on tipping.  The author states that Australia tips, and that it is the norm. 

It is not.

Australia doesn’t tip.

Tips were there because of no minimum wage or not healthy enough minimum wage in countries like America etc. Australia has good regulation for minimum wage and it’s far above that of America.

You will only find tipping places at foreign-run youth centres like Youth Hostels where you can expect large amount of foreigners or where there are volunteers.

For cafés or restaurants you are not expected to tip, nor is it actually legal. Australia doesn’t want the culture of America which came about from unfair practices and adhoc solutions to very deregulated work environments.

Australia prides itself in being s fair country and as a result tipping is not in the culture.


If you’re not travelling to Australia, nor immigration, don’t listen to this book.  If you are….then I’d highly recommend this book.

Also because of how comprehensive this book is and the vast array of information covered, I’d definitely look into the series for other countries.


Mateship comes from the common experience of adversity.

War, particular event whatever.

Me. I like that definition.

Me. Really well thought out. Seems to be from British origins as the bias of “in Australia unlike America, entre means the starter meal…As it should be”

Little jab there.

Even states that the Australian table manners follows British rules of fork in the left hand, knife in the right.. Fork and knife together when finished, not American style if cut up everything then eat with just the fork and putting the knife down.

April 25th Anzac day.


The Black Sorrows. Band mentioned.

Otto Yindi aboriginal band to listen to.

‘Poor fellow my country’ Australian book.

‘Cloud Street ‘ by Tim Winton.

‘the tyranny of distance’

‘Pricilla queen of the desert’. Movie Good one to see.

Reminds people of the distances in Australia.

Seems to be focused more on the eastern coast. New south wales, & Victoria.

In reality that’s where a lot of people will be going for travel.

Melbourne is said to be the 2nd largest Greek city in the world after Athens.

Melbournians look down on all other states and their capitals.

West Australian’s state – “The wise men from the east” to describe people from Sydney & Melbourne.

Western Australia is the only financially independent state.


Me. When was this written? (2016 , so still reasonably in date)

Driving in the outback.

Some good tips. Yet the advice should really be -ask a local, or the local police in the area. To get advice for the region.

It says have good road maps, yes. Agreed.

But it also says you should carry spare parts and know how to fit them.

And that you need a decent mid to late size 4wd.

Me. That’s not true. You don’t need that. The only Spares you need are 2 spare tires and know how to fit those tires. You don’t need a 4wd, 2 wheel drive is fine unless you actually going to be driving in the desert.

You don’t have to be mechanic level skill to do such a trip. It would be better sure, but this book makes it sound difficult and will out people off from driving in the outback.

I would also say at 4pm. Where ever you are stop.

Drinking water yes, and food. Good tip.

Says, the sun is more dangerous than the creatures in Australia. 100% true.

On spiders the funnel web, most Australians have never seen one.

Go only where you see locals go. Good advice.

Rips currents that carry you out to sea. Doesn’t really explain what they are though.

Contains business attitudes as well.

That’s pretty impressive. Wasn’t expecting it to go that deep.

Australia produces almost all of the world’s opals.

Me. What he says about the Ugg boot is not true. He says the rights to the iconic Ugg boot is owned by an American manufacturer.

‘Ugg’ was the general term used for those types of boots. Actually deriving from the fact that the boots were ugly but comfortably, and became known as Ugg boots.

The American guy came along and decided to make a brand out of it. He doesn’t have the rights for it. (yes internationally as a brand name) but within Australia as it’s like saying that a company called itself ‘sedan’ and now no other car manufacturer in the world can use the word sedan. It’s just not true.

The author would have known this if he did more research, and to be fair, not many people know this other than native Australians because it’s a proud Aussie invention.

‘Australia makes basic goods and then other countries buy and make a more sophisticated product.’

True. Yet this is due to trade agreements not because Australians don’t want to make the product with more profit material. It’s literally because the trade agreements between companies don’t really allow for that. One big example is west Australians iron ore exports to China, for them to make steel. Steel has a higher profit margin, yet Chinese companies stated they don’t want to buy Australian steel but only Australian iron ore. They want to be the only ones to make steel for use in the Chinese economy. Unfair…But what would you do? Keep selling massive amounts of iron ore…Or not be able to sell the same quantity of steel to China?

So it’s the basic iron ore.

He states that the ugh boot is no longer made in Australia. Not true. You can find it everywhere.



Asbro (aspirin equivalent)

The bionic ear. Cochlear.

The wine cask. (Goon bag)

The Esky. Portable beer cooler.

Obviously a lot more than this though. WLAN, WIFI was invented by the CSIRO.

Many world-wide use that was actually invented in Australia.

Work ethic.

Work to live but work hard to achieve the lifestyle they have.

Keep detailed notes on everyone you’ve met and what they do. And it will keep you in good stead for your own work.

Good advice for everywhere not just Australia.

Australians will be more impressed by your questions rather than your statements.

Me. True.

Sense of humour is invaluable.

Me. True.

Be prepared to laugh at yourself or at your country.

Australians often do not respond well to America style bells and whistles style presentations. Highly cynical of it.

After or during your proposal you’re expected to be questioned. And you’re expected to have done your homework in any areas that affect your proposal.

Me. True. You can’t just write down figures and not be able to back them up. They will likely have done research in the market and you company. They’re expecting to hear insight , not repetition of industry available common information.

Chinese people beware here.

Contact the Australian trade commission before preparing your presentation.


Work place agreements.

Equality in the workplace.

Friendships are often made across hierarchies. Me. And they expect that for other people too.

Australian English.

Speaking ‘stray’n’

Yewwy, arvo, how you’s goin?

The usual stuff that you can find anywhere.

000 emergency

1223 directory service national.

Telstra Optus Vodafone major phone providers

Be modest with your wealth and skills.

Or important. Australian don’t like this. True.

Australians are Honest and unpretentious.