There is a certain nationwide pride in the recreational potentials of the Australian environment than any other environment in the world. Australia presents itself to the world as a country with perfect cultures of leisure and struggle. Cultural historians assert that the current Australian cultures resulted from a set of different colonies, cultures, and inhabitants (Jalland, 2002).
This paper focuses on transformation and change in Australia between the years 1850 and 1945. In Australia, a bush refers to a scarcely populated region with or without vegetation cover. Cultural historians believe that in the 19th century the term bush referred to any area outside the urban regions (Ferber & Healy, 2002). Bush culture is a famous icon in the country’s lives and features.
The culture is symbolised in Australian literatures, paintings, music, and films. When the first immigrants arrived in Australia, they found that the country’s bush was exceptional compared to other landscapes in Europe. As such, the bush was considered a basis of national ideals fostering a sense of patriotism. Between the years 1850 and 1890, the residents came up with several folklores about Australian bush.
During this period, bush ranging was a favoured way of living among the early immigrants. The outlawed act resulted from limited supplies among the early settlers. Although several bushrangers were very popular, some of them were violent and more often attacked the gold miners and transporters.
In the year 1853, native troops were employed to protect the gold miners and transporters against the bushrangers. The fame of these bushrangers has been celebrated in the bush songs and myths. On the gold mines of the years 1854 and 1855, the miners were commemorated in tales and songs as brave men who enhanced democracy.
The suburbanization of Sydney and Melbourne began in the mid 19th century. In the year 1870, the expansion of the suburban settlement had absorbed the bulk of a rapid and sustained growth of the colonial population (Ferber & Healy, 2002). Melbourne city increased from 268,000 individuals in the 1870 to 473,000 individuals in the 1880s.
In Sydney, the population grew from 38,949 in the year 1861 to 369,721 in the year 1901 (Metusela & Waitt, 2012). The attractiveness of suburbs was a persistent social force in Australia. As such, there was an abundance of land for urban expansion. Infrastructure expanded rapidly after the 1870s. With the expansion of infrastructures, communication between settlements became easier.
This increased a sense of national identity among the settlers. Before the end of the 19th century, six colonies had vowed to unite and work together. During the early years of urbanization, immigrants perceived the expansions of towns as a potentially alienating and de-humanizing force. These attitudes were reinforced by the mythology and symbolism of the bush culture.
During the World War I, one journalist described Australian soldiers as city-bred individuals who were Bushmen in their values, virtues, and vices. This description was right because at the start of the 20th century, city lives for most urban Australians retained strong negative associations (Metusela & Waitt, 2012). Notably, the city life was seen as a trap to most city dwellers.
On the other hand, the bush life was forbidding alternative. The city became a practical necessity, while the bush became an idealized dream. Because of this, the suburb became a marvellous compromise. In the suburb, Australians could retain their rural associations and natural symbols. With the ownership of houses and land, families’ social and economic statuses improved.
Since the infancy of suburbia in Australia in the 1850s, there has been continuity in the attitudes, values, and motives underlying suburbanization (Metusela & Waitt, 2012). When the settlers arrived in Australia in the 19th century, they found little use of the beaches. Notably, the beaches were infertile and uninhabited. During the late 19th century, it was illegal to swim in the beach water during the daytime (Booth, 2001).
As the population in Sydney, Melbourne, and other towns expanded, the river waters around these cities became less enticing. Consequently, the ocean beaches, with their breezes and distance from the smelly, polluted river and harbour waters, acted as alternative places of recreation. During the end of the 19th century, there was a reduction in working hours resulting in more time for the relaxation (Ferber & Healy, 2002).
As the popularity of the beaches increased, private lands around the beaches were resumed to make the areas public recreational facilities. Thus, more people visited the ocean beaches in large numbers, and some of them settled closer to these recreational centres. During the World War I, beaches in Australia fostered patriotic feelings among the residents and served as tourism attraction sites. During the mid 20th century, more Australians had become obsessed with the beaches (Huntsman, 2001).
Beaches cultures were compiled in literature, cinema, photography, painting, theatre, and television dramas. In conclusion, it is remarkable for Australians to note that their cultures resulted from a set of different colonies, cultures, and inhabitants. As such, during the 19th century the bush was the subject of popular culture production.
With the urbanisation during the late 19th century, city culture replaced the bush culture. During the early 20th century, the beach culture emerged in Australia and replaced the city culture. Ever since then, the beach culture has replaced the bush culture and the urban culture as an image of the Australian way of life
Booth, D. (2001). Australian beach cultures: the history of sun, sand, and surf. London: F. Cass.
Ferber, S., & Healy, C. (2002). Beasts of suburbia: reinterpreting cultures in Australian suburbs . Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press ;.
Huntsman, L. (2001). Sand in our souls: the beach in Australian history. Carlton South, Victoria, Australia: Melbourne University Press.
Jalland, P. (2002). Australian ways of death a social and cultural history, 1840-1918. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Metusela, C., & Waitt, G. (2012). Tourism and Australian beach cultures: revealing bodies . Bristol: Channel View Publications.