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Australian National Identity

             A national identity defined by Ian McAllister (1) is "the feeling of being associated with a national group, defined by common heritage which may be based on many attributes, the most common being race, territory, language and history.
             So what is the Australian national identity? Who can decide what it is? Who is truly Australian? And is there a single Australian identity? These questions have been asked throughout this country's short life.
             In my opinion the Australian identity has changed through history and by the contact with the global community. Today it is questionable, whether there is a single one or not. There is no doubt that Australians seem to have a problem to define its unique Identity. Otherwise these questions I mentioned above would not be asked that often because everybody would know what the identity is. Obviously this problem shows, that many people have different views of what the identity is and have not found a single one yet.
             Section 1: Traditional identity.
             Historians such as Richard White (2) argue that Australian national identity has been constructed over the past 200 years from popular images and myths.
             Many dates in the past can be seen to shape the national identity. From the colonial beginnings (1788 to early 1800s), to the wild gold rush days (1850s), to Federation (1901), to World War One (1914-1918), to the Depression (1930s), to Word War Two (1939-1945) with the threat of invasion (1941-1942). It seems that from colonization to World War Two Australians knew where they stood.
             For the first one third of Australia's history the majority of white Australians were either convicts or the offspring of one. As we heard in the lecture Historical Introduction of National identity on 18th march 2004 this promoted values like "mateship", which is still often used to describe Australians. During the 19th century Australia became a land of new opportunities for many immigrants.

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