This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.
At last count there were around 113,000 Australians living in the UK, according to the 2011 census. But how welcome do they feel? In 2013, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote an op-ed for the Telegraph titled "The Aussies Are Just Like Us", which argued Australians should have the same UK employment opportunities as Europeans. But what he was really saying, sort of, was that the UK should truly love the residents of their former penal colony.
So how welcoming of Australians do the Brits actually feel? As Johnson wasn't available for comment, I took to the streets of London to find out.
VICE: What are your impressions of Australians in London?
Russell: I think they are all absolutely lovely and wonderful human beings.
Why do you say that?
Because I work in the bar industry and there are loads of them. They seem to gravitate to the booze and the fun. The only downside is that Australians on the drink aren't very welcoming to other religions or races. They also tend to take a lot of drugs, but is that a negative thing?
How do you spot an Australian on the street?
The accent's generally quite strong and it carries. Australians seem to not be particularly quiet, so you can hear them before you seem them.
Any traits you don't like?
The loudness. I tend to find Kiwis more reserved.
Hey Emi, Australians in the UK—yay or nay?
Yay! It's a two-way relationship. Brits get to go to Australia for two years and the Australians get to come here.
Ever dated an Australian guy in London?
No I haven't, but I would! They tend to be pretty good looking as long as the tan is still there. The tan really fucking helps. I once slept with an Aussie in London, great sex, but rather ironic because he worked for an AIDS charity and I had to pressure him to wear a condom…. so maybe they're not the smartest tools in the shed.
Any other distinguishing features?
Aussies tend to say what they think and are not afraid of emotion. There's no stiff upper lip bullshit. So, if you need to go and have a shit fit, you can just go and have a shit fit.
A friend at work is Australian. She's just blunt and honest, and also quite sassy. She told me the other day I was looking "like shit," but then she asked whether I was ok. You don't find that type of honesty or sympathetic concern in Britain.
What do you think of Australians in London?
I can't stand them. I didn't particularly like them when I was in Australia so over here I'm not a fan of them, at all.
They are arrogant and have a real thing against the English. It's just constant. The women are ok, but the men have a real chip on their shoulder. Maybe it's got something to do with their convict roots. All they do is come over here and moan about how shit it is, and when you're over there all they do is call you "Pommy" and whatever else.
Any other distinguishing features?
You can spot them a mile away, can't you? It's just the whiney accent; I am not a fan of the whiney accent. They're also massively racist and semi-functioning alcoholics.
Look to the Walkabout Bars, every time you go near them you encounter a bunch of Aussie twats.
Doing what, exactly?
Screaming the phrase "root the boot." I have absolutely no idea what that means, nor do I want to know. I can only imagine it means something vulgar.
Do you find there are many Aussies in London?
Yes, there are loads of Aussie mums around Islington with their double buggies, protein shakes and cigarettes. There's a ridiculous amount of Australians in London.
What's the stereotype?
Blonde hair (obviously), cracking tan, 6′4 (for the men) and they're just generally beach gods. The girls are really fit with tight stomachs. Just a vision of health, in fact, I have never met a fat one.
Any personality traits that stand out?
Quite dry, witty and funny. They do swear a lot and like the word "cunt." I enjoy that. And the accent, it just kills me. I love it, particularly the Aussie boys.
What about any negative stereotypes?
20 percent of Australians are part time racists and the other 80 percent are full time. They also drink a lot and take a shit load of drugs.
Do you know Australians over here?
Yes, there are four Australians at work. They are super cute and really fucking cool. However, they do surprise me a little as they're not as "Australian" as I thought they would be.
They never say "g'day mate", at all, in any way. They never have barbeques, that's just not a thing. Mainly they just call each other "cunt" and have opinions, on everything. They always want to put their two cents in, which can be good as it encourages discussion but it can also be pretty overbearing.
Some of the phrases they use?
"Fucking cunt." Just "cunt," "cunt" and more "cunt." "Bogan" as well.
They're a bit mental and crazy. I really don't know what you've got in the water down there, but it's a good crazy.
Hey Karl, what's an Aussie stereotype to you?
"G'day cunt, how you doing?" They swear loads, but good-naturedly. The ones over here tend to hang out in cliques and all have the same type of jobs, taking care of kids and bartending.
Are there any particular characteristics you've noticed?
They're massive drinkers and pretty racist towards Asians.
Yeah, I'm not willing to comment on that.
Describe the Aussie situation in London?
There's shit loads of them! But most people are not too fussed because they are white.
What are they like on a night out?
Most of the time they are completely smashed and high on drugs. Mainly coke, because I think it's super expensive in Australia so they come over here and they get really coked-up.
Have you noticed any cultural differences?
The English have a strong stiff upper lip mentality and are too polite for words and Australian people are not. They also swear more and like the word "cunt."
Not really. I do have an Aussie friend who's a mastermind at saying what she thinks. She's also super protective of her Australian roots. She's constantly trying to argue the merits of Vegemite, like who cares? Just the Aussies in London it would seem [laughs].
Hi Josh, know many Aussies in London?
Yes, my apprentice, Rhys. He's a tank, a typical outback redneck Australian. He used to work down a mine.
What's he like?
He's a beautiful boy with big arms, strong fat thighs and terrible tats. He goes to Ibiza every year and spends every penny he's got going ridiculously hard. He likes to drink, a lot, and at the staff party he got absolutely wasted. He was on the floor like an aubergine. And any girl in sight, he's after. He likes to chase the skirt.
Anyone else, besides Rhys?
My housemate, she's a super cool indie kid. It's weird with the Australians over here because you either get the "Melbourne type" who are creative and interesting or you get the larger louts. They also get a bit funny about sport sometimes. The cricket and the rugby, they really think they're a lot better than us.
A lot of people are calling Australians racist. What do you think?
They're not completely racist. I went to school in Shropshire and in the cricket season we used to bring a couple of Aussie gap students over and they were quite racist. I suppose it was just all lads and they felt they could say what they wanted.
Any phrases you hear a lot?
"Cunt," literally just "cunt." "Fucking aye," "in the arvo." They also call a "Duvet" a "doona"—like what the fuck is a doona?
Australians in London—yay or nay?
They are a good laugh, but they need to improve in their rugby a bit. Also they're pretty loud and obnoxious. Also on gender I think they are a few years behind. In terms of their approach to feminism, they are backward when compared to us British. I am not saying that all Australians are raging misogynists, but the ones over here are quite misogynistic.
Hey Kenny, Australians in London?
Really? Do you know any?
A really close mate is Australian. He's great, really into his beers, driven and ambitious. He's also quite cultural and loves to promote Australia at any given chance.
Would you classify him as racist?
Fuck off. No.
Right, overall do you see any negatives with Aussies in London?
Not really. The only thing is that in the corporate world they are really ambitious and keen to work their way to the top. They want to learn and get the experience, but ultimately they want to take that knowledge back home. They don't want to stay here. That's a problem for the rest of us! It can be frustrating.
A lot of Londoners have termed Australians "racist." Would you agree?
Well, I have actually just got back from Australia and this is going to sound bad, but from Melbourne to just below Cairns I didn't encounter a lot of people from different backgrounds or races. Everyone was white.
Does that have an effect?
I think you would have to be pretty naïve to come to London and expect everyone to be the same. London is such a diverse city and I think that draws people to London in the first place. And while I don't know any racist Australians personally, it's definitely something I've heard.
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