A Comparison of Australian and Indonesian Culture

1. Introduction

This paper will compare and contrast the Australian and Indonesian culture to have a broader understanding of these two cultures. The comparisons will be based on six aspects which are literature, art, religion, marriage, family and kinship.

2. Literature
2.1 Australian literature

Australian literature has been influenced by the landscape as well as the history of Australia. The early works were written by the convicts and settlers who came to Australia. These works were mostly about their experience in the new land. The themes of Australian literature are often about the Outback, mateship, bush legends as well as the struggle against adversity. Some of the famous Australian writers are Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, Dorothea Mackellar, Miles Franklin and Peter Carey.

2. 2 Indonesian literature

Indonesian literature was firstly influenced by Hindu-Buddhist teachings before Islam became dominant in the fourteenth century. The themes in Indonesian literature are often about religion, love as well as myths and legends. There are also Javanese wayang stories which tell about good versus evil. Some of the famous Indonesian writers are Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Putu Wijaya, Sapardi Djoko Damono and Laksmi Pamuntjak.

3. Art
3.1 Australian art

Australian art is often characterized by its bold colours and unique style. The Aboriginal art is the oldest form of art in Australia which dates back more than 60,000 years ago. Aboriginal art is often about Dreamtime stories which depict the spiritual beliefs of Aboriginal people. Contemporary Australian artists such as Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd are also famous for their distinctive style of painting.

3. 2 Indonesian art

Indonesian art is very diverse due to the many different cultures within Indonesia. Balinese art is one of the most well-known forms of Indonesian art which features intricate carvings and colourful paintings. Batik is another form of Indonesian art which is created by using a wax-resist dyeing technique on cloth. Wayang kulit is a type of shadow puppet theatre which is popular in Indonesia.

4. Religion
4.1 Australian religion

Australia is a very diverse country when it comes to religion. Christianity is the main religion practised in Australia with around 61% of the population identifying as Christian. Other religions practised in Australia include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. There is also a significant number of Australians who do not identify with any religion.

4. 2 Indonesian religion

Islam is the main religion in Indonesia with around 87% of the population being Muslim. Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world. Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism are also practised in Indonesia.

5. Marriage and Family
5.1 Marriage in Australia

In Australia, couples can choose to either get married formally through a civil ceremony or a religious ceremony. There is no legal requirement for couples to get married in order to be considered officially ‘married’. Australian couples usually have a wedding reception after the ceremony where they celebrate their marriage with family and friends.

5. 2 Marriage in Indonesia

In Indonesia, marriage is considered to be a sacred union between a man and a woman. Couples must be legally married in order to be considered ‘married’. Islamic marriages are often conducted by an Imam (Muslim religious leader) while Christian marriages are conducted by a Priest or Pastor. Indonesian weddings usually involve a large number of family and friends who attend the ceremony and reception to celebrate the union of the couple.

5. 3 Family in Australia

The family is the basic unit of society in Australia. The nuclear family is the most common type of family in Australia which consists of a mother, father and their children. However, there are also many families who do not fit into this traditional family structure such as single-parent families, same-sex families and step-families. Australians often have close relationships with their extended family members such as grandparents, cousins and uncles/aunties.

5. 4 Family in Indonesia

The family is also the basic unit of society in Indonesia. The extended family is more common in Indonesia than the nuclear family as many families live together with their grandparents, cousins, uncles/aunties and other relatives under one roof. The head of the household is usually the oldest male member while the women are responsible for taking care of the children and running the household chores. Men are typically the breadwinners of the family and are seen as the head of the household.

6. Kinship
6.1 Kinship in Australia

Kinship refers to the relationships between people who are related by blood or marriage. In Australia, kinship plays an important role in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal people have a strong sense of kinship which is based on their Dreamtime stories and totemic beliefs. Kinship ties are also important within non-Aboriginal families as Australians often have close relationships with their extended family members such as grandparents, cousins and uncles/aunties.

6. 2 Kinship in Indonesia

Kinship also plays an important role in Indonesian society as many families live together with their grandparents, cousins, uncles/aunties and other relatives under one roof. The head of the household is usually the oldest male member while the women are responsible for taking care of the children and running the household chores. Men are typically the breadwinners of the family and are seen as the head of the household.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, there are both similarities and differences between the Australian and Indonesian culture. Both countries have a rich and diverse culture which has been influenced by their history, religion and geography. The family is an important part of both cultures as it forms the basic unit of society. Kinship ties are also important in both cultures as they help to create close relationships between family members and friends.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the similarities and differences between Australian and Indonesian culture?

There are many similarities and differences between Australian and Indonesian culture. Both countries have a rich history and diverse culture that has been influenced by their respective histories. Both countries place a high importance on family, however, the role of family varies in each culture. Australians view work and leisure differently than Indonesians do, with Australians typically valuing work more highly than leisure. The main religious beliefs in Australia are Christianity and Islam, while the main religious beliefs in Indonesia are Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Some general observations about the two cultures based on research would be that Australians are generally more individualistic than Indonesians, who tend to be more collectivist. Australians also tend to be more direct in their communication style, while Indonesians often use indirect communication.

How have these cultures been influenced by their respective histories?

Both cultures have been influenced by their respective histories. Australia was a British colony until 1901, so the culture has been heavily influenced by British culture. Indonesia was a Dutch colony until 1949, so the culture has been heavily influenced by Dutch culture. Both countries have also been influenced by their indigenous cultures.

What is the role of family in each culture?

The role of family varies in each culture. In Australian culture, the nuclear family is the most important unit, and families are typically small and close-knit. In Indonesian culture, extended families are more common, and children often live with their grandparents or other relatives. Families typically play a more central role in Indonesian society than they do in Australian society.

How do Australians and Indonesians view work and leisure?

Australians typically value work more highly than leisure, while Indonesians tend to view work and leisure as equally important parts of life. Australians generally have a more relaxed attitude towards work/life balance, while Indonesians often put in longer hours at work and take less time off for leisure activities.

What are some of the main religious beliefs in each country?

The main religious beliefs in Australia are Christianity and Islam, while the main religious beliefs in Indonesia are Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. There is a lot of religious diversity in both countries, and people of all faiths are respected.

Finally, what are some general observations about the two cultures based on your research?

Some general observations about the two cultures based on research are that Australians are generally more individualistic and independent than Indonesians, who are more collectivistic and interdependent. Australians tend to be more direct in their communication style, while Indonesians are more indirect. Australians also tend to value personal space and privacy more than Indonesians.


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