Kylie, soapies, shopping malls … we take a look at the best and worst Aussie exports to Britain. WORDS: Daniel Landon

Britain did Australia the favour (or disservice, depending on your point of view) of invading, founding and getting the country up-and-running.

From the flag, to cricket, to the legal system and language, it’s hard to overestimate the size of Britain’s legacy to Australia.

But in return Australia has given a fair bit back to its mother country.

So to mark this Australia Day, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the country’s exports to Britain.

The good

Sporting professionalism

Australia’s continuing success in a wide range of sports from cricket to swimming has been galling for the perennially under-performing Brits (last year’s Olympics aside).

So much so that the UK has started to copy the Australian Institute of Sport-style system for nurturing up-and-coming young athletes.

Tight-arse backpackers

Once upon a time, a good percentage of England’s pubs could not have survived without being able pay crap wages to willing Aussies.

Since the mid-’90s the jobs now are more diverse and (sometimes) better paid, but the reputation for working (and partying) hard remains.

Hundreds of thousands of troops

Whether Australia should have been fighting the UK’s wars in the first place is debatable.

But what’s indisputable is the massive contribution Aussie troops made to the Allied cause in both world wars.

Boost Juice

This chain of fresh juice and smoothie bars began producing the ultimate hangover cures back in Oz in 2000, and since 2007 in the UK.

Lovable cultural icons

Clive James, Rolf Harris and Barry Humphries/Dame Edna Everage might be known mostly for their humour or wackiness, but they have each become hugely respected, so much so that even Rolf — lampooned mercilessly for his crazy art — was chosen to paint a portrait of the Queen.


She morphed from a bubblegum pop star into a popular and respected performer who’s brought talent, charm, sass and bravery to the UK music scene.

Cheap but quality plonk

With the Europeans strangely proud of their impenetrable, archaic wine labelling, the arrival from the new world of cheap, drinkable and unpretentious reds and whites was a breath of fresh air for British wine drinkers.

Shopping malls

In a grey, windy, cold country, having loads of shops together under one giant roof like at the Shepherd’s Bush Westfield is a massive improvement on the high street. Brilliant.


Not only has it endeared Australia to millions of Brits, it pumps heaps of cash into the economy of the otherwise struggling economy of outer Melbourne when Brit backpackers make the pilgrimage to Vermont South, aka Erinsborough.

The bad and the ugly


A beer so lame nobody drinks it in Australia. Seriously.

You get looked at funny if you order it in a bar. Why Brits are dumb enough to drink it is an eternal mystery to Aussies.

Home And Away

An Aussie soap opera set on a beach that’s bathed in perpetual sunshine where everyone walks around in shorts and singlets — what’s not to hate about such cringe-inducing stereotypes?

Ugg boots

What’s next: old man slippers as nightclub wear? Ugg boots might be fine in the lounge room, they’re not if you’re out and about. Ugg-ly!

Icons gone bad

Germaine Greer and Jason Donovan started out with promising careers in the UK (as a ’60s intellectual and an ’80s pop sensation respectively).

Greer is now best known for taking eccentric pot shots at all manner of targets, dead and alive, while Donovan rapidly became a figure of fun for simply being totally naff.

The points-based immigration system

Australia has a super-tough immigration system, the problem is that Britain has explicitly and shamelessly copied it in devising their new system.

As a result it’s now more of a hassle for young Aussies to come to live and work in the UK.

Surfwear, especially thongs (flip-flops) and boardies in winter

About as smart as Aussies wearing a traditional three-piece suit to work on a 35˚C day in the middle of summer.

Britain’s dodgy exports down under

Crap TV
From Are you Being Served? to Dad’s Army to Keeping Up Appearances to costume dramas — every time you turn on the TV in Oz there’s another naff show from Britain.

Sunburnt Brits

Brits love soaking up the sun to excess. But if you’re a Brit Down Under, for the love of God please put on a shirt — looking like a boiled lobster makes the locals laugh at you.

Celeb culture

Once upon a time we just knew musos and sportsmen like Jimmy Barnes and David Boon as hard-drinking mofos.

But due to the infiltration of celeb culture from Britain (thanks very much Posh and Becks), these days we know every detail of Michael Clarke and Laura Bingle’s relationship. As if we give a crap.

The Royals

Having a British person ruling Britain is fine, but the Queen being head of state of a country on the other side of the earth is a monumental travesty of common sense.

What we wish we’d got instead

» Cheap holidays in Europe

» Marks & Spencer

» Dozens of summer music festivals

» Topshop, Primark, H&M, Zara

» The Tube (when it’s working)

» A quality pub on every corner

» A variety of European beers

» History