Family: Australia (Sydney and Melbourne)

After Japan, we were all looking forward to a slower pace in Australia, and that is just what we got!  We were in Australia for a total of 6-weeks, 3 in Sydney and 3 in Melbourne. During our time in Sydney, my Dad actually came for a visit, so we spent lots of time with Papaw.  We stayed close to Sydney and we just enjoyed being at home. My time with my Dad was pretty special, so I plan to write a blog just about his visit.  Our time in Sydney flew by … before I knew it we were in Melbourne.  Shortly after arriving in Melbourne, Jim headed off for a few days to dive the Great Barrier Reef while Nolan and I enjoyed a quiet Easter weekend. Then we closed out our time in Melbourne a family trip down the Great Ocean Road.

I did a bit of research and did find a few interesting facts about Australia on www.aifs.gov.au/facts-and-figures, including:

  • In 2013, 77% of couples lived together before marriage. Unmarried cohabitation provides couples with autonomy from their parents, the ability to adjust to one another on a more intimate and immediate level (that previously occurred during early marriage) and enables both people to pursue careers and opportunities without children.
  • The average age of (first) marriage is almost 30 for men and 28 for women.
  • In 2017, it became legal for same-sex couples to marry, following a nationwide postal vote in favor of the legislation.
  • The divorce rate is actually dropping in Australia.
  • The percentage of parent couples with children under 18 years where both partners work is increasing steadily, from 53% in 1996 to 61% in 2016. There has been a corresponding decrease in the percentage of stay-at-home mums.

Here’s are my research findings:

  • Based on averages of time use estimates reported by parents (with children aged under 15 years) over the period 2002–15: Fathers work, on average, 75 hours a week. Of that, 46 hours is on paid work, 16 hours is on housework and 13 hours is on child care, and Mothers work an average of 77 hours a week: 20 hours is paid work, 30 hours is household work and 27 hours is child care.
  • The parks were busy in the evenings and on the weekend they were even busier!
  • Coffee shops were busy and during the week we often saw people enjoying a morning coffee and reading the paper.
  • A sense of “community” in Australia, I would translate “community” to “family.”

Here’s my final thought on Australia:

  • Our time in Australia was an opportunity to reconnect to our own family. I remember arriving in Sydney totally exhausted and by the time we left Melbourne, we were all feeling rested, connected, and ready to continue our adventure.  I think Australia will always be a little extra special for me when I look back on this trip because our time in Australia was really about us.  We enjoyed the country, but more importantly, we slowed down and focused on our family.
  • In general, I found Australia to be pretty laid back. Maybe my memory of the United States is becoming a bit jaded, but I recall life in the US being a bit more … well, “more.”  As Americans, I think we often get caught up in the idea of more … more money … more things … etc.  I didn’t get the feeling in Australia. The culture seems to be more settled, more relaxed.

And now as always, some of my favorite pictures:

Research:

  • https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/australian-culture/australian-culture-family
  • https://aifs.gov.au/facts-and-figures
  • https://aifs.gov.au/facts-and-figures/divorce-rates-australia
  • https://www.everyculture.com/A-Bo/Australia.html

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