An Australian Icon is defined as “an image or symbolic representation, which often holds great significance and importance to the Australian culture.” Every country has icons that represent their culture and values; Nelson Mandela is an example of a South African icon but also an icon of the world, who represented statesmanship, courage, freedom and equality against apartheid. Australia also has many significant icons such as the Sydney Opera House, Uluru, vegemite, Ned Kelly, and the Koala to name a few. These have all played significant parts in Australia’s background, culture and values.
Ultimately, the Kangaroo has to be Australia’s most famous and significant icon, it is known by the majority of people around the world and associated always with Australia. Due to the similarities it shares with the Australian character, it is recognised as the typical icon of Australia. The kangaroo represents Australia in many ways including: the logo for Qantas airlines, mascots for many sporting teams, and all products made in Australia are represented by the gold and green kangaroo trademark. Likewise it is represented on many television programs (e.g. Skippy the bush kangaroo), movies (e.g. kangaroo Jack), songs (e.g. Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport), toys and souvenirs. Most significantly of all, the kangaroo appears on the Australian Coat of Arms. Being an animal exclusive to Australia as well as one that can’t move backwards, the kangaroo is symbolically appropriate in representing Australia and the countries progress forward.
Historical, Social, Cultural Context
The kangaroo holds a significant historical, cultural and social background to Australia. Before European settlement (around 1780’s), the kangaroo was an important animal to Aborigines for its meat, hide, bones and sinews. It was also used in Aboriginal dreaming stories (also an icon of Australia). There is a well-known myth about kangaroo’s and how they got their...