Strangers in a familiar land

Divided by a common culture

Featured in

  • Published 20200726
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-50-4
  • Extent: 304pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

THERE ARE THINGS you miss about Australia when you live in London, but you need never want for Australian company. There’s an Australian teacher at my kids’ school. I find Australians serving coffees, working at reception desks, handling public relations, running tech start-­ups, churning out think-­tank papers, poring over spreadsheets at accounting firms, publishing books, designing buildings. They may not be in Earl’s Court or Shepherd’s Bush anymore, but they’re in Clapham, Putney, Islington, Whitechapel – all points of the London compass.

Even in the era of coronavirus – when our government and our families are urging us home, and the sense of geographical distance between Britain and the Antipodes feels greater than it has in many, many decades – there are probably more Australians living in London than there are in Darwin. It’s a source of constant bemusement to our English hosts. What are you doing here, the Brits always ask us; what’s wrong with you, choosing bleak and bleary Blighty over Australia’s eternal sunshine?

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

About the author

Hans van Leeuwen

Hans van Leeuwen is The Australian Financial Review’s Europe correspondent. He previously worked as a senior political and policy adviser at the Australian High...

More from this edition

Shadow life

MemoirI WAS LESS than five when I left Hungary for Australia, yet many of my formative experiences had already taken place – mostly unremembered and...

Stranger than the dreams of Ptolemy

EssayAlthough Europeans had believed in the symmetry of the two hemispheres for nearly two centuries, they silently forgot the idea. They tolerantly accepted that...

All mod cons

GR OnlineIs European Modernism any different to what we’ve inherited in Australia and made our own? In our own rush to be a modern nation, did we also forget to learn its exclusion clauses, without those special exceptions to the rules that mostly applied?

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.