No Enclave — Australian Los Angeles

Today was Australia Day from 1915 til 1935 (when it was moved to 26 January) and Los Angeles is home to far more Australians than any other American city. According to the Australian Consulate-General, there are about 44,000 Australians living in Metro Los Angeles — more than twice as many as live in second-place New York City. In fact, outside of Australia, London is likely the only city with a larger Australian community. But whereas London’s Earl’s Court was historically nicknamed as Kangaroo Valley, Los Angeles has never supported a recognized Australian enclave because in no one community are Australian Angelenos exactly high profile.


There are an estimated 310,000 Australians living abroad today and about 44% of them live in the UK. The US is home to about 30% of Australia’s diaspora and roughly one out of every two live in Metro Los Angeles. Most early Australians in California, including the notorious Sydney Ducks, lived in San Francisco, where they sometimes found themselves thrust into violent conflict (alongside other foreigners from Canada, Mexico, and South America) with San Francisco’s Nativist gangs. They came, like so many other immigrants, in search of gold — but gold that American “natives” felt entitled to despite the fact that it was discovered in what was then still part of Mexico’s Las Californias. California enacted a Foreign Miners’ Tax that required all non-Americans to pay $20 a month for a license — about $700 adjusted for inflation. Large numbers of Australians continued to come to the US, though, until the depression of the 1890s.


The country of Australia dominates the continent of Australia, which it shares with Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the sixth largest country by area but its entire population (25.36 million) barely exceeds the population of Southern California (23.86 million). The first homo sapiens appeared in Australia some 70,000 years ago and eventually developed into about 250 distinct cultures including the Anangu, Arrernte, Koori, Murri, Tiwi, Palawah, Pitjantjatjara, Luritja, and Warlpiri which, collectively, are usually referred to either as Australian aborigines or indigenous Australians.

In 1644, Dutch sailor Abel Tasman sited Australia and, as was the fashion of the day, named it “Nieuw-Holland.” Great Britain subsequently claimed the eastern half of the country and in 1817 named it “Australia,” derived from the LatinTerra Australis.” On 1 January 1901, six self-governing crown colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia is a multi-ethnic society today. 36.1% of Australians claim English ancestry, 11% Irish, 9.3% Scottish, 5.6% Chinese, 4.6% Italian, 4.5% German, 2.8% aboriginal, 2.8&% Indian, 1.8% Greek, 1.6% Dutch, 1.4% Filipino, 1.4% Vietnamese, and 1% Lebanese. Australia is also home to a large foreign-born population, one comprising roughly 26% of the country. The greatest number of foreign-born Australians come from (in descending order) England, New Zealand, China (including Hong Kong), India, and the Philippines. Australia is also home to the sixth largest population of Americans.


Australia has deserts, savannas, subtropics, and rain forest but is dominated by semi-arid scrub-lands not dissimilar to those that characterize much of Southern California. There are numerous significant differences in the landscapes, however. Australia, for one, is the flattest continent one earth. Its highest peak rises just 2,228 meters above sea level. Southern California, on the other hand, is positively covered with rugged mountains. Its tallest peak rises 3,506 meters above sea level.

Australia and California are both characterized by high degrees of endemism and both regions thus have complex networks of ecological interactions sometimes characterized as the wood wide web. Historically, though, many Angelenos had little regard for native plants and regarded Australian trees as attractive primarily on account of their drought tolerances and perceived exoticism. Today, Los Angeles is still dominated by foreign plant species, and so many are from Australia that the Huntington‘s Australian Garden (created in 1964) provides less obvious contrast with the surrounding landscape of San Marino than the other landscapes of the botanical garden.

One of the most instantly recognizable Australian imports is the eucalyptus, 100,000 of which were brought to Southern California in 1873. Eucalypti are famously favored by koalas, one of nature’s most famous picky eaters. They are far from nature’s only picky eaters, which include not just animals but plants, fungi, and bacteria. Eucalypti are beautiful trees with a wonderful smell but that aroma not only makes them unappealing to Southern California fauna, it, like many non-natives, actively supresses the growth of native plants through a process known as allelopathy.

A bunya (left) in Silver Lake

The Bunya (Araucaria bidwillii) enjoyed a brief period of popularity around the turn of the 20th century. Their popularity as a yard tree was short, I suspect, because people quickly discovered that their cones are incredibly large and heavy — and capable of causing serious damage to homes and their residents that find themselves underneath them. You still see them, however, in cemeteries — where they’re less likely to cause harm. One, “El Pino Famoso,” was featured in the 1993 film Blood In, Blood Out, and is an icon of the Eastside.

Palms, including the the cabbage-tree palm (Livistona australis), are controversial. Their champions regard them as a timeless symbol of Los Angeles — even though most were planted in 1931 in preparation for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Their detractors are quick to point out that they are useless as street trees — providing, as they do, little desperately-needed shade and thus are incapable of lowering the temperature as much as native trees like sycamores, oaks, or walnuts. Those who wish to abolish palms might also point out that they not only provide relatively few benefits for native wildlife, they actively attract and harbor invasive roof rats and native-attacking weevils.

Two Moreton Bay figs overlooking Los Angeles State Historic Park and Dogtown

Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla) are another Australian import and several, including ones in Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Little Tokyo, and Santa Barbara, are icons of the communities in which they’re found. In 2009, a collection of 39 Moreton Bay figs in Los Feliz were declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 940. They are, like all trees, better suited for their natural environment — in their case, rainforest — than they are narrow Southern California road verges. Ficuses, for their sidewalk and street busting roots, were removed from the city’s list of approved trees but, despite the demonstrated superiority of native trees in almost every environment, that list still includes at least half a dozen species of melaleucas and other drought-tolerant Australian imports.

The unsuitability of Australian animals in Los Angeles is, seemingly, more easily understood although you do occasionally encounter a pet store full of neurotic, captive cockatiels. The most obvious Australian animals encountered in Los Angeles, though, are dog including Australian shepherds and, less commonly, cattle dogs. The Los Angeles Zoo, on the other hand, is home to Australian lungfish, echidnas, kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils, wallabies, wombats, and even the Australia House. Many are rare or even endangered and, I would argue, that modern zoos probably do more good than bad for most (but not all) of the animals within them. However, in 2016, our world famous mountain lion P-22 entered a zoo enclosure and killed a koala.


An advertisement for Outback Steakhouse featuring Rachel Hunter, who is from New Zealand

I’m generally of the opinion that cuisine is the most accessible entry point into another culture but I think I can say, without much controversy that most Americans have few notions about Australian cuisine and that most of those that they do have are wrong. There are over 1,000 locations of the nominally Australian chain, Outback Steakhouse, the ads for which inevitably feature an Australian accented voice backed by a didgeridoo. Outback Steakhouse, however, was founded in Tampa by five people who, between them, had visited Australia a total of zero times. The signature bloomin’ onion — a 2000 calorie batter-coated, deep-fried onion served with horseradish mayonnaise — traces its origins to a New Orleans restaurant where one of Outback Steakhouse’s founders had previously worked. Other items like filet & shrimp on the barbie (Australians refer to shrimp as prawns, by the way), Aussie fries, and Alice Springs quesadillas are equally un-Australian.

In the 2000s, television viewers were told, again by someone with a broad Australian accent and backed by a didgeridoo, that they would be taught “how to speak Australian.” The ads ended with the narrator saying, “Foster’s: Australian for beer.” If proof were needed that no one reads the fine prints in commercials, the final frame contained a written message that Foster’s is brewed at “Oil Can Breweries, Fort Worth, TX.” Nevertheless, an offended New Yorker, upon learning the truth about Foster’s, sued then owner, MillerCoors. Foster’s, however, at least has ties of Australia. It was founded in Melbourne by two Americans, Ralph and William Foster, in 1887. They quickly sold the operation and returned to the US. Today Foster’s is owned by Asahi Group Holdings, of Japan, except in the UK, where rights to brew it are owned by Heineken Internation, of the Netherlands. “Foster’s,” it could perhaps be said, “is Australian for ‘unremarkable macrobrew made by two muli-national corporations. and far less popular in Australian than, say, Carlton Draught, James Boag’s Premium, and Victoria Bitter. Come to think of it, Foster’s isn’t even especially popular in Los Angeles, where one is more likely to encounter bottom shelf Australian wines like Butterfield Station, Jacob’s Creek, and Yellowtail than they are those 25 ounce blue cans of lager.

Historically, indigenous Australians subsisted largely on a hunter-gatherer diet of native flora (e.g. riberry) and fauna (e.g. green ants and emus), referred to as “bush tucker.” Don’t expect to find that on any laminated menu any time soon, though. As colonizers do, the British imported their own culinary traditions, including still popular meat pies and Sunday roast. Sometimes Australian creations retain signs of their origins. An Australian friend once presented me with a jar of Vegemite which looked, it has to be said, ever so slightly like Marmite. The Australian flat white looks a bit like the Italian latte, introduced by post-World War II Italian immigrants. Chiko rolls, first sold as Chicken Rolls (despite containing no chicken) were obviously inspired by immigrants from China and Hong Kong who introduced dim sum items like spring rolls. Australians seems to enjoy putting a bit of a spin on desserts too, and thus, in the 1920s, cream cakes became Pavlovas and sponge cakes evolved into Lamingtons. Tim Tams were inspired by Penguin biscuits. Another Australian introduce those to me and, although I suppose I thought it was fine, it was evident that she, having retained childhood associations with them, was getting a lot more out of them than I was.

If one wanted to obtain Australian products, I suppose there best bets (barring relatives in Australia shipping them over) would probably be a British market. At least, the Australian-owned Continental Shop was the sort of place where one could find those. The Continental Shop was legendary. It began in what’s now Koreatown in 1967. It moved to Santa Monica‘s Little Britain around 1991, where it remained until its closing in 2016. That’s where I encountered it when on the hunt for decent black tea — which they had. It was primarily a British market although I remember, rightly or wrongly, that it had Australian products too. It had a VHS section full of episodes of British television series, too, and I’m almost certain, Australian shows like Neighbors.

Mainstream newspapers on the East Coast are notorious for getting everything wrong about the West Coast but when The Washington Post claimed that avocado toast was invented in 1993 by Australian cook Bill Granger, it was laughable and an easily refutable instance of “fake news.” Had anyone bothered to check newspaper archives, they might’ve found written documentation of avocado toast from as long ago as 1885, when a reporter for the Daily Alta California, wrote ‚ÄúAvocado pears, commonly called ‘Alligator,’ are delicious for breakfast or lunch. Quarter them and, remove the pulp with a silver knife; spread it on slices of bread, and season with salt and pepper to taste.‚ÄĚ Less forgivable is the fact that Discover Los Angeles — the city’s official tourist site — repeated that bit of nonsense about avocado toast’s Australian original, although a sad fact is that mainstream local media is no better when it comes to covering Los Angeles. What is true, however, is that Australian cafe culture found its foothold in the US first in New York City and it was probably transplants from Brooklyn who can pat themselves on the back for helping introduce it to Los Angeles. Like most food fads imported from the East, it rode in on a wave of hype that just as quickly receded. Some Australian cafes, like Little Ruby, Paramount Coffee Project, Pollen, and Roo Coffee, rose and fell. Others, however, like Bondi Harvest, Bronzed Aussie, Great White, Gum Tree Shop & Caf√©, Little Ripper Coffee, Ministry of Coffee, Red Window Coffee Bar, and Tectonic Coffee, all continue to flourish.

Other establishments with ties to Australia include E.P. & L.P., an Asian fusion place owned by Melbournians Grant Smillie and David Combes; New American restaurant Maude, owned by another Melbournian, Curtis Stone; and Gwen, co-owned by Stone and his brother Luke.



Australia, like the US, has no official language but English is the lingua franca of both. About 73% of Australians speak Australian English (or “Strine”) as their primary language. Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Italian are also widely spoken. I’m not sure why Americans are typically unable to identify other dialects but most attempts to sound Australian involve saying “G’day mate” or doing a Steve Irwin impression. It is apparently almost impossible for hacky writers to resist sticking in a “down under” or using Australianism like “brekkie” into robotically formulaic pieces. Perhaps that’s partly why it’s so rare that American actors succeed at convincingly portraying Australians (or anyone not American, for that matter). Australian actors, in my experience, are generally very convincing at portraying Americans of various backgrounds. An Australian writer, Jaime, told me that this was because Australia’s entertainment industry is comparatively small and so most Australians actors find work overseas and thus learn early on to speak other dialects of English. Makes sense to me.

There’s also, perhaps, the fact that Hollywood utterly dominated Australia’s cinemas just as it squeezed out most foreign films from their American counterparts. That started to change, in Australia anyway, in the 1970s, with the Australian New Wave, which produced highly regarded films like Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and My Brilliant Career (1979). Some Australian films garnered at least critical acclaim if not massive box office revenues in the US. However, even though I’ve never met an American who couldn’t at least understand Australian English, when Mad Max finally made its way into American cinemas in 1980, it was dubbed in American English. In fact, it wasn’t until 2000 that Mad Max was finally released, on DVD, with its original Australian dialogue.

Arts and crafts home, 23 Waimea Road, Lindfield, New South Wales, Australia. (Image: OSX)

Hollywood influenced not just Australia’s film industry but its design and architecture. By 1913, California Craftsman bungalows were popular there. American cars, clothes, and furniture also made an imprint, overtaking the dominance of British style in the process. Although overshadowed by Hollywood, Australia did establish a homegrown film industry early on. In fact, the movie usually regarded as the first feature film as a bushranger, The Story of the Kelly Gang, released in 1906.


A still from Ice Cold Cocos, filmed in Silver Lake.

Still, the US film industry was a juggernaut and even during the silent era, Australian actors began relocating to Edendale and later, Hollywood. Among these film pioneers were Daphne Pollard, Louise Lovely, Lydia Yeamans Titus, and Orry-Kelly.

Orry-Kelly was a costume designer whose work was awarded with three Academy Awards for Best Costume Design. Born Orry George Kelly on 31 December 1897 in Kiama, Orry-Kelly moved to Sydney at seventeen to study banking. There, he developed an interest in theater. Orry-Kelly moved to New York City to pursue an acting career where he lived in a Greenwich Village apartment with his romantic partner and fellow actor, Cary Grant (then still known as Charles Phelps as well as Charlie Spangles). Painting murals in a nightclub led to a job illustrating titles at Fox East Coast studios. He began designing costumes and sets for Broadway productions before moving to Los Angeles in 1932, when was hired by Warner Bros. as their chief costume designer. He remained with them until 1944, afterward working for MGM, RKO, 20th Century Fox, and Universal. He served in the US Army Air Corps during World War II until he was discharged because of his alcoholism. He died of liver cancer in 1964. Cary Grant was one of the pallbearers at his funeral.

Silver Lake‘s Music Box Steps are named after a 1932 Laurel & Hardy film, but Australian comedian Billy Bevan beat them to the punch with a similar comedy, Ice Cold Cocos, filmed on the same stairway and released nearly a decade earlier, in 1926.

The first real Australian Angeleno movie star was Errol Flynn, born in Battery Point, Tasmania on 20 June 1909. In 1933, Flynn moved to the UK to pursue a career as an actor. After he moved to Hollywood, Warner Bros. described him as an “Irish leading man of the London stage” in publicity for his starring role in Captain Blood (1935). Most of Flynn’s roles that followed were in the swashbuckler mode or, more broadly, the adventure genre, including his most famous, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and The Sea Hawk (1940). His star dimmed after he was charged in 1942 after two teenagers charged him with statutory rape. He continued to act in Hollywood films, though, until 1954, when he relocated to Europe for a few years. He returned to Los Angeles in 1957 and died, aged fifty, on 14 October 1959. His home, named “Mulholland Farm,” was discovered to have been fitted with hidden microphones, peepholes, two-way mirrors, and other voyeuristic features.

In the 1980s, there was a several-year-long craze in the US for Australian culture. It’s hard to say exactly what kick-started it but Mad Max 2 (re-titled The Road Warrior in the US), and introduced Mel Gibson to a larger American audience when it was released in 1982. It was followed by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which co-starred Tina Turner and was criticized by some for being “Hollywoodized.” The Australian wave peaked in the mid-1980s and, somewhat out of the blue, Crocodile Dundee was the second-highest grossing film in the US in 1986. Australian footballer Mark “Jacko” Jackson was cast in the ostensibly science-fiction television series, The Highwayman, presumably to lend it an authentically dystopian air. Crocodile Dundee II was the sixth-highest grossing film in the US in 1988, signaling that perhaps the Australian wave had jumped the Noah. By the time Yahoo Serious‘s Young Einstein in 1988, the indifference with which it was received by American audiences further suggested that Hollywood and Australia were going their separate ways. When Evil Angels came out (released in the US as A Cry in the Dark), the lead Australian character was played by American Meryl Streep and the misremembered line, “a dingo ate my baby” became a bit of a joke. Then, thirteen long years later, someone decided Crocodile Dundee needed to visit Los Angeles.

There are, of course, still many Australian actors, producers, directors, writers, &c and many of them live or have lived (or at least own a home) in Los Angeles, making them Australian Angelenos. Australian Angeleno actors and filmmakers include Ann Richards, Breanna Yde, Bryan Brown, Cate Blanchett, Desmond Chiam, Diana Ward, Emily Dean, Felicity Pickering, Genevieve Kertesz, Heath Ledger, Izzy Stevens, Jacinda Barrett, Jess Riley, Jessica Orcsik, Kane O’Reilly, Keir O’Donnell, Kristen Stewart, Mia Farrow, Naomi Watts, Nathan Parsons, Nicole Kidman, Paul Barry, Poppy Mongomery, Portia de Rossi, Sascha Vanderslick, Sean Murray, Shuang Hu, Sophie Pegrum, and Xanthe Paige. Los Angeles is also home to the non-profit Australian Theatre Company. I’m not sure if he’s ever lived in Los Angeles but Australian actor Simon Baker has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There’s also a local organization called Australians in Film (formerly Los Angeles Australian¬†Film and Television¬†Association).



It’s entirely possible that the craze for Australia began, not with film, but with music. Men At Work‘s hit, “Down Under” topped the us charts in 1983, three years after it was released in Australia. Its subject matter, musical references to “Kookaburra,” and its Australian slang-heavy lyrics, all reinforced its Australian-ness in a way that most earlier Australian hitmakers in the US (e.g. AC/DC, The Bee Gees, Helcolin en Reddy (who lived hnd died in Los Angeles), Little River Band, Olivia Newton-John, Rick Springfield (also an Angeleno), and the Seekers) rarely, if ever, acknowledged so overtly. Not long after Men At Work’s success, singer Colin Hay moved to Los Angeles’s Topanga Canyon neighborhood, where he still lives.

It would probably be a stretch to claim that Men At Work exuded much discernible musical influence on bands anywhere, they probably at least helped open the door for chart topping Australian pop and rock acts that followed just by making Americans aware that there were English-singing rock bands from places besides the US and England. US Top 40 his followed for the likes of Real Life (“Send Me An Angel,” 1983, No. 29), Crowded House (“Don’t Dream It’s Over,” 1986, No. 2), Icehouse (“Electric Blue,” 1987, No. 7), Kylie Minogue (“The Loco-Motion,” 1987, No. 1), Midnight Oil (“Beds Are Burning,” 1987, No. 17), The Church (“Under the Milky Way,” 1988, No. 24), Divinyls (“I Touch Myself,” 1990, No. 4).

No Australian band had more hits in the US and Los Angeles than INXS, though, who placed on the Top 40 with “The One Thing,” “What You Need,” “Need You Tonight,” “Devil Inside,” “New Sensation,” “Never Tear Us Apart,” “Suicide Blonde” and “Disappear.” In Los Angeles, they had other hits, thanks to KROQ, which championed “Don’t Change,” “Original Sin,” and “I Send a Message” before the band were a household name across much of the world. INXS first toured the US in 1983, opening for Men At Work. After singer Michael Hutchence died in 1997, the band’s search for a new vocalist was the basis for a CBS reality show, Rock Star: INXS. Contestants included Angelenos from Pasadena, Reseda, Studio City, and elsewhere in Los Angeles. They ended up choosing a Canadian, though, J.D. Fortune.

The Australian punk and post-punk underground didn’t produce huge hitmakers, but it did produce some great Australian bands who found favor with college radio DJs and “alternative” music fans of Los Angeles and elsewhere, including Birthday Party, Boom Crash Opera, The Cannanes, GANGgajang, The Go-Betweens, Hoodoo Gurus, Hunters & Collectors, Paul Kelly, Radio Birdman, The Saints, Severed Heads, The Triffids, and These Immortal Souls.

The Australian underground did have a profound, if indirect, influence on American rock — specifically Seattle‘s grunge scene — which also had ties to the region through transplants from Southern California like Mark Arm, Eddie Vedder, and San Diego‘s Stone Temple Pilots. Gruenge began, it could be said, in 1979, when Kim Salmon‘s Perth band, The Victims, changed their name to The Scientists. Their sweaty mash-up of blues, punk, and noise was probably the first to be labeled “grunge.” Soon, other bands including Cosmic Psychos, Feedtime, and Lubricated Goat were similarly described. Although bluesy, noisy, and punkish; and despite an advertisement for a 1986 performance inviting audiences to ‚Äúgrunge out to Crime & the City Solution at La Rox” and promising “a night of tasteful grunge”; Crime & the City Solution protested that they were not grunge. In an interview from that era, singer Simon Bonney stated “I don’t think we’re especially grungey. I don’t aspire to grunge.”

Perhaps the first band to “aspire to grunge,” was Green River. The band’s leader, Mark Arm, moved from Lompoc to Seattle when he was still in school. There, in 1984, he formed Green River with Steve Turner (later of Mudhoney), Alex Vincent, Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard (the latter two of whom would later form Pearl Jam). Arm has, in numerous interviews, acknowledged the influence of Australian bands on his songwriting and in 1995, Kim Salmon even recorded as “Kim Salmon and the Guys from Mudhoney.” By then, however, the meaning of grunge had drifted so far from its roots that Australian rock bands of the era and inclination (e.g. Silverchair and The Vines) were probably assumed by most Americans to be mimics of Seattle’s sound rather than part of a thoroughly Australian musical tradition. When Simon Bonney and ex-Screaming Tree, Mark Lanegan, toured together, it was probably to the chagrin of the latter and relief of the former that only one was sometimes referred to as a “grunge icon.”

If grunge is actually more Australian than American, at least Country music is American — although it is hugely popular in Australia and Australian Country and bush ballads are also part that nation’s musical fabric. Simon Bonney, lived in Los Angeles for a time and recorded three excellent country albums: Forever, Everyman, and the unreleased Eyes of Blue. The first, Forever, was recorded in Los Angeles lthough they are more a world away from, say, Keith Urban, who’s also Australian and who, along with his wife Nicole Kidman, owns a home in Los Angeles. Australian country singer Jedd Hughes moved to Los Angeles in 2014.

Other Australian musicians or songwriters — country, grunge, or otherwise — who’ve at one time called Los Angeles home include Brody Dalle, Cody Simpson, Delta Goodrem, Flea, George Maple, Iggy Azalea, Indiana Massara, Jagwar Ma, Joe McKee, Katie Cole, Kelsy Karter, Kid Laroi, Kuńćka, Rai Thistlethwayte, Romy, Sadie Belica, Sam Fisher, Todd Jacobs, and VOWWS. Los Angeles is also home to the Australian Music Alliance.



For millennia, indigenous Australians dressed not dissimilarly from their indigenous California counterparts. Clothing was presumably dictated more by the demands of the environment than as either an expression of personal identity or devotion to trends. In both places, loin clothes or less were worn when hot and animal skin cloaks when cold. In the 19th Century, Australian stockmen and bushrangers seemed to dress, from what I can tell, similarly to their California cowboy and gunslinger counterparts — although Californians were more likely to sport a Stetson than an Akubra. The trend toward subtle style variations across the Anglosphere continued into the mid-20th century. When England had teddy boys and rockers, the US had greasers, and Australia had bodgies and widgies. The first bodgie gang was called the Woolloomooloo Yanks and their members reportedly affected American accents. Mods in Australia, however, were also known as mods — but their apparnet rivals were not rockers but mullet-sporting suedeheads called sharpies.

Australia and Los Angeles both shared a love of surfing, invented by Hawai Ľians, but which established a lasting and profound foothold in both Southern California and Australia in the 1950s and ’60s where it was more than just a pasttime but quickly evolvoed into an entire subculture with associated lingo, films, cars, and surf rock, which though primarily associated with and developed in Southern Califonria, had its proopenents in Australia, too, like The Atlantics.

Surf culture was also associated with cholthes and by the 1980s, surf culture had spread to landlocked states and even people who’d never seen a body of water larger than a farm pond wore Southern California clothing brands like Ocean Pacific and Pacific Coast Highway as well as Australian brands like Billabong, Ripcurl, and Quicksilver. The brand Ugg Australia, was founded in Santa Monica in 1978 by two Australian-Angeleno surfers, Brian Smith and Doug Jensen. In neighboring Venice there’s a clothing store, Aust., founded in 2013 by Australian-Angelena Hannah Wang.



As far as organized sports go, rugby league, rugby union, association football/soccer, tennis, and Australian Rules Football are the most popular. Australia is home to an Australian rules football team, the Los Angeles Dragons, founded in 2010. Los Angeles is also home to Australian tennis player, Taylor Dent.



Other Australian Angelenos include artists Anna Carey, George Byrne, Jonathan Zawada, Nick Thomm, Matt Doust, Paul Davies, Peter Zellner, Rachel Khedoori, Stephen Rowe, Toba Khedoori, Xutu, and Zenith Ander; writers Charlotte McConaghy, David Francis, Matthew Reilly, and Vanessa Every-Burns; mathametician Terence Tao, poker player Marsha Waggoner, magician Simone Turkington; comedians Austen Tayshus, Gregg Turkington, Jim Jefferies, Julia Morris, Monty Franklin, Rebel Wilson, Tim Minchin, (and maybe Greg Fleet?); dancer Jenna Walasek; journalists Brianna Keilar and Ian Masters; make-up artist Mathu Andersen, tabloid mogul Rupert Murdoch; philanthropist Betsy Bloomingdale; and serial killer Christoper Wilder. Other Australian-Angeleno musicians include Australia Trading Partner Portal, Australia New Zealand America Society (ANZAS).


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Eric Brightwell¬†is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is¬†not¬†interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill ‚Äúfor exposure.‚ÄĚ

Brightwell has written for¬†Angels Walk LA,¬†Amoeblog,¬†Boom: A Journal of California,¬†diaCRITICS,¬†Hidden Los Angeles, and¬†KCET Departures. His art¬†has been featured by the¬†American Institute of Architects, the¬†Architecture & Design Museum,¬†the¬†Craft Contemporary,¬†Form Follows Function,¬†Los Angeles County Store, the book¬†Sidewalking,¬†Skid Row Housing Trust, and¬†1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject¬†in¬†The¬†Los Angeles Times,¬†Huffington Post,¬†Los Angeles Magazine,¬†LAist,¬†CurbedLA,¬†Eastsider LA,¬†Boing Boing,¬†Los Angeles, I‚Äôm Yours, and on¬†Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has¬†been a guest speaker on¬†KCRW‚Äės¬†Which Way, LA?, at¬†Emerson College, and the¬†University of Southern California.

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6 thoughts on “No Enclave — Australian Los Angeles

  1. I know only one Australian in LA and he is in the film industry. He has a lot of Australian friends… I really never noticed any Australians aside from
    him in LA…


    1. I’ve known a few — and all were in the film or television industry, I think. I’ve met a few, too, at shows by Australian performers. There’s a guy I see in Silver Lake all the time who’s Australian. He wears a cowboy hat, has a very pronounced swagger, dark skin, long hair, and always wears sunglasses. He’s very hard to miss. When I first saw him, I wandered whether or not he was Australian and then, the first time he spoke to me, he actually said, “G’day mate.”


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