In a surprising change of policy, Australia have announced that they will take 12,000 Syrian refugees over the next 12 months and to help the newcomers integrate into Aussie society, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, have produced a booklet for those coming to the land down under.
Of course the guide runs through all the usual things such as facts and figures about the country, an explanation of national symbols and a history of the country but of it doesn't give the whole story so luckily i will fill in the gaps gleaned from years of watching Australian soaps and listening to Kylie Minogue records.
1 - The first thing that you will notice when you get to Australia is that their places were named by 5-year-olds so you may well end up at Nobby, Bong Bong, Wagga Wagga, Cocklebiddy, Coo Wee Rup, Humpty Doo, Iron Knob, Koolyanobbing, Mount Buggery, Wooloolmooloo or Tittybong.
2 - It is a misconception that every animal in Australia is trying to kill you, it's just most of them. In the sea are jellyfish, octopus and sharks while on land you have to dodge deadly spiders, crocodiles, dingoes, ants and giant centipedes. If none of them get you a kangaroo is only a short hop away. Talking of kangaroos...
3- Kangaroos are everywhere and although some of them may well go for help if you fall down a well or get kidnapped, most will just punch or kick you and then shove you in their pouch and dump you somewhere in the outback.
4 - Show an Australian a cooker and he will scratch his head in confusion but show him a BBQ and he will turn into a five star chef because Australians cook everything on the 'Barbie'. Everything seems to be meat and prawns and the shout of 'throw another prawn on the barbie' can be heard from gardens up and down the country. If you only learn one phrase, learn that one and you will be welcome into any Australian garden at tea-time.
5 - If there is one thing that Australians excel at more than barbecuing everything, it's sinking a few tinnies because Australians do like a drop of the amber nectar. If you come from a part of the Middle East where drinking alcohol is frowned upon then unfortunately the sight of men, women and children chugging cans of full strength lager is something you will have to get used to. If you ever need to have a discussion with an Australian then try to catch them before 8am because after that the breakfast beer kicks in and all you will get is a drunken rant about how they hate the flamin' Poms.
6 - The Australians call us British Pom's and they will whinge about us until all that alcohol renders them incapable. Don't let it bother you, they are just bitter because we beat them at sports all the time and because we dumped their ancestors in a land filled with animals that try to kill them all those years ago.
Please Note that the relatives we dumped there were all criminals so you may want to keep a tight hold of your purse.
7 - Australia's delicacy is something called Vegemite. No idea what it is.
8 - Australians and Fashion sense are not two words that have never been in the same sentence together unless 'have no' is placed between them because Australia is the land that even the fashion police have named a no-go area. Singlets, flip-flops, bikinis, budgie smugglers and hats with corks dangling from it are the height of sartorial elegance and are all the items of clothing you need in your wardrobe.
9 - Look at a map of Australia and you will notice that all the main cities are around the eastern edge and that's because all Australians live by the beach and go surfing when they are not at a barbie or being chased up a tree by a dingo.
10 - All Australians have a pet koala, it's like a law over there.
11 - Asked to name an Australian actor and the name most famous is Russell Crowe who began his career in popular Australian Soap Neighbours and then its a bit of a head scratcher. They also try to claim Mel Gibson despite him being American so the well of Australian TV is not very deep. Less of a well and more of a puddle to be honest so you want to make sure the first thing you do is have satellite TV installed otherwise you will condemned to re-runs of Prisoner Cell Block H.
12 - There are not many musicians with an Australian accent around outside of Australia. There is a reason for that.
So enjoy your time in Australia, try not to get eaten by a wallaby and wear your hat with corks with pride.