Making their way up from the sunburnt country (or the ‘lucky country’ as some would have it) here to the other side of the world where the forests are thick with birch trees and punctuated with some 188,000 lakes, it’s somewhat of a surprise to discover some 600 Australians have immigrated to Finland. While, in fairness, one could turn over a rock anywhere in the world and find an Aussie underneath, given their knack for travelling the globe, somehow the harsh climate that envelops the country for nearly half of the year here would appear to be the ultimate repellent for the laid back folks from Down Under.

Not so, it seems. But what do they do for kicks? Well, with the chain of Aussie Bars popping up around the country, these have become a focal point for many an Antipodean, combining their passion for consuming amber fluid and watching ultraviolent sports such as rugby and Aussie rules football. In fact, although both sports are about as safe as a brick dropped on your head, the different codes enjoy established leagues in Finland, with teams scattered around the country. In fact, with the local rugby league having kicked off a number of years prior to that of the ‘footy’, rugby also boasts a local women’s league, and the national team has been the European champions in recent years.

Although the majority of the population of Australia wouldn’t know the first thing about surfing, many of the more stereotypical Aussies living here have been seen heading down to Hanko for a surfing getaway, swapping the thunderous surf of Oz with the occasional ripple in the ocean and ample icicles in their hair.

With many Finns envisioning Australia to be a dream destination, Aussies here do their best to perpetuate cultural stereotypes. However, let it be known that no one drinks Fosters down there and it is not warm for each of its 365 days a year. As for whether the water does run down the drain in the opposite direction in Oz? Head on down and find out for yourself!

James O’Sullivan