Hyphenated Australian

I have occasionally referred to myself as an Australian of mixed British Isles descent, or an Anglo-Saxon-Celtic-Australian. I suspect that the full story might be Normo-Dano-Anglo-Saxo-Juto-Romano-Celto-Australian. My ancestry is half English (my father’s side), a quarter Scottish (two of my great-great-grandparents were born in Ireland, but their families originated in Scotland), an eighth Irish and an eighth Cornish (if you count that separately). My father always assumed that his father’s ancestry was Welsh (his grandfather was born in Shrewsbury and our surname is typically Welsh but from other places as well), but we haven’t actually traced it. His mother was horrified at my suggestion that I was anything other than ‘English’, apparently unaware of her late husband’s possible ancestry and her daughter-in-law/my mother’s actual ancestry.

So while I celebrate St David’s Day for various reasons (despite no known Welsh connection), I am ambivalent about St Patrick’s Day (despite known Irish connection). Part of the reason is that those Irish people are usually so noisy on St Patrick’s Day (which they will, of course, say is most of the point). Maybe the Welsh, Scots and English also are on their respective days, but I have never seen or heard a St David’s, St Andrew’s or St George’s Day celebration in Australia. I can imagine the Welsh celebrating (especially in Wales but also in Australia), but the idea of a Scottish St Andrew’s Day or English St George’s Day seems slightly strange (though see St Andrew’s Day and St George’s Day). St George almost certainly didn’t actually exist (at least in his most popular form), and St Andrew didn’t go anywhere Scotland (and wouldn’t even have known that it existed). A colleague who is more Irish than I am decorated himself and part of the office yesterday (we are dividing our working days between the office and home), but I was unable to fully share his excitement. What is one meant to do when one is hyphenated? Celebrating everything without worrying about it so much is a possibility. I accepted his Irish chocolates, though.

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2 thoughts on “Hyphenated Australian

  1. Rachel was involved in St Andrew’s Day celebrations in Melbourne and the girls and I have been to a few in Adelaide but they are certainly nothing like St Patrick’s Day.

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