10 Nicknames for Australia and the History Behind Them

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A port with docked ships near skyscrapers and buildings on a sunny day
Monikers for Australia are based on many things, like its history and landscapes

Located in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia is a country known for its beautiful weather, stunning beaches, and array of wildlife, among many other things. What many people don't know is that there are numerous nicknames for Australia.

These alternate names each have a unique story behind them that may surprise you. From names related to Australia's geographical location to those that cover its breathtaking beauty, there's a lot to unpack. To find out more, keep reading for 10 well-known Australian monikers.

10 Australia Nicknames

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A statue of a man drawing with a compass with a cat next to him
The Great Southern Land was first circumnavigated by explorers like Matthew Flinders

Great Southern Land

The name Australia is derived from the Latin word for "southern," which is "Australis." During the 17th century, European explorers such as Matthew Flinders searched the world to discover what lay beyond their home countries.

It was hypothesized by explorers that because they knew of land in the northern hemisphere, there must be land in the southern hemisphere to "balance out" the world. Thus, the name Great Southern Land came to be. This nickname was also used as the title of a song by the Australian band Icehouse in 1982.


Australia's ALPHA-3 country code is AUS, which is the shortened version of the entire destination's name. You may see this nickname when someone is writing in shorthand or even on envelopes of packages being sent to or from Australia.

If you walk around one of the major cities, you might hear Australians refer to their home country by this nickname as well. However, while it may sound like they are saying "Aus," residents would probably spell it "oz."

A colorful coral reef with fish around it in the ocean
Oz is one of the most common nicknames associated with Australia


When you hear the word Oz, the first thing that comes to mind may be the Wizard of Oz. However, it's also a nickname that Australians use frequently when talking about the country! This name is really another version of Aus, spelling it in the way it's pronounced.

Land of the Long Weekend

Land of the Long Weekend is another name for Australia that has an interesting backstory that eventually turned into a film. This slogan relates to Australia being the first country to implement a 40-hour work week.

This was done partly to give the image of the continent as the home of a worker's paradise. The film titled after this nickname explores how this decision has affected Australia in modern years.

Modern skyscrapers and buildings during sunset
The Sunburnt Country is one of the nicknames for Australia lifted from literature

The Sunburnt Country

Australia is sometimes referred to as the Sunburnt Country, primarily because of a famous poem called "My Country" written by Dorothea Mackellar. The second stanza opens with the line: "I love a sunburnt country."

The poem not only discusses Australia's hot summers but also its breathtaking scenery, as it has landscapes like no other. The imagery of the poem (and, to some extent, the nickname itself) is an ode to Australia's abundance of beauty.


Straya is another word for Australia that's often used by Aussies. This abbreviation is pronounced as one syllable and is used as slang amongst locals. It represents a phonetic spelling of the pronunciation of Australia.

A high-angle shot of a bay near the mountains
Since it's in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia is also known as the Land Down Under

The Land Down Under

This nickname is arguably one of the most common ones in Australia. Its origins date back to European exploration, when the exact location of the country was not yet known. All explorers knew was that this land mass was south of many Asian countries and under the equator.

These factors were major contributors to the slogan. Since its creation, the Land Down Under has been used in film and popular media consumed by people from all over the globe.

The Antipodes

Antipodes comes from the Greek words 'anti,' which means opposite, and 'podes,' meaning feet. These combine to create a word that refers to two places that are on opposite sides of the world from one another.

During initial exploration, Europeans, such as Abel Tasman, believed that Australia was located completely on the opposite side of the Earth from them. Thus, this Australian nickname communicated the significant distance between Europe and Australia.

Nicknames for Australia, like the Wide Brown Land, allude to its scenic landscapes
The Wide Brown Land was popularized by a poet in the 1930s

The Wide Brown Land

The nickname Wide Brown Land also derives from the poem "My Country" by Dorothea Mackellar. The phrase "wide brown land" is used at the end of the second stanza.

While the poem was published in 1908, the phrase didn't catch on as a moniker until the 1930s. Since then, it has been used quite often to refer to Australia.

The Lucky Country

The Lucky Country nickname comes from a novel written by Donald Horne in 1964. In the book, Horne aims to show Australia's rise to power as based primarily on luck rather than the strength of its economic systems. Though he intended to portray the country in a more negative light, the term "the lucky country" has since reimaged itself as a positive reference to Australia.

In Summary

The array of nicknames connected to Australia provides an intriguing insight into the nation's history, values, and unique identity. From the iconic Land Down Under, which captures the geographical location of the land, to the slang-like use of Oz that reflects the nation's informality, there are many alternate names to learn about.

Hopefully, these 10 Australian nicknames helped give you more insight into this fascinating country's cultural and historical background. You may even now be interested in planning your own exciting trip to Aus!

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Written by Catrina Guenther

catrinaguenther FORMER WRITER Cat is a Michigan-based writer who has a passion for travel. When she is not planning her next adventure, you can find her riding horses, going for a run, or working on one of her small businesses.

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