The book The Lucky Country was written about Australia in the 1960s and since then the label has stuck.

For anyone slogging their way through a British winter, the image of Australians on the beach seemed impossibly alluring. On my first visit to the country, 25 years ago, a Sydneysider teased me: “You guys used to deport your convicts here. Now what do you think?” Naturally, we were sitting outside at a barbecue with beers in our hands.

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