I recently heard a podcast about the Pittsburgh diaspora, and I realised that I was part of the Perth diaspora. According to TheFreeDictionary, a diaspora is “a dispersion of a people from their original homeland, or the community formed by such a people”. I know a fair number of people who hale from Perth, in Western Australia, and while they have lived away from there for many years, still retain a fondness, and a connection. Even while there doesn’t seem to be a conscious effort to construct an expatriate Perth community, they seem to form anyway.
I wonder if there are some distinct cultural traits that mark out people from Perth, such that we spot each other. There is a slight shift in accent across Australia, with people from W.A. having a more Pommie accent, and people from the eastern states having a more Kiwi accent. I’m not sure many Australians would recognise it though – certainly I don’t. Also, there’s a little local slang, such as “Freo” for “Fremantle” and “Rotto” for “Rottnest”, and the fact that we refer to bathing trunks as “bathers” (that one’s shared with a couple of other states, I believe). There’s a distinct driving behaviour on the road that is territorial and dismissive of pedestrians. Most people would lose that after driving elsewhere – or their insurance premiums would skyrocket.
The types of people I know that have left Perth have all had careers in fields like IT/Telecomms, Music, Academia, Finance or Law. All occupations that benefit from being close to a larger population centre. Maybe we find each other because we bump into each other at work?
So, if you catch your colleague moaning about the poor choice of beaches, spreading rumours about the dangers of quokkas, or complaining about the time they dated someone that turned out to be the sibling of a friend, then perhaps they’re part of the Perth diaspora.