’80s Australian Invasion: 24 Ways Down Under Took Over America
American pop culture was altered in the '80s by an unexpected influence: Australia.
Like the British Invasion of the '60s, this was a cultural phenomenon that happened on all fronts. Music, film and art from Down Under swept across the U.S.
Rock and pop acts scored chart-topping hits at a rapid pace. AC/DC exploded to the upper stratosphere of stardom behind their Back in Black album after building momentum in the late '70s. Olivia Newton-John made the transition from sweet girl next door to sexy pop star, and new acts such and INXS and Men at Work caught on with American audiences.
The Mad Max movies made a star out of Mel Gibson, while Nicole Kidman was introduced as the decade was coming to a close. Still, no film was more impactful than Crocodile Dundee, the fish-out-of-water comedy starring Paul Hogan that became a box office phenomenon. Dundee amplified American’s already-growing interest in Australia by showcasing much of the county’s charm: from its picturesque landscape, to the cheeky charm of its people.
Before all of this, Australia had long been considered mysterious due to its isolation on the other side of the world. Now, it was seen as a viable tourist destination. The first non-stop commercial flight from America to Australia took off in April 1984 when air carrier Qantas launched regular routes from Los Angeles to both Sydney and Melbourne. Australia was suddenly more accessible to Americans than ever before.
Here are 24 Ways Australia invaded American pop culture in the ‘80s.