In 1931 J.T. Lang, Premier of New South Wales gave the term tall poppy to all those on government salaries above £10 per week (a princely sum in those days).
Today the tall poppy is usually someone who is very successful in their field.
Unfortunately, Australia has developed what we call the Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS). This is the action of eagerly pulling down the more successful people in our society should they show the slightest imperfection.
Is this done to everyone who is successful? Actually no. It tends to be aimed at those people the public perceives as being arrogant or not deserving the amount of their success they've achieved. The public's perception of the tall poppy is often influenced negatively by the media.
Another TPS type is the person who becomes famous overseas, but doesn't look or act the way Aussies want to be represented. A good example is environmentalist Steve Irwin. Yes, Steve is much loved in Australia now, but he was harshly criticised here by many for using the word "Crikey" and for the way he dressed overseas. Yes, you're right. It does sound petty and childish. Being jealous of someone's success is never pretty.
In this section of our website we hope to celebrate the tall poppies. Featured are Australians and Australian organizations who contribute in some way to bettering life in Australia. You will be introduced to people you may never have heard about, but who impact the lives of people in your community.
We have far more successful people in Australia than we can possibly list here. So while your favourite person may not be written about, we hope you enjoy learning about those we do.
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